Tuesday, July 7, 2015

End of the line

Well, the cuke ladder did its job, keeping the cucumbers up off the ground.  The vines actually climbed it themselves with only the slightest help from me.  So I'm pretty sure that's a setup that I'll keep going forward.

But I'm not sure the cukes still have their hearts in it.  I planted National Pickling, an open-pollinated variety famous for its quick start and heavy yield. The start was no problem, and there were days where I swear I could hear the fruits growing. We've been in cukes all summer and I'll be doing up a big batch of pickles tonight.  Last night I harvested two  orange/yellow monsters - more than a pound each - so we are in seeds for next year.  That all sounds great, so what's the problem?

Well, I'm not sure.  About a week ago, the vines started turning yellow and production all but stopped.  A few shriveled fruits remain up high, and some of those are turning brown.

There are a couple of things that can cause such yellowing. It could be aphids or spider mites, though I've sprayed it down with Dawn a couple of times and while I have bugs, I don't have all that many*.  It could be downy mildew, as we had a really wet spring, but we've been pretty dry for the past few weeks. It could be a magnesium deficiency, but I've sprayed epsom salt in the ground a couple times, plus this is an area that was never planted before; it should be good for a single season, no matter how heavily cukes feed.

Or it could just be that the season is over for them.  I planted a 50-day variety in early April, so we are about 90 days in. I'm rather leaning toward this answer, as some of my other early plants, like the potatoes, are starting to show signs of exhaustion, and the mustard and cilantro are well into seed. And as much as I'd like the vines to produce right up until the frost arrives, sometimes the world ignores my desires.

So I'm going to watch it for another week, kill some bugs, pull some weeds.  If things don't turn around, I'll pull them up and maybe plant more green beans there.  After all, you can't get two crops per season if you're not willing to rip the first one out**.

* On the cukes. The pumpkins are another story.
** Or if you live in Minnesota.


  1. I tried cattle panel for my tomatoes. I didn't get it put up in time, so maybe it would work better if I had.

    But, I saw a better setup for it. A guy was using cattle panel doubled. About a foot apart, with strings back and forth between. He had a plastic cylinder around the base of the plants. Like if you cut the top and bottom off a 1 liter bottle. The tomatoes stood up a lot better than mine, where I am just trying to weave them into one. He also had old gates and stuff.

    So while what I did is a slight improvement over letting them sprawl all over, I think that setup would be the way to go if you don't get to the garden every day.

    1. I like the bottle idea, and it probably helps vs cutting insects as well.

      I could probably easily fasten parallel cattle panels in the raised beds, which would leave some room on two sides of the bed for smaller plants. Hmmm, that's something to consider. I'm not a big fan of tomato cages anyway.

  2. * Or if you live in Minnesota.


  3. He also talked about cutting the suckers off. I saw vids on youtube about that but I've never done it. Supposed to increase yields.

    1. I was going to try that this year but haven't gotten to it yet. My tomatoes are just starting to set fruit now, so I suppose there's still time.

  4. I wish I could offer information. As is, all I can do is... point and laugh? Wait, no, that was that other post. :p No, watch and try to pick up anything I can. Who knows, it might come in handy. Well, and to offer moral support. I love watching you all work. Would rather be doing it more myself, but without that, I'll just watch and try to learn.

    Hmm, but that does remind me. I need to find the real (non-organic) farmers market and pick up some produce for pickling and other things. If someone is willing to go through all that trouble, I am quite willing to reward them. Just not "organic". God gave me a brain and a small enough wallet that I actually am forced to use that brain. Lameness came naturally (probably viral, so literally). *grins*