Kerathome
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Cukes gone wild...

:shock: Hi all! 1st time poster here. Also, 1st time gardener, and I've started with the warm weather vegetables. I tried to do as much research as possible since space was limited, and used a sq ft garden guide (we are using 2 raised beds) to determine what we could plant and how much space it needs. We bought our plants at Lowe's and planted the 1st week of May (zone 7).

Fast forward 2 months, and while I'm starting to see tomatoes and peppers, I noticed I haven't seen a single cucumber. I planted 2 plants in the same sq ft under a tomato cage (guide said 2 plants per square ft w/ support). Now of course, I know better, and I realize I should have researched the specific plant, because the 2 plants have taken over 1/2 of one bed and are now moving their way out of the bed and creeping towards the forest. Turns out these Straight Eight cucumbers require 48 inches of space per plant!!

Unfortunately, I also planted 3 sweet potato plants in the same section of the bed around the cucumber... so I have one hot viney mess on my hands.

I have loads and loads of blooms, but not a single cucumber after 2 months. Should I try to rip out one of the plants? Or just leave it be and hope for the best? I would hate to lose a plant but at this point I'm worried I won't get a single cuke to show for this season.

Appreciate the advice!

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

FB_IMG_1467575866692.jpg
Here is a picture of the madness...

bobbyg
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Rookie here as far as growing cucumbers is concerned but are there female flowers or all male? My lemon cucumber plants I see 50+ male flowers but only found 2 females. Ended up doing hand pollination.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

How much sun do these get per day?

Mine get pretty large before they start putting out female flowers. There's usually a 2 week grace period between male and female flower production!

I'm in 7a, and planted mid April. We have just started getting Cukes for maybe 2-3 weeks, so I would hold off on the destruction just yet. ;)

I WOULD suggest something though! I would get you some 2x4 rectangle hod wire fencing, and a couple of the attaching posts that they go on, and install that along the back of you beds. My Cukes are in 4' tall wire fencing, and they fill it up! They also don't take away from any of my horizontal garden space that way, they just go up!

Since you have other sun loving plants, you may want to evaluate the placement, because you don't want to shade your other plants with your new vertical growing Cukes! They'll be dense! The shade will be dense as well.

I think your spacing is fine!

Welcome to the forum, BTW!
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

pepperhead212
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Welcome to the forum!

Two months is about normal for when cucumbers begin producing, though varieties vary some. My first one, planted in very early May (so about two months), is just starting, with two inch cukes on it. I planted more, three weeks apart, so I wouldn't get them all at once, like I did last year.
Dave

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Thanks for the responses everyone!

We've had blooms on the plants for about a month now. I don't know how to tell the difference between the male and female, just assumed they looked the same but the females would eventually grow cukes :)

Lindsay - that is a FANTASTIC idea. I'm also in upstate SC (Taylors) - and I live our lot is heavily wooded. I basically get sun on the lawn in the backyard, and the side of our house (where the raised beds are). I'm pretty sure we get at least 6 hours of sun a day, but it there is some shade that hits the beds as the day goes on. Actually, we had a neighbor give us some heirloom tomatoes and extra jalapeno plants that she didn't have room for in her garden this year, and we ended up planting those in containers on our deck to give them as much sun as possible. Our cukes are planted on the farthest north side of our bed, so I think we are safe from them blocking the sun of anything else if we use your brilliant plan of the hogwire!

I did some research on male vs female flowers - I swear I've got a whole mess of male blooms and no female! I'll double check on that tomorrow.

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone - I NEVER imagined myself as someone inclined to the arts that involve my own hands, yet here I am in my 30s, crocheting and now gardening. I'm begging my husband to let me fill up with lawn with raised beds next year! I won't mess around with these crazy 3 ft galvanized steel beds, I'll just do the 10x2 boards and turn my whole backyard into a garden!

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

layoftheland2016.png
For funsies - a graphical representation of our yard - that big block of green grass behind the house is where I plan to expand next year. For now we have bed 1 and bed 2, plus a few odd tomatoes/peppers on the deck (not pictured).

