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Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Posted by marymilkweed z9 Orlando FL (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 26, 09 at 19:10

This is my first year growing cucumbers here in Central Florida. I started them from seeds the first week in March because of our late winter weather. I'm growing Poinsett 76 because it was on the FL list. Here are my questions; how long into the hot weather can I expect them to last? Is there a better choice then this variety? I really want to grow for pickling, so what pickler does well here? The other problem is the plants are doing great, full of blooms, mostly male flowers, but no bees? I'm already hand pollinating the summer squash and winter squash, but these seem more tedious to try hand pollinating. I'm afraid hot weather will set in before I get to harvest a full grown cucumber. Would I do better to grow cucumbers in the Fall? Any suggestions would be appreciated, I am looking forward to making my own Bread & Butter pickles down the road.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

  • Posted by mikie z9 St.Pete.FL (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 26, 09 at 20:08

I've grown cucumbers spring and fall, a different florida flavor in a salad garden - Always had way too many. Never needed hand polinating and seldom see regular bee'z.


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Cucumbers are closely related to cantaloupes, squash, and other melons. As we all know, melons love hot weather, and are cultivated 3/4 of the year: Spring, Summer, and Fall. Your cucumbers will be fine. Plant them whenever you want until 90 days before first frost, shorter for early varieties.

Types of melons we are growing right now are: Black Watermelon, Straight 8 Cucumber, Lemon Cucumber, Early Prolific Summer Squash, Sierra Gold Cantaloupe, and Sweet 'n Early Hybrid Cantaloupe.
We are about to put out within the next few weeks:
Grey Pumpkin, Round Orange Pumpkin, and Atlantic Giant pumpkin.


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Here are my questions; how long into the hot weather can I expect them to last?

the question has more to do with pickleworms than with heat. the pickleworms (a tropical pest) work their way south to north. they reached central florida at the beginning of june last year. there is no easy way to control them--a local grower in apopka sprays his cukes THREE TIMES A DAY using a helicopter.

Is there a better choice then this variety?

i prefer hybrids with disease resistance, esp to powdery mildew. i grow cucino, which is an all-female, very productive, small cuke. but i've also had luck with bonnie plants from lowes...

I really want to grow for pickling, so what pickler does well here?

i don't know. for sliced pickles, what does it matter?

The other problem is the plants are doing great, full of blooms, mostly male flowers, but no bees?

there are likely plenty of non-bee pollinators. cukes won't set fruit until they are large enough to support that fruit. if your variety is large fruited, the plant will get quite large before it keeps fruit, even fruit that is pollinated. the plant knows what it's doing.

I'm already hand pollinating the summer squash and winter squash, but these seem more tedious to try hand pollinating.

not worth it.

I'm afraid hot weather will set in before I get to harvest a full grown cucumber. Would I do better to grow cucumbers in the Fall?

the pickleworms hang around until the first extensive cold front. it's very hard to grow cukes in the fall, and by the time it cools down, the cukes are slow to set fruit b/c they do like hot weather.

Here is a link that might be useful: cukes


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Good detailed explanation Michael!
Your cucino looked great! I have one growing as well, I like the variety and also like Diva.
For pickling cucumbers I am going to grow an oriental variety in my summer garden Shimauri Stripe. First time growing this, I will keep you posted.

Silvia


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

The eggs of the pickle worms are laid in the growing clusters of new leaves at the end of each growing shoot.
If you spray these new leaf clusters with BT every 3 or 4 days, you can get good control of the worms.
Spraying the cucumbers or the plant in general does little good. The worms eat the new leaves before they bore into the cucumbers.
I have found ants to be the best polinators of cucumbers in Florida.

Norm


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

norm--you're right. but let me add: pickleworms are nocturnal moths that mark cukes (and other wild cucumis) with pheremones, indicating for successive waves of moths where to deposit eggs. (actually, it's more to indicate to male moths where to fertilize; other female moths are also receptive to the pheremones.) these waves start slowly, but build (in my experience) to every night. bt has limited efficacy in our heat, humidity and constant rain. so, to use bt as an effective insecticide against the moth, it must be sprayed under the leaves (difficult!) and on the flowers, every day, right before dusk.

actually, studies in brazil have shown that the most effective means of protection is to bag each cuke, right after it's been pollinated. i've done that, and it works great... though it's a bit time consuming.

my guess is that this year will see a very late moth invasion, given our cold weather. mary told me that an expert told her master gardening group that the tropical invasive pests have been knocked back a full decade.


