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Cucumber Conundrums

Cucumber

Cucumber
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We get a lot of questions from frustrated gardeners with problems growing cucumbers. So we thought we would gather together the main issues with growing cucumbers in the garden and in the greenhouse and offer some simple solutions that should hopefully lead to a better crop or at least prevent the problems arising next year.

Q. Why haven't I got any flowers on my cucumber plant?


A. The main cause of this problem is a lack of humidity.


Solution for outdoor growers: Mulch the plants with black polythene. Keep the soil moist. Lightly mist the plants in dry weather.

Solution for greenhouse growers: Keep the concrete paths damp.

Q. Why haven't I got any cucumbers on my cucumber plant?


A. This is usually caused by poor pollination.


Solution for outdoor growers: Give nature a hand. Dust a male flower into the female flowers (these have a tiny cucumber at the base of the flower joined to the stem). Carry out hand pollination in the morning on a dry day.

Solution for greenhouse growers: All-female varieties need no pollination. Keep plants cropping by picking first cucumbers when small. Mulch the plants. Feed every fortnight with liquid tomato feed. Pick later fruit when it is a reasonable size but do not be tempted to let it get really big or production from the plant will stop.

Q. Why are my cucumbers mouldy?


A. Generally this is caused by damp or contact with the soil.


Solution for outdoor growers: Water only moderately. Do not wet the cucumbers when watering the plants. Use polythene to stop the cucumbers from touching the soil.

Solution for greenhouse growers: As for outdoors. Use sterilised soil.



Q. Why are my cucumbers small with dark green warts?


A. Your cucumber probably has cucumber mosaic virus. This is spread by greenfly.


Solution: Remove greenfly. This can be easily done by using a soft paint brush to brush the greenfly off the stems or try making a homemade garlic spray. Avoid using chemicals.

Q. Why do my cucumbers taste bitter?


A. This can be caused by sudden changes in temperature and poor pollination.


Solution for outdoor growers: Pinch out side shoots regularly, not all in one go. Keep the soil moisture levels constant.

Solution for greenhouse growers: As for outdoors. Keep the temperature even.

Q. Why are my cucumbers small and withered?


A. This can be caused by using fresh farmyard manure, over watering, poor drainage and draughts.


Solution for outdoor growers: Use only well rotted manure. Improve the drainage. Water regularly, enough to keep the soil just moist.

Solution for greenhouse growers: Keep the temperature even. Remove withered fruit and do not water for a week. Ventilate the greenhouse but keep the concrete paths damp.

See also:
Cucumber Questions