Thursday, July 3, 2008

An Ounce of Prevention

The vine borers haven't yet laid any eggs, but unless pigs start to fly, I know they are coming. So today I'm planting a new crop of zucchini and cucumbers. They will be grown for at least a month under row covers. The UMass extension site claims that the vine borers attack in Massachusetts only in July. So if I can start them off for a month under cover, they should be up and almost producing around the time the old plants bite the dust. And sometime in mid August I can remove the row covers. That is the theory anyway. I'm not sure if it really will work or not.

My other cucurbit experiment is going well. I've alway direct seeded my cucurbits since they really do not like to be transplanted, but so many people say they start them indoors, even some farms do it that way. So maybe there is something to giving them an early start.

So I planted two cucumbers on April 24th in paper pots. They were transplanted out into the garden on May 16th after being hardened off (about 3 weeks). They started producing cucumbers on June 12th (49 days I'm thinking). One of these plants seems to set three cucumbers at a time. Then while they are growing, and until I pick all the set cucumbers off the vine, all the other potential cucumbers fall off. The second plant does the same thing, but only sets one at a time. So already with two plants being treated the same, I'm getting three times as many cukes from one of them.

My other group of three cucumbers were direct seeded on May 13th (three plants on the left, the two on the right were transplanted). They popped out of the ground on May 24th. They are just starting to set cucumbers now. So far that is 51 days, but it will probably take a few more before they reach pickable size. However these plants are so much larger than the transplanted cukes (except the one in the middle it is the same size as the others). Of course all you gals know that size doesn't matter. Performance does. And we still don't know if the direct seeded ones will out produce the others.

I have to confess, either way I will from now on plant at least two transplanted cukes. I have loved having cucumbers in my salad almost everyday.

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