Monday 27 August 2018

End-of-season cucumbers

The cucumber is one of those vegetables that is always welcome in our house, and we eat them all the year round. During the Summer I do my best to keep us well supplied by growing them in my garden. Of course, in the absence of a greenhouse, they need to be varieties suited to outdoor growing. This year I have grown two plants each of "Marketmore" and "Delikate B".

"Marketmore" is plain green, "Delikate B" is stripy.

The harvest has been good this year, thanks mainly to the warm sunny weather we have had in such abundance. The "Delikate B" plants have been particularly prolific, producing probably twice as many fruits as "Marketmore".

From a distance the cucumber plants look as if they are still doing OK...

But when you look closely you see that they are quite tatty, with many brown leaves, particularly near ground level.

The late-season cucumber fruits are often not the best, and they are frequently misshapen, like these ones:

Towards the end of Summer, most of the cucurbits - cucumbers included - tend to develop Powdery Mildew. My plants are no exception.

As well as being unsightly, the mildew affects the leaves' ability to transpire and to convert sunlight into energy, so the vigour of the plant declines. A few weeks back, when the mildew first appeared, I sprayed my cucumber plants with a 50/50 mix of milk and water. This was fairly successful. It killed most of the mildew and allowed the plants to go on producing, but I think I need to do it again now! I also think that it is probably best to remove the leaves most badly affected by the mildew, because I find that this often prompts the plants to produce new ones.

Another thing I did to help prolong the life of the cucumber plants was to give them two good doses of general-purpose plant food, at an interval of a week. This has certainly perked them up, and quite a bit of new growth has since appeared.

There are lots of fruits still, on both types, so it looks as if we will be enjoying home-grown cucumbers for at least a few more weeks.


  1. Thanks mark. Very useful to see what the DelikateB will turn out like. I have several young plants in the greenhouse at the moment and they seem very healthy. Is there a male and female issue with these. I ask because my neighbour asked me and I had not a clue. The packet says nothing either.

    1. A friend gave me seeds for what she called "Delikate B" but it turns out that their name is really "Delikatess"! Anyway, no problems with M or F. You don't have to remove male flowers or anything. I'm growing this very prolific variety again this year, using self-saved seeds.


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