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  • Author or Editor: Todd C. Wehner x
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Burpless cucumbers are listed in many seed catalogs as being milder in taste (or easier on the digestion) than the american slicing type. It has been suggested by researchers that burpless cucumbers 1) contain less of a burp-causing compound, 2) are genetically bitterfree, or 3) are just the marketing term for oriental trellis cucumbers sold in the U.S. The objective of this experiment was to determine whether oriental trellis cucumbers cause less burping when eaten, and whether they are genetically bitterfree. An american slicer (`Marketmore 76'), a bitterfree slicer (`Marketmore 80'), and a burpless oriental trellis slicer (`Tasty Bright') were compared. Burpiness of the fruit was determined in the field in two seasons (spring and summer) and two replications. Six judges were grouped into burp-susceptible and burp-resistant. They evaluated the cultivars over two harvests by eating a 4-inch (100-mm) length of one fruit of the three cultivars (in random order) on three consecutive days. Burpiness was rated 0 to 9 (0 = none, 1 to 3 = slight, 4 to 6 = moderate, 7 to 9 = severe). Bitterness of the plants was determined (using different judges) by tasting one cotyledon of six seedlings per cultivar. Cotyledon bitterness is an indicator of plant bitterness; bitterfree plants lack cucurbitacins, and have mild-tasting fruit. Results of taste tests indicated that burpiness ratings were not significantly differentfor burp resistant judges. However, oriental trellis cucumbers were slightly but significantly milder than american slicers for judges susceptible to burping. `Marketmore 76' and `Tasty Bright' were normal-bitter, and `Marketmore 80' was bitterfree. An additional 11 oriental trellis cultivars were also tested for bitterness to determine whether Tasty Bright was typical in bitterness; they were all normal-bitter. In conclusion, oriental trellis cucumbers are not bitterfree, but are slightly milder for burp-susceptible people to eat. Finally, burpless is the marketing term for oriental trellis cucumbers in the United States.

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Monoecious cucumber (Cucumis sativus) plants generally produce enough pollen for fruit set. The amount of pollen required for fruit set depends on the number of pistillate flowers produced by the cultivar. ‘NC-Sunshine’ is a new monoecious slicing hybrid cucumber with a high percentage of pistillate nodes. Because of the high percentage of pistillate nodes, a pollenizer might be required to maximize pollination to get high total and early yield. Hence, an experiment was conducted at three locations to evaluate the effect of the pollenizer ‘Poinsett 76’ on yield of ‘NC-Sunshine’ compared with no pollenizer ‘Gray Zucchini’ squash (Cucurbita pepo). Differences (P ≥ 0.05) due to pollenizer, location, and the interaction of pollenizer and location on ‘NC-Sunshine’ yield traits were detected. Pollenizer influenced cucumber yield at two of three locations. Results indicated that the pollenizer ‘Poinsett 76’ significantly increased total, marketable, and early yield of ‘NC-Sunshine’. The percentage of early and marketable yield was also higher with the pollenizer ‘Poinsett 76’. In addition, the use of a pollenizer decreased cull yield. Therefore, a pollenizer is needed for monoecious hybrids having a high percentage of pistillate nodes.

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Eighteen cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) cultivars (15 oriental trellis and three standard American slicers) were grown on trellis and flat-bed production systems during the spring and summer seasons of 1995. Vine, flower, fruit quality, keeping ability, and yield traits were measured. Vine length, incidence of powdery mildew, fruit shape, fruit quality, fruit firmness, yield of Fancy plus No. 1 grade slicer fruits, marketable yield, and percentage of culled fruits were all higher when cultivars were grown on trellis support. Anthracnose damage, fruit length, fruit diameter, average fruit mass, fruit color, overall impression, fruit shriveling, seedcell size, branch number, percentage of staminate nodes, and total yield were not significantly affected by production system. The best cultivars for marketable yield (mass of Fancy, No. 1 and 2 grade slicers) were `Summer Top', `Tasty Bright', and `Sprint 440' on trellis support and `Sprint 440' and `Poinsett 76' on flat bed. The cultivars with the best fruit quality were `Tasty Bright', `Summer Top', and `Sprint 440' on trellis and `Poinsett 76', `Sprint 440', and `Tasty Bright' on flat bed. The best cultivars overall on the trellis production system were `Sprint 440', `Summer Top', `Tasty Bright', and `89-211', and the worst were `Sky Horse', `Hongzhou Green 55', and `Fengyan'. The best cultivars overall on the flat bed were `Poinsett 76', `Sprint 440', and `89-211', while the worst cultivars were `Sky Horse' and `Hongzhou Green 55'.

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The use of a previously developed model for predicting harvest date in cucumber production systems is described. In previous research we developed a new method using daily maximum temperatures in heat units to predict cucumber harvest dates. This method sums, from planting to harvest, the daily maximum minus a base temperature of 60F (15.5 C), but if the maximum is >90F (32C) it is replaced by 90F minus the difference between the maximum and 90F. This method was more accurate than counting days to harvest in predicting cucumber harvest in North Carolina, even when harvest was predicted using 5 years of experience for a particular location and planting date.

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The construction of a single-fruit seed extractor for cucumber is described. It increases the speed and ease of removing seeds from individual, mature cucumbers for later drying and planting. The machine saves about 47 seconds/fruit compared to hand methods and is suited to handling single fruit (or batches of up to 50) by researchers needing seeds from controlled pollinations. In 5 years of use, no reduction in seed recovery or germination has been observed using the seed extractor relative to hand harvest.

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Yield data for the major cucurbit crops in the United States have been collected and summarized. Yield trends are presented for cucumber (Cucumis sativus; processing and fresh-market), melon (Cucumis melo; muskmelon and honeydew), and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) for the period 1951–2005. Data have been obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as originally reported by six of its units: Agricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Economic Statistics Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and Statistical Reporting Service. For all crops yields have been increasing over time, except for processing cucumber, for which yields seem to have reached a plateau by the end of the 1990s.

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Salted and sweet watermelon rind pickles are commonly produced in North America, Europe, and Asia using traditional recipes. Homeowners and small industries use the leftover watermelon crop, especially from cultivars having thick and crisp rind, to produce pickles. Recently, we classified rind thickness for a set of obsolete and heirloom cultivars used by home gardeners and heirloom collectors in the United States. In this study, we used elite cultivars for growers interested in high yield, fruit quality, adaptability, and disease resistance. The objective of this study was to classify modern cultivars (nine inbreds and 103 F1 hybrids) of watermelons available to growers for use in production of watermelon rind pickles. Based on the data, cultivars were divided into three groups of rind thickness and categorized according to pedigree (inbred or F1 hybrid), fruit type (seeded or seedless), and flesh color (red, orange, or yellow). Most of the cultivars tested (109 of 112) had rind thicker than 10 mm and could be used for pickle production.

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