Pickle Cukes - Knowledgebase Question

Whitman, MA
Avatar for foxsilva
Question by foxsilva
March 25, 1998
Two years ago I got a ton of cukes to make pickles and last year--not enough to talk about. Any ideas why??

Answer from NGA
March 25, 1998
That would be hard to say for sure. Did the vines look good and healthy? Or were they stunted and/or diseased? If the vines looked good, and had plenty of flowers, then I would suspect a pollination problem. Bees don't like to fly in cool, rainy weather, so it could be that when the flowers were ready for pollination, the insects weren't out. Did you spray any pesticides that might have harmed your pollinator populations?

If the plants looked sickly, and produced few or no blooms, then I would suspect an insect or disease problem. Remember that you should rotate your crops--don't plant any cucumbers, squash or melons in the same spot more often than every three years. This helps break pests' life cycles, helping to control them.

Remember that cuucumbers need to be well fed, and water is very critical during dry spells. If the weather was very dry during flowering and fruiting, it could have caused the flowers and developing fruit to drop. Also, fertilizing with some compost tea or fish emulsion given monthly might go a long way toward higher yield.

Finally, application of a high nitrogen fertilizer can cause lush foliage growth at the expense of flowers and fruit. I hope this helps you figure out the cause of your crop failure! Better luck this year!

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