Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yellow Does Not Become You

I'm talking to you, cucumbers.

Pretty, but....

Yellow may look wonderful on our sunflowers and our pear tomatoes, and even on our yellow peppers. We always wanted to try yellow 'green' beans and are planning to try those next year. But yellow cucumbers are not a delicacy! Unless, of course, the variety of cucumber is supposed to be yellow, like this one or this one. However, in our case, we did not have one of those special varieties, we had planted regular old green garden cucumbers.

We noticed they were looking yellow, and because I am still new to gardening, I assumed they were supposed to be yellow. I picked one, brought it in, sliced all looked quite delicious. Until the first bite. Bitter, dry, and disgusting! Granted, harvest time is late. I should have picked the cucumbers when they were still green; most cucumber plants are long finished by now.

Not tasty!

So, first and foremost in avoiding yellow, bitter (although admittedly pretty) cucumbers, PICK THEM!

Leaving the cucumber on the plant too long is not the only reason that cucumbers can turn yellow. I found the following information in a gardening question/answer page, and will keep it in mind for next year. Hopefully I'll only ever have to deal with making sure I harvest the cucumbers on time, but these answers will be good to know if needed!

  • My cucumbers do not turn green; they are yellow and bitter. This is the second year this has happened, the fruit is large, the plants have many flowers, and are producing, but this yellow cucumber is all we get.What can I do to correct this, or do I just give up?

This happened to me when I planted squash plants near my cucumbers. They cross-pollinated and the results were off-color and not tasty.

  • I have planted pickling cukes and they are turning yellow and they are almost shaped like a ball, round. Can you tell me why they are yellow?

Rounded cucumbers especially pickling cucumbers, mean that your soil is missing key nutrients, also poor irrigation can cause this problem. I learned this the hard way "by it happening to me!' My suggestion is to get a soil testing kit to find out what nutrients you are lacking. Also if your soil is hard and poor quality it can cause the water and fertilizer you put on not to soak enough into the roots. make sure to soak them deeply and often if your soil is hard. I would suggest next year to put in some soil ammendments, like some top soil, natures helper soil conditioner, garden lime and maybe even a little sand, to raise the ph and loosen it up a bit.

  • My cucumbers are blooming and producing cucumbers but when they become about an inch long the bloom falls off and the cucumber turns yellow and dries up. What is going wrong?

Most likely they have worms inside. Cut one open and make sure that they are not being eaten from the inside out.

  • We have healthy looking plants, but the cucumbers turn yellow and fall off. Why?

I had this same issue this year and read that it could be the lack of calcium! I had a small bag of gypsum from last year and spread it around the plants and now they are starting to take off! You can also clean your used egg shells, let them dry and crumble around the base of the plants!

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