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Monday, September 19, 2011

Lack of Cucumbers Leaves Gardener in a Pickle

Armenian Cucumber
 Q. I live in Las Vegas and want to grow baby cucumbers for pickling. I tried to grow some last Spring but was not successful. I didn't realize until the plants were about 1ft tall that I was supposed to thin them out. I did thin them but it may have been too late. The plants looked good and grew well but when they began to flower, the little tiny cucumbers got very dry and hard and shriveled up.

The pot was getting full sun most of the afternoon so my husband built an open lattice over the top for some light shade. As the later part of June approached the plants were not looking good and I gave them up, with the intention of trying again, maybe in the fall when it's cooler? I was so looking forward to growing and pickling my own.

A. Cucumbers have a fairly narrow time for production here as it gets too hot, from about late March or early April to about June. They can suffer from chilling damage if temperatures get below about 50F.

You can plant again in September since they have a fairly short production time, about 60 days. Soils should be well composted and fertilized before planting. No lack of water for these plants or you will have problems. Soils must be kept moist so cover the soil with straw mulch or other mulch you can till or spade in afterwards.

You will have less waste if you trellis them rather than letting them lay on the soil. In the warm times you will pick three times a week. The easiest to grow is Armenian cucumber but will not make very good pickles. Others to try for pickles might be Eureka and Valispik. Other vegetables and even fruit make great pickles as well.

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