This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Now is a good time to plant out a number of plants in cold pits or frames for bearing up to the end of September. This, however, applies to the south, for in Scotland Cucumbers rarely do much good in cold frames. Top-dress those plants that have been in bearing for some time with rotten manure and loam, and water occasionally with liquid manure. Do not let those now in full bearing carry too heavy a crop at one time, or they will exhaust themselves. Cut off all deformed Cucumbers, stop the young growths at every joint, and keep thrips and red-spider down by the use of the syringe and tobacco-smoke.
Plants in full bearing require liberal treatment at this time of year. Water them frequently with liquid manure, and put fresh mulchings of manure on the bed. Examine the plants occasionally, and stop young growths. Thin out a portion of the old shoots, to be replaced with young fruit-bearing ones. Syringe freely at shutting-up time, and let the temperature run up to 85° or 90° for a time. Cut the Cucumbers as soon as fit for use, and thin off all malformed ones, so as to prevent the exhaustion of the plants.
Plants that have been in bearing since early spring, and that are somewhat exhausted, should now be partially cut back, removing all the oldest growths, and have a top-dressing of manure and loam in equal parts put on their roots. Keep them at 75° at night, and syringe freely when shut up at 90° on fine afternoons. Thus treated, they will soon recruit, and continue to bear till late autumn. Give plants in full bearing water sufficient to keep them fresh and crisp in all their parts. Regulate their growths, and stop at every point. About the middle of the month is a good time to sow for winter-bearing plants. It is desirable to get strong healthy plants while the days are long, and comparatively little artificial heat is required.
Add a little fresh top-dressing of manure to the border of any plants that show any signs of exhaustion. Keep up the same temperature recommended for Melons. If mildew appears, dust with sulphur, and keep the air a little drier for a time. Plants intended for winter bearing should be planted out by the end of the month: use a rather light rich soil, and not very much of it to begin with. Grow the plants on with a good supply of air and not a too high night temperature, so as to get the plants robust before short dull days arrive.
Keep up a genial growing atmosphere, not allowing the heat to sink below 70° or rise above 75° at night. Less moisture will be required in the soil and atmosphere as the days shorten and the sun loses power. At the same time, the plants must be supplied with sufficient to keep them fresh and in a growing condition. Thin out all growths that are crowding the trellis - leaving, of course, the youngest: stop them at every joint, and do not over-crop.
The days being now short and dull, the temperature at night should recede to 70° when mild, and 65° when cold, with a rise of a few degrees by day, especially when there is any sunshine. Water in the soil and moisture in the air must be regulated by the brightness or reverse of the weather. Give a little air on all fine days. Remove all deformed fruit, and do not allow the plants to bear many at once. Stop young shoots, and keep a look - out for thrip and greenfly, and keep them down by the usual means. If mildew appears, dust the affected parts with sulphur, and keep the air drier till it is conquered.
Strawberries in Pots. ' - These should no longer be exposed to heavy rains, and if possible should be plunged in cold frames where they will not get dry at the root, and need but little attention in the way of watering.
See last month's Calendar. Avoid, hard forcing in cold weather; and if a covering of canvas or frigidomo can be applied to the glass, so much the better. Keep the air moderately moist, and see that the soil does not become over-dry where close to hot pipes. Do not allow the plants to bear heavily at this dull season. Give more or less air every day. In mild weather keep the heat at 70°; when very cold, a few degrees less.
A few seeds should now be sown for planting out in February. Sow in the same way and temperature as recommended for Melons. The soil should be more light and friable than for Melons. Plants that have been bearing more or less all winter will now be benefited by a slight mulching of manure over their roots. See that they are kept free from insects, and remove all deformed Cucumbers that may appear. Keep the night-temperature about 70° when the nights are mild, and make the most of every blink of sun in bright days by closing the pit early.
Plant out those sown about Christmas. These should be placed in a light pit, with a good command of heat. The soil used should be rather light than otherwise, but rich; and instead of filling up the whole space allotted to the roots, begin with about half of it, and add to it as the roots extend. The same temperature named for Melons is sufficient. Sow some approved sort about the middle of the month.
Do not exceed 70° at night for the present month. Cucumbers do with more moisture at the root and in air than melons, and should never be allowed to become dry. If sudden bright sunshine succeeds a period of dull weather, it may be necessary to slightly shade the foliage for a time at mid-day, or the plants will flag and may get scorched. Stop the young growths at every joint, and thin off all deformed fruit, not letting the plants exhaust themselves by bearing over-many at a time. Keep a sharp look-out on thrip and greenfly, and keep them down by timely fumigation with tobacco, taking care that the plants are dry and not subject to too strong doses of smoke. It is better to use it moderately on two successive nights, than to give one strong dose. Sow and plant for successional crops.