Put a Lean on Your Cucumbers

Make picking easier with a tilted trellis

Cucumbers fresh from the garden are a crunchy, flavorful treat. Cucumbers plants can crawl along the ground, but prefer to climb. Any sort of structure with gaps will do. They are not picky and will scale almost anything. The cucumbers hide amongst the twisting vines. Sometimes they nestle in so well they are a little hard to collect from between the prickly stalks that make some people itch.

One way to make them easier to pick is to grow them up a structure that leans on an angle. While the plants scramble up the leaning tower, the weight of the vegetables causes them to dangle freely. This makes for easy picking. My brother brought this idea to our family garden a couple of years ago and this year we added a second tipped trellis.

We grew three types of cucumbers this season: ‘Little Tykes, ‘Miniature White’ and a more standard variety called ‘General Lee’. All three are delicious.

My sister in law brought an amazing cucumber salad to dinner the other night. She claims she got the recipe from Jamie Oliver, but she is such a good cook I would have believed her if she said she made it up herself.

The recipe can be found here.

She left out the black olives and red chile because she didn’t have them in her pantry. I didn’t miss them a bit. The fresh snap of “ultra –local” cucumbers was all we needed.

Lea Crown August 04, 2011 at 03:59 PM
What is the remedy for cucumber leaves that are turning yellow? Seems like one of my plants is dying.
Alice Blair August 05, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Post #2 Each year, our leaves turn yellow and then the plant eventually dies from wilt. But we usually get plenty of produce before this happens and enjoy what we can. This year has been a bad one for our summer squash. The wilt ‘squashed’ many of our plants before we harvested a single vege. You can try pulling the one yellow cucumber plant to see if it stops the spread. But chances are, if it is wilt and beetles, it will hit the others anyway. Try killing beetles early in the morning or at dusk when they are most active and squashing eggs between two rocks to make sure you break the hard case. Let us know how it works out! Other gardeners out there have good advice??
Alice Blair August 05, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Hi Lea - I am going to split this into two posts so I have enough space for your answer. Post #1: We suffer from yellow-leaved cucumbers each year. If you look at the pictures in the article, you’ll see we have yellow leaves too. The general consensus from the reading my family has done is that several factors can result in discolored leaves. One could be lack of nutrients. Make sure your soil is well amended. Another cause could be either over or under watering. With the dry, hot weather it could be under watering. Too much water can result in a fungus that an organic fungal spray can resolve. Yet another reason, unfortunately, is the most likely culprit: cucumber or squash beetles. Not only do these insects feed on the plants, turning leaves yellow and brown, but they also carry a wilt disease that slowly kill cucumber and squash plants. Many organic gardeners squash and kill the adult insects and their eggs. Those who use pesticide must spray early on since the chemicals don’t really work on the adult insects. Many farmers recommend relocating crops each year since the bugs carry the wilt internally over the winter. For most of us that don’t have hundreds of acres to plant, this isn’t really a helpful option.
Lea Crown August 05, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Thanks Alice! I'll try some organic fungicide and see if that helps.I had a minor problem with squash beetles about a month ago but have been diligently picking them off if the early morning hours, when I water.


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