my cucumber experiment – cucumbers are not a fall crop


On August 7 (65 days before my average first frost), I planted several varieties of pickling cukes: Cucumber, Salt and Pepper (49 days), Cucumber, Miniature White (50 days), Cucumber, North Carolina Pickling (60-65 days). This experiment was a last ditch effort since wilt (carried by beetles) killed my summer cucumbers.

It seemed this experiment would work, going by the days. The rule of thumb for fall planting is to count back from the average first frost date by the days to harvest, and then add 2 weeks for the “fall factor”: with less light plants grow slower. So those 49 and 50 day cukes had enough time. But it did not work.

August and September weather was great. Record heat – our first
heat wave in September in 35 years. I kept the plants covered
to keep beetles off, then removed covers when they bloomed. They bloomed well (bees loved them), but the plants never produced cucumbers.

My lesson: Cucumbers need mid summer light – they are not a fall crop.

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