Race against time

Bitten cukeThis is just insulting. It’s like a perfect little six-inch-high human came and took a bite out of a developing cucumber. What is that about?

I’ve left the bitten-up vegetable on the vine, hoping that perhaps it will draw the pest away from the other cukes-in-progress. I understand that this is wishful thinking, that if the animal in question had wanted the whole cucumber, they could have easily taken it the first time, but they didn’t, and so maybe they will now, and this is my first garden, and I refuse to be taken in by your “standard garden logic.” That’s so old-school.

Pretty but unwelcome

The growing cucumbers are becoming all the more valuable because of the war I’ve discovered I’m in with the cucumber beetles. A few weeks back, I took a picture of a bug I thought was cool. Well, a little Internet research proves the truth: not cool. Not cool at all.

I saw this guy’s cousin yesterday morning. The other cucumber beetle had a lovely polka dot pattern rather than stripes, but the coloring was the same, and the dotted beetle was also on the cucumber plant.

At least now I know why this is happening to the cucumber leaves:

Diseased cucumber leaf

It’s become a race against time: will the plant outlive the pests or will the pests kill it before it stops producing? And will the biter strike again?


15 Responses to “Race against time”

  1. 1 kalyn July 20, 2006 at 7:10 am

    I haven’t seen those cucumber beetles. but my basil is still being eaten (even after I resorted to poisoning the snails). Sorry to hear it. BTW, and for what it’s worth, I think when a leaf dies like that you should cut it off so the plant can send it’s energy to the healthy parts. Just my theory and completely unscientific, so maybe it just makes me feel I’m helping the plant!

  2. 2 steven July 20, 2006 at 8:03 am

    I’ve been battling the damn cucumber beetles all summer so you have my sympathy. As for the gnome that’s chomping your veggies, well you need some sort of rabbit fencing or something that moves in the wind like an throw-away aluminum pie pan on string to scare them off. Killlll the waaaaabbit!

  3. 3 Tracy July 20, 2006 at 9:26 am

    Cucumbers are about the most forgiving plant there is. I’ve entered September with basically no leaves due to some sort of wilt, but the plant is still gamely pushing out cucumbers. Pull off the bad leaves, drown the critters, and you should keep harvesting, at least for awhile.

  4. 4 Nancy July 20, 2006 at 10:01 am

    Kalyn – Blue Jays are eating my basil.

  5. 5 Judith July 20, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    This is a companion planting idea that might be more help to you next year than right now. I use it and have never had cucumber beetles (fingers crossed): Plant a couple icicle radishes with each hill of cucumbers and let the radishes grow and go to seed.

  6. 6 colesedwards July 20, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    My mom was such a gardener. She had a beautiful city patio one she designed with flag stones and a small pond. She has been gone now, this winter 8 years. She would so totally love your pictures and passion. It truly is about the little things in life. Your blog does remind everyone of that so well. I got to thinking about it cause your pesky beetles are so pretty. Pesky, but so pretty.

  7. 7 inadvertentgardener July 22, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    Kalyn, I have been trimming leaves as I go — I had kind of the same idea you did, although I have no idea whether it’s supported by horticultural research.

    Steven, I love the idea of the aluminum pan — that’s hilarious! And so simple!

    Tracy, forgiving plants are my favorite kind…

    Nancy, I had no idea blue jays were basil-lovers. Interesting what I’ve learned this year…

    Judith, thank you for the co-planting idea — I’ll put that on the list for next year, definitely.

    Coles, I love that you came by and posted this. I agree with you — even the pesty bugs are so interesting to look at and photograph and examine. I’m not a big bug girl, but they just hang out on the plants, uninterested in the woman with the camera when there are leaves to munch! Perfect viewing.

  8. 8 Lex August 1, 2006 at 8:10 am

    Try this:


    Lots of organic control methods there.

    I’ve been liquifying 5 cloves of garlic, 1 Habanero pepper, 6-8 radishes, 1 tsp of Neem powder, and a couple drops of dish soap in 16 ozs of water… sometimes less water. Let’s just say the cuke bettles are saying,


  9. 9 Lex August 1, 2006 at 8:16 am

    oh… and the nibbling that I have seen on my cukes themselves has been terminated as well. I’m betting birds and bunnies are not partial to the spicy habanero. One lick does the trick :)

    BTW, be very careful when handling these hot peppers. When spraying, do NOT spray into the wind. Breath carefully. It IS pepper spray.

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener August 1, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    Lex, thanks for the advice–and the warning–good call on that. It’s an interesting combo — I might just try that out!

  11. 11 Sandip Patel April 9, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    why cucumber plant is intersting ?

  12. 13 self defense September 23, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Hi, I desire to subscribe for this website to take most up-to-date updates, thus where can i do it
    please assist.

  1. 1 The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on July 22, 2006 at 5:40 pm
  2. 2 The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on August 7, 2006 at 12:52 pm

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