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Growing Cucumbers – Varieties, The Beetle, Growing on a Support

Cucumbers are another vegetable that I don’t buy from the store —- ever!  (No taste unless they’re home grown.) So that  limits my cucumber eating to about 3 months in the year.  I usually get about 6 to 8 weeks from the plants and another 4 weeks out of refrigerated excess.

In past years cucumber beetles have been the bain of my cuke plants  — shortening my cucumber season by spreading the bacterial wilt disease as they feed. One leaf wilts — and then within 2 weeks or so — the entire plant has wilted.

By that time (in most years) we’re in the middle of drought so it’s next to impossible for me to bring newly planted seedlings to maturity — although I try.

Varieties

I grow two or three varieties each year.  Marketmore has been my favorite from way back when I use to sell for market.  The cukes are just beautiful as well as delicious.

I keep trying “Bush” cukes.  They look really nice to start off but seem to be more prone to some type of blight.  And — I don’t like their fruit as much as the Marketmore.

Diva graced my garden last year and I really liked it!

This year I added General Lee to the list and so far — it’s my all time favorite.

By the way, both Diva and General Lee can set fruit without pollination from the bees. (Known as Parthenocarpic)

I transplanted 3 General Lee seedlings into a  grow bag in the garden on April 25, 2013.  Here it is July 23, 2013 and it’s still looking great and setting loads of beautiful cucumbers.  (No cucumber beetles thus far — except on squash.)

zzzzz

General Lee — still going strong after two months in the garden.

According to a few of  the seed companies (Johnny’s Select Seed, Fedco, and Territorial) this variety was breed for the South but performs well in the North.

It’s said to perform exceptionally well even under stress.   That’s good news for me, since my garden is usually in drought conditions by this time and General Lee will – more often than not — experience stress from drought.

Cucumber Beetles – A possible Solution

For those of you who are inundated with cucumber beetles — I saw in a video that Johnny’s Select Seeds uses a brand name product called Surround.  It’s just kaolin clay and perfectly safe.

You mix it with water and spray it on your plants. It acts as a physical barrier against the beetle and does not effect the plant’s photosynthesis.  It doesn’t look so pretty — turns the plant grey/white, but it works for  lots of folks – including the growers at Johnny’s Select Seeds.

If you want to try it out, you can buy just plain Kaolin Clay (same thing just not a brand name) from Amazon in a one pound size  for about $9.

( Idea: I’d like to try it on a squash plant and see if it would keep the squash bug away!)

Here’s the link in case you want to watch the video: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-6037-general-lee-f1.aspx  (Scroll down until you see the video.)

Growing Cukes Up

Johnnys grows cukes up and so do I.  But they go to a lot more work than I do. They prune their cukes and train them to bamboo poles.  In my book — that’s just something else to do that I don’t have to do.

I use either bamboo poles in a teepee shape or one of our old wooden easels and wrap some plastic netting with a large openings around the support. The vines cling to that and do just fine without pruning.  In the picture below — you can see some of the plastic large-opening netting.

If you look closely in the top left of the photo you can see the plastic netting that I wrap around the support.

You can see the white plastic netting that I wrap around the support if you look closely at this 4th planting of cukes.

Final Thoughts

It’s so wonderful having cucumbers and eating dinners that are all from the garden.  Makes me wonder how I stay alive in the winter.

If you want something simple but delicious as an afternoon pick-me-up or a side dish for dinner try this:

  • Slice a cuke. (Make the slices thin.  I leave the skins on.)
  • Slice a sweet onion from your garden. (Thin slices.)
  • Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the sliced cuke and onion.  Toss.
  • Add salt to taste and toss again.
  • You can also add chopped parsley from the garden for an extra taste treat.

You’ll be amazed at how delicious the onions are as well the cukes!

xxxxx

General Lee cukes that look a bit frosty.  I had already refrigerated these and took them out to take a picture.

Other Posts on Cucumbers

Cucumbers – Proper Harvest and Storage can Extend the Season

Tomatoes – Cukes – Onions – A Simple Salad

Squash- Cucumber- Other Cucurbits – Hand Pollinating and Why

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Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.

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6 comments to Growing Cucumbers – Varieties, The Beetle, Growing on a Support

  • Mary Fisher

    I only grow cucumbers in the greenhouse. Believe me I’ve tried growing them outdoors but in Yorkshire, in the north of England …

    I usually sow four or five seeds and when they germinate plant them under the staging. On the staging will be large pots of tomatoes, which also grow in the other three borders in the house.

    My husband made flax netting and hung it at the back of the cucumbers, under the staging. They almost hurl themselves up the netting, I love to see the spring-like fronds which curl as soon as they touch something else. The netting stays from year to year, dead leaves are easily pulled off after the season.

  • Theresa

    Sounds like a lovely set-up Mary.

  • sandra

    Theresa, Your plants look wonderful. About 3 weeks ago I planted cukes. I am looking forward to harvesting my first one either today or tomorrow. I am trying Poona Kheera – it’s got a brown skin when ready to eat, so hopefully that won’t put folks off.

  • Theresa

    Good luck with that Sandra.
    Lots of folks enjoy trying vegetables that are not the norm — like brown cukes and yellow tomatoes.
    I’m guilty of thinking cukes should be green and tomatoes red.

    By the way — any particular reason you just planted cukes 3 weeks ago?

  • Akiko

    Hello Theresa,

    You cucumber looks great! Do you plant cucumbers in succession? I was going through Succession Planting Interval Chart at Johnny’s. It suggests planting cucumbers every 21 days up to 10 weeks prior to the first frost date.

    http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-succession_planting_interval_chart_vegetables.aspx?source=GrowersLibVeg_062013

    I could not sow seeds every 21 days, but planted in spring as well as June this year. Planning to sow a few more seeds next week just to see whether this late sowing works.

  • Theresa

    Yes, Akiko — I plant cucumbers — and just about every thing else — in succession.

    I have cucumbers in the garden in 5 stages.

    Johnny’s Select Seed has a lot of good information on their site and this chart (thank you for the link) is a good one. BUT –as I mentioned to another reader just recently — a chart on succession planting — no matter how good it is — only provides general guidelines. (Johnny’s even mentions that at the top of the page.)

    After a gardener has been doing it for a while — he or she will determine what time frames are best for their situation.

    I don’t go by any chart — or even any number of days for that matter. With cucumbers — when the seeds get up and running — and I’m ready to set them in the garden — a few days after that I’m ready to start more.

    The main thing to remember is that you want to plant so that you will have a continual supply coming. Always know that there is always the possibility something can happen to a planting. If it does — you want backup. Better to plant too much than not enough. If you can’t use as much as you get — dig in the produce. Great for your soil.

    Good to hear from you, Akiko. Thanks for commenting.
    Theresa

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