Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cool Cucumbers

The start of a baby cucumber...Once this little beauty gets pollinated take a look at the process it goes through. In case you are rusty on the parts of a flower take a look at this site.Here's the little cucumber growing! You can see the flower on the end, it's not fully opened, kind of shriveled. Since it's already been pollinated the plant doesn't need to waste it's energies on upkeep of that flower. Eventually it will just fall off. However, look at the little prickles on the baby cuke. Self-defense :) Awesome. You'll notice the residue of them when you buy them in the store. Those little white spots are what's left when the prickles fall off because the cukes have been handled. When I pick mine in the garden they still have those prickles. Here's the little baby growing. And finally we have the end product. Another couple of things about cucumber plants. First they need to climb. They produce little feelers that cling and wrap around anything. They are way cool. I train my cucumber plants along a fence (as you can see in the pictures) and the tendrils will curl around anything it senses it's near. Some people let theirs just grow along the ground as a vine, but that takes up tons of room, so put something next to your plant it can grow up. Next thing you should know is that the cucumber plant has two separate kinds of flowers, one is the male and the other is the female. The pollen from the male flowers needs to get to the stigma of the female flowers. Reliance on insects to do this is best, however if they are failing you can always hand pollinate.

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