Growing cucumbers has never been easy for us. This is only our second year, though, but a second discouraging year.
Last year we read in John Seymour’s “The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live it” that you should make mounds for your cucumbers just as you would for squash and zucchini. Under those mounds, you should put about a coffee can’s worth of compost. We did just that. The plants came up and vined all over the place. We were very happy. Several two inch long cucumbers began to form. And then everything died. We couldn’t figure out why. The watering was consistent. No obvious bug or disease. Everything just turned brown and shriveled up and died.
This year we were going to take it a step farther. Our container garden employing the 55 gal poly drums was based on two year old rotted dairy manure from a friend. It appears as though there was too much acidity, though. Most of the plants grew to six inches high and then began dying.
We began researching and found that they like the soil to be limed, which seemed counter intuitive to me, the beginner. Anyways, I sprinkled some hydrated lime around each plant just as I did with the beans a week earlier. The plants that survived seem much better now.
By the way – the staff at our local Ace Hardware is incredibly helpful. They told me that I could find the lime I’m looking for in the garden section. However, the same exact thing is sold in the livestock section under a different label and is much cheaper. It is used for putting down in horse stalls, etc between cleanings and before new bedding is laid down.