Cucumber Cultivars for Container Gardening and the Value of Field Trials for Predicting Cucumber Performance in Containers

in HortScience

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is one of the most popular vegetable crops grown in U.S. home and urban gardens. The objectives of this study were to identify cultivars and planting densities for high yield of container-grown cucumbers. Additional objectives were to determine the value of field trials for predicting cucumber performance in containers and to evaluate different plant types (dwarf-determinate vs. tall-indeterminate, gynoecious vs. monoecious, pickling vs. slicing) for container use and disease severity across cultivars. Fourteen cultivars and breeding lines were tested at three planting densities in two seasons for yield, quality, and disease resistance in field and patio trials. Significant differences were detected for seasons, cultivars, and densities. Yields were highest in the spring season compared with the summer season, and the best performance was obtained using three plants per 12 L container. There was a high correlation between patio and field trials, allowing extension specialists to recommend cucumber cultivars with high yield, high quality, and disease resistance based on field trial data. Home gardeners who want space-saving, high-yielding cucumbers with tender skin should consider a dwarf-determinate, pickling type that is monoecious. With monoecious type, no pollenizer is needed, and the harvest will be spread over more weeks than would be for gynoecious types.

Contributor Notes

We gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance of Tammy L. Ellington.

Corresponding author. E-mail: tcwehner@gmail.com.

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    Patio cucumber trial using containers on a plastic mulch and drip irrigation at Horticultural Crops Research Station, Clinton, paired with field trial in the same location (not shown).

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