Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cucumber flowers--hopefully cucumbers to follow!

Photo of young cucumber plants, climbing up sticks and mulched with chopped straw
Cucumbers in the cold frame
My patio cold frame was a riot of cool weather salad-y things such as miner's lettuce, arugula, and lamb's lettuce this spring--nearly all self-seeded.  Half of it still has self-seeded calendula (tons of pretty orange flowers), but the other half has been cleared away entirely.  I mulched it thickly with chicken bedding (manure and straw, maybe a month old) and planted up my cucumber seedlings. 

I stuck in some woody trimmings from elsewhere in the garden for the cucumbers to climb, and they are growing nicely--and beginning to flower!  I still have my upturned plastic bottle waterers to keep them moist, and the mulch helps retain water too, as the cold frame is in a very warm and sheltered spot, and can dry out quickly if it's a hot day.

Last year I planted my cucumbers in the ground in the main veg patch, and most of the young plants got eaten by slugs;  only one survived and we only got one or two fruits off it.  Only small fruit, I should add.  It was a fairly warm summer, but the first two weeks after planting were still cool and rainy, and the plants couldn't keep up with the slug damage.  The one that survived was also badly damaged and took a long time to recover.

This year I planted out later, and decided not to put them in the ground at all.  It's been an unusually dry spring and early summer, and slugs haven't been as rampant as the past few years--I probably could have got away with putting them in the ground after all.  Still, in the cold frame's best, as it's the warmest spot in the garden and has plenty of good chicken manure (and lots of red worms--how did they get in there?) to make the plants grow.

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