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Old March 25, 2018   #1
MuddyBuckets
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Default Beit Alpha Cucumber

Has anyone tried these cucumbers or any other "English" slim, seedless cucumber? I want to try them in containers with a trellis this season.

If interested in sharing seeds I have hot pepper and a variety of tomato seeds to exchange. Also looking for herb seeds (basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, etc).
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Old March 25, 2018   #2
shelleybean
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I've grown them. They're about the same sized vines as any other variety. If you use the trellis, they should be fine in a larger container. They were very productive for me. The thin skin means they don't store as long as thicker skinned varieties though, but flavor was really good.
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Old March 25, 2018   #3
MuddyBuckets
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Thanks for the reply. Planning 2 plants per 5 gal bucket with combo of Al's mix and some compost. Any idea about fertilization in a container grown cucumber? How about "topping" the vines when they reach 6 feet tall or letting them trail over and down the trellis?
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Old March 25, 2018   #4
shelleybean
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I don't top my cucumbers. Just like tomatoes, I let them climb up and then flop over and go down the other side. I grow my cucumbers in square tomato cages, one stacked on top of the other. I've always read you need to fertilize containers more frequently than veggies grown in the ground. Mine are in big raised bed. I use Garden Tone on them once a month.
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Old March 26, 2018   #5
roper2008
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I ordered some from Baker Creek to try this summer. Are these the same ones your
talking about? It says on the packet that it is usually picked small, so I think they are
different from English cucumbers. If you want some seeds let me know.


Linda
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Old March 26, 2018   #6
Labradors2
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I ordered them too! From what I understand, the are an OP version which should be similar to Green Fingers (which I absolutely love) and they are supposed to be small, so not like English cukes at all.

The Green Fingers produce like crazy all season and I never top them, I just let them flop back over the support which is about 6' tall.

Linda

Last edited by Labradors2; March 26, 2018 at 03:13 PM.
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Old March 26, 2018   #7
shelleybean
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Correct on the size of these. They're Israeli cucumbers and I found them perfect at about 5-6 inches long. These aren't like Telegraph or Suyo Long, and these grow straight, not curly or twisted. They're very nice quality. I think you'll like them. I just wish they lasted a little longer in the fridge.
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Old March 26, 2018   #8
PureHarvest
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This might help:

Consider growing cukes umbrella style
publication date: Mar 1, 2017

Previous | Next

By Andrew Mefferd
I’ve often wondered why more market growers don’t use umbrella pruning for greenhouse and hoophouse cucumbers. It’s probably the most common way of growing cukes in greenhouses, and translates well to hoophouses and smaller structures with trellising in the 6-7’ range. I’m pretty sure the reason it’s not used more is unfamiliarity, since most smaller growers I’ve talked with don’t know about it. It’s called umbrella style because the main stem is grown up a string (the umbrella handle), topped at the wire, and two suckers are allowed to grow out to each side (the umbrella canopy).

One of the difficulties of growing cucumbers in a confined space is that they grow so fast, they rapidly fill up the space and crowd each other. The umbrella method solves this problem by topping the plants when they reach the trellis wire, allowing side branches (a.k.a. suckers or laterals) to fill the space between plants and bear most of the fruit. After the plants are topped, there is almost no more pruning necessary during the harvest stage.

This short article is adapted from my new book, The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook. Growing umbrella cukes comes down to spacing and pruning, as all the other details (propagation, variety selection, temperature, harvest, pests and diseases etc.) are the same as in other methods for growing protected cukes.
Below, umbrella cukes growing in a greenhouse. These young plants have just reached the top wire and are soon to be topped. Photo by Andrew Mefferd.

Spacing
Most umbrella cucumbers are planted in double rows 2’ apart, with 3’ between plants in the row, and a 3’ walkway. Or you can plant a single row 1.5’ apart, and train every other plant to opposite sides of the double row. The advantage to planting a single row is ground cover can be pulled up close on either side of the row, leaving very little area exposed for weeds to grow. Either way, you need two trellis wires or pipes two feet apart above the crop to tie trellis strings to.
Top box in the diagram below shows how plants are spaced three feet apart in the row, and the laterals grow over the trellis wire until they meet the laterals from the next plant. The bottom box shows an overhead veiw of how planting can be done in double rows 2’ apart with plants 3’ apart in the row (green dots), or in a single row down the middle of the bed with plants 1.5’ apart in the row (red dots).

trellis.jpg

Pruning and trellising
One piece of twine per plant is tied to the overhead wire. The vine is grown up the twine by twisting or clipping, removing suckers on a regular basis as the vine grows up.

