Pip Brains Trust

Question for the Pip Brains Trust? Email editorial@pipmagazine.com.au

My cucumber seedlings wilt every day in the hot sun. They come back to life every evening after a good water, but is this ideal? Should I have planted them somewhere shadier? [Nicole, Umina Beach, NSW]

When plants lose more water than they can take up from the soil, the pressure inside their cells is reduced which leads to wilting. Generally plants have stopped growing before wilting is visible and there is a point beyond which plants cannot recover. Cucurbits like pumpkin, zucchini and cucumber have large, broad leaves and it can be difficult to prevent them from wilting on hot days, even with good soil moisture, but they usually bounce right back as you’ve observed. It’s not ideal, but they will probably be fine. In hot weather, I give my cucurbit seedlings some partial shade (e.g. placing an old milk crate over the top) while they get established, and you may find they perform better in a position with some afternoon shade. [Kat]