So, I've been making some observations on how much water my garden
needs, I have the usual assortment of beginning gardener vegetables.
Plus blueberries, cantaloupes and honeydews.
Topping out the need water category seems to be the cucumbers! It's
in the 90's here and even though I water them in the morning they seem
very droopy by afternoon and I give them more water. I'm thinking that
if a plant's leaves are drooping over, I should water it.
Bell Pepper is next on the list of being thirsty and carrots seem
indifferent. Tomatoes also seem tolerant.
What adjustments should I make?
Cukes are mostly water and so need lots of water. Watering deeply is
better than watering frequently. Basically, you're trying to simulate
rain. Unfortunately, once you start watering, there's no turning back.
(I've started watering this week - I use watering cans and focus on a
crop each day. Later in the season I'll get desparate and try watering
everyone to keep them going if we go into drought conditions again.)
Hope you get better responses than mine.
Me too, I like the control. Haven't had a good rain for a while after
a wet spring.
Tomorrow, I'll really douse them early. Seems like each plant is
getting about a gallon a day. That soil gets hot!
and focus on a
I'd say the cukes are my most successful vegetable so far, each plant
has a good size cuke on it, with more starting. Do you know when I
I've only grown cukes twice so take what I say with several grains of
salt. Depending on what type you're growing, harvest before they start
to yellow or whiten at the ends. I did better with pickling cukes -
gosh they were cute even when they escaped me and grew a bit too large
- but the regular sized I tended to harvest before they were "store"
sized. The first year did better then the second - I grew them with
the okra instead of hills so they got more shade and weren't so needy
abut water. (It did make harvesting the okra a little challenging
Kate - cukes with garlic, onions, vinegar and olive oil and pepper mmmm (mine didn't come up this year - I'll live vicariously through
Pick them at any stage between gherkin sized and when they turn yellow.
They taste great small or large. If you let them grow until they turn
yellow, they may get bitter (though this never happened with the yellow
cukes I got). By the way, the more you pick, the more will grow, so picking
them on the small side will give you a steady harvest of "snacking" cukes,
whereas waiting for them to grow larger will give you bigger but fewer
I'd build a dam around the roots of the cukes and make it
high enough to give the lots of water at one time for a few
days. Pick while they are fairly small, less seeds. The same
with a bed of peppers, they like lots of water also. Toms
I'd water once a week, a good soaking. When it comes to the
end of the season, stop watering so it will stress the plant
to make them start to turn their fruits to ripen quickly.
I'll add that toms should be pinched back as the season
starts to end, you'll never be able to get the final blooms
to produce ripe tomatoes.
Cucumbers are about 90% water, and that water has to come from somewhere.
Last year I would sit by my bed for a half an hour with the sprinkler each
day. We had WONDERFUL cucumber production. Sometimes I'd miss one among
the leaves, and we'd end up with 18-inch-long monsters that looked like
small watermelons--and because of all that watering, they were not bitter!
Drip watering works best since you can just turn it on and forget about it
while it soaks for a couple of hours.
What is the soil like under your cucumbers? Is it damp? If so, further
watering won't help. What is happening is that your cucumbers are
evaporating water to stay cool. They are no longer expending energy on
growth, but on pumping water. If you are at home, you may want to go and
mist your plants, when they start to droop. If you aren't home, you may
need to attach a mister to a timer. Both these methods will lead to an
early infestation of powdery mildew. Some kind of netting to partially
block the sun may work, but I have no experience with it. Hopefully,
some one else in the group is more knowledgeable than I in this area.
Secondly, mulch the ground around the base of your plants, with leaves,
straw, compost to reduce evaporation.
There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who
All cucurbits struggle in the heat not just cucumbers. The reason is that
they have big soft leaves that lose water quickly due to both evaporation
and transpiration. On a well grown plant the root system can be huge but
they also have long stems that take time to deliver water up from the roots.
On a hot sunny afternoon it is almost impossible to prevent wilting as the
transport system just can't keep up even if the soil is moist. The good
news is that although wilting will slow down growth (the leaves shut down to
conserve water) they recover quite well.
Things to do:
- Mulch well to avoid soil evaporation. If your soil is sandy add organic
matter to improve its water holding capacity.
- Water deeply and less frequently rather than lightly and often, this will
encourage deep and spreading root systems.
- Water in the mornings before hot days but avoid wetting the leaves as it
will encourage mildew which will reduce your crop much more than wilting.
- Do not overcrowd the plants so that the root system for each plant can
- Allow nodal roots to develop (push some nodes under the mulch and cover
with soil after fruiting if you like) to short circuit the transport issue.
This will also give a measure of protection against vine borer.
I don't know anything about cypress but normally put down 2 in of fairly
compact mulch or more if it is likely to compact down quickly.
The nodes are the part of the vine where the leaves, tendrils and flowers
branch off the stem, in between is just stalk (ie the internode). The vine
is made of many of these repeating units; node, internode, node,
internode.... If the node is in contact with soil roots will develop which
means the water from the soil has less distance to travel compared with the
main root where the plant started from.
OK, I mulched with cypress which is shredded cypress, fairly light in color.
It's noon on a sunny hot day, it'll get hotter. Temperature
measurements with my IR thermometer are yielding between 10F and 20F
*cooler* with the cypress mulch. I'm thinking this by itself is very
The very darkest (near black) soil is almost 30F hotter.
Some cucumber varieties will get bitter if the female flowers get
pollinated, which is why some varieties are produced to grow female
flowers only. Usually grown in greenhouses, which is wher I grow mine
in the UK. I grow them in pots with a tray underneath to hold excess
water, and I am quite happy to leave them with their feet in water for
a few days at a time.
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