Bitter Cucumbers

Garden Clock

By Pauline Keegan

What causes my cucumbers to taste bitter?

Bitterness is associated with the formation of the alkaloid curbing. High temperature, low moisture, low fertility or foliage disease can contribute to bitterness. Once a plant produces bitter fruit, remove it from the garden, because all subsequent fruit will be affected similarly.

Do melons cross pollinate?

Melons can cross pollinate, but the results will not be evident until the next generation. You can save your seeds for next year. If you plant them there will be some surprises. You may choose to be surprised.

I finished harvesting asparagus in late spring. What should I do about the spears that are left? Can they be cut off?

Allow the leftover spears to develop into ferns. Occasional fertilizing and adequate moisture will help the plants develop sufficient top growth while they store nutrients for next year’s crop.

What is that irridescent bug on my roses?

If you have not met this bug by now, it is the infamous Japanese beetle. It devours roses and many other flowering plants. You can spray with Sevin. You can shake them in a bucket of soapy water early in the morning (they sleep late). You can hang up a trap. Just be sure it is at least five feet from the plant that is being attacked.

My tomatoes are turning yellow on the top, can I save them?

Your tomatoes are suffering from sun scald. They likely have spotted wilt virus. Try spraying with Seconal if at least parts are not rotted.

Can I use sugar from corn in the hummingbird feeder?

It is safe to use almost any sugar in the hummingbird feeder. It is important to keep the feeder clean and the water fresh.

There is powdery mildew on my dogwood, how can I save my tree?

Spray your dogwood with Daconil being sure to get the affected parts. Be sure the tree gets sufficient water, especially during the hot days of summer.

Send your gardening and landscaping questions and tips to Washington County Master Gardeners, 2536 B, McConnell Ave., Fayetteville, 72704 or call 444-1755. Comment at

Categories: Commentary