This summer and early fall season has given Southern Ontario hot days with minimal relief in the night temperatures. While these weather conditions are not typically hoped for, the extra warm climate has provided Rijk Zwaan's new greenhouse varieties an excellent testing environment and the opportunity to prepare growers for the upcoming year.

Into this difficult summer season, the breeder introduced Bluesbrother RZ.

Bluesbrother RZ is a summer Blueleaf cucumber type best planted mid-February to mid-September. It is a dark color small leaf variety with shorter internodes, strong growth and remains open and generative. Bluesbrother RZ should be grown early in the crop with speed and steered for vegetative growth. It has consistently delivered high fruit quality and stood up to the challenging temperatures. It is suitable for traditional umbrella plantings as well as high wire.

After many commercial and trial plantings this summer, the Bluesbrother plant showed a more open appearance compared to Verdon RZ. Also, the fruit length of Bluesbrother moves some of the small length fruits to a large grading without a push into X-large size. 

During plant raising, Bluesbrother should be grown with enough temperature to keep it tall and open. Given its shorter internode and generative nature, this variety should be carefully fruit pruned to the wire (in an umbrella crop). Pruning out one or two more fruits to the wire in comparison with Verdon will give the best results. The plant gives more leaves to the wire and aborts fewer fruits. Even though the internodes are shorter, it initiates leaves at a higher rate comparing to Verdon, so the overall plant length is similar.

While the main laterals may appear less vigorous comparing to Verdon, the plant will continue to grow successfully in the summer heat. With the careful early fruit pruning, the fruit load in the laterals will remain steady and high. This helps also to maintain a consistent fruit length.

The Bluesbrother grower should provide a more vegetative steering in comparison to a Verdon crop. This will ensure the plant can support the extra fruit load it offers. The mature stage of the crop does not require much labour to keep it open, because of the smaller leaf size.

Along with the well-known Verdon RZ and now Bluesbrother RZ, one other variety in Rijk Zwaan's summer types becoming more common is Boncanale RZ. It is a summer type cucumber best suited to earlier and later summer periods. The planting schedule can be one week earlier than Verdon RZ for example. For the past few years, Boncanale has normally been chosen for its longer fruit length.

The breeder also looks forward to the 2019 summer program and discussing the new 24-281 RZ, a summer type with a compact habit in high wire and umbrella crops, good fruit quality and a more open plant.  

To discuss further, contact Cucumber Crop Specialist, John DeVries at or visit Rijk Zwaan at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference – booth #557.

For more information:
Rijk Zwaan