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Cucumber seedlings have dry cracked outer layer of leaves?

Posted by chriseichert Minnesota, USA (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 4, 10 at 13:07

Please read it all, it explains everything that I have done...

I am trying to grow some cucumbers, which I have done for about 5 years, and now I am having problems with this year's plants.

We have a raised-bed garden, we used ancient railroad ties and filled it with the black dirt from behind the barn, a 20-50 year old pile of manure. We have fertilized and I just checked the pH level right before this rain, it was between 6.8 and 7.2. The only thing we haven't added was some phosphorus, which this soil seems to lack every year.

We have tried a few cucumber plants already this year, the first batch I started indoors, the second was store bought plants and now I sowed seeds right into the dirt and they have come up already. All the plants seem to get a weak spot in the stem (looks like someone pinched it and twisted), dry up, and die from ground up. The seedlings have not got the pinched stems yet though. They are growing, but the outside "Skin" on the leaves is drying up so when they grow they crack. Does anyone know about any cucumber lotion we could use? LOL... That is what it looks like though, as if they need lotion, any ideas, or has anyone else ever experienced this?

Sorry about my long-winded explanation. :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cucumber seedlings have dry cracked outer layer of leaves?

I don't know for sure but it sounds like you may have cucumber beetle around. The adult feeds on the leaves but the larva feeds on the roots. It would be worth a search to see if that's what it is and what to do about it. You can find photos and info on the web

If not the beetle it must be some melon feeder. Some burrow into the stem. Try cutting open one that is dieing where it is twisted and see if there's a larva there.

The cracking in the leaves is the result of what's going on below.

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