Cantaloupes and Cucumbers Growing Together

Q.  I have just started my first veggie and fruit garden this year and unfortunatly I guess I underestimated the spacing needed for the plants. What can I do, if anything, about my cantaloupes growing onto my cucumber hill. (I planted way too many cantaloupes) Should I pull some up so that the cucumbers have room to grow, or can they just intertwine?? I am just really worried about the cantaloupes smothering out the cucumbers. Help??

A.  If you can, put 8′-tall stakes near all your plants, then tie your plants to the stakes and have them grow UP, instead of OUT.  Do this for both cucumbers and cantaloupe.  You can have many more plants in the same space this way.  You’ll need to place nails in the stakes every 6″ or so, to hold the plants up.

You will also need to prune some of your stems, so you don’t have so many.  Don’t worry this is a positive thing for the plants, and for your harvest.  Too much greenery reduces your harvest.

Once you have done the initial pruning and staking I recommend you prune off the sucker stems that continue to try and grow.  Let the sucker stem grow to the first female blossom and leaf.  Remove the stem beyond that point.  This will assure you receive the maximum fruit in the least space.

Pruning Vining Cucumber Plants – Important? How To Do It

Q.  We are being inundated with vines on our Cucumber vertical growing attempt.  I put up some more strings for climbing, however, I don’t think that is the solution.

If it was tomatoes, I would just snip them off, as I have successfully done that this year, with no apparent harm to the plant. However, I do not have much information on the cucumbers.

A.  Cucumber vines should be pruned when growing vertically.  They produce a sucker stem at each leaf node, similar to tomatoes.  However, you DO NOT take out the sucker stem right at the main stem, but instead you let it grow to the first leaf.  There will be a leaf and a tiny cucumber forming, and then a continuation of the stem.  Take the stem off after the leaf and new cucumber.

For plants that have not been pruned I can’t advise accurately without seeing them, but I would personally prune them back to something manageable using the procedures I discuss in the previous paragraph.

Jim Kennard