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  • Writer's pictureHawaiʻi Seed Growers

The Costa Cucumber * A New Player In Town

THE ORIGINAL SEED from this unique variety was saved by one of our Hawai`i Network seed growers while farming in Costa Rica. Our Hawai`i Seed Growers Network has been trialing this seed in Hawai`i for several years and is excited to offer it to our gardeners in Hawai`i. It is a strong grower that has a good ability to fend off the Pickle Worm, better than any open pollinated cucumber varieties we have trialed to date.

Costa Cuke is very productive with good disease resistance and production and keeps on producing even when the vine is affected by mildew. The large fruits turn a russet-yellow on the vine quickly but don’t mistake this as over-ripeness, even at this stage they are wonderfully crisp, flavorful and will store for a long time in the refrigerator. These cucumbers are great for pickles, salads or cooked as a vegetable.

Trellis the robust vines or allow them to ramble on the ground, they will give you plenty of cukes when all the other varieties fail!

More about the Pickleworm (Diaphania nitidalis Cramer)

Pickleworm attacks all of the cucurbits (cucumber, zucchini, squash, pumpkin.) The plant will be healthy and vigorous; suddenly you will notice that the fruit has started to rot or that the stem has collapsed and the plant are dying. The adult form is a moth. The destructive larvae is light green with a red head. Pickleworm moths are active at night, particularly in the hours just after sundown. The moths have a wing span of about 3 cm and are brown with a light tan or yellowish section in the middle. Pickleworms feed on cucurbit flowers and fruit. You will see a small hole from which Fras is extruded. They may also attack the vines, causing the plant to wilt. (From Kendal Lyon, Hawaii Island Master Gardeners CTAHR publication).

Control of the Pickleworm. It is believed that the pickleworm entered Hawaii around 2003. Some home gardeners have more success when they plant in the fall rather than in the spring and summer when moth populations are highest. Spraying once a week with Bt (B. thuringiensis ), a naturally occurring pesticide, which is approved for use in organic systems goes a long way to keep this pest at bay, focus on the fuzzy growing points and developing fruits as this is where the moth tends to lay its eggs. Small holes in the fruits indicate the pickleworm has invaded but it is still possible to use the fruits if you catch the damage early and soak the fruits in water until the worm exists the hole and drowns.

(Click on the above image to Read more about the Pickle Worm)

Costa Cucumber Seed is NOW Available

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These are the best tasting, crispiest cucumbers I have ever grown. Unfortunately, I was only able to grow them once because I cannot control the pickleworm. Even this past fall the pickleworms were still a problem and was only able to get several cucumbers. I will try the Bt spray to see if that helps.

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