light bulb shaped cucumbers : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Two years ago I raised some cukes on a trellis and all my cukes grew in the shape of a incadescant light bulb. The next year I let my cukes run on the ground, thinking that being on a trellis was what was causing the odd shape. But they ended up being shaped like light bulbs again. I asked around about this and some people told me that I was planting to close to squash and they were cross pollinating. So this year I didn't grow any squash to see if that would be the problem. I planted my cukes to climb a trellis again and no squash. I am still having the same problem although not quite as bad but still disapointed in the outcome. I planted straight eights only and the nearest squash plant is in my neighbors garden which is about 200 ft. from my garden. Also she has cukes in the same little garden with her squash and she doesn't have that problem. So what am I doing wrong? Somebody help me, I would like to have some decent cukes for canning! Is my soil to fertile? I collect a lot of leaves and till them in under in the spring, plus put a small amount of chicken litter plus empty my wood ashes from all winter long in the garden. Everything else grows great! Today I picked almost a five gallon bucket full of green beans off of one row about 30' long.

-- Russell Hays (, July 05, 2001


Maybe an uneven amount of water??? That happened to me once also and I think I had let it get way too dry and then watered too much. Just a thought.

-- diane (, July 05, 2001.


I think that poor or incomplete pollenation will cause the problem you describe. I have seen the same with some vegetables and I know that we have general pollenation problems during years with very little bee activity during the flowering stage of plant growth. My groves have had poor fruit formation for the past couple years because of the decrease in honey bees in our area. A mite has decimated the population in many hives around southern CA.

-- Dwight (, July 05, 2001.

I've never had a problem with light bulb shaped cukes, but I can tell you that cross-pollenation affects only the seed, not the fruit. This should be of concern only if you are planting from seed you saved yourself. I used to work for a seed company years ago, and every year they'd have flower and vegetable trials where they would plant a number of every variety of seed they sold, and I can tell you that even the most reliable seed houses can have deviations from standard in their varieties, but it would be very rare indeed to experience this with an entire packet of seed. Usually if there is a problem it's confined to only a small percentage of seed. And of course, if you did plant from seed you or someone else saved, then cross-pollenation should be highly suspect, and you should take care to use only unadulterated seed next year.

-- Leslie A. (, July 06, 2001.

Dwight's on the money. It's a pollination problem. And I think the two mites that are ruining the American honey/bee industry are nationwide.

-- marilyn (, July 06, 2001.

Dwight is absolutely right. I work on a farm that raised vegetables and we get in bee hives to prevent just such problems. We sometimes still see it with out earliest cukes since the bees haven't been there long when they flower.

-- Sheryl in Me (, July 06, 2001.

When I was growing up my grandfather's cukes always came out that shape. When I took a vegetable course in college they said it was a nitrogen problem. Too much fertilizer if I remember correctly. Pop used to fertilize the garden with pigeon manure which I think was too strong. Anyway, they look funny but I think they tasted better than the "normal" ones I grow now.

-- teresa (, July 07, 2001.

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