Descended from a vegetable that grows wild in the dry climate of the Middle East, the beit alpha was developed by breeders on an Israeli kibbutz. These small sweet-fleshed cucumbers were originally popular in the Mediterranean, spread to Europe and thence to the States. They don’t dehydrate easily, their thin skins don’t require peeling, they are almost completely burpless and have a long shelf life.
Cucumis sativus 1⁄16 oz packet sows 11 ft; 1 oz, about 180 ft. About 35 seeds/g; 1⁄16 oz packet avg 65 seeds, 1,000 seeds/oz.
Days to maturity are from direct seeding, except where noted.
Culture: May be started indoors for early production, or direct-seeded. Very tender, will not survive frost. Direct seed 3" apart thinning to 1' apart in rows 4-6' apart or 6 per mound in hills 4' apart thinning to 3 best plants. Transplant 1' apart in rows 4-6' apart. Cucumbers require good fertility and regular rain or irrigation for abundant yields. Without adequate water, fruits will be misshapen and bitter.
Combat striped cucumber beetles by handpicking early AM when the dew makes them sluggish, or use floating row covers, removing when cukes flower. Cucumber beetles are the vector for BW. Pick cukes frequently for best production, or else the plants shut down. Make sure to remove blimps to the compost pile.
Using compost in conjunction with row covers (rather than either alone) increased cucumber yields at the University of Michigan.
Parthenocarpic varieties (1214, 1239, 1380, 1392) can set fruit without being pollinated, an advantage in cold cloudy summers. Gynoecious varieties (1214, 1232, 1328) produce almost exclusively female flowers for uniformity and high yields.
Do not sow in cold soil. Minimum germination temperature 60°, optimal range 65–95°, optimal temperature 90°. Emergence takes 13 days at 59°, 6 days at 68°, 4 days at 77°.
- ALS: Alternaria Leaf Spot
- ANTH: Anthracnose
- BW: Bacterial Wilt
- CMV: Cucumber Mosaic Virus
- CVYV: Cucumber Vein Yellow Virus
- DM: Downy Mildew
- PM: Powdery Mildew
- PRSV: Papaya Ring Spot Virus
- R: Rust
- WMV: Watermelon Mosaic Virus
- ZYMV: Zucchini Yellows Mosaic Virus
Pest: Striped Cucumber Beetle
Cultural controls: use tolerant or resistant varieties, rotate crops, till under crop debris soon after harvest, use floating row covers until flowers appear, use plastic mulch, perimeter trap cropping (Black Zucchini and Blue Hubbard make particularly good trap crops), use yellow sticky strips, hand-pick early morning when beetles are very sluggish.
Materials: Surround, Pyrethrum (PyGanic), Mycotrol.