Cucumber leaves drying and cracking; cucumbers shriveling up and dying.
Hi, I had submitted a problem similar to this a few days ago but I'd like some extra information. My problem is that the leaves on my cucumbers are drying at the base and cracking. There also appears to be a dry looking stripe going up the main stem. The cucumbers themselves are also not doing so well. They start out okay then then start to whiten and eventually shrivel up and die. I keep getting new growth and that all looks fantastic but the cucumbers just die. It was suggested that I get some dolomite lime for phosphorus and potassium and wettable sulfur for a potential fungal issue. I got the lime and applied it yesterday and now some of the lower leaves appear even worse. I'm unsure if it's related. The wettable sulfur says that it's unsafe for use with cucurbits. I'm not sure what fungal infection I could have. I see no mildew and I'm not sure what other fungal issues a cucumber can have. I do live in a rather hot climate (southern CA) and it has been in the upper 80s and mid-90s of late. I try to water daily. Any thoughts? Thanks! -Mark
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
There are many types of blight that affect cucumbers, and this is definitely one of them! I know that it recommends not to use sulfur on cucurbits, but there is a safe way to do so. You must dilute it to at least 1/8 strength and lightly water it into the soil. This is what the dolomitic lime prevents. It will raise the pH of the soil to compensate for the acidification that will occur.
As far as your fruit... It will not produce anything until the temperatures get down. They do not tolerate hot weather.
I have a single cucumber plant that is massive, and takes up my entire garden plot... It has not had a single fruit yet, since it has been in the 90's here too. I am waiting patiently, and it sits in full shade during the afternoon. I will not have a single fruit until fall, when it gets back down into the 70's.
If you can keep it cool, and shaded during the hot portions of the day, and treat it then it will produce as soon as those temperatures drop.