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Thank you, everyone, for some excellent advice and answers to my questions. For some reason in all my reading, I was under the impression that most plants don't make it into our summer heat. I see now that its insects and possible mildew that does in the summer squash and cucumbers. We have set up our vegetable garden in deep raised beds, similar to Silvia's garden pixs, although we have taken it one step further, hoops and insect barrier cloth. Because of our large squirrel population, we covered our beds just after planting in March to give all our seeds and seedlings a fighting chance, taking them off early April. This worked well, and kept all insects off the plants as well. What is the possibility of growing the cucumbers in one of the 4'x8' beds and just coiling it around the bed under the covers? If the moth is nocturnal, then I could leave the cover open during the day after watering and close them up at sundown. If I have problems with squash bugs, I plan to do the same thing except pollinate the squash myself. Has anyone tried this?
OBTW - A yellow jacket bumble bee showed up today and after having visiting my newly potted Cosmos, headed for the cucumbers.


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Mary
I don't pollinate anything myself. I let nature takes its course. But, since you have the insect cloth which I think is a good idea you may be have to pollinate yourself.
I will post pics of the summer crops I am going to grow and see how they are doing. Some of them are going to be melons, use as a cucumber substitute.
Good luck with your crops, we are all learning here.
Silvia


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

For clarification., BT will not control a moth or it's ability to lay eggs. It only controls worms when it gets into their gut. If there is BT on any leaf surface when it is eaten, the worm dies. The new growing leaves feed the worm until it is large enough to bore into the cucumber. BT is a live organism that gives off a toxin that is deadly to worms when eaten.

Norm


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Could you please tell what the full name of BT is?


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Bacillus thuringiensis

Here is a link that might be useful: wikipedia


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

BT , any oil spray or any other organic spray must make contact with a live organism - caterpillar or eggs . There is no long term preventative such as the offender eating the spray . It is purely contact . Timing is everything here . Tricky at best .
It takes a combination of hand picking , spraying and praying to get any kind of a crop without resorting to potent chemicals . Constant eyeballing is the key . Time consuming ? Yes ! Theraputic - yes !
Timing , luck and an investment of labor is required to receive any kind of a crop .


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

  • Posted by tomncath 9B(microclimate 10A) (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 27, 09 at 20:32

Hey Norm,

Where the heck you been?

I'll vouch for what Norm is saying, frequent spraying of the new buds with BT has certainly kept the cats under control for me, with all the cucurbits.


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

Hi, I hope you all don't mind me jumping in with another cucumber question. This is my first time growing cucumbers and I thought that they would climb a tomato cage and grow up. But, this doesn't seem to be the case; the plants tend to sprawl across the ground. I planted them fairly close to other plants (there are some peppers on one side of the cukes and spinach on the other). The cucumbers are sending out long tendrils that try to grab anything it can reach. I have been removing them from the pepper plants when they try to take hold, and I have been letting them grab the spinach leaves, because it is my understanding that the spinach doesn't like our hot Florida weather, and I figure the spinach will have to be eventually cleared before summer (is that right?). So far the spinach is great! So, any suggestions on containing the cucumber plants? Should I just let them grow toward the spinach area in anticipation of that part being eventually clear? Is it harmful to the plant to break tendrils?


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

i feel pretty strongly that you need to keep cukes up off the ground--other people have awful problems with mildews and molds. i have never had disease problems with my cukes. i grow mine up strings, and very carefully and consistently remove old & diseased leaves. i also keep water off the leaves.

to grow them up strings, you have to carefully twist new growth around the taught string. you'll understand how it's done intuitively--it's hard to explain. i grow tomatoes, zuchss, beans and melons the same way. i don't have much space, so i grow up. the strings are key, i think, to avoiding diseases like powdery mildew that arise when airflow is poor.

you can see how it works in the right-hand corner of this pic:

From end of april in the garden--grazing


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

I love the way it looks..


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RE: Some questions on growing cucumbers?

i need to know why my cucumbers have such a bitter taste


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