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Old June 8, 2011   #1
organichris
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Default Cucumbers and Male Flowers

Man...my cucumbers vines have an abundance of female flowers, but very few males. Thus I have no cucumbers.

I seem to remember this being the case the first time I grew them a few years ago, or at least I remember it took a while before they started to make. (This is only my second time.) So my question is: is this normal so early in the season with certain varieties or what?

I plan on hand-pollinating them. In fact, I tried that this morning, but I don't know how it went. Very little, if any, visible pollen, and definitely not enough to go around.

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Old June 12, 2011   #2
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Well, despite the lack of male flowers I do have cucumbers now. Guess I was getting a bit impatient. Still wondering when they'll start putting on male flower, though. Because if they did, the trellis would be freaking loaded.
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Old June 12, 2011   #3
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I had the opposite happen with my cucumbers, an abundance of male flowers before I got any female flowers.
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Old June 12, 2011   #4
dipchip2000
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Chris

This is totally normal. Just this morning I went out and hand-pollinated a lot of female cukes and my Blacktail watermelons. Carefully pick off a male blossom and rub it on each female blossom face to face. I do this about every other day because of the lack of bees and other pollinators. Did this last year also with great results. One male flower seems to work to pollinate about 10 females. Make sure you determine which are male and which are female.
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Old June 12, 2011   #5
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I have also hand pollinated with great success, with many different varieties. I do prefer the varieties that dont need any help but with varieties such as Poona Kheera, I would like to think that my "help" has resulted in better production
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Old June 12, 2011   #6
rnewste
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"Make sure you determine which are male and which are female."

Ron,

OK, I will admit it - - I NEVER paid attention in High School Sex Ed Class.

I'm growing: Diva, Sweet Success, County Fair, and Straight 8.



How do I tell the Male from the Female flowers on these varieties?

thanks,

Raybo
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Old June 12, 2011   #7
dipchip2000
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Ray

The female flowers will have a small immature cucumber attached to backside of flower. If this flower is not pollinated just as in tomatoes, the blossom will drop off. The male flower has no such structure on back side of bloom. Look at 8 or 10 blooms and you will soon see the difference I describe. This is evident in Cucumbers, Squash, Watermelons, and Cantaloupe and maybe others I am not familiar with. Just learned this last year myself when growing Blacktail watermelons and had no bees to pollinate, so therefore I helped.
Check it out and you will see for yourself.



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Old June 12, 2011   #8
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Ron,

Thanks very much for the explanation. Now I get it.

In the photo above, ALL of the flowers I can see on these Sweet Success plants have the small immature cucumber attached. I can't find any flowers without the micro-cucumber.

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Old June 12, 2011   #9
Stepheninky
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Ray,

Most cucumbers are Monoecious, They have male and female flowers, then there are parthenocarpic cucumber varieties that do not need fertilization to produce fruit but there is also hybrids that are gynoecious varieties that are breed to be mostly female flowers with very few male flowers. These later ones are the most productive but need a monoecious variety near by to insure pollination. I currently have that issue with burpless bush hybrid as mine have all females and no male flowers. I also have no other cucumbers in flower to get pollen from due to the hail storm. Its loaded with at least 20 female flowers.

Diva and Sweet Success are parthenocarpic so no need to worry about hand pollination, all that will do is create seeds in a seedless fruit.

Anyways as for the original post about all male flowers this is normal, usually male flowers will be the first to form and bloom, this last about 1-2 weeks and then you should start seeing both on your plants.
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Old June 12, 2011   #10
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Wow!! Stephen, It looks like you DID pay attention in Sex Ed Class!

Thanks for explaining this to me.

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Old June 13, 2011   #11
organichris
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Yeah, the females have a pregnant belly. That's how I remember it. Although it sort of looks like a male organ.
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Old June 13, 2011   #12
organichris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stepheninky View Post
Ray,

Most cucumbers are Monoecious, They have male and female flowers, then there are parthenocarpic cucumber varieties that do not need fertilization to produce fruit but there is also hybrids that are gynoecious varieties that are breed to be mostly female flowers with very few male flowers. These later ones are the most productive but need a monoecious variety near by to insure pollination. I currently have that issue with burpless bush hybrid as mine have all females and no male flowers. I also have no other cucumbers in flower to get pollen from due to the hail storm. Its loaded with at least 20 female flowers.

Diva and Sweet Success are parthenocarpic so no need to worry about hand pollination, all that will do is create seeds in a seedless fruit.

Anyways as for the original post about all male flowers this is normal, usually male flowers will be the first to form and bloom, this last about 1-2 weeks and then you should start seeing both on your plants.
Okay here's a stupid question: What does "burpless" mean? I couldn't help but wonder that when I belched up that cucumber taste in my mouth yesterday.


Last edited by organichris; June 13, 2011 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Grammar
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Old June 13, 2011   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by organichris View Post
Okay here's a stupid question: What does "burpless" mean? I couldn't help but wonder that when I belched up that cucumber taste in my mouth yesterday.

Burpless just means they have less of the cucurbitacins (the bitter sweet chemicals that is are cucumbers), Burpless varieties have a lower amount of the chemical that's all so they are less likely to make you burp that taste.

Armenian Cucumbers ( aka Snake melon and many other names) is a melon that taste like a cucumber, but since it is a melon it has no cucurbitacins chemicals at all. So if you are really sensitive to the burping that might be the best one for you.

Also remember a burp is trapped gas either it is swallowed along with your food as in air. Think soda pop as it is carbonated as an example and it makes you burp. Then there are foods that produce gas after eating cucumbers and cabbage are two examples. Most important though is remember its better out the top than out the bottom lol
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Last edited by Stepheninky; June 14, 2011 at 12:06 AM.
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Old June 14, 2011   #14
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The source I used to look up the name was incorrect

it should read cucurbitacins which I will correct above.

here is the link to the source where the misinformation was contained.

http://www.ask.com/questions-about/W...-Make-You-Burp

Sorry was tired from work and should have double checked it myself
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Old June 14, 2011   #15
organichris
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So it really means what one would think it to mean. My Beit Alpha cukes are definitely not burpless. The flavor is strong the first and second times.

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