I’ve never had a lot of success with cucumbers. It’s either too dry and they don’t fruit much, or it’s too wet and they rot, or they run over the path and get stomped on or eaten by the chooks. But our family love them, so I was determined to get it right.
The first issue – too dry. Well, I’ve already solved this with the wicking beds. Keeping the water down in the reservoir and letting it wick up into the soil has mean that once the plants can get their roots down, they thrive. Just about everything has been going well in the wicking beds.
The second issue – too wet. When they grow in the wicking beds, their leaves are all too close together and when it does rain, the fruit rot and the leaves all get powdery mildew. Solution – get the runners out of the beds. Of course the plants knew this already and were constantly growing over the sides, across the path and –
The third issue – running over the path, getting in the way and getting eaten by the chooks. Solution – cucumber arch:
As luck would have it, the grow beds are perfectly positioned to put an arch structure up between them. So 4 x 4m sections of electrical conduit ($3 each), some fishing line (lesson learned: don’t use fishing line) and some left over balustrade wire (for when the arches started collapsing because the fishing line kept stretching) and a few other bits and pieces. Now I have a stable, slightly over engineered cucumber trellis.
I ran the vines that were already growing in the beds up and over the trellis. A few nights later, I came out to find that in fact, they weren’t cucumber vines – they were pumpkins. That should give the trellis a good test run.
But now I do have some cucumbers growing up there as well. Being able to cut off any leaves with powdery mildew and see the fruits hanging in the dry air is fantastic. The arch is already increasing production.