In all the years we’ve been growing fruit and veg, about 10 now I reckon, we’ve never had much success growing tomatoes and cucumbers in the same greenhouse. We tend to get either an amazing crop of cucumbers, or an amazing crop of tomatoes, but never both in the same year. Last year was all about the tomatoes whilst our cucumbers, which started off pretty well, gave up the ghost and wilted. By preference, we’d always prefer more toms – but a nice bit of cucumber for a summer salad would certainly go down a treat.
Most of the gardening books, of which there are a great many, say that the two should be grown in separate greenhouses. Great, if you have two greenhouses. The theory is that cucumbers love a climate that is moist, warm and damp. Tomatoes, however, like things a little cooler and less humid. These conditions also help fend off some of the nasties that each is prone to. Red Spider Mite (enemy of cucumber) is best controlled by a moist or humid atmosphere which stops it spinning its nasty little webs, whilst a cooler and airier atmosphere helps fend off blight and other fungal diseases that are out to get the toms.
So, given that most of us don’t have access to two greenhouses – much as we might like, what do you do if you want to grow the two together? In his book, The new complete book of self-sufficiency , smallholding guru, John Seymour, has the most sensible advice. He says:
“keep your house to suit tomatoes and let the cucumbers take pot luck and do the best they can.”
This seems pretty smart to me – but I’d still like to try and get the most from both crops this year if we can. Previously, our cucumbers have always lived in growbags next to the door. This year I’m going to try planting them out in a tin bath, which should heat ’em up a bit, and treat them to an extra bit of a spray with the hose when watering, and see how that goes. Any other tips much appreciated!