Sowing seeds and growing seedlings of cucumbers
"Cucumber Encyclopedia". Part 1
Real gardeners begin to take care of the future harvest of cucumbers in the fall, after harvesting the grown crop. And this is not accidental, because, as you know, the quality of the new crop largely depends on the correct or not completed autumn work.
And if by the fall everyone has become boring with fresh cucumbers, then remember how you dream of the aroma of a cucumber from your greenhouse in early spring! And at this time you will not exchange crispy fresh gherkin for any overseas rarity. Therefore, it is quite understandable that everyone wants to get fresh cucumbers as soon as possible. But our climate is far from Indian, from where, in all likelihood, cucumbers began their march around the world, and the summer is short, and therefore you need to start worrying about the next season at the end of the ending season.
Preparing the soil in the greenhouse for planting cucumbers
One of the most important conditions necessary for obtaining an early (and not early too) harvest of cucumbers is soil preparation. Everyone knows the axiom that it is forbidden to plant melons (cucumbers, watermelons, melons, zucchini and pumpkins) after melons. I understand that in practice it is very difficult to adhere to it, and I willingly believe that not everyone has two greenhouses, the cultures in which can be swapped according to the principle: nightshade after melons, and melons after nightshades.
However, by planting cucumbers on the same land where they grew last year, you guarantee yourself a poor development of plants and a high percentage of their incidence already in the early stages of development. The result is that instead of a large harvest, you will be left without it at all. Therefore, if you do not have the opportunity to change greenhouses, you need to remove the topsoil from them and disinfect the greenhouse itself in the usual way. Then, at the bottom of the greenhouse ridges, it is advisable to mix the remains of tops (of course, from plants not affected by diseases), garbage, leaves from the forest, other waste, crushed bark, used bath brooms, etc. Sprinkle everything thickly with lime and leave until spring.
The only thing that still needs to be foreseen is the supply of nutrient soil, which will be required in the spring. Therefore, inside the greenhouse, right on top of the lime, several heaps of earth should be thrown, taken, of course, not from melons.
Selection of cucumber seeds
It is also advisable to purchase seeds in advance, and not at the last moment. Otherwise, according to the law of meanness, the varieties or hybrids you need at the right time may not appear. Do not be afraid to buy cucumber seeds in advance, because, unlike many other crops, they remain viable for up to 7 years.
Correctly selected varieties are the key to success. The question is different: what to choose. Dozens of companies offer hundreds of different varieties and hybrids. However, the first thing to be reckoned with is the rather harsh conditions of our short summer, when in June it did not come yet, and in August it was already over. Therefore, look only at hybrids (hybrid seed bags are labeled F1).
Let's just assume that everything else is not for us. Indeed, one of the main features of hybrids is their increased resistance to adverse weather factors and numerous diseases. And both, as you know from your own experience, our summer provides the full program.
Plant resistance is very important, because the more resistant it is to diseases and changes in weather conditions, the less it reacts to any of the adverse factors. This means that he feels good and therefore forms tasty fruits. On an unsuitable plant in the same greenhouse, the fruits will be of poor quality (first of all, less tasty), and the quantity will be an order of magnitude lower.
At the same time, not all gardeners are switching to hybrid seeds, putting forward as an argument the assertion that "hybrid cucumbers are of the salad type, and therefore they cannot be salted." Yes, even 15-20 years ago, this statement was true.
Now, to our happiness with you, all this is not at all the case. Hybrid cucumbers come in a wide variety of styles, from long to very small. By the way, salad hybrid cucumbers can be calmly salt, without waiting, of course, when they grow the size of "bast shoes". Perhaps not all pickling options are suitable, but I myself personally, it happens, add to the jars along with pickling cucumbers and a little salad (while no one in the family noticed a particular difference in taste between the two, the only thing is that they crunch less). Although, of course, the option is preferable when you plant some salad cucumbers for fresh consumption, and pickle cucumbers with salt, because salad cucumbers are much sweeter than pickled cucumbers, but pickled cucumbers crunch better.
