The Q&A Archives: Starting Seeds for Pollinator Cucumbers

Question: I have had terrible problems with cucumber beetles and subsequent wilt disease but have read that growing self-pollinating cucumbers under row covers can reduce the beetle infestation. I obtained a packet of Early Pride seeds which have "pollinators" included, but the packet had no additional directions on planting. So, what's the process for starting plants such as these that have pollinators?

Answer: Cucumbers normally produce both male and female flowers. The heavier bearing gyonecious varieties, however, require a pollinator because they produce only female flowers themselves. (Be careful not to rogue out the poor producers -- they will be the pollinator plants.) The process for starting and growing these cucumber plants is the same as for any cucumber. When you grow them under row covers, you will still have to provide for pollination either by raising the cover periodically so the bees can access the plants, or by doing it yourself with a soft brush.

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