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. This is called cucumber fruit curl. It 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, having been caused by thrip, mite, and whitefly feeding. Aphids, scale, and mealybugs can also cause this type of deformity.
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. This also acts as a mulch, which helps stabilize soil temperatures and reduces the need for added water.
Think about how much of a cucumber is water. Add the water needs necessary to grow the vines and you will see that cucumbers need a steady supply of water. This means watering regularly and consistently. If you have placed mulch around the vines, add water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry.
Hot weather/incomplete pollination
Hot weather kills pollen. This can mean the female flower did not get enough pollen to produce a properly shaped cucumber. This normally causes stunting or lopsided development, but it can also cause curling.
Newly forming cucumbers are easily pushed around by stems, leaves, and flowers, as well as the ground itself. Also, if the flesh is damaged early on in development, the damaged side may grow more slowly, causing a curled shape.
How to prevent crooking
A curled cucumber is fine to eat.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!