c August 2018 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

A Tale of Mini Cucumbers and Supermarket Compost

mini cucumber variety mini munch cucino thompson and morgan
The Summer of 2018 is one that will live long in my gardening memory. Extreme heat, endless sunny days, empty water butts, an abundance of garden birds and the promise of rain that never seems to arrive. But mostly I will remember the mini cucumbers I grew from seed, or rather the the cucumber plants that would grow no more.

Last year I grew very little in the way of vegetables, having been poorly for many months. However, I did buy some mini cucumber seedlings from a garden centre which grew very well and supplied plenty of juicy fruits.  Which encouraged me this year to grow my own from seed, I have previously grown plenty of standard cucumbers from seed. 

The varieties I had selected were both Thompson & Morgan mini cucumbers, Mini Munch and Cucino.  All my seeds successfully germinated. As the plants grew well it was time for them to be potted on. Now this is where I think things went wrong.  Not having enough compost to pot on all the seedlings,  I visited the supermarket later that day, my sister pointed out the compost was on offer. You know the type 2 bags for £5 or thereabouts, so yes why not. 
growing mini cucumber seedlings success failure
The Cucino Cucumber (left) Mini Munch Cucumber failure (right
grow your own cucumber failure
Mini Munch variety, stunted growth
All my seedlings were potted on with two of them (mini munch) using the new compost I had just purchased.  As the weeks passed my seedlings were growing well, the plants put on extra leaves and their tendrils were clambering for support, so most of them were staked. Except for 2 plants, where everything seemed to be growing all in the top of the plant, clumped together. Something certainly was not right, I could not blame the pack of seeds, they all germinated and the rest of the plants have grown well. All plants were in the same environment, received warmth and watering the only difference...the compost in the 2 stunted plants.  Could the compost really be the cause of this problem? It is the only variant I can isolate from all the other healthy plants. When I emptied the pot, the root system was certainly less well developed than the other plants.

mini cucumber mini munch variety
Mini Munch variety currently growing well and fruiting

So my gardening friends can you help.  Have you encountered this problem with mini cucumbers, particularly Cucino? Or have you had this problem with supermarket compost?

There's one thing for sure, there is always something new to learn about gardening, and our failures only help to make us better gardeners.

Cucumber Mini Munch variety
Cucumber Mini Munch variety
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