One more fact testifies in favor of the choice of hybrids - on some bags with hybrids one can read the phrase "genetically without bitterness" or "fruits have no bitterness". This is also true, because cold nights often lead to the appearance of completely inedible cucumbers if you have ordinary varieties planted.
In addition, it is much safer to buy self-pollinated cucumbers (they are also called parthenocarpic ones), since it is difficult to find bees, wasps and other pollinators in our time. Therefore, it is better not to risk it. At the same time, there is no need to be afraid if your cucumbers are not in a greenhouse, but in a greenhouse (semi-open ground). Any accidentally flown bee will not spoil the shape of your cucumbers. Before, indeed, this happened: self-pollinated cucumbers became ugly after pollination by insects. However, good modern hybrids are not at all scary.
Over the years, I have tried hundreds of varieties and hybrids, and I remember very well those times when there were practically only four varieties of cucumbers: Muromsky, Nezhinsky, Vyaznikovsky and Graceful. I remember how much joy it was when the first variety of salad cucumbers DIN-30-CH appeared, and how much effort I put in to get it. Naturally, now these varieties are no longer competitive, and it is very sad to hear that someone is still sowing Murom, and then complains that for some reason there is no big harvest. Everything has its time, and at the moment many promising hybrids have entered the arena.
Although I carefully study new products in this area every year and choose something new again, there are hybrids that I have preferred for quite some time. These are Regatta, Buyan, Marinda, Mazay and Pasadena, and from the recently appeared I really liked Break and Courage. Of course, other regions have their own excellent regionalized varieties and hybrids of cucumber.
Regatta is a hybrid of salad type, all others are salted, taste is high. All of them belong to parthenocarpic hybrids of the female type of flowering, are distinguished by high productivity and increased resistance to diseases. These hybrids develop well throughout the season due to the discarding of stepchildren in areas of the stems where fruiting has already passed, and due to the bouquet type of fruiting. But remember: they require increased doses of fertilizers - with insufficient nutrition or interruptions in the supply of nutrients, the yield drops sharply.
What is the best way to plant cucumbers - seedlings or seeds?
Most gardeners sow cucumbers directly to greenhouse beds with dry or wet seeds, and some grow cucumber seedlings in approximately the same way as tomato, trying to get early cucumbers. I also tried a variety of options and eventually came to the conclusion that it is much more efficient to sow heavily germinated seeds, or grow something like mini-seedlings.
Growing cucumber seedlings in the usual way (i.e. in pots) is not the best solution. The fact is that when sowing shortly before the intended planting in the ground, it is unreasonable to use pots (it is difficult to find extra space on the windowsills in spring), and with early planting, plants in pots begin to actively bloom and bear fruit and then, being planted in the ground, they are rebuilt for a very long time to active formation of vegetative mass, without which a large harvest cannot be obtained. Although, I do not argue, this option allows you to remove the first cucumbers at a very early date.
Sowing with dry or just wet seeds, on the contrary, delays the production of the first fruits, which is also not very interesting. Therefore, it is more profitable to germinate and sow seeds in the soil already well heated with biofuel - this allows you to achieve strong shoots, which means. and strong plants, and a fairly early harvest. If you want to speed up the process by 7-10 days, then you can grow mini-seedlings, but this is somewhat risky - if you do not follow up, the seedlings can easily die.
But first, regarding seed treatment - it is not required or almost not required, because the seeds on sale have already passed the necessary pre-sowing preparation, and their treatment in different preparations can give the opposite effect. So the only thing I still do is spray the seeds with Epin Growth Booster.
Germinating cucumber seeds and obtaining mini-seedlings
Now about germination and mini-seedlings. The preparatory operations in both cases are the same - sawdust prepared from the fall is taken (it is the sawdust obtained as a result of sawing, and not the shavings formed during the planing process). I prefer sawdust over shavings because they have a very fine structure, and this ensures excellent development of plant roots. Subsequently, this will make it possible to carry out a painless transplant. When working with shavings, the results are slightly worse. Sawdust is well soaked and laid out in a thin layer (about 0.5 cm) in low containers (for this purpose, white packaging containers are perfect, in which our manufacturers actively pack various products). These containers must be thoroughly washed with soap and water before use.
