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kimberly_ussher

I just ate the best cucumber ever!!!...

SaintPFLA
12 years ago

...from my very own garden! I have cuke #2 waiting to get a bit bigger so I can eat it next week.

Wow...who knew that cucumbers were supposed to be crisp and juicy? And, that they don't grow with that icky supermarket wax on them?

I have several others growing along that should be ready for harvest soon. Why is it that you don't get several at once? I'm sorta getting one at a time - for now at least.

Anyway, it's official. I can grow veggies. Woohoo!

Thanks to Ill-M.A., TomnCath and all the rest of you who gave me great advice. Planting at the right time made a world of difference!

Comments (39)

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Way to go saint, it's only going to get better from here
    ;-)

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    LOL...only other gardeners wouldn't think it's 'weird' to be this excited over a cucumber!

    Thanks again for your advice...I was about to give up!

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  • ftlmom
    12 years ago

    Congrats on your first cuke. I've been trying to grow cukes for 2 years now and I have yet to harvest 1. What is your secret?

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Well, I certainly don't make any claims to be the cuke growing guru...others here certainly have had more success than I have. But, heres what I did this time. The main change was not planting in the spring, but starting the seeds in August in-doors for early fall planting.

    I grew these 4 vines from seed inside and moved outdoors to plant in the ground when they were about 4-5 inches tall. I thoroughly prepped the planting area with newspaper for weed block, lots of manure, mushroom compost and garden soil and light mulch.

    I hooked up a misting system and initially the cukes were watered twice a day morning and early evening. Now, it's once per day as it is not quite as hot. I also lightly fertilize once a week with MG.

    In spite of this effort, my biggest 'concern' is lots of fruit that seem to shrivel at about an inch in size before they get a chance to thrive. I don't know what that is caused by or if it's normal or if I can prevent it some how.

    I only harvested one cuke that was large enough to eat so far, so, to me that's unusual. But, perhaps some of this is due to the weather being so odd - cold/hot/cold/hot...

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    The frequent change in weather sure isn't helping, but are you seeing any bees? This year I'm seeing plenty of bees now but not initially, and for the last two years I had to hand pollinate, not something easy to do when the cukes are on the ground but not really difficult since I trellis them. I had to pick baby squash at first as there were no male flowers, and had to hand pollinate about ten squash when the first male flowers opened as the bees were not prevalent yet but now I frequently see them doing the work.

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    TomnCath....now that you mention it, I am not seeing many bees. Some...but, not as many as I usually would expect.

    I have never hand pollinated so wouldn't know how to begin the process.

    I hope your thanksgiving was good and you were able to eat some of your harvest. I'm still waiting on my one cucumber to grow. And, for more peas to grow! My one pea pod will not exactly make for much of a side-dish.

    I'll have to have a special ceremony when I eat my one pea pod....LOL.

  • natives_and_veggies
    12 years ago

    Congrats Saint! I got a single cuke last year, wasn't even sure that I had one, because it was yellow instead of green. And crooked. I was beginning to think that it was a squash. Finally picked it and discovered it was a weird lemon cuke that tasted great and had a little lemon flavor to it. (obviously, my gardening is a little more haphazard than most. I'm trying to keep a record of what's where this year, but I'm still not sure if I've got Marmande or Cherokee purple tomatoes fruiting. my diagrams are pathetic.)

    Last summer, I bought peas and green beans at the grocery store and mixed my few in with them, just to feel like I was almost eating out of the yard. And being a goofy gardener, I would carefully point out to the dear boyfriend which ones came from our yard and which ones were of unknown providence. I was certain mine always tasted better. :)

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    You both may have to hand pollinate, get a pack of the small brushes from HD in the paint section, usually a five pack is approximately $4. Then transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. It will be easy to see the pollen on the squash brush but impossible to see it on the cuke brush, but, just do it ;-)

    Here's an early picture from last year, my two cuke trellis were only 8' each and the cukes were bush champion but I got five dozen cukes from them....
    {{gwi:13250}}

    Here's a picture from two weeks ago, Bush Champion in the front, Spacemaster in the back...I've got tons of baby cukes right now and lots of bees but as you can see I'm really late an it's questionable how things will go from here on out.

