It was a sad day out in the vegetable garden today. My struggling and desperate cucumber vines finally bit the dust. After a couple weeks of spraying them, watering them, and chasing cucumber beetles, I finally realized that they probably will not make it, and yanked them up.

The cucumber vines were really doing well, and producing three to four cucumbers a day at one point. A began to see the tell-tale white spots of powdery mildew, and immediately began treatments of baking soda, liquid dish detergent, and milk. This seemed to help defeat the powdery mildew for a little while.

Here are my happy, healthy cucumber vines on June 13th

I thought the tough part was over - I thought I had it made. Just keep treating the cucumbers once a week with the powdery mildew solution, and it would be no problem.

I was wrong.

A week or so later, the leaves began browning, and dying off. I was watering about every other day, so I didn't think it was that. I only fertilized using fish emulsion, so they couldn't be burned. I was really lost as to what was causing the brown and dead leaves. The next day it was worse, and the day after that it was worse yet. I went into a gardening panic - watering like a mad man, and slinging fish emulsion like it was free.

During one of my watering frenzies, I found the unthinkable, the diabolical, the worst cucumber killer out there - a cucumber beetle! The obvious culprit of my dying cucumber vines just slapped me like a beach wave during a tsunami. This was probably the cause of the quickly receding vines. One darn bug. But can one insect cause all this so quickly?

Probably. But that is not all, there were more.

Since I was spending more time than usual out in the garden trying to resuscitate my cucumbers, I found not one, not two, but three more cucumber beetles. I found striped cucumber beetles and spotted cucumber beetles. I was outside swatting wildly in the air like a crazed maniac (my neighbors probably that I was crazed, since it might appear I was wildly swatting at nothing) trying to capture and kill these little bright yellow cucumber molesters. After a few days, I did not see a cucumber beetle. A-ha! I had won after all! Take that you creepy little bugs!

But it was not over - the powdery mildew was back. After my full frontal assault on the cucumber beetles, I stopped treating for the powdery mildew. And it let me know real quick that it was ticked off about the earlier treatments. It came back with a vengeance.

I tried to fight it back, but the damage from the beetles, plus the mildew was too much. The cucumber vines never really recuperated.

The same cucumber vines on July 19th

What a difference a month can make in the garden. The only thing I could do was to rip them out and get the area ready to replant some more cucumbers, or something else. I'm thinking about putting some pole beans in the spot so that I can utilize the trellis. I'm disappointed, but I did get a bunch of cucumbers from them before the total disease and bug onslaught, so it wasn't a total loss.