Then the seeds are carefully laid out on a layer of sawdust so that they are at a sufficient distance from each other. For example, I plant about 24 plants in a 22 x 14 cm container. At first, it is better not to cover the seeds with anything, because in the light, germination processes are much more active. Containers with seeds are placed in ajar plastic bags and then placed in a warm place (I place them in a greenhouse with cacti, the upper surface of which is heated by fluorescent lamps). Next, you need to carefully monitor the process, and at the slightest drying out, sawdust with seeds should be sprayed or watered from a tablespoon.
After active germination (i.e. after 3-5 days), the seeds can be sown. If for some reason this is impossible or you deliberately soaked the seeds ahead of time to get an early harvest, then it's okay. Carefully cover the seeds with a layer of moistened sawdust approximately 0.5 cm thick or slightly less and leave in the same bags (control over the degree of moisture, as well as constant airing through a half-open bag is mandatory).
As long as the seeds are forming the root system, you can win a few days. If even when seedlings appear, you again cannot carry out sowing, then you need to sprinkle them with a thin layer (0.5 cm) of soil with vermicompost, which will give another 1-2 days. And when seedlings appear on the soil surface, you need to expose the plants to maximum light while maintaining a temperature of 22 ... 24 ° C and strictly control the degree of moisture. This is a very dangerous period, because sawdust dry out in open containers in the sun very quickly and, after returning from work, you may not see the plants alive, so this option is not suitable for everyone. If everything is fine, then with the full opening of the cotyledon leaves, you need to proceed to planting the plants, because it is no longer possible to pull further (this will negatively affect the development of plants).
Sowing germinated seeds or planting seedlings of cucumbers
At the first opportunity (in our Urals, this usually happens in mid-April), you should intensively do soil preparation in the greenhouseso that by the time the seedlings are disembarked, it warms up well. In the spring, on a layer of plant residues and lime, prepared in the fall, you need to add a layer of manure and sawdust, and then, if possible, mix the layers with a pitchfork and cover everything with prepared earth. Then you need to apply a complex fertilizer with macro- and microelements (Kemir is best) and sprinkle everything with ash, loosen it, and for better warming up, cover the soil with a film.
After that, a week later (so that biofuel starts working), you can start planting work, just keep in mind that the root system of cucumbers does not tolerate low temperatures at all. To destroy all seedlings, one night with a temperature of up to + 2 ° C is enough, although this will not lead to freezing of the plants. You've probably noticed that after another drop in temperature at night, cucumbers in the morning, at first glance, look alive and die only after a few days.
But even after a night temperature of +5 ... 6 ° C, you can hardly get a full harvest. The reason is that at low temperatures the roots of plants do not freeze, but lose their ability to function normally. Therefore, it is necessary not only to fill the greenhouse with biofuel and give it a week to warm up, but also to provide a variety of shelters that would provide a temperature sufficient for the development of plants.
So, let's start planting seeds or mini-seedlings. Sprouted seeds are usually sown in grooves (the seed is placed horizontally), only this must be done more carefully so as not to damage the seedlings. A plant with two cotyledon leaves must first be watered very carefully (the water in the container should be standing). Then each plant is carefully taken (you can pre-use the end of a rounded knife and slightly raise all the soil from the container) and planted.
Work without any fear, since thanks to sawdust, the roots come out of the substrate very easily, and you can guarantee that you will not break a single root of any cucumber. In general, sawdust is an ideal soil for a short period of time, because they represent a very loose substrate that ensures intensive development of the root system, on the one hand, and guarantee an absolutely painless transplant, on the other. Your plants will not even notice that they have moved from one container to another completely.