    We have had some tomatoes, mostly HCRs and Tumbling Toms but we've had just too many cool snaps for anything to grow now. We have lots of indeterminates and the shoulders on some of the Beefmaster and Brandy Boys are turning but they are not the big one pound tomatoes I'm used to. I just got started too late when I decided to bury my exterior pots in the ground. We did pick some Butterstick squash today as I'm not sure it's going to get as big as usual and I don't want to let the fruit fool me and be small but mature as once the plants sense they have produced mature seeds that will germinate they know they've fulfilled their purpose in life and will stop producing.... And we're still getting a few okra, here's a picture of today's slim pickins ;-)

    We hope you're all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

    Tom & Cathy

  • natives_and_veggies
    12 years ago

    Tom and Cathy,

    Wow! I guess I'll have to try it. I've got squash flowers right now... hmmm.

    Thanks for the pics.

    Susannah

  • whgille
    12 years ago

    Tom&Cathy

    That is some nice set-up you have over there.
    And wonderful looking vegetables.
    Congratulations!

    Willy

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Hi Willy,

    Sorry we didn't stop by but I was anxious to get back and make sure the garden wasn't wilting as it had been two days since things had been watered, and in Al's mix that's asking for disaster...hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving.

    Tom

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Hi Susannah,

    Sorry I didn't respond to your post too. Saw your above post about the flowers and veggies but waiting to see what the veterans say...I'm concerned that with attracting more pollinators you'll also bring more cats/worms to your tomatoes...double-edge sword, we'll see.

    Tom

  • whgille
    12 years ago

    Hi Tom

    We had a nice Thanksgiving with family and friends.
    Hope that you and Cathy stop by next time you are in Orlando.
    Can not wait to try your Butterstick squash, they sure look yummy!
    My most successful cucumber from the ones I planted was a Thai cucumber "Petch Tsai",even now that is cold is still producing crunchy, good tasting cucs.
    Tom, did you received the seeds? If not I could send them again. Maybe the address wasn't right.

    Susannah
    I have experience growing tomatoes with flowers such as zinnias, cosmos and one that I particularly like because attracts a lot of bees is borage, but it needs a little bit of shade. I like marigolds and sunflowers too.
    Pollinators come for the flowers and stop by everything else.

    Willy

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I gave in an ate my pea pod today -- which contained precisely 4 peas. I have to say - again - the sweetest, best tasting peas ever! It's a shame I only had the 4....hoping more will come.

    I do not seem to be getting blooms on my pea plants and not much on my tomatoes either. Must be due to the weather, I guess?

  • natives_and_veggies
    12 years ago

    Tom,

    No problem. I'm always coming up with theories like that, based on what I remember from third grade science class, but I've learned that some of those theories should be checked before I head straight into the experiment.

    And Willy,

    Thanks for the suggestions! I have some sunflower seeds that could go where I take out the necklace pods. And I even have a little spot of shade where some borage could go in the corner. I've never tried it before. I'll have to do some research.

    Susannah

  • natives_and_veggies
    12 years ago

    And, naturally, the research led me to a seed catalogue. I had sworn off them! But now that I've fallen off the wagon, y'all every tried to grow epazote or perilla? How about lovage? Burnett?

    I'm thinking more herbs are in my future.

    Susannah

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Willy - I did receive the seeds, sorry, thought I'd responded back but obviously not. Where'd you get those Thai cukes seeds? I have some from Evergreen called Ninja but have not tired them yet.

    Susannah - last season was my first experience with veggies in containers and I did try an accompaniment of zinnias in a stepped box adjacent to the veggie beds, felt like the bees hung around the flowers and neglected the veggies but I really curious to see other folkÂs experiences. I also was concerned that with more butterflies and moths would come more cats in the maters.... Here's a picture of my little experiment.

  • natives_and_veggies
    12 years ago

    Tom, Well, maybe if I try not to grow flowers that are so gorgeous and tempting it will work better ;) That's a really pretty box.

  • whgille
    12 years ago

    Tom
    I got the cucumber seeds at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I could send you some but you have to send me your address again.
    I have the same zinnias in your picture, planted with broccoli rabe and they are attracting pollinators.
    One time I planted Mexican sunflowers with tomatoes and was very successful, the cats went to another plant, Ruellia.
    I also had a lot of different color hibiscus that attracted hummingbirds.

    Susannah
    I cannot live without fresh herbs, they are so expensive at the store and don't have the same quality.
    I have a lot of herbs that I use for cooking and teas.

    Epazote is easy to grow, keep it on the dry side. I also like Mexican oregano. Its scent is different than the Mediterranean one.
    Some herbs are easy to grow from seed, others take too long and you are better off buying the plant.
    Don't feel bad about the catalogs, I am addicted to them, I window shop while I watch tv.

