I noticed that some of my cucumber flowers yield a cucumber, while others don’t. Am I doing something wrong?
The cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is an annual vine whose fruit has two primary uses. Some varieties are grown for fresh eating and others for pickling. The cucumber is in the Cucurbita family that also includes squash, pumpkins and melons. This family is made up of warm-season crops and will not tolerate temperatures below 32 degrees. They actually prefer air temperatures above 70 degrees and soil temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees. 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water a week is suggested for maximum production plus supplemental fertilizations when the vines first begin to run and when blossoms set. Cucumbers need plenty of room to grow, taking 10 to 20 square feet of ground area so you might want to consider a trellis. They can sometimes be reluctant climbers, so heavy twine might be needed to secure the plant.
Most cucumber plants are monoecious meaning that they produce both male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers usually precede the female flowers and at that time no pollination takes place. Since pollination must occur to produce fruit and the male flowers are not pollinated, only female flowers can bear fruit. Some varieties of cucumbers are gynoecious and produce all female flowers and are largely self-pollinating. If you buy seeds for a gynoecious variety, the seed company might supply a few colored seeds (for easy identification) that produce male flowers. Include one of these plants in each row to assure good pollination. Many times gynoecious varieties will out-produce all others because every flower has the potential of becoming a fruit.
So there is nothing to be concerned about – you are doing nothing wrong. Actually, by being aware enough to notice the habit of your plants, you are doing a great job of keeping ahead of potential problems.