The Q&A Archives: Pickle distress

Question: I planted four pickle plants this year. We have picked one large harvest of great looking and tasting pickles. However, on at least two of the plants, the remaining blossoms and infant pickles (1/2 to 1 inch long) are suffering. The blossoms turned white and seem to have dried up and/or fallen off. The infant pickles have no firmness and appear to be dying a "rubbery" death. The larger pickles seem to have stopped growing. Curiously, the leaves appear quite healthy, and do not appear to be suffering from any type of mildew problem, and I treated the plants to prevent mildew and most insect problems. There are some white chalky patches on the main vines, but I suspect that is normal. I had hoped for a couple more pickings. What's happening? Can the plants be saved?

Answer: Your plants might be suffering the early stages of a disease, but my suspicion is that they are suffering water stress. Cucumbers are mostly water and the vines will stop producing unless they receive an adequate and steady supply of moisture. They also require a rich soil for optimum performance. You might consider side dressing them with some compost or a balanced fertilizer, along with ensuring they receive a deep soaking at least once a week.

Good luck with your crop!

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