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Who needs raised beds? Just plant in the ground! Cover it with thick layers of cardboard now and mulch it with pinestraw. Come fall you'll have a nice little bed. Repeat in the spring, and you'll have a nice summer bed.

The reason I was asking about the sun is because the tomato in the pic to the left side looks a little leggy!

There are literally hundreds of male flowers on these Cukes. So many more than the females (which have a tiny cuke on them!). Ours are horribly bitter this year. The temps are too high. I'm also watering them daily. It's the only way I'll get Cukes. Sigh. This weather sucks this year!

Here's a picture of mine!
Image

They do require daily tucking, weaving and persuading.



We are in Sparkle! Howdy neighbor!
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Thanks, Lindsay! The picture helps. My husband need more convincing on converting the lawn into a garden - not that anyone uses the lawn - but he would prefer to chop down the dogwood that is dead center in the lawn and move our 2 apple trees ( that are not thriving due to not getting enough sun) to the lawn instead. I would rather let the apple tree's live where the raised beds are now, go ahead and chop down the dogwood and have a nice 60x80 garden :)

Guess I better start saving those amazon boxes...

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

My husband need more convincing on converting the lawn into a garden
:shock: Happy Wife = Happy Life! LOL! It's less (a lot) grass he'll have to mow. It's less time in this nasty thing we call a climate, sitting in a mower. It will give you back more (so much more, physically and mentally ;) ) than a lawn! It will feed your belly, heart and soul!

If all else fails..... cry... Not it that Beatricey way, but in such w way as if he's broken your heart and dashed your hopes and dreams of this garden that will feed your soul!!!!

That's cheating, but it's effective. :>
Guess I better start saving those amazon boxes...
YAAAAAAAS!!!
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

gumbo2176
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

My cukes are always planted in full sun conditions and are always trellised. They love to grow up on things and the bonus is keeping the cukes off the ground and for ease of picking. I always grow 2 varieties every year, pickling type and slicing type. The pickling cucumbers are a good bit smaller and the skins are a lighter shade of green. I've been overrun with cukes this year and earlier this week I picked 24 slicing variety cukes in 2 days time. I've been giving them away to friends and neighbors and already have 20 quarts put up in both dill and bread & butter style brines.

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Hi Gumbo - thanks for your input! I will definitely start the right way next year, but for this year I think I'll try to lead the Cukes off to the side of the bed, still in the sun, but hopefully will give the sweet potatoes a chance that way.

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jal_ut
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Cucumber plants have both male and female flowers. Actually more males than females. However they do need an insect pollinator to bring pollen from the male to the female. Perhaps no insects? Definitely full sun is beneficial. I would give them some time, perhaps they will make it yet?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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MichaelC
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

There are various kinds of cucumbers with regard to pollination. Some don't require it. I have both pollinators and varieties that don't need it, so it's not a problem for me. But you might try looking into techniques for hand pollination. I think a q-tip and the proper time of day are all that it takes.

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Still nothing shaking on my the cucumber plant. TONS AND TONS OF blooms - especially on the branches that are making their way out of the bed. Do mosquitos count as pollinators? We have lots of those, not so many bees. I've read about hand pollination, but all the blooms look identical to me, so I'm not sure how I would tell the difference :(

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applestar
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Female cucurbita blossoms have a baby fruit (a miniature version of the expected fruit) between the blossom and the stem. My cukes are blooming all male still too. I don't even see a developing female flower bud along the vines. Most of my squashes have at least one female flower bud further up the vine.... (Sigh) Patience.....
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Thanks Applestar. Thanks - that is what I've been looking for - definitely all male. What gives! Next year I'll grow my own from seedlings instead of buying plants at Lowe's, and plant a variety! I've learned so much this year - but also am experiencing some sadness that my garden isn't quite so fruitful as I had hoped.

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

FB_IMG_1467929441554.jpg
All boy blooms up in here.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

You WILL know the difference!

