Cucumber plants worsening quickly?

Discussion in 'Vegetables' started by risingphoenix, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. risingphoenix

    risingphoenix

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    Hello,

    I am a fairly new gardener. I've planted cucumbers for the first time this year, and for the first month, they were doing very well. Suddenly, though, they are fairly rapidly looking dreadful and I just cannot figure out what the problem is. I have not changed anything I'm doing. I can't see any visible pests, but last year I had quite a bit of trouble with spider mites, so I suppose I cannot dismiss the possibility of a pest (I didn't post in the pest forum because I cannot see any, however I apologize if I still chose the wrong forum). I don't know if I'm caring for them incorrectly, or what could be the problem.

    I have attached photos of the damaged leaves. The first two photos show the beginning stage, the last show their current stage.

    Also, strangely, my new seedlings are doing the same thing. And, my tomato plants are beginning to show similar symptoms (I have also attached a photo of one of them).

    If anyone has can offer any input, I would be so grateful. Thank you for reading.
     

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    risingphoenix, Apr 16, 2018
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  2. risingphoenix

    roadrunner

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    How often do you water them...the soil is looking fairly wet...
     
    roadrunner, Apr 16, 2018
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  3. risingphoenix

    risingphoenix

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    I had just watered them when I took the photos, though we have had quite a bit of rain lately. I've been using a moisture meter and watering when the soil is dry enough for watering according to the chart that comes with it, which seems to be about every other day, or every 2-3 days unless it rains. Before they were struggling, they seemed to be doing well with this watering schedule, which is why I'm confused now (and because my tomato plants are beginning to do the same thing, ah!).
     
    risingphoenix, Apr 16, 2018
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  4. risingphoenix

    Chuck

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    Classic signs of watering too often. Browning leaf margins and browning curling leaves. My advise. Throw that moisture meter as far away as you can and forget about it. Only water when the plants tell you that they are thirsty and that will be in the morning hours not in the afternoon. If your plants are wilted in the AM hours water them. And when you water them saturate the soil deeply and completely. If you water correctly you will water about every 7-10 days. If your plants are wilted in the afternoon it doesn't mean that they need water. It means that they have shut down their respiration process and this is normal during the heat of the day. More plants are killed by watering too often than by any other reason. You cannot water a plant too much at one time but you can and will kill a plant by watering too often.
     
    Chuck, Apr 16, 2018
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  5. risingphoenix

    risingphoenix

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    Thank you very much for your reply, I really appreciate it. With my work shift, I can't get to my plants until the afternoon I'm afraid, which has always been a difficulty. Moisture meters are not usually the way to go, I know (this is the only year I've used one), but my current soil situation is the reason I had to give one a try...loose and light soil for several inches, clay clay clay underneath. I used the meter to see the moisture at the different levels of soil so I could try to strike a middle ground with watering. Didn't want dried out top soil making me think my plants needed a soak while the clay underneath was water-logged! And I didn't know another way to check for this. After much experimentation, I have noted that it seems to register the correct moisture levels, but the problem is, I don't seem to know what that middle ground for watering the different soil types is, and I believe the plants' roots are both in the loose soil and the clay. It's kind of a raised bed situation, but this is the best soil situation I can manage at the moment. So am I just complicating things by bothering with trying to gauge the differences in soil moisture for each type? With my having two completely different soil types at different levels, would you still recommend a 7-10 day watering schedule? I'm sorry if this is a stupid question.

    And I'm sorry if this also is a stupid question, but if I can only see my plants in the afternoon, how do I know when they are telling me they are thirsty if I can't go by wilting? Should I not water them even if they do not wilt in the afternoon until a few days after watering? I'm honestly a little nervous to water them weekly, because last year, I followed the weekly watering schedule for my tomatoes and nearly killed them until I began watering more often...I watered deeply, but they seemed to dry out quickly no matter what, especially with the unpredictable weather here (i.e. wind). And when I tried mulching, it did help the drying out, but fungus grew underneath...I'm sorry I seem to be so inept!

    After my spider mite situation last year, it would definitely be nice if watering were the problem this time, ah ha! We did basically get flooded with rain recently, and I don't recall any of my plants showing any signs of stress prior. I like the rain, but a little less would be good at this point I think!
     
    risingphoenix, Apr 16, 2018
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  6. risingphoenix

    Chuck

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    It seems as if you are watering the soil, worried about the moisture content of a particular type of soil and forgetting about the needs of the plant. Why don't you go to the Dollar Store and buy a package of wooden skewers, the wooden sticks you use to make shish-ka-bobs and has a pointed end. If you stick one of these pieces into the ground and leave it a couple of minutes and then pull it out it will show you basically what that moisture meter does only it will do a better job. If it shows any moisture at or about root level the plant does not need watering. Having moisture and being wet are two different things. Your plants are being kept wet, not damp or moist. They are slowly drowning. It will not hurt a plant to be thirsty for a few days. In fact commercial growers intentionally stress their plants by withholding water because it makes them produce more.

    You do not water plants by a schedule. There are too many variables to do this. There is wind, humidity, temperatures, cloudy or sunny.............all of these variables prohibit a set schedule. All plants will wilt in the heat of the afternoon, sometimes even after watering. But, most of the time, as the sun goes down and it begins to cool the plants will start to respire again and loose the wilted look. This is your time to do the stick thing. But do not water at night. If you do you are inviting mold, mildew and fungus.
     
    Chuck, Apr 16, 2018
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