So you have planted a couple cucumber plants in your garden expecting some beautiful fruit in a couple months.
Unfortunately, when they day comes you notice that many of the cucumbers in your harvest are deformed and shaped oddly.
They are still edible and taste pretty good, but you are confused as to why they have a deformed shape.
Here are a few things that causes a deformed cucumber.
Obviously your cucumber was pollinated or it would not be there in the first place, but improper pollination can lead to a deformed cucumber.
The female flowers need to be completely pollinated in order to grow a fully developed cucumber.
This lack of complete pollination leads to only part of the cucumber becoming fully developed.
You need bees in order to pollinate cucumbers, and if there are a low number of bees to thoroughly distribute the pollen to the flower, the cucumber will become only partially pollinated.
The end of your cucumber that looks normal received enough pollen. The end that looks deformed did not, which is usually the blossom end.
If you have low pollinator activity around your cucumber plants, and you are getting a bunch of deformed cucumbers, you may need to resort to hand pollinating the female flowers.
Very warm temperatures can cause a deformed cucumber in a couple different ways.
First, heat can kill the pollen leaving it virtually sterile. Bees may carry both live and dead pollen to the female flower. The live pollen will pollinate a portion of the cucumber, while the dead pollen does nothing. This can contribute to improper pollination and a deformed cucumber.
Heat can also cause moisture stress in the cucumber. Cucumbers need plenty of water while setting and developing fruit.
A lack of water during hot, dry conditions can cause the fruit to form in a peculiar shape.
To avoid this make sure you provide plenty of water once the plant sets and starts developing fruit. This is very important during those scorching hot summer days.
Too Much Fertilizer
Adding too much nitrogen-based fertilizers can also result in deformed cucumbers. Make sure you have rich soil to begin with and you will not usually need to add any fertilizers to begin with.
Incorporate plenty of organic matter, such as compost, into the soil a few weeks before planting. You can also side dress plants with rich compost throughout the season instead of adding any fertilizers.
Giving the cucumber plants a good feeding of diluted fish emulsion will help keep the plants thriving and continually producing throughout the season.
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