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Kitty 2

Hi all.  This morning when I checked my seedlings I noticed that my cucumbers have a thin white edge on the seed leaves.  They are about 3" tall and have two large seed leaves one similar size true leaf and one small true leaf just showing.  I am wondering if this is normal or am I over/under watering? 

This is the first time I have grown cucumbers, they are currently living in my east facing conservatory and have plenty of light, I keep the compost damp (not soggy) and put a plastic cloche over at night to keep them warm (I forgot one evening and the next day they were a bit floppy but have been ok since).

The white edge isn't shrivelled or dry, no bugs and the other leaves are dark green and healthy.  I'd love to hear any tips for a cucumber newbie, thanks.

 

clk
Please may I jump on the cucumber bandwagon. I grow cucumbers (about 3rd or 4th year now) but still don't feel as if I know what I'm doing. They produce lots of cucumbers but gangle about in all directions and later in the year the leaves go pale and the plants look really unhealthy. So, any tips would be great. Thanks.
Kitty 2

Hi clk, hop aboard, happy to see another cucumber grower here.

 

Italophile

Could be too much moisture, Kitty. No plant likes permanently damp feet.

clk, most cukes are vines. They will gangle about in all directions because that's what vines do. If they produce lots, that's all that matters. Leaving aside diseases like mildew, to which they can be prone, the vines will gradually run out of steam towards the end of the season and take on an unhealthy appearance.

Italophile I agree and they could rot off at the base of the plant.

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Kitty 2

Thanks for the responses.  The plants are otherwise healthy with strong stems and leaves, potted in a free draining seed compost.

It was just the mysterious white edge on the seed leaves I was curious about, it's almost as if they were variegated.

Blue Onion

Could you post a good closeup picture?

Kitty 2

Wow, finally after much faffing about it finally worked and even zooms in. The black specks were dirt by the way, I checked after seeing them on screen.

Italophile

Looks like excessive moisture to me. You can let them dry out within reason.

Blue Onion

Is it possible the edges of the leaves had water on them while in direct sunlight?  The magnification will sometimes 'fry' the leaf in spots.  Do you water from below or above?

Kitty 2

I water everything from below for that very reason Blue Onion.  At least if it's a watering problem and not anything nasty I can fix it, will let them dry out more in future.

I've grown flowers from seed for years but this is my first proper try at veggies so am probably being a bit precious with my edibles.

Thanks for the advice Italophile and Blue Onion.

 Any other top tips for cucumbers appreciated by this novice grower.

Blue Onion

Watch out for powdery mildew on the leaves.. usually of more mature plants that have been planted out.  It usually always seems to take mine out towards the end of summer.  Variety, spacing, and watering all seem to play a factor.  I tend to vote towards the organic side of gardening (except for RoundUp.. I love the stuff- but that isn't so bad in the spectrum of garden chemicals).. so I just keep an eye and pick off the affected leaves (into the garbage instead of compost bin).  Mine always seem to die of it eventually, but usually I get a good crop out of the plants first.. so sort of accept it as inevitable.  If you're growing them undercover, be the bee and pollinate.  

BobTheGardener

One good tip for growing cucumbers is to plant them on a slight mound as they are prone to stem-rot at the point the stem emerges from the soil.  Raising this area slightly ensures that any excess water runs away from vulnerable area of the stem.  The other thing to watch out for when growing under glass or plastic is spider mite.  If the leaves start to look a bit sickly with the 'greeness' fading, use a hand magnifying glass to look on the underside of the leaves for the mites which are too small to see by unaided eye.  Spraying every day with a fine mist of water will help to keep them at bay.  A sure sign is fine cobwebs appearing on the growing tips but by the time those appear you usually have a serious infestation.

Kitty 2

Thanks for the advice Blue and Bob, feeling more confident now and looking forward to a productive first year of veggies.

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Italophile

Can't beat a nice crunchy cucumber! One thing: better to harvest a bit earlier than later. The more mature they get the coarser they are and the larger the seeds.

Kitty 2

Hi Italophile, can I pick your brains with a few more questions please?

1. When to plant outside/inside?

2. Best supports, will a stake and string do?

3. How do you know when to harvest?

I am in South Manchester in the NW. I have a 6x4 plastic greenhouse (just put up last week)

I have 5 seedlings growing (outdoor, long green ridge variety) but was thinking of maybe 3 out and 2 in.

  Also trying tomatoes, bell peppers and chilli peppers and have been reading about the tom/cuke together thing   

clk
Italophile, thanks for your post responding to mine. Kitty 2, the cucumbers I grow in my greenhouse, I put the pot on an upper shelf and just let them trail along the shelf and down. I didn't have much success trying to prop them up. I harvest when they look like shop bought ones or smaller. The other thing I do is make sure they don't get too hot and dry in high summer by shading the bit of the greenhouse they're in and keeping it a bit humid for them. What is the 'tom/cuke together thing'?
Kitty 2

Hi clk, the tom/cuke thing refers to growing them together in the greenhouse.  It seems that some folks think it's a bad idea because cukes like it warm and humid and toms prefer cooler temps with less humidity. The risks of pests and diseases may also be increased.

I first saw reference to this after googling how to grow cucumbers.  Some advocate separate greenhouses (a luxury not available to all) or separating them by putting a dividing plastic sheet across half of your greenhouse, others say they have grown them together with no problems, they just grow the cucumbers at the back and the tomatoes near the door.

I was hoping to hear from some veg growers what their experience was and take on board any advice that could help me through my first year of edible growing.

All 5 of my seedlings are still going strong, when I potted them on I could see that number 6 had tried (bless it) but was a tiny white thing that didn't make it out of the top of the compost. 

Thanks for the advice clk, I might stick another photo on when they're bigger and you can see how I'm doing (or what I'm doing wrong) 

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