It was a dismal year for cucumbers. I think that out of all the veg I grew this year, they got the short end of the stick when it came to the amount of attention I paid to them – and that lack of attention was evident at harvest time.
|From the left:|
Chelsea Prize (2), Garden Sweet & Lemon
I grew 5 different varieties - three were repeats from the prior year (Suyo Long, Lemon & Garden Sweet Burpless) and two were new (Chelsea’s Prize & Corentine). Of the new additions, I quite liked Chelsea’s Prize. It's an English cucumber, which is our preferred type for fresh eating.
|Lemon & Chelsea Prize|
The Corentine, a gherkin type cucumber, was a different story. My main complaint with this one was it’s prickles – it was covered. Unlike other varieties I’ve grown, I couldn’t simply rub them off with my hands - I had to use a knife to scrape them away - which was a bit too much trouble for my taste.
|Chelsea Prize & Corentine|
I used the same amount of bed space as in prior years and even though I’ve estimated the number of seedlings I transplanted as 8, I'm certain that I planted quite a few more as otherwise, I wouldn’t have needed to space them that close together.
All of this added up to harvests that were less than impressive:
For comparison, in 2014 I grew 8 cucumber plants (but used the proper 12” spacing), and harvested over 18kg (41 lbs) of cucumbers. The most productive variety, Garden Sweet Burpless, gave us 2.9 kg (6.3 lbs) of cucumbers per plant - a far cry from this years 564 grams (1.24 lbs)! And that's best case scenario as chances are that I had more than 2 Garden Sweets planted. The Suyo Long was a complete bust - the plants were squished into the end of the bed and hardly grew the entire season.
Overall Impressions and Plan for Next Year
Poor cucumbers – the plants were thirsty, crowded and neglected. So sad...which is pretty much how I'm feeling as I write this.
I don’t have a specific plan for cucumbers this coming season other than paying them the attention they deserve. I’ll be growing 8 plants again and WILL keep the spacing at 12” apart. If the harvest is anything like that in 2014, those 8 plants will produce more than enough for our needs.
I'll also try to be much more conscientious about using milk spray - my one defense against powdery mildew. This year all of the vines succumbed to powdery mildew by the end of August. In 2014, which was a much wetter year, I used the spray and my final harvest wasn't until the end of September.
As for varieties, I’ll be dropping Corentine, but keeping all of the others. Because it was such a bad cucumber year, I’m still undecided about the whole parthenocarpic cucumber issue (which I spoke about in the last paragraph of THIS post). Many of the cucumbers had an odd shape, but that could have just as easily been from lack of water.
I will also be growing some new varieties including Diva, which was a favourite of Daphne’s, and Green Fingers, one of Michelle's recommendations. From the looks of it, I'll only be able to include one plant for most varieties if I'm to stick with 8 plants. I can already feel that nagging voice in my head telling me that I should be planting a few more...