Cucumbers have extra large seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Ashton, MD
Question by pattiz
January 18, 1999
Please explain what would cause most of my cucumber plants last summer to produce cukes consisting mostly of large seeds and little else. I grew 3 or 4 types closely spaced on a trellis ( some from seed and others from nursery plants). Picking the cukes early, before they were mature, was only slightly better. I never had this problem before last year. What can I do to prevent such "seedy" cukes this year? Are there varieties that are extremely small seeded? Thanks.


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Answer from NGA
January 18, 1999

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I'd venture that the cucumbers didn't receive the required amount of water while they were developing. Cucumbers are 98 percent water and without a constant source during maturation, they'll put all of the available resources into developing seed instead of plump fruit. Make sure your soil has lots of organic matter incorporated into it prior to planting. Compost, leaf mold or peat moss will help the soil retain moisture. Then water thoroughly throughout the growing season, especially as the fruits begin to develop. Following the above guidelines will help your cukes grow fat and sassy. Seeds have a tendency to develop hard coats when the fruit is overmature, so be sure to harvest at the right time, and harvest regularly to keep the plants producing new flowers and fruits. For pickling, harvest cukes when they're about 4 inches long. For slicing, harvest at 5-7 inches.

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