It is best to cover the sown seeds with foil, while a winning option is to cover all the soil in the greenhouse with one piece of foil, but this is only if you stay in the garden or, at least, will appear here after 2-5 days, since the sprouted plants can simply burn out in the sun under the film. If this is not possible, then use a thick covering material for shelter, although the film is slightly better in this case - it provides faster soil heating and biofuel heating in early spring. And that is not all. In parallel with the shelter just described, it is advisable to additionally install micro-greenhouse arcs in the greenhouse and throw a thin covering material over them.
Read part 2. Formation and feeding of cucumber plants
Svetlana Shlyakhtina, Yekaterinburg
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we have been dealing with seedlings and sale of ready-made vegetables for several years already. And they came to the conclusion that 50% of success is the quality of the seedlings, their hardening, early sowing of seeds and the choice of unpretentious varieties.
Sowing seeds and growing seedlings of cucumbers - garden and vegetable garden
For the roots of the plant, it is necessary to create an optimal temperature and humidity regime. They pick up a place well protected from the wind in the garden, make a bed and lay manure in the middle with a layer of 15-20 cm, and pour a little loose earth on top. If sowing is carried out at an early date, you can use small-sized film shelters in combination with a steam bed or double film. After sowing seeds or planting seedlings, the bed is covered with a film, and the second is pulled over arcs or frames. Cucumbers do very well when grown in trenches. To do this, they dig a trench 40-50 cm deep, put loose materials (tops, hay, small sawdust) on the bottom, pour the earth with a layer of 20 cm on top, and then install frames with an inclination to better accumulate heat.
If you grow cucumbers in the garden without shelter, be sure to provide protection from cold winds. To do this, place curtains made of corn, sunflower, Jerusalem artichoke, zucchini or pumpkin along the ridge or along the edge of the site. With such protection cucumbers can be sown in open ground at the end of May.
On the north side, sprinkle film greenhouses and small-sized shelters with earth so that it does not blow, and it is advisable to make the entrance from the south side. The root system of cucumbers does not withstand temperature fluctuations, sometimes the stem even cracks, so mulch crops immediately with a black or old opaque film, straw, cut grass or sawdust.
Before sowing, calibrated cucumber seeds are heated for 2 hours at a temperature of 5 0-60 ° C or dried during the whole winter at a temperature of 18-25 ° C. This helps to accelerate the formation of female flowers on the plant.
The hardening of germinated seeds for 1-2 days on a glacier at a temperature of 0-1 ° C promotes better resistance of cucumber plants to low temperatures.
Cucumbers are often sown with a sealant. On 1 m 2 simultaneously sow 7-8 g of cucumbers and 2-3 g of vernalized carrot seeds or 3-4 g of wet seeds of beetroot.
Following the planting of seedling vegetable crops, they water, loosen the aisles. They also loosen the aisles (including mini-tractors) and other vegetable crops of carrots, beets, parsley, green crops.
Very often, due to downy mildew (peronosporosis), cucumber crop failure occurs. The disease manifests itself most aggressively in the open soil ... This happens in the first or second decades of July due to sharp daily fluctuations in air temperature, as a result of which moisture settles on the underside of the leaf, which contributes to the development of the disease. Unfortunately, varieties of cucumber absolutely resistant to disease, no. Therefore, it is necessary to maneuver agrotechnical methods in order to get ahead of the outbreak of the cucumber disease. One of these methods is tapestry culture.
The essence of the trellis method growing cucumber consists in the fact that the above-ground part of the plants is attached to the support-lattices of rails, pillars, stakes, walls or frames with wire or twine stretched in several rows.
Growing cucumber on a vertical trellis has a number of advantages: the soil surface between the rows remains unoccupied by plants during the entire growing season in well-ventilated crops, the difference in daily air temperatures is not so noticeable, which means that less droplet moisture is formed on the lower side of the leaf. With the trellis method. growing conditions for the germination of spores of peronosporosis deteriorate during harvesting the plants are not injured, and the fruits are easier to collect - no need to turn the stems and shoots. Experience has shown that tied plants are less susceptible to infection with downy mildew than those creeping on the ground. The fruiting period is lengthened, the productivity of plants increases. With 10 m 2, you can get from 60 to 180 kg of greens, quite healthy and of high quality.
