Deformed cucumbers, unfortunately, are not uncommon when you have a cucumber garden. If you grow cucumbers every year, you will likely see many different shapes and sizes; not all look like they should be typical cucumber shapes. Round cucumbers are a very common shape in a cucumber garden, but what causes it?
Round cucumbers indicate a change in growing conditions or deficiencies. Whether it was how much water was available, the temperature outside, or what nutrients were in your soil (or lack of) all can determine how a cucumber grows.
If you would like more answers and more details on why round cucumbers are growing in your garden, you are welcome to stick around.
Reasons Why Cucumbers Grow Round
What it comes down to is plant stress. Stress is the reason a cucumber plant is not producing those perfectly straight, long cucumbers expected out of a cucumber garden. But what causes a cucumber plant’s stress? Here are your top answers.
- Diseases like the mosaic virus and Alternaria leaf spot cause a lot of stress to the plant. These viruses will affect the whole plant but show symptoms on the leaves and eventually on the cucumbers themselves.
- Pests of all different kinds can cause great stress to cucumber plants. Cucumber beetles and aphids are very common for cucumbers. While they may not completely destroy your plant (right away), they will confuse the plant on where to send food and energy, leaving your cucumbers looking deformed.
- Cucumber plants need to be properly pollinated to produce healthy cucumbers or start producing at all.
Lack of Nutrition
- Cucumbers need lots of phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and magnesium to grow properly. Without these, or with a lack of these, cucumbers won’t be able to have the strength or food to grow correctly.
- 70-90 is an ideal temperature for cucumbers to grow. They can survive temps above or below that range for only a few days before the fruit starts looking very deformed or even rotting. If it is too hot or freezing, cucumbers will die.
- Believe it or not, you may just have a cucumber variety that is supposed to grow in a more circular or oval shape. Lemon cucumbers are the most popular round cucumber.
How To Avoid Round Cucumbers
Although it isn’t the end of the world to have round cucumbers, it’s not exactly what everybody expects when they have a cucumber garden. Plus, it is nice to have those perfectly straight and long cucumbers to eat and show off. Read these tips if you would like to avoid getting round cucumbers in your garden.
- Disease may happen whether you want it to or not. Sometimes you can pick up diseases from the soil you buy, or a bug carried it. Unfortunately, cucumber diseases aren’t treatable a lot of the time, so it is best to take precautionary measures. Get your soil from a trusted source. Try to plant from seed if you can. Rotate your crops every year. Clean your garden tools.
- Bugs are inevitable. It is better to keep the mindset that bugs will come no matter what, but that’s okay! Pest control can be simple and effective if you keep on top of it. My favorite method is the vinegar method. It involves 1 cup of vinegar to 3 cups of water.
- You can also drop a few drops of liquid dish soap or oil in this mixture. Put everything in a spray bottle and spray your plants once a day to keep pests off. It works wonderfully. For bugs like beetles and ants, putting down Diatomaceous Earth and Neem oil is a great way to go about that problem.
- To make sure everything gets properly pollinated, you need to have bees and birds. The wind may also help you. A helpful garden tip is to always plant herbs and wildflowers around your garden to ensure the bees are birds are coming around.
- You can also try the hand pollination method. If you don’t have faith in nature taking its course, take a q-tip to a male cucumber flower, rub it around, then with the same q-tip, rub it around a female flower. Do this often, and as soon as you see flowers start to come up.
- Fertilizer is the best way to know that you have at least something going on in your soil. Before you plant anything, put down a good fertilizer that has all the nutrients you need to grow cucumbers. If it seems to be looking a little peckish or dull along with the plant’s life, a liquid feed is a great way to add extra nutrients.
- Sadly, the weather is something that is way out of our hands. But checking weather maps religiously can save your garden. Cucumbers are a summer crop, so plant them as such and make sure they are in the ground for the heat of the summer.
- If a sudden cold snap is coming through (anything below 65), you can cover your plants with plastic, mesh, paper bags, etc., to try and keep the heat in. If very hot weather is coming through (anything above 90), water your plants at least once a day and try to keep the ground moist. It also helps if you have planted your cucumbers in a partially shaded area ahead of time.
Are Round Cucumbers Okay To Eat?
Luckily, if you have come to the end of your harvest and you have a bucket full of round or wonky shaped cucumbers, they are still very good to eat! Don’t let them go to waste; chop them up and serve them how you would serve a normal cucumber.
Although round cucumbers can be an eyesore, they aren’t the end of the world. They may be telling us that something else is going on with the garden, like a disease, pests, or poor pollinators. Don’t throw the deformed cucumbers out either! They will taste just fine, and no one will know they were deformed once they’re all chopped up. Happy gardening!
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!