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Old May 24, 2015   #1
squirrel789
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Default Can I mulch my cukes if growing vertically?

Hello,

I am using a 2'W x 2'D x 6'L (170 gallon) galvanized water trough for tomatoes, and so I thought I'd try some other veggies, like cukes, as well (in a separate trough of the same dimensions). I planted some peppers in the front and cukes in the back row, and I plan to train them to grow on a large trellis. This is my first time growing in this type of container, and the growing medium is compost, peat moss and vermiculite. More details can be found in the container section of the tomato forums if interested.

Here's the deal. I have a cat that likes to use any loose soil, especially in containers on the patio, as her own personal commode. I have used fairly large chunk pine bark mulch on the tomato trough and all other containers I have growing, like herbs, etc. It works great so far for keeping out the kitty and keeping in the moisture. However, an old farmer with untold years of in-ground experience, once told me that cukes and peppers don't like being mulched. Is this universally true?

Is there any problem with mulching my cukes, or basically every container, with this pine bark?

I appreciate anyone's thoughts or suggestions. Thanks!
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Old May 24, 2015   #2
rnewste
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Short answer is yes, pine bark works great on cukes:



...and tomatoes:



Raybo
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Old May 24, 2015   #3
squirrel789
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Thanks Raybo!

I would mulch everything with this stuff in my containers if I could, and it sounds like I can!

It's cheap here and I plan to pick up another bag tomorrow. Since the cukes are just now barely sprouting, for now all I can share is a pic of the tomato garden. But I will post one of the cukes when they're worth looking at.

I've been told that my tomato plant spacing will likely be an issue, but its an experiment, so now I know for next year Also, pardon the trellis, I got a little crazy with some twine, folding cages and whatever I could find in the basement...

Thanks for the response! I learn more from this great forum's participants literally every day.
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Old May 25, 2015   #4
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I did the same in my bag garden last year - cukes in the back on a trellis, peppers in the front. Worked great. I have no idea about the mulch question. It seems to me they will like mulch better than kitty digging them up. Heh.

This is a mid-season pic - apparently I do not have access to the end of season pics at the moment. The plants outgrew the trellis and produced wonderfully. That is three cucumber vines, BTW. One more than I planned, but couldn't decided between the best two so I left them.
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Old May 25, 2015   #5
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The peppers look great! Are those banana sweets on the left? I like the trellis, and that's something I still haven't figured out yet, how I'm going to trellis my cukes. They cannot be against a wall, and I will have to find a way to bolt or perhaps bury a trellis system in the back of my trough. I planted a lot of cukes, so it will get crowded, but cukes seem to be tolerant, in my limited experience, as long as they don't dry out or get stepped on.

The only thing better than a tomato salad is a cucumber and tomato salad!

Mine just popped out of the ground literally overnight last night. Once spaced, and when it's looking a bit more presentable, I'll post some pics of trough experiment #2 (cukes, zucchini, and peppers).
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Old May 25, 2015   #6
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The peppers on the left are Gypsy. Peppers grow terrible around here, and people usually do better with small peppers than bells. The Gypsy are not bells but taste similar. They start out that hungarian wax pepper color (stayed that way FOREVER!) then finally turn red. I was going to post a pic of finished peppers but I guess I don't have access from where I am. I'll try to remember later

The peppers directly in front of the cukes are Jupiter Bell, which I won't bother to grow again. I am surprised at how well they did turn out, but the Gypsies are just so much less fussy and more productive. A GREAT variety for our area. I bought them without knowing and they turned out great. I am growing a couple more this year, this time in pots.

Raybo posted above some very great trellising DIY stuff. He is the MASTER of this type of stuff. I believe there are trellis instructions included in the Earthtainer post? Check that out.
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Old May 25, 2015   #7
jmsieglaff
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I agree to go with mulching them all. I mulch my cucumbers and peppers (basically everything short of lettuce, spinach, peas, and radishes). And I grow my cukes vertical on cattle panels, they climb those very well (I think cattle panels are 7" squares?). For you being in Missouri, I'd think you'd want to mulch those things to help conserve moisture in the summer and keep the soil a little cooler than it would be without mulch.
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Old May 25, 2015   #8
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This is what you will get with vertical trellising:



Get ready for lots of cukes!

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Old May 25, 2015   #9
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If I can achieve something like that Raybo, I'll be posting pics all over the place!

My cuke seedlings in my second (non-tomato) experimental trough are just big enough to mulch around with pine nuggets. In fact, I am posting this now because I'm taking a break to have a little water and then... back to work. I am also installing a soaker-hose setup under the mulch with a timer for when it gets hot (and it will here). If I had a truck and more time, I would have gotten cattle panels, cut them in half and made a tent of sorts, as that is how my dad used to do it on the farm. But I guess we all work with what we can get, right?

I ended up buying some rolled fencing which I will zip tie to 8' supports for the trellis. Unfortunately, all I could find locally was green rubberized metal fencing with squares a little smaller than I wanted (2" x 3"), and a bunch of 3/4" thick, 8' tomato stakes to zip tie it to. Oh well, I'll see how it works and learn for next year.

I'll happily post some pics and keep a progress report of how it goes if anyone is interested, or so anyone else interested in stock trough gardening can see and hopefully learn from my mistakes, or maybe even my successes :fingers crossed:

Thanks to all who take the time to read and respond, it's very helpful and appreciated!
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Old May 25, 2015   #10
Stvrob
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Yes. You can and should mulch
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Old May 25, 2015   #11
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Thanks stvrob! I actually just did it. I had to wait until the sprouts were big enough and today was the day.

They are now well protected with a good layer of pine nugget mulch around them and I am putting in the irrigation system as soon as I'm done typing this. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Many thanks!
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