Consider the trellis method of growing cucumber in detail.
After harvesting the previous crop (tomatoes, onions or early potatoes) in late August - early September, mineral fertilizers should be added to the soil at the rate (in grams per 10 m 2): urea - 250, superphosphate - 300, potassium chloride - 150, and from organic fertilizers - 60-80 kg of manure for the same area. Dig up and cut the site in the second half of September. In winter, keep snow on the site, for which you install shields or spread brushwood.
In the second half of April, you should start pre-planting soil cultivation: loosen the soil with a metal rake to a depth of 10-12 cm. After loosening, divide the area into cages for installing trellis pillars. Select the width of the row spacing taking into account the convenient aisle between the rows. On large plantations, in this case, we are talking about the passage of equipment. Having installed trellis posts, it is necessary to loosen the soil. Before sowing or planting cucumber between the pillars in three horizontal rows, stretch a galvanized wire with a diameter of 2.5–3 mm. The lowest row of wire should be located at a distance of 15–20 cm from the soil, the second at a height of 70–80 cm from the bottom row, and the third at the height of the trellis posts (160–170 cm from the soil). After pulling the wire, cut the furrows with a hiller to a depth of 10 cm.
When the first true leaf appears, do not forget to thin out the plants in a row, leaving six - eight strong and healthy seedlings per 1 m, and two or three in the nest. With a delay in thinning, the plants stretch out and are more quickly affected by diseases. Such a technique as pinching is not always justified. Only plants of late-ripening varieties and mainly with a male type of flowering should be pinched over the fourth or fifth leaf. Most modern varieties and hybrids cucumber female type of flowering. Pinching the growth point can only damage them, and then the plants do not start growing for a long time.
When watering, it is very important that a strong jet of water does not hit the roots of the plants. Make grooves between or around plants and water only over them.
Young plants often die from excessive watering. Cucumbers should be watered every 2-3 days only with warm water and better in the second half of the day, but no later than 18 hours. When four or five leaves appear, it is advisable to stop watering until the ovaries form, because excessive moisture during this period can delay flowering. But if the plants began to wilt slightly, watering must be resumed.
Cucumbers watered abundantly, especially during the period of mass fruiting, only in dry hot weather (the depth of soil wetting should be at least 15-20 cm). If you strictly follow agricultural techniques and do everything in a timely manner, then from each square meter of open ground you can get 5-10 kg of environmentally friendly products.
If, after abundant fruiting, a sharp decline in the yield suddenly occurs, this is a signal of their fatigue (malnutrition). Feed the cucumbers with nitrogen and potassium fertilizers (weak solution). Add boric acid to them on the tip of a knife, after dissolving it in 2 liters of hot water.
If the fruits of the cucumber have become light green, and the upper part (where the flower used to be) is sharply narrowed, pointed a, then this indicates a lack of a zota. If the fruit is narrowed at the opposite end, at the stalk, and the top, on the contrary, is swollen like a ball, then the plant experiences an acute lack of potassium. Plants with dense, dark green foliage are fed with phosphorus.
Often when growing cucumbers gardeners are faced with an abundance of male flowers and a lack or absence of female flowers. How to be? Firstly, it is recommended to plant different varieties of cucumbers in the same area or nearby. Secondly, in some long-stemmed varieties, it is necessary to pinch the main stem above the fifth or sixth leaf into the top of the stem, after which the lateral lashes will grow faster.
There are also techniques that accelerate the appearance of feminine flowers. It has also been found that the appearance of female flowers is often delayed due to insufficient carbon nourishment of the plant. This can be avoided with the help of organic fertilizing (it contains carbon dioxide), as well as careful loosening of the soil after watering. Cucumbers should be harvested often, since rare harvests reduce the yield while trying not to damage the whip.
