Cucumbers The Mighty Vegetable

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By: Jannie Vaught

The first day of summer arrived with a bang!

The storm was a hit and run. We had been out doing the weekly mow–ugh– and rushed inside to get cover.

Welcome summer. This may be the beginning of another interesting season.

This week cucumbers seem to be the topic. This is the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world. And known to be one of the best overall healthy foods. Some of their benefits are good source of B vitamins which will give you a healthy boost instead of coffee or soda.. Rehydrates the body replacing water and vitamin C. Helps blood pressure and relieves gout and arthritis pain. It has 3 Lignans that fight cancer. Wow and I thought it was just a garnish on salad. Serious benefits are in cucumbers!

Cucummis Sativus, Cucumber to us, are over 3.000 years old. Believed to be originated in India and they  have traveled the world. They do not like their roots disturbed so transplanting is not a good idea. Direct seeding into the soil when soil is a steady 60 degree. There are many varieties from Market to garden; from Lemon to Pickling. I find succession planting works well if I want a steady supply thru the season. Like pumpkins they are heavy feeders and need a good 10-10-10 side dressing when they are in production. A dose of Epsom salt is another easy way to get the magnesium in, 1 tsp per gallon of water. This is applied with the side granular dressing (read the package) and can be sprayed on the leaves. How to know if your plants are nitrogen deficient. The leaves will be pale green-yellow and have green veins .Look for the green veins for nitrogen deficiency. Keep a regular watering schedule; they are 95% water so keep a soak-er hose or a regular watering time early or evening. Also if the flowers are not having the fruit behind it they may not be getting pollinated. Encourage pollinators to the garden and you can even help them by using a small brush or q tip and gently dab the center of the flowers going flower to flower. Pick daily so they continue to produce and not just make a few huge cukes. About mid June thru July, replant for that second crop.

Personally I prefer to place my cucumbers on a trellis for more air flow, less ground disease and ease of picking. There are so many ways to enjoy this healthy plant, from sliced, pickles and even in juice. If your cucumber get bitter they are done for the season. Old vines makes bitter cukes. Then the new plants are ready to go.

Items to replant now are:

June:

Cantaloupe,

Sweet Potato slips thru July

Pumpkin thru July

Tomatoes thru July

July:

Corn 

Eggplant

Southern peas,

Peppers

Summer squash

Winter squash

 

August:

Irish Potato

Greens in warm  season, Okra through the summer and you thought you were done planting!! The later planting of squash may help those of us who suffer with squash borer problems.

So here’s to summer long may she rave!!

Have a very happy Growing Green season.

Growing Green and Planting More With Jannie