There will be a teeny tiny cuke on there, with a yellow blossom right on the end!
Lindsay
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pepperhead212
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

3 days ago there were 2, now 5, so, like I said, once they start, there's no stopping them!

The variety I grow is County Fair - the only one I can grow, as all others have gotten bacterial wilt, to which CF is resistant. And when I got a new packet of seeds this season, it said "improved County Fair", which may refer to the fact that they don't require pollination, and I don't remember this about it before. Something to think about, for those with few pollinating insects, though I don't have that problem.

And talk about going crazy, those West Indian Gherkins have a HUGE number of fruits on them, and vines going out all over! I'll post some pics when I start harvesting. Here are some very small ones:
Image
Dave

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

OoooOOOOOooo! What are you gonna do with the West Indian ones?
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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kayjay
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Female cucumber flower has a tiny cucumber underneath it. Male does not, just a skinny stem. Easy to tell them apart:

Image
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

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Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Thanks for the pictures and the input everyone! I continue to search daily for the female flowers, and thought I saw one the other day, so I ran and got some cotton swabs to get my artificial insemination operation started, lol. I tried to get some trellacing set up for the cucumbers since they've grown so much bigger than the cages, and now I can't find the female blooms anymore. Ohwell, I'll keep checking. Even my bell peppers are finally blooming, and all my tomatoes (except my cherokee purple that were mangled in the last storm we had Friday) are growing fruit, so I'm considering my 1st year garden to be a success, with or without the cucumbers :)

pepperhead212
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Here's more photos of what the females look like, and how many there will be, once they get going.
Two 6" ones:
Image

Three 2" ones:
Image

And even more of those gherkins!
Image
Dave

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

AGHHHHHHH!! I found my first girl!!! My son was out there with me and thought I got stung by a bee when I squealed, lol. I only was out there to check the soil to see if watering was needed, and didn't have all my anti-mosquito gear (my beds are right next to the woods, so I have to wear long pants/sleeves/boots and even a hat with mosquito netting, otherwise i get carried away) so I couldn't hang around longer to see if there were more. I'll sneak back down and take a picture later! I'm so excited!

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applestar
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Yay! :clap:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Here she is! I could only find the one. I plucked a male and rubbed her bloom with it, though I'm not sure it was necessary, lol.

She's a little tough to spot - only about an inch long!
20160713_135455.jpg

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Found 5 baby cucumbers today, and even more exciting, several fat bumble bee's (or honey bees?) crawling around in the blooms. I was so worried that I wasn't going to see a single cuke - what a relief!

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MichaelC
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

In my experience it may still take a week or more before they start growing. If so, don't despair!

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Thanks for the heads up, Michael! I did end up finding 2-3 more a few days later, but then when I went out to look at them again yesterday, I could find only the one still. There are honey bees covering the blooms all day long, so I'm not convinced that pollination is an issue, but not sure where the other ladies would have run off too. It is a very BUSHY plant, I'm hopeful my eyes are just missing them.

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MichaelC
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Have you had any fruits yet? I hope so. I've had some cucumbers that produced poorly in the past, right next to other plants doing well.

Mine are going like crazy now, every day I'm pulling off 3-4 cukes.

Kerathome
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Re: Cukes gone wild...

Hi Michael! Thanks for checking in :)

I actually DID have some fruit. One that was about 4 inches long. But, the plant was choking itself out, all the leaves at the bottom hidden in the dense forest of cucumber leaves and vines were turning yellow and it was just a sad state of affairs. We decided to take action by creating a trellis of garden wire and rebar. I cut off a lot of the dead stuff that was hidden inside, and then tried to unfurl the plant from itself (so difficult with all those little tendrils strangling its own stems). It looks a lot less bushy now, and I accidentally broke the branch that my 4 inch cuke was growing on (OOPS!) but hopefully this will give the remaining girls (there are about 6 of them) a fighting chance at making it to my kitchen table :)
cukesbeforeandafter.jpg

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