At the end of July, as well as during a cold snap, various diseases may appear on the borage. If light yellow spots are found on the leaves, and on the underside of the cobweb, then the plant is affected by a spider mite. Prepare an infusion of onion or garlic scales and spray on pests. To prevent the appearance of powdery mildew (white bloom on the leaves), you need to regularly spray the tops with a solution of copper sulfate (1 teaspoon per 10 liters of water), soda ash (20 g per 10 liters of water) or potassium permanganate (3 g per 10 liters of water) feed with increased doses of potash fertilizers. When affected by powdery mildew, cucumbers are sprayed once a week with a solution of colloidal sulfur (15-20 g per 10 l of water) or mullein (1:10), insisting it for 4 hours and be sure to strain it. Spraying is carried out in the evening or in cloudy weather. Diseased leaves are carefully cut and destroyed.
Concerning cucumbers , then the lack of moisture during fruiting can be the cause of the bitterness of cucumbers. At the same time, excess moisture delays the appearance of female flowers. The same happens if watering cucumbers cold water. That is why a slight drying of the soil a few days before the beginning of flowering, when many buds have already appeared, stimulates and accelerates the formation of female flowers.
Should be considered the specifics of feeding cucumbers ... After all, their need for nutrients varies with age, sun exposure and soil temperature. If, during the formation of the root system, they needed phosphorus (20-30 g of superphosphate per 1 m 2), during the growth of lashes and the formation of the leaf apparatus - in nitrogen, then with the appearance of flowers they need potassium.
Growing cucumber seedlings in hot sawdust
What are the advantages of this method?
- Sawdust has a loose and airy structure
- 100% seed germination
- Seedlings are less sick
- Sawdust retains heat better than earth
- The process of germinating seeds smoothly turns into growing seedlings, that is, the seeds are not injured once again
- Seeds planted in sawdust hatch for 1-2 days earlier than those planted in the ground.
To plant seeds in sawdust, select a container so that it does not leak.
When preparing sawdust for sowing, in no case use sawdust from cutting chipboard and other wood boards. They contain adhesives that are harmful to plants and humans too. Take sawdust suitable for sprouting only where clean wood is being sawn. And the finer the sawdust, the better the cucumbers will be, because it looks more like soil.
Before putting sawdust in the container, they should first be spilled with boiling water to wash away the resinous substances. Sawdust is placed in a colander and spilled with boiling water 2-3 times. The very humidity of the sawdust should be such that they are sufficiently moist, but water does not drain from them.
Then the scalded sawdust is poured onto the bottom of the container with a layer of 2-3 cm. Remember, they must be hot, this is what creates conditions for them with a favorable microclimate.
Seeds are spread over the sawdust surface every 2-3 cm, without deepening. After sowing the seeds, they are sprinkled on top with the same, pre-prepared warm sawdust in a layer of 1-1.5 cm. The container with the planted seeds is closed with a bag or film and placed in a warm, dark place. They are waiting for the seeds to hatch. Usually, seedlings appear on the 3rd day.
As soon as shoots have appeared, the package is removed from the container and rearranged to a bright place. The temperature can be lowered slightly to avoid stretching the seedlings.
On the 5th day, the seedlings become strong, and the sawdust can dry out. Watering is carried out as they dry out with clean and always warm water.
Diseases and pests of cucumbers
Leaves turn yellow and wither
If the leaves of cucumbers turn yellow, wither and shrivel, most likely the plants are damaged by disease or have been exposed to pests. Various diseases and pests of cucumber seedlings are the result of improper care.
From high humidity, white rot, anthracnose, powdery mildew appear on the plants, and root rot develops on the roots. At high humidity, spider mites multiply.
Plants on which black plaque has appeared are destroyed. Unaffected seedlings are treated with antifungal fungicidal agents.
Gray rot appears as large gray or brown spots. The affected areas are covered with ash, watering is temporarily suspended.
Powdery mildew appears as whitish, reddish spots. The affected areas are powdered with ash. Plants are sprayed with colloidal sulfur solution.
White rot appears on all parts of the plant. The damaged areas must be sprinkled with fluff lime. Watering is reduced, plants move away