Garden Word of the Day
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Why do cucumbers curl into a C-shape?
Most cucumbers grow in a straight cylindrical shape, except when they don’t. Sometimes, a cucumber will curve into a C-shape. Cucumber fruit curl is also called crooking. There are many causes for crooking. Which one is affecting your fruit?
Some sap-sucking cucumber pests can cause crooking. This form of crooking is usually irregular. Aphids, mealybugs, mites, thrips, and whiteflies can all cause this type of deformity as they feed.
Cucumbers are heavy feeders. They need nutrient-rich soil and regular feeding to produce a healthy crop of uncurled cukes. You can side-dress the vines with aged compost which also acts as a mulch, helping stabilize soil temperatures and reducing the need for added water.
Think about how much water is in cucumbers. Add the water needs necessary to grow vines, and you will see they need a steady water supply. Water regularly and consistently. If you have mulched around the vines, add water whenever the top inch of the soil feels dry.
Hot weather/incomplete pollination
Hot weather kills pollen. Scorching summers can mean female flowers do not get enough pollen to produce properly shaped cucumbers. These cukes may be stunted, lopsided, or curled.
Newly forming cucumbers are easily pushed around by leaves, soil, stems, and even flowers. Also, if the flesh is damaged early in development, the damaged side may grow more slowly, causing a curled shape.
How to prevent crooking:
A curled cucumber is fine to eat.
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