Apple, Lebanese, Salad
Bush or Burpless whatever your choice, now's the time for
November's a great month
for sowing cucumbers. At this time of year the soil is warm enough
for the seeds to germinate with no trouble, and cucumber plants
just love growing through the hot months of December, January and
Cucumber seeds, like
the related pumpkins, zucchinis and squashes, should be sown into
well-drained mounds of soil that's been enriched with some well-rotted
compost, Nature's Way Organic Sheep Pellets or Blood and Bone, and
half a handful of Gro-Plus Complete. This way they'll have all the
nutrients they'll need to grow and fruit successfully. Before planting,
give acid soils (those in areas where azaleas flourish) a sprinkling
of Yates Gro-Plus Garden Lime.
Water the soil well the
day before sowing and keep the soil evenly moist, but not too wet;
cucumber seeds will rot if there's too much water in the soil. Sow
up to half a dozen seeds into each mound and, after the seeds germinate,
remove the weakest-looking plants, leaving the two or three strongest.
As the plants grow, feed
them every couple of weeks with Thrive, and change to high-potash
Thrive Flower & Fruit when they show signs of flowering. Water the
plants regularly at their bases, always keeping the leaves as dry
as possible. Fungi need moist conditions to develop and, even though
cucumbers are susceptible to fungal diseases, if the leaves stay
dry it's far more difficult for disease to take hold.
Downy mildew is one of
the most common diseases that attacks cucumbers, especially during
damp weather. If signs of this disease appear leaves become
blotched and yellow, with downy patches beneath pick off
affected leaves and spray with Yates Bravo fungicide.
Cucumber plants have
both male and female flowers, but only the female flowers will produce
fruit. However, in order to do so, they must be pollinated by pollen
from the male flower. This important transfer is usually conducted
by bees, but the gardener can increase the quantity of fruit by
carrying out some judicious hand pollination. The female flowers
are easy to identify because each has a tiny cucumber at the base.
Use a small brush to remove some of the pollen from the male flower
and gently brush it onto the centre of the female flower.
If cucumbers drop off
the vine just after they start to develop, it's usually because
they haven't been properly pollinated. Good growing conditions
watering and fertilising will also improve the size and quality
of a cucumber crop.
Yates seed range includes
these popular cucumber varieties:
- Crystal Apple - traditional
round favourite with crisp, creamy-skinned fruit.
- Lebanese - harvest
when small and eat skin and all.
- Long Green - large,
long and fleshy with a smooth skin. Great for slicing.
- Gherkin Pickling -
pick when 5-10cm long for pickling or salads.
- Salad Bush - compact,
bushy plant for small gardens.
- Burpless - good flavour
and easy to digest.