Wednesday 9 September 2015

A poor year for cucumbers

I know that this may only apply to me, but it has been a very poor year for cucumbers. I have been growing the little Lebanese-style cucumbers for several years now, and I usually get masses of fruit from them, but this year this has not been the case.

Based on my experience from 2104, when the cucumber plants grew to an enormous size, I optimistically erected a tripod of 7-foot canes in the growing-container. They were not needed! 4-foot canes would have been plenty big enough.

It's not just scarcity of fruit that I'm talking about; the quality of fruit has not been good either. Most of the fruits have been bent or deformed in some way, with only one or two straight ones. This one looks as if it will be OK:

So does this:

But what about this?

Or this?

Or this hideous scabby specimen?

As I have written previously, the skins of the cucumbers seem to have been tough this year, and in many cases scarred like the one in that photo above. Maybe it's because they have grown very slowly, due to the dearth of warm sunny weather this Summer?

The overall yield of fruit has been very low too - probably not more than ten fruits all told so far. At present there are quite a few tiny ones forming, but it's probably too late for them to mature, because I expect we will be getting frost before the end of this month.

For future reference, the varieties I have grown this year are "Diva" and "Mini Munch". Both of them have performed poorly, but whether that is due to the varieties or to other factors, like the weather, I know not. It's going to be hard deciding what to do for next year though. Should I revert to a variety that has done well for me in the past (such as "Iznik" or "Melen"), or should I give "Diva" and "Mini Munch" another chance, and hope for better weather?


  1. That is too bad. You have had terrible weather this year for growing the warm weather crops. I'm surprised you are getting as many tomatoes as you are this year with the weather. I'm also surprised that you expect a frost at the end of the month. I think of your temperatures as more moderate than mine. Both warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Our first frost typically isn't until the end of October.

  2. I'd definitely give Mini Munch another go. I've grown Mini Munch and Crystal Lemon this year, I've had about three poor specimens from the Crystal Lemon but plenty from the Mini Munch, though I have to say that I haven't had as many as other years. The plants themselves have been very poor never having recovered from the cold spring.

  3. I guess you could hedge your bets and grow one of the proven varieties and one of the new ones next year. I think it was last year or the year before (my memory is awful these days) I tried to get an early start on my cucumbers and they really resented it, it was too cold and they took forever to grow and never did well even when the weather warmed up. A later planting of the same varieties grew like crazy and produced an abundance of fruits. So I think that cold temperatures stunt cucumber plants.

  4. Cucina produced really well this year despite very little sunshine. It's my first attempt at these little cucumbers and we really liked them (as did my allotment neighbours as there were plenty to go around).

  5. Our greenhouse cucumbers have been rubbish this year too, we've grown Diva and Crystal Apple, both if which performed well the previous two years. This year though we've had little fruit before the plants turned yellow and brittle. Our greenhouse tomatoes have been miserable too.

  6. We have grown Mini Munch and Cucina this year and have had a regular supply of cucumbers from them throughout the season. We let ours sprawl inside an open cold frame. The cold frame really is to stop them getting too wet during heavy rain but that hasn't been an issue for us this year. They are in a very sheltered spot and the cold frame will give a little bit of protection.

  7. I grew mini cucumber Iznik last year and this year, both in the poly tunnel and both years with 2 plants. Last year I had more cucumbers than I knew what to do with. This year I have had a grand total of 2 cucumbers off one plant. The other produced nothing! Very odd...

  8. That situation most definitely does not apply solely to you. I have had a horrible cucumber year, compared to last. I think most of my issues have been my fault, such as planting them too closely & their location at the end of one of the beds was not ideal either. Each year is a learning experience, that's for sure.

  9. hmm, i like the hedge your bets suggestion, Odd that it's been such a tough year for so many of you.. too wet too early?


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