The cucumbers got off to a flying start this year, which I was rather hoping for - growing the variety Flamingo F1. This is an all-female type, good in low light and suitable for pots, grow-bags or borders and resistant to powdery mildew, in other words, as cucumbers go, afraid only of kryptonite (apologies to anyone who missed Superman as they were growing up).
Last week, just before going away for a few days, each of the four plants had a couple, at least, of well-developing cucumbers and looked very healthy. I gave the greenhouse beds a good soaking and went away in happy expectation. On return I saw one plant so well-wilted I thought it was a goner, another looking a bit sick and the other two touch and go. The sickest plant had some part-healed damage at the base of the stem.
I will confess to having a plant-it and "wish for the best" approach to growing cucumbers, I don't maintain anything like the recommended level of heat in the greenhouse (supposedly about 20C, I keep it above 5C). I usually get away with it, even winning show prizes, I'm still hoping that Flamingo will let me get away with my easy-going approach this year also.
So, why the pickle? Well, I stripped off all the cucumbers which were on their way, sliced them and dropped them in a jar of vinegar - waste not, want not. Then I cut off all the wilted leaves and took some cuttings, which I'm hoping will root, from the two healthiest ones. Oh, and double insurance, I bought two more cucumber plants at the plant sale at the village pub on Saturday.
So, fingers crossed and here's to pickled gherkins.