If it is too late for this growing season, these simple steps will help you have great tomato and cucumber plants next spring; you will also enjoy a rich harvest.
The bad weather we had this growing season opened my eyes. I would never imagine that there is such an insane difference between plants one grows from seeds and between plants we buy at garden centers and nurseries.
It was raining for more than a month, and we did not have any single sunny day. My garden was practically immersed in water. I tried digging deeper ditches along the plant beds to make the rain water go away, but every time when it rained again, all plants were practically floating.
Fortunately, this soaking ended, but the next period came with extreme and intense heat which meant that plants were literally boiling in the hot soil that had become heavy and did not allow plants breathing since in such a soil there is hardly any space for oxygen.
I did what I could; helped plants as much as possible with loosening soil and adding dry soil here and there, but the scene did not look that pretty.
I discovered that tomatoes required simply replanting after shaving off the yellow leaves. It was quite late in the summer, but I noticed they did not mind. They recovered approximately after two weeks. The key is to disturb the root as little as possible. I use a big shovel and take the tomato plant over to a quite deep hole which I prepare in advance. I replanted some tomatoes in large pots. Every single one recovered once it was removed from the previous spot. Even that one recovered which I literally tore out because I was already tired with all this wilting and rotting, and my energy was getting low. I just put it in the closest empty spot and loosely covered with some soil. Whatever, I didn’t care. To my surprise, it started doing so well after a few weeks that I could not believe what I saw.
Cucumbers do not love replanting that much. They will die off anyway. The best we can do is to cut off all the damaged leaves and even damaged parts. I know it feels like we should preserve whatever we can, but if there are any signs of mildew, mold or other similar damage, just cut if off and see what happens. Most cucumbers recovered after a big struggle and efforts from my side.
The plants that seemed to be having no bad weather impact were the ones I had grown from seeds. I was under impression that it is safe to buy plants at garden centers just like we were frequently doing in Europe. That is not the case here in Canada. I can see now that they most likely push out the plant with all kinds of root boosters and fertilizers, so that when this in a controlled temperature and under controlled light kept plant gets out into the garden and in naturally rough conditions it has no way, but to get all plant diseases and suffer from sensitivity to heat, temperature change and intense sunlight. So, I suppose, this is bad news for garden centers: I will not buy any plants from garden centers and nurseries next year. It makes no sense, because all plants which I started from seeds were and still are doing fine: there is no mildew, rotting, wilting or any other issue with them.
We could compare such a plant with a child who has been watched closely and has grown up in a strictly controlled environment, sometimes even sterile: once this kid gets out in the real world with all its disasters and impacts, this kid will get diseases and become sick from any germs that are around and completely harmless to these who have developed immunity gradually. Gradually means being in touch with outdoors and indoors, with anything that comes along.
Therefore, my main observation is: if you want your cucumber, tomato and other plants to be strong, resistant to plant diseases and weather conditions, start them from seeds. The best is also to use seeds which haven’t been genetically modified or processed using chemicals. Naturally strong plants just like humans need everything natural, not enhanced, not improved, not overdone: just naturally beneficial.
One more observation for extremely diverse climate where temperatures can go from very low to very high rapidly or where long rain periods are followed by lots of exposure to direct sun: let the cucumber plants go wide and allow them expanding on the soil without putting them on trellis, strings that go up, I mean, do not raise them up vertically because they will have more chances to do great close to the ground; and the weather impact will be not that harsh.