Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Learning the hard way

Despite our attempts to rid our cucumbers of the striped cucumber beetle, the damage was done.

Some of our cucumber plants have been victims of cucumber bacterial wilt. The bacteria that causes this disease overwinters in the stomachs of the striped cucumber beetle, and when they damage your plants the bacteria works its way in. The disease disrupts the plant's ability to move water through its system. It reduces yield, produces misshapen fruit and can spread to other cucurbit crops, such as melon or squash.

This is a good year for us to learn about how important insect control is, since we are not beholden to any members or paying customers for our vegetables. We acted quickly, cutting away diseased vines, pulling hopeless plants and harvesting any cukes that appeared ready. We managed to get a bushel (8 gallons) of cucumbers from the harvest and may get even more if they ripen safely. We pickled half a bushel and saved the rest for cucumber salads.

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