[Market-farming] Tell us about the cukes!

David Inglis mhcsa at verizon.net
Sun Nov 22 12:06:59 EST 2009

Hi Dorene,
I don't hand pollinate because I only grow parthenocarpic varieties in the
GH [greenhouse ]so they, by definition, do not require pollination.
Even indoors the Cucumber beetles are the vector for the bacterial wilt that
usually put an end to our season. Obviously this would not be a problem in
the winter. My harvest season usually runs from late May through mid October
from one planting with no fossil fuel input except to raise the seedlings;
that's plenty of cucs for me and my CSA members. 
What Bob says about winter greenhouse heating costs is the reason I said
that GH Cuc's were not profitable at that time of year. One thing I have
learned from 'Holistic Resource Management' is that even if an enterprise is
profitable one should first compare it to other profitable possibilities
before implementing. I doubt even an exotic Cuke would be the top of an off
season profitability list, but you never know.
I am working on building a GH that is similar to the Chinese design using a
combination of elements. But even if it works as expected I would grow cool
adaptive crops  in it in the winter. The only normal crop I can think of off
hand that has more demanding temperature requirements than Cucumbers is
If you are determined to go forward more power to you. I would start with
more normal planting times and gradually extend them into the 'off season'.
On the left of the picture attached to this post on my website you will see
a row of the Cuc's I grow.

In general:
Give them space, trellis them, prune to a single leader, allow only 2-3
fruit per spur, fertilize heavily, provide continuous water and warmth, do
not work with the plants until the dew is off them, pick frequently[I pick
every other day and prune on the other day=+/- 30 seconds/plant/day if you
are good], drop plants when they reach your picking height limit, cover
stems of dropped plant with compost, ABOVE all, do put disturb or tread on
root zone.

Good luck.

Dave Inglis

Berkshire County,

> -----Original Message-----
> From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:market-farming-
> bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Alliums
> Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2009 6:52 AM
> To: 'Market Farming'
> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Tell us about the cukes!
> Hi, Dave!
> The most important thing to me about GH cukes vs field is if you could get
> longer, more productive harvest because you'd be avoiding the cucumber
> beetles, which are horrible out here.  Did you have to hand-pollinate?
> My Chinese partner has access to whatever seeds of whatever variety is
> wanted -- half the time, we can't even figure out the "American name" of
> whatever she is growing.  She is a better grower than I am (and I am not
> at this stuff! ;-)), so it's just a matter of finding out what can be done
> -- because if it could be done, she's be able to do it and do it well.
> Thank for any insight you can offer.
> Dorene in SE PA

More information about the Market-farming mailing list