    Saintpfla
    Congratulations on your new ventures on vegetable growing.
    The fruits of your labor are very rewarding.
    Keep up with the good work!

    Willy

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Hey saintpete,

    How'd you make out with the cukes? I've got quite a few BUT I've been remise in my duties, absolutely NO maintenance spraying and consequently just had to remove 60% of my leaves due to PM. We've picked a few cukes and now I've started spraying...we'll see how things end up :-Tom

    {{gwi:13252}}

  • natives_and_veggies
    12 years ago

    Wow Tom and/or Kathy, I see actual cucumbers in that photo! I'm so impressed/jealous/inspired.

    And willy, sorry I didn't respond earlier. I missed your note. I'm still waiting for those seeds, which is a little odd. Wondering where they are now. If and when they arrive, I've got plenty of on the dry side areas. I try to keep the herbs in areas I'll actually water, so it's good to know the epizote might take a little more irrigation neglect.

    I saw burnett plants at the farmer's market this weekend and refrained from buying one, knowing I have to try the seeds that are supposedly on their way first. I'm putting herbs in pots with other things at the moment to save on deck space, and in an honest evaluation of how many pots I'll actually water. And I totally agree with you on herbs. I put basil leaves in tea and even ice water, and on every salad. And I just sauteed some arugula in garlic to toss in angel hair to go with a tuna steak. Arugula isn't really an herb I guess, but I love the peppery flavor in salads, and I'm fascinated by the way it has a nutty flavor when sauteed, almost tastes like I sauteed it in peanut oil.

    I have it growing in the yard, and in a couple pots with other things.

    I also have tiny little tomatoes now that I'm watching very carefully. But only on one plant - the Cherokee purple. I'm wondering what I need to do to the others, which all look healthy and are flowering, just not setting fruit. Probably plant flowers nearby.

    That will be next weekend's project.

    Thanks to both of you for your advice and encouragement. Every time I eat something out of the yard, I feel I accomplished something, even if it's a little arugula salad.

    Susannah

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Hey TomnCath!

    WOW-oh-WOW!! Your photos are inspiring! I cannot believe how many blooms you have on your cukes! Your garden is amazing and it shows the joy and love and care that you put into it.

    I only have 4 plants (that I proudly grew from seed...). The fruit does seem to be growing faster and I am expecting to harvest around a dozen or so cukes. I was able to cut one off to provide to a friend this weekend. I am seeing a 'few' dried up looking leaves...not sure if it is PM or something else?

    I think my yard is experiencing a bit more shade this winter than before, perhaps that is impacting my blooms.

    I ate lettuce in a salad for dinner tonight that I grew - Buttercrunch and Bibb are what I planted. Again, grew from seeds. Cukes need to get a bit bigger and tomatoes are only dime sized now. I don't know why the maters are growing so slowly this time.

    I know this sounds dumb, but I am taking an immense amount of joy in harvesting veggies that I grew from seed. Planting seeds for harvest has been done since the dawn of time, but in this 'instant-microwave age', I'm enjoying the pleasure of patience and the rewards as well.

    They also seem to be healthier plants than the seedlings I've purchased at Lowes/HD.

    Thanks so much for your encouragement and planting tips. I'm so excited that my cukes are doing so well.

    The eggplant and squash....not so much. I can't seem to have any luck with squash for some reason.

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Everything is growing sooooo slowly right now. I think I have a million tomatoes that are doing absolutely nothing...they're in schizophrenic mode due to the consistent cool snaps we've been having, warms up for only a few days, the right back to the cool weather. We've been getting squash consistently but only about a third of the springtime production, about a dozen a week, and interesting that the Gold Rush is actually performing better right now than my beloved Butterstick. Also still getting some okra off the Baby Bubbas, truly amazing....

    Tom

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Sheesh...you are not kidding! At this rate, I'm praying that I can have some tomatoes before March!

    I'll try to post some pics later of my humble garden - definitely not as impressive as yours. But, it will still be fun to share. :)

  • whgille
    12 years ago

    Hi Tom
    You have a cucumber farm out there. Awesome!

    Hi Susannah
    Is nice to hear you are enjoying your garden. Nothing can compare with homegrown and home cooking.
    I am growing a lot of oriental mixes for salads and stir fries, they are versatile like arugula, easy to grow. One I particularly like is Tatsoi.
    Try shaking your tomato plants gently. That is what I do to get the pollination going.
    Any blooming flower also helps, I have a lot of bees now in my Loquat tree.

    Saintpfla
    I am looking forward to see the pics of your garden. All the gardens are beautiful when you put your time and effort into them.

