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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 8:31-32 (Article 12) 1985

A Standard System for Making Comments While Collecting Data in a Cucumber Evaluation Program 

Wehner, Todd C.

Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

In the North Carolina State University cucumber breeding program, numerous hybrids, lines and families are evaluated each year in field trials. Most of the data collected is numeric, involving measurement of yield, earliness, fruit quality, fruit size, and disease resistance. However, frequently it is useful to make comments on the overall performance and suitability of a line for potential use in commercial production. I used to note my impressions (various adjectives and nouns) on the data sheet, but 2 things happened as a result of that. First, it was sometimes difficult to fit all of the words in the space allocated for comments on the data sheet, and second, it was difficult to analyze and summarize such data in the yearly report. After a few seasons of making comments, it occurred to me that the same set of words was used over and over. Therefore, I decided to abbreviate these comments so that they would be easier to record and analyze. What evolved was the set of single-letter comments described here.

In developing the single-letter comments, I tried to use a letter that would bring to mind the word(s) being abbreviated. Occasionally, the letter that was best suited for the abbreviation of a word was already used, so it was necessary to select the next best letter. The comments work well for process- ing and fresh-market types in both multiple-harvest trials and once-over harvest trials. Generally, 2 comments are assigned to each line in each of 3 different harvests (making a total of 6 comments) for a multiple-harvest trial, and 2 comments in the single harvest of a once-over harvest trial. The comments assigned represent the 2 worst defects noted for that particular plot. If there is only one obvious comment for a plot, then both of the letters written on the data sheet will be the same. If there are too many bad comments to note, then I comment that it is to be rejected. If there is nothing wrong with the plot, then I comment that it is a plot to keep. Not all of the comments are used in a particular year or trial. The comments are analyzed along with the numeric data adding all comments together for a given line. A trend is often visible when the comments are reviewed, showing how the line varied over replications and/or harvests.

All but 2 of the 26 letters in the alphabet were used in the single-letter system. Plots where no data can be taken are given a • in the comment columns to indicate missing data. The letters used in the system and their definitions are as follows (summarized in Table l): A-fruits excessively warty, B-many fruits have blossom end defects, C-large number of crooked fruits, D-many fruits have dogbone shape, E-line is early maturing, F-fruits often have four carpers, G-fruits are long, H-fruits are short, I-fruits have lengthwise stripes, J-(not used), K-keep (no obvious defects), L-line is late maturing, M-fruit skin is mottled color, N-many nubs, O-mixture of offtype fruits (or segregating for size and shape), P-many fruits with placental hollows, Q-(not used), it-reject (too many defects), S-many fruits with separated carpers, T-fruits have tapered ends, U-fruit are uniform green (not necessarily a defect depending on intended use of the cultivar), V-many varicolor fruits (dark green at the peduncle end and light green or yellow at the blossom end), W-many white fruits, X-fruits have necks (characterized by the tapered peduncle ends of fruit of Dutch greenhouse cucumbers), Y-many yellow fruits, Z-many fruits with diseased areas on them.

Table 1. An abbreviated key for the single-letter system for comments in multiple and once-over harvest trials used to evaluate fresh market and pickling cucumber lines for horticultural performance.







wArty fruits


Offtype fruits (mixture)


Blossom-end defects


Placental hollows in fruits


Crooks excessive




Dogbone-shaped fruits


Reject (fruits poor)


Early-maturing line


Separated carpels in fruits


Four-celled fruits


fruits Tapered at ends


lonG fruits


fruits Uniform green


sHort fruits


Varicolor fruits


StrIped fruits


White fruits




neCKS on fruits


Keep (fruits excellent)


Yellow fruits


Late-maturing line


diSeased fruits


Mottled-colored fruits

missing data


Nubs excessive


*Used only in once-over harvest trials.

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Department of Horticultural Science Box 7609North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, NC 27695-7609919-515-5363
Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 11 December, 2009