Cucumber plant yield not only varies from variety to variety, but also depends on outside factors like growing conditions, pollination and general cultivation. Cucumbers are vining plants in need of 1 inch of water per week, and prefer hot summer days. They produce male and female flowers, and the female flowers must be pollinated to set fruit. They are also prone to pests and diseases like cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt.
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When all goes well, you can usually expect a decent yield from your cucumber plants, especially if you plant several varieties and at least three plants of each for a constant supply. Staggering plantings also ensures longer harvests. Expect about 2.27 Kilogram of pickling cucumbers per plant every two weeks, slicing varieties yield approximately 6 fruits per plant, larger varieties like long-vined or Oriental yield around 10 fruits per plant, and heirloom types yield 0.907 to 1.36 Kilogram of cucumbers over a growing season.
For each cucumber plant to perform and produce to its maximum potential, the amount of water, day and nighttime temperatures and growing area must all be suited to it. Water should come through drip irrigation as water on leaves may cause disease like bacterial wilt, reducing yields. They require a sunny spot, and trellising or staking may increase yield and improve fruit quality, reducing yellow spots and misshapen fruits.
Male flowers usually appear first, followed by female flowers. The latter can be identified by the tiny beginning fruit at the base of the flower. Pollinating insects like bees are required for pollination. You may also hand pollinate by brushing the inner part of the male flower over the female flowers.
Cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt are the two most often encountered pests of cucumbers. Cucumber beetles are about 1/4 inch long and are black and yellow with either spots or stripes. They feed on all parts of the plant. They also carry bacterial wilt disease, which causes plants to wither and collapse about halfway through fruit maturation. Beetles may be hand picked, or controlled with an approved pesticide.
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