Experiments in preventing cucumber wilt

drscottr(7)October 28, 2011

In an attempt to prevent cucumber wilt I tried two methods this year. First I sprayed a kaolin clay mixture on the leaves of the plants and second I covered the plants with light agricultural cloth.

Kaolin - seemed to work but was very labor intensive - one needs to respray every few days and after every rain storm. The cucumber beetles infected the plants by mid season but not before a nice harvest.

Covers - used raised beds and a parthenocopic variety - Diva (does not need to be pollinated by bees.)This actually worked extremely well. One needs to find a way to water the plants - I used a timer and drip tape. It also seems to help to elevate the cloth above the plants - I used 1/2 inch PVC pipe. This system worked well until early August when I had a major infestation with aphids. The aphids did not attack the uncovered plants so I have to assume that covering prevented aphid predators access to the plants. By the way, for cloth I used was agribon-15 which can be purchased fairly cheaply, allows 90% light transmission, minimal heat retention, and weighs half an ounce per square yard.

The cover system seems to be the most useable. I ended up with lots of cucumbers from early June til mid august. I think with a few adjustments the system can work full season. I had plenty of cucumber beetles in the area but they couldn't get to the cucumbers. Once I removed the covers due to the aphids the beetle attacked and the wilt appeared. This year will add lady bugs under the covers if I see aphids.

I'd enjoy hearing comments, improvements, suggestions, etc.



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I keep the soil under vine wet by spraying water.Wet soil under the vines keep the transpiration from the leaves under control from wilting.I do the same thing for Bitter melon and bottle gourd vines.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 11:05AM
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I grow them on tomato cages. That keeps them very healthy.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 11:48AM
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Little Leaf and a few other varieties are resistant to bacterial wilt. Works better than anything.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 3:55PM
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being under some sort of cover definitely helps... i harvested cukes from the same plants in a closed tall tunnel from mid-may until last week... 25 degrees saturday night finally got them... they were divas as well.

makes you realize how many of the problems with cukes are spread by cuke beetles imo...

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Thanks - may I ask what zone and state you're in?

Next year I may use the tall tunnel concept as the low covers I used were tough to work under and get access to the plants.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 12:01AM
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Is your tall tunnel wrap with plastic or row cover?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 5:27AM
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drscott- i am in spotsylvania, virginia - zone 7... my weather is likely very similar to yours... if you're on the eastern shore yours is milder, if out around frederick a little more harsh...

jamesandfely- it is covered with plastic... i have developed a profound dislike for floating row cover material...

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 9:20AM
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