I am ALWAYS learning something new, particularly when I make mistakes. I have not been a great cucumber shepherd and whisperer, and it is high time I give this wonderful vegetable it the love and attention it deserves.
A Hot Mess
That’s what my cucumbers have been, both last year and this year. I always start out getting lots of tasty cucumbers, but then the vines multiply and go every which way and then the fruit stops. Can you relate? Below you can see my trellis from about a month ago. It is already devolving into a hot mess, and by now the vines have stopped producing fruit.
The key to success is knowledge. When I watched the videos below from Utah State University, I saw very quickly that I needed to train and prune the vines. If you grow cucumbers, WATCH THEM!! This is what I gleaned from the videos:
- Trellis up a line. Use garden clamps to support the vine throughout.
- Bottom 2 feet: Prune tendrils, blossoms, secondary branches. Leave the leaves of course.
- Between 2-4 feet: Prune tendrils and secondary branches. Allow the blossoms to fruit.
- Between 4 feet and top of trellis: Allow the secondary branches to grow out to two growth nodes. Prune away the secondary branches (called tertiary actually) and tendrils from these nodes. This allows two growth points for just cucumbers.
- Above the top trellis: Tie main vine and two secondary branches to the top bar. Let the primary and secondary stems grow down and allow each growth nodes to produce branches (tertiary stems – branches from secondary branches) out to two growth nodes.
I found those videos about a month ago and I realized all my errors. This is similar to the way I train my tomatoes and I have had a lot more success with those. I planted more cucumber seeds then to see if I could follow these directions. I am using the netting I already had set up, but next year will just use a line like in the video. As you can see in the picture below, my vines are about the knee level.
Below you can see the small branch that I have pruned off. I pruned them all off this morning. Above this point, I will let the node develop more to differentiate between the branch and the flower. I also have some garden clamps coming in soon, and will use those and prune off the tendrils.
So, I am very excited to see what I can grow this August, September and even October!