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Melisa Crane and Todd Wehner

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is one of the most popular vegetables grown in U.S. home gardens. The objectives of this study were to identify suitable cultivars and proper plant density for use with container-grown cucumber. Additional objectives were to determine the value of field trials for predicting cucumber performance in containers, and to evaluate different plant types (dwarf vs. tall, gynoecious vs. monoecious, pickling vs. slicing) for container use. Fourteen cultivars and breeding lines were tested at three densities in two seasons using a randomized complete-block design with six replications. Pickling cucumbers were M 21, M 27, NC-74, `NC-Danbury', `NC-Dixon', `Sumter', `Vlaspik', and `Picklebush'. Slicing cucumbers were `Bush Whopper II', `Spacemaster 80', `Bush Champion', `Marketmore 76', `Dasher II', and `Cherokee 7'. Plant densities were one, two, or three plants per container. For both the spring and summer container trials, there were corresponding field trials run at the same time for comparison. Best performance was obtained using three plants per container, or 4 L of soil volume per plant. There was a strong, significant correlation between patio and field trials, permitting gardeners to choose cucumber cultivars with high yield, high quality, and disease resistance using data from field trials. Pickling-type cucumbers have thinner skin than slicing-type cucumbers that were bred for shipping. Gynoecious types must be planted with monoecious cultivars to assure fruit set. Monoecious types can self-pollinate, and have the additional advantage of longer harvest period. Thus, home gardeners may want dwarf, monoecious, pickling types for best performance in containers. The best cultivar of that type was `NC-Danbury'.

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Melisa Crane, Todd C. Wehner and Rachel P. Naegele

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.