After pruning large-fruited cukes off the initial two feet of stem, let a cuke develop at every other node up to the wire. As the plants approach the top wire, make sure and leave the three suckers immediately below the wire. You really only need two (one for each side of the plant), but leave an extra in case one of them gets damaged, you’ll still have two left. Let these three suckers grow and as the head of the plant grows, cut it off just above the wire. Topping the plant will push the energy that was going to the head to the suckers left on the plant.

These first laterals to grow out from the main stem are called the primary laterals. When the primary laterals are roughly 1-2’ long (long enough to drape over the wire and stay in place), guide them over the wire. The idea is for the laterals (and all the fruit on them) to pull down on the wire, instead of pulling the main stem back down the string. Once each plant has one lateral per side safely over the wire, you can prune off the third lateral.

At this point, you’re almost done pruning. Don’t prune the suckers from the primary laterals. The suckers grow into the secondary laterals, where most of the fruit is set. When the primary laterals grow down to about chest height (when they meet the primary lateral from the next plant), pinch the tips off to stop their growth and you’re done pruning.

Secondary laterals and cucumbers will continue forming on the primary laterals through the productive life of the plant. Umbrella trellising essentially turns the cucumber vine into a determinate by limiting its upward growth. The plant will only remain productive for so long after being topped. Some growers decide to germinate the next crop when they notice yield from the first crop slowing down, while others start plants on a fixed schedule with each crop lasting for 3-4 months of picking.

Last edited by PureHarvest; March 26, 2018 at 03:17 PM.
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Old March 26, 2018   #9
Labradors2
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Wow! Very nice! However, I find that three cuke plants is enough to keep us in cukes all season. They even provide extras for friends, chickens, and dogs I can't imagine growing rows of the things!

Linda
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Old July 15, 2018   #10
shelleybean
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I have four Beit Alpha plants this summer alongside two Marketmore plants. The Beit Alpha are much healthier and more productive of the two varieties, surprisingly. As I said before, my only complaint about these Beit Alpha cukes is they don't store well in the fridge. I did some reading and found several suggestions on how to store them and started trying different things in order to try to keep them longer. So far, the best solution I've tried is to keep them on the counter at room temperature. If I put them in the fridge in the produce drawer, within a day the skin is dimpled and soon after it becomes slimy. So I just thought I'd share that with anyone else growing these. They're really good eating quality and now that I've found a way to keep them after picking, I think I'll grow them again next season.
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Old July 15, 2018   #11
Labradors2
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Thanks for sharing the storing info Michele .

So far my Green Fingers are producing cukes and the Beit Alpha are much slower to get going...…

Linda
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Old July 15, 2018   #12
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I have found not washing them before putting them in the fridge does help. but really they taste best fresh. seedless cukes do not need a pollinator. If they get pollinated they will be curly. so mixing types of cukes makes it hard to get a nice crop of "seedless" and they will have seeds.
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Last edited by clkeiper; July 15, 2018 at 04:24 PM. Reason: oops... forgot an important adverb
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Old July 15, 2018   #13
KarenD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clkeiper View Post
I have found not washing them before putting them in the fridge does help. but really they taste best fresh. seedless cukes do not need a pollinator. If they get pollinated they will be curly. so mixing types of cukes makes to get a nice crop of seedless and they will have seeds.
Thank you for the information. I have some English cucumbers that are curling and did not know it was because of being pollinated. Great to know!
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Old July 15, 2018   #14
Barb_FL
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I grew these one summer in Florida; I had a post about them and my 3 plants produced 330 cukes in 7 weeks.

What I found for storing, was not to wash and wrap them in saran-type wrap. I saw how they were wrapped at the supermarket for organic cukes and they charge $2 each.
I also sometimes put several of the wrapped cucumbers in another zip-tie bag or plastic top container. Their shelf life this way is really decent.

Also read for cukes in general pick in the AM before it gets hot and leave a little stem on it.


I never had any wrinkling on cucumbers. Sometimes they would get shoved in the back of the fridge drawer and go bag/soupy. If you have composting worms, they love the ones that go bad.
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Old July 15, 2018   #15
jmsieglaff
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I second the wrapping plastic wrap. It makes a huge difference in fridge shelf life (aka staying crisp and not turning into a limp noodle). FWIW I don’t grow Beit Alpha, I grow Sweeter Yet F1 and Suyo Long.
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