Harvesting your own cucumbers from the garden during the summer is satisfying, provided they look exactly how you imagined!
After consistently harvesting cucumbers this season, I came across several cucumbers that appeared fat and yellow. This sparked the question of why my cucumbers have grown like that and if there is something I have forgotten about.
After scouring the web, I have found a few reasons for this and have detailed them in this article for you.
Why Are My Cucumbers Yellow And Fat?
There are four main reasons for cucumbers to be yellow and fat, and that can be due to over-ripeness, over-watering, lacking nutrients, or disease.
Another reason could be due to the variety of cucumber that has been grown – yes, there are yellow varieties.
Before panicking about what you have done to cause your cucumbers to turn yellow, double-check the pack of seeds you have planted to ensure they are not a yellow variety.
Sadly, only a little can be done if the fruit has turned yellow, and they are usually not edible at this stage. If you have lost a whole harvest of cucumbers, you can save the seeds from the fruit and dry them out for the following year.
Take a look into some of the reasons why this might have happened and what you can do to prevent fat yellow cucumbers.
Ripened Cucumbers Turn Yellow
Cucumbers generally take some time to ripen and will ripen on the vine or after being harvested and left in the refrigerator.
The green color we recognize cucumbers by is made from the chlorophyll in their skin, and as they ripen, this pigment begins to fade, which causes the cucumber to turn yellow.
When cucumbers are over-ripened, they usually develop a bitter taste and become inedible.
Some cucumber growers do prefer to leave a few cucumbers on the vine for seed saving. As this is the most mature point of the cucumber’s life, the seeds inside have fully developed and can be dried and stored for the next season.
Harvest your cucumbers before they reach this point when the skin is dark green, and the fruit is firm. You can harvest cucumbers earlier than their expected size, and they will still be edible.
Overwatering Causes Fat Yellow Cucumbers
Although we associate cucumbers with being a watery fruit, you can run the risk of overwatering, and one of the signs can be that the fruit turns fat and yellow.
More often than not, the first sign of overwatering cucumbers is when you see yellow blemishes on the leaves of the vine.
Over-watering or irregular watering routines can cause the cucumbers to grow deformed. If you start to see yellow blemishes or spots on the cucumber leaves, hold off watering until the soil has dried out.
Cucumbers grow best with 1 inch of water per week when there is no rainfall; the best way to see if your plant lacks water is to check 2 inches deep in the soil to see if it is wet.
Cucumbers Lacking Nutrients Turn Yellow
Cucumbers are heavy feeders and need a boost of nutrients during their growing period. Without the proper nutrients, cucumbers won’t be able to reach their full size, and the fruit will turn yellow.
When planting cucumbers, use a balanced fertilizer or amend the soil with compost or organic matter. After the cucumber starts to bloom, you can add another dose of fertilizer; this can be in the form of a water-soluble type or granules.
Continue to fertilize the cucumbers every three weeks by applying them directly to the ground and around the plants. When applying fertilizer, ensure the fruits are not sitting in it or the fertilizer comes into contact with the fruit.
Diseases That Cause Cucumbers to Turn Yellow
A common disease called Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) will result in cucumbers turning yellow. This virus can be seen in the leaves in the early stages, and you will notice the leaves turn a mottled yellowy-brown color resembling a mosaic pattern.
The cucumber Mosaic virus is a pathogenic disease, so you can use a fungicide to treat it in the early stages. If the virus has got to the point where your fruits have turned yellow, then the only way to get there is to destroy the plant.
Keeping plants with viruses in your garden can cause havoc for your other crops. If you notice any viruses or diseases, you should eliminate them immediately by burning or taking them off the property.
Yellow Cucumber Varieties
Maybe your neighbor gave you some cucumber seeds to plant, or you picked up a batch of seedlings from the nursery without any names. Either way, there is a chance that you may actually be growing yellow cucumbers!
Some of the yellow cucumber varieties to look out for are:
- Lemon cucumbers – Naturally small and round with a similar appearance to a lemon. Yellow spikey skin and pale green flesh. Ready for harvest 60 days after planting and produce fruits up to the size of tennis balls.
- Apple cucumbers – Round small fruit with a pale yellowy green skin and white flesh. Ready to harvest 8-12 weeks after planting and sweet fruit grows to approximately 2.5 inches (6 cm).
- Chinese yellow cucumbers – Naturally orange-yellow-colored oval-shaped fruit when matured but starts green. Rare cultivar to find, but the fruit grows to 10 inches (25 cm) long.
- Dosakaya – A variety from India with a yellow rind with flecks of green and orange. The fruit reaches 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) long and is oval-shaped. They look like a small version of a stripy honey globe melon.
If you have been lucky to get your hands on any of these cultivars without realizing then there is no need to panic; your yellow cucumbers are still edible and are supposed to be like that.
One of the main ways to identify these cultivars is the shape- they are primarily oval or round (except for the Chinese yellow cucumber).
The most common reason cucumbers turn fat and yellow is due to their watering routine. You should correct improper watering, and the fruit should be harvested in the earlier stages to prevent the fruit from turning fat and yellow.
Other reasons, such as the Cucumber Mosaic Virus or lack of fertilizer, will be signified in the foliage before it reaches the fruit so that you can treat these problems in the early stages.