IMG_9870_edited-1

The last few years I have been trying different vegetables in our zone 5 gardens to see which are more resistant to disease and able to hold up to pests.  I have grown cucumbers for years, but often times I have a problem with cucumber beetles that I have to “hand-pick”  every morning. This year I only grew “Lemon Cucumbers,” this summer which I have found,  are the most resistant cucumber to pests. They are very prolific.

IMG_9892_edited-2

Since this summer, I only noticed one cucumber beetle. That surprised me since last year I would be out there killing at least a dozen every day.  My morning beetle ritual would go on from the start of summer till frost, but this year I have not seen ANY on my cucumber plants. I can count on my “one hand” how many cucumber beetles I saw all summer. The other day when I was gathering summer squash, I did find one crawling on a squash leaf. That would make 6 cucumber beetles the entire season!

Here, is some more information on cucumber beetle pests. I have had both the spotted and striped in my yard. If they were not so destructive, I might consider them to be a pretty yellow beetle. I find it fascinating that they are spotted and striped! I do rotate my crops each season, which is one way to help with organic pest control. I found this a bit odd that I had seen so few this summer, so it made me ponder what did I  do differently this year…

IMG_9934_edited-1

I don’t have a lot of space, so I grow cucumbers vertically. I rotate them throughout the Urban Potager. I find they are easier to manage with pests if they are off the ground. Last year, I would go out early in the morning and find most cucumber beetles starting their day in the squash blossoms. I usually hand-pick them with a stick I found on the ground, and destroy them before they had a chance to move onto the cucumber plants.

2013 08 19_0376_edited-1It is different this year I am finding all kinds of beneficial insects wandering around our cucumber flowers, but NO cucumber beetles in sight!

2013 08 18_0225_edited-1

I have found that after cucumbers are done producing the beetles are always climbing on Calendula flowers. For the past few season in the fall,  I have been destroying the cucumber beetles that were present on  Calendula blooms. I practice “companion planting” and did add some new flowers that are suitable for attracting beneficial insects. I always include the ultimate workhorses in an organic garden such as Borage,  but this year I added, Black Scabiosa and Tagetes Tenuifolia. I am pondering  if my new additions have provided some added protection with marigolds and nasturtiums. 2013 08 19_0358_edited-1

I will be leaving some lemon cucumbers on the vine the next month till they mature and start to become soft for seed saving. Cucumbers must be isolated by 1/2 mile. I don’t know if it is possible since I do not know what is growing on a  lot a block away. Last year I saved my Jimmy Nardello peppers, and I had the same worries about my seed not being isolated enough. This year I grew my Nardello pepper seed out from 2012, and I got Jimmy Nardello peppers!  I’ll let you know next year if I get “Lemon Cucumbers” from this year’s attempt at seed saving.

 

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer

11 comments

    1. They have a wonderful taste! We had a friend visiting a few years ago, and he said they were best if you pick them before they were too large or bright yellow. I was so excited to see them bright yellow that I did not understand what he meant, but, after growing them a few years, I believe he is right. They are best if you eat them when they are smaller and lighter in color. It seems when they get a bit too large, skin is a bit tough, and seeds are too large. They are the perfect size for two people, don’t need to put the other half in the fridge-lol

  1. A very informative post, Robbie. The lemon cucumbers are lovely and I look forward to your findings on planting the saved seed; it’s hard to isolate seed when living so close to others.

    1. I have so many from just a few vines. I gave some to some people that no longer can garden due to health issues. I love sharing with others, isn’t that what us gardeners do best! I remember someone told me that gardeners are very giving people…we love to share our plants, produce and seeds!:-)

      1. Yes, sharing is one of the greatest gardening joys. It’s true that gardeners are very giving people; I think it’s because we are nurturers…not only of plants, but of all living things, humans included!

    1. that is very kind to say:-)…they really are beautiful cucumbers, and boy do they produce a lot of cucumbers! The bees just love them this year. I feel they are so resistant to pests. I like them at the pale yellow stage, not as seedy.but they sure are pretty when they turn bright yellow. I love using them in BLT sandwiches. They are just the perfect size for a few sandwiches. Let me know what you think of them next year.:-)

    1. I know, I have had troubles with cucumbers over the years, but since I have been growing them vertically less of a problem. That is why I am saving seeds this year from our lemons. I figure it will be even better in 2014 from my own saved seed. Funny thing the other night both my husband and I were a bit surprised that they had a “sweet” taste( more light yellow than bright seems to be sweeter). I thought it was just me, so I asked my husband did you think those cucumbers had a sweet taste to them..he said, yes! How odd a sweet cucumber…maybe it was just us-lol:-)

Comments are closed.