An Easy Way to Protect Cucumbers and Cantaloupes from Belly Rot
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Having problems with fruit rot in your cucumber and cantaloupes? It's no wonder. Given our wetter than usual gardening conditions this season, a lot of otherwise edible cucumbers and cantaloupes have been lost to belly rot. And, this disease doesn't take long to ruin otherwise good quality cucumbers and cantaloupes.
Belly rot is a fungus problem which shows up when moisture collects on the "belly" of the fruit, and is most often a problem following rainy periods, so anything that will keep the bottom-side of cucumber and cantaloupe fruits dry will help reduce the rot problem.
One approach that has been used successfully placement of discarded egg crating or fruit crating material beneath cucumbers or cantaloupes. Crating material can be cut down to the appropriate size and placed under the fruit while they're still small and less susceptible to infection by the belly rot fungus.
The crating should be placed so that fruits are cradled, thus insuring faster drying following rainfall. Plastic foam crating will also work, but remember to remove these following the gardening season, since Mother Nature won't break down this material. Other materials can be used, just as long as they provide a barrier to promote a little "breathing room" beneath the bottom of fruits and the soil.
What about chemicals for control of the problem? Fungicides don't work too well, so give soil barriers a try. And, keep your fingers crossed for weather conditions more favorable for home vegetable gardening.
Infobytes newsletter was written by the late Dr. Frank Killebrew, Extension Specialist.