Re-Training a Grumpy Cucumber Plant

I’ve characterized my cucumber plant as grumpy and he has every right to be so. Just like with my yellow squash plants, I planted two cucumber plants in my raised bed garden next to the tomato plants that are growing like crazy. Since the cucumber was a bit slower to mature from seed than the tomato transplants, he drew the short straw and had to be moved.

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Our crazy, honey-badger-don’t-give-a-shit tomato plants.

I totally ignored the instructions on the packet and thought that five large plants would thrive next to each other in 8 square feet of raised bed garden space.  I don’t think anyone’s that good at gardening… least of all someone who is trying a raised bed garden for the first time!

In my defense, I don’t think anyone could have guessed that our tomato plants would be doing as well as they are. But even if they were growing normally, it was still too much plant in too little space.

So, I uprooted the poor dude and put him in a fresh pot with freshly sifted compost. Poor guy did not like it and he let it be known! He was wilt-y for two days. So much so that I was concerned he wouldn’t come back. I’d timed the transplant well, it rained the very next day. There’s nothing like fresh rainwater, free of city additives, to make a plant thrive in its new spot. But it was such a downpour that it only served to pummel the soft and wilted cucumber leaves into the soil.

To my surprise he did come back after all of the abuse. Also to my delight he started to show that he was indeed a climbing cucumber like I had hoped. Brian received some free seeds from a co-worker and the package did not specify if it was a mounding cucumber or a climbing cucumber plant. The fear that it was a mounding cucumber plant also made me anxious to move that cucumber out of there for everyone’s well-being.

At any rate, I let him grow in his new pot a few more weeks in peace hoping that his tendrils would wrap around the fence boards on their own. However, as contrary as he is, he found a low lying branch coming through our fence to grab onto. Doing my usual rounds in the garden I noticed that he was definitely grappling downward and not forming an upward trajectory.

I got my green garden hemp, some left over nails, a hammer and my knife out and decided we were well overdue for some trellis training. In looking at it now, I think the cucumber climbing upward will visually balance out the crazed tomatoes.


I unfurled his little curly-cue tendril and gently wrapped it around his new bare-bones trellis that I made him.

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Naturally, he was so upset to be manhandled again that he wouldn’t even look in my direction! He’s going to be high-maintenance, I can just tell.

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