Answer: I'm puzzled, too. I think, though, that the problem is insect rather than soil related. Soil conditions can cause all sorts of symptoms, from stunted plants to yellowing leaves, but severed stems sound more like cutworm damage. These pests emerge at night, wrap themselves a plant stem, and chew their way through. You can protect your plants with paper collars (cut the cardboard rolls from papertowels into 4" pieces and bury 1" into the soil around each plant), or by inserting a toothpick or small stick into the soil next to the plant stem to keep cutworms from completely encircling the stem. Once your cukes are up and growing, they won't be as attractive to cutworms.
Q&A Library Searching Tips