    Willy

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    So, I have the most gorgeous pole bean plants that are not flowering at all. I wonder if it has to do with short amount of daylight more than the cool weather? Could it be too much nitrogen? I used the Nutricoat total 13-13-13 but I read somewhere that you're not supposed to give beans nitrogen, I though that was just "in-ground"....

    Can't wait to see your pictures Saintpfla, it's all fun....

  • natives_and_veggies
    12 years ago

    Well, the seeds arrived today. Cyber karma or something, just when you start wondering if they will ever arrive, and post something on the weirdly worldwide net, there they are in the mail box.

    Have y'all grown lovage? The seed packet says its a perennial here that gets to 6 feet! I do not remember ordering a tree. Wondering where I'll put it.

    I also got borage, red perilla (called shiso in asian recipes), stevia, salad burnett and the afore mentioned epazote. I'm excited to try the new flavors... that is if I find room for a lovage tree.

    advice? The borage is going to go in the back of the tomato garden (which has been gently shook tonight, just to see if that works, though with this weather, I'm wondering if all my pollen is blowing in the wind) Not sure where to put the rest of my new herb garden. The perilla packet says they do well in pots, so that'll be easy.

    Really, the tree I accidentally ordered is going to be the tough one.

  • cindeea
    12 years ago

    Hey Tom and everyone. So encouraged seeing your beautiful cukes. This is my first winter growing veggies and I am so excited. My gazillion tomato plants are doing quite well without the heat, bugs, clight. The cukes i planted are Cucino Cucumbers, from Reimer seeds. I was leery about the 5 seeds for $3.50 but they came highly recommended. We love baby cuke salad with onions and sour cream. All 5 of the plants are sporting baby cukes so I hope they do well. I also have another plant or 2 of I believe, 'sunshine' cukes? Can't remember their name. They are also sporting flowers and baby cukes. Fall/winter is definitely the way to go in zone 10! It sure beats the spring/summer problems I have had in the past. Yesterday I picked a mess of baby greens. I planted both a spicy and a sweet mix. Totally YUM in the salad. The Icicle radishes seem to be taking their own sweet time! Baby tomatoes of all sizes and colors everywhere are begining to turn colors...soon, soon!!

  • happy_fl_gardener; 9a, near DeLand
    12 years ago

    tomncath---I'm curious, what do you use for your maintenance sprays for insects and powdery mildew?

    I really like the cuke growing setup that you have. Very interesting. I particularly like the heavy duty fencing.

    I feed my beans nitrogen, but not a balanced fertilizer. I prefer to use a Miracle Gro type bloom booster.

    Christine

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Well, here are my very humble veggie garden pics. You have to understand-- I have a very small city yard. This does work for me since it's just me and my cats, but there are times when I wish it were bigger. I improvise using containers for plantings.

    Planting a very large garden area would be over-kill for me. Although, I admit that I do harbor the occassional dream of moving to Ruskin and buying LAND so I can have a REAL garden...but, I digress.... :)

    For now, I just want some fresh veggies to feed me and maybe a few to give to friends/family.

    Lettuce ready to harvest and green onions...

    More Lettuce...second batch...

    Giant tomato bush -- with no tomatoes ready to eat yet!

    View of second tomato bush, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and herbs.


    Cucumbers...my favorite! Any suggestions as to how to treat some of the leaves? Is that insect or a fungal problem or both or other?


    Eggplant...it's flowering, but not setting fruit. The herb is cillantro.



    My poor little peas...they only produced one little pod. I think it's too shady where I have them planted. :(

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Cindee - sounds like you're having fun too. Welcome to the party!

    Christine - I'm not an organic gardener, per se, but I do like to avoid harsh chemicals when possible. Having said that I prefer the biologicals when possible so I use:

    Thuricide (bacillus thuringensis - BT) to control the cats/worms
    Serenade (bacillus subtilis) to control the powdery mildew, blight and bacterial spot
    Conserve (spinosad) to control thrips and leaf miners


    Saintpfla - Wonderful garden! Nice to see you're enjoying the fruits of your labor more this year ;-)

    Tom

  • whgille
    12 years ago

    Hi Tom
    You have so many cucumbers to keep you busy. The beans will follow. I use 13-13-13 for everything. Anything that smells organic I am in trouble with my dogs. I did grow mine on the ground with the corn. Maybe the corn stole the fertilizer.lol

    Susannah
    Any plant can be cut and made smaller to fit the space you have.
    My herb garden is next to my kitchen to be at hand for cooking, in a very small area.
    I have a lemongrass that grows tall but I keep it trimmed. So does the rosemary, dill and others.

