Lemon Cucumber

Lemon Cucumber Once a mainstay of 19th century gardens, lemon cucumbers are now making a comeback due to their sweet, mild taste and attractive appearance. The 2- to 3-inch-long fruit possess a roughly round shape with solid yellow skin covered in small prickles, but the skin is nonetheless tasty and lacks bitterness unlike most other strains of cucumber. Like most cucumbers, lemon cucumbers grow readily from seed and will produce a large volume of fruit 65 days after planting if they are provided with adequate water and some shelter from direct sunlight in hot areas.   NOTE: Late season bearing . Packet: App.30 seeds. $3.50

Water the lemon cucumber seeds every other day to maintain moisture to a depth of 1 inch. Avoid over-watering the seeds since they are prone to rotting. Watch for germination in three to six days. Maintain light but constant moisture in the bed by watering to a depth of 2 inches every three or four days after sprouting. Feed the lemon cucumber plants once a month with organic 20-20-20 ratio fertilizer. Follow the label directions when applying the fertilizer to ensure good results. Hang 30-percent shade cloth along the southern edge of the bed on especially hot, cloudless days since lemon cucumber leaves scorch easily under intense sunlight. Culture: A warm, rich, limey ground is best but any well-drained, fertile soil will do. Plants can set fruit without pollination. Plants have all female flowers resulting in higher yield potential. Transplanting: Sow indoors in 2″ plug trays, 3 seeds/cell, 4-5 weeks before weather is warm and settled. Keep temp. above 70°F (21°C) day and 60°F (16°C) night. Transplant 12″ apart in rows 5-6′ apart. Do not disturb roots when transplanting. Cucumber plants cannot survive frost. Direct seeding: Wait until soil is warm, at least 70°F (21°C), usually at least a week after last frost. Cucumber seeds will not germinate at a soil temperature below 50°F (10°C) and germinate slowly at 68°F (20°C). Sow about 2″ apart, 1/2″ deep, rows 5-6′ apart. Thin to about 8″ apart. Poly mulch and row covers: Protect plants from insects and increase warmth for earlier and heavier yields. Diseases: Choose disease-resistant varieties, provide favorable growing conditions, plow in or remove and compost plant refuse, and control insect pests. Insect Pests: Protect against cucumber beetles with floating row covers, or control with pyrethrin or azadarachtin.

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