[Market-farming] Pruning cukes and melons

Allan Balliett aballiett at frontiernet.net
Sun Jun 3 06:45:28 EDT 2007

Anyone doing this?

Every once in a while I hear someone mention that they pinch back 
their cukes right off the bag. I guess I've never heard anyone 
pinching off melons, but sometimes I think that maybe everyone does 
this but me because my yields are always low for both of these crops 
and I know many growers produce LOTS of both.

I ran across this in the Washington Post:

The secret to harvesting dozens and dozens of cucumbers and melons is 
growing short vines, but multiple shoots on which fruiting vegetables 
develop. You do it by pruning.

When vines have lengthened to 12-14 inches, prune a quarter-inch 
beyond a side shoot growing off the vine. On each vine, only a few 
shoots (maybe two or three) will have developed at this point, but 
still you must prune a bit beyond the last shoot (actually a node). 
Prune each and every vine at this point. Growth stops at the point of 
pruning, but the plant's energy is now redirected into forming more 
side shoots along this segment of the vine. Let's call it "section A."

New side shoots develop along this section after pruning, almost 
doubling the number of shoots than before you pruned. However, at the 
end of the first week, the vine starts growing again. When vines 
reach another 12-plus inches (section B), prune once more just beyond 
the outermost shoot (node). Over the next week, the plant's energy is 
focussed entirely on growing more side shoots along the 24-plus 
inches of the vine. Finally, vines start growing again a week later. 
It's doubtful vines will exceed the third section without need of 
pruning unless there are tropical temperatures in late September.

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