    Cindee
    I bought Cucino cucumbers for 99 cents at Value seeds, I am going to try them next season since I too like baby cucumbers in a salad. My favorite Tzatziki or cucumbers with Greek style yogurt.
    Don't forget to take pictures of your prize winning tomatoes.

    Saintpfla

    Congratulations on your garden. At least you have homegrown vegetables and that is a lot.
    If you have cats you should consider planting catnip in a pot. Cats love this herb.

    Willy

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thanks for the kind words. As I said, my garden is small and not impressive, but it is enjoyable picking veggies for my dinner.

    I will have to live vicariously through all of you folks with large gardens! :-)

    Do you have any idea what may be the problem with my cucumber leaves? Does that appear to be insect or fungal?

    thanks for any advice you can offer!

  • tumblingtomatoes
    12 years ago

    awesome Cukes Tomncath, nice lettuce pics to saintpfl!

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Thanks for the kind words. As I said, my garden is small and not impressive,....

    That's not true, I'm very impressed, you've come a long way from last year! ;-)

    Looking at the lower cuke leaf looks like something is eating it, I'd spray with BT on both sides of the leaves once the rain passes, probably Friday late afternoon so as not to harm the bees but early enough to dry put before sunset, and cut off those leaves in the upper right hand corner and get them out of the garden ASAP.

    Willy - I noticed bean flowers tonight, only took TWO MONTHS! Gotta be the cold weather....

    Tom

  • cindeea
    12 years ago

    StP, your garden looks splendid to me! What is the lettuce you are growing. I want to try something crunchy this winter. Anyone have suggestions? I like the blends, but not JUST them, I mix with store bought romaine, escarole or endive. Sweet Bay had the sweetest crunchiest buttercrunch heads a few weeks back. I'd like some more.

    Willy, will let you know how the cucino's do and pics of my maters will be coming soon. The yellow pears are starting to turn so are the Better Bush. What I thought was Black Pear (yoohoo-Denise...this was your seeds,dahlink) looks like it will be large! I just LOVE a mystery! It has the classic pumpkin shape to the small fruit, I don't know how else to describe it but the maters are very round with like verticle rib/ridges. I'll take some pics. ~~~~waving at TomnCath up there too...

  • natives_and_veggies
    12 years ago

    I'll have to get out and take some pics this weekend, if the tomatoes survive more wind. But y'all can't laugh at my tomato jungle. Several plants got waaaay too tall this year and the cages just aren't big enough. I'm happy to have big plants, hoping for big fruits soon, but I didn't prepare for these. Last year was such a bust, the possibility of the plants outgrowing their cages never occurred to me.

    I used an organic tomato fertilizer from Clean Air Gardening (it's online) on some of them when I put them in the ground, and that seems to have made a big difference. I meant to use a tablespoon with all of them, but forgot on some, and those seem to be the ones that are puny.

    And I have baby tomatoes on three more plants this week, so I guess I'm finally in the pollination biz. I tried tapping the flowers gently, though my gardening is so haphazard, I can't say that's what helped. I'm not even positive that the jungle tomato plants are all ones that got the fertilizer boost and the puny ones are all ones that didn't.

    Must keep better records!

    I've also got borlotto beans producing. These I saved from the farmers market from a local farmer who was growing organically. They seem happier than my other beans and peas, so maybe I've found a variety for my conditions. The purple hyacinth bean is lovely on the trellis (from a GWer) but hasn't flowered yet. It is providing nice shade for a cuke plant that's looking healthy at least. No flowers yet. And the danged snap peas won't climb!

    I also have flowers on the domito tomato that I put in a pot because I ran out of space. I had no intention of growing potted tomatoes... but it seems to like its pot. These were seeds I got super cheap so I figured why not try yet another variety.

    We are at least eating arugula every night. About the time the dear boyfriend tires of it, I'm hoping to have tomatoes to wear him out on.

  • dghays
    12 years ago

    I had a real nice salad a week ago, all picked fresh, lettuces, tomato, mint leaves, green onion. I picked my first 3 cukes ever yesterday, will see how they are this weekend. Fun times.

    Gary

  • leatherneckjoe
    12 years ago

    All of you gardeners who are harvesting cucumbers in December make me very envious, maybe I should move. One way to get a jump start on cucumber growing is to buy transplants. www.gardenharvestsupply.com is a great source for both transplants and organic cucumber seed.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cucumber Plants