The Q&A Archives: Diseases that plague cucumbers

Question: During the last three years, I have grown the Burpee Bush Champion Cucumber in my garden. The plants start very healthy and grow to until the vines are about4 feet in length. Then the leaves get light brown spots, wither and die. I tried to remove the infected leaves to stem the problem but to no avail. Eventually the entire plan dies. The problem does spread and infect the entire bed. The cucumber bed is located between a bed of green beans and green peppers in the vegetable garden. There is no sign ofany insect damage to the plants or other plants in the garden. Would you please send me a diagnosis of the problem and possible solutions? I am in the process of planning my 1997 garden. Bob Sykes Levittown, PA

Answer: Cucumber plants are susceptible to all sorts of diseases, including bacterial wilt, anthracnose, and leaf spot. It sounds as though you have been planting cucumbers in the same spot for several years; you might want to start a system of rotating your crops. It's best to keep at least a three year rotation -- that is, if you grow cucumbers in a bed one year, don't plant them again, or any related crop like melons or squash, for at least three years. This can help minimize disease problems. Try planting another variety, such as Burpee's 'Sweet Burpless', which is resistant to many diseases that plague cucumbers.

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