Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Alas! Cucumbers Succumb To Bacterial Wilt

Bacterial Wilt is a serious problem for all cucumbers and squash-type plants.  It's spread by insects -- in this case, by the cucumber beetle.  Once Bacterial Wilt takes hold, things happen quickly.  I first noticed wilting of leaves when the plants had plenty of water.  All the leaves on a lateral stem wilted, followed by the entire vine. Some of the cucumbers were deformed and some of the later ones were bitter-tasting.

Like many plant diseases, there isn't much you can do to help plants that are already infected.  It's best to pull out all sickly vines and destroy them.  I'm not composting, in case stray cucumber beetles are lurking in the foliage that's not quite dead yet.  To prevent the disease, you have to control the cucumber beetle, and that's not easy, particularly for organic gardeners.

 (Photo: Pollinator via Wikimedia Commons)

These beetles are small, only about a quarter-inch long, and move quickly.  You can try floating row cover, but it must be removed for several hours a day to allow the flowers to be pollinated.  Contact insecticides will work, but must be applied frequently and can be toxic to pollinators.  I usually just call it a day when the Wilt strikes -- and we had a pretty good cucumber harvest this year. 

Next season, I will rotate my crops so I don't plant cucumbers in the same spot.  Maybe that will help!


  1. If that is the beetle, he's got quite a smart suit ;-)

  2. I like your blog title - it's a soil-conscious mantra! :)
    This post is very informative...I haven't had any experience with bacterial wilt on cucumbers but this will surely help me recognize it when I see one.

  3. Hey there.. thanks for this post.. Actually helped me to figure out what on earth has been going on with our cucumbers. We've got the prickly ones, not the English ones, and they've done really well, and yielded many, but the leaves have started wilting on one of the plants and one or two of the cucumbers were deformed and also some were bitter.

    Great blog! feel free to check out ours - I'm quite new to gardening, so we document it here: http://saya-green.blogspot.com

    Peace and love

  4. Thank you so much for this information. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what happened to my cucumbers. They took off like crazy and then suddenly died very quickly (like within a week). I watered more, stopped watering, gave miracle gro, and nothing worked. After seeing this post I was reminded that I have seen a bug very similar to this one just before it began to die, although his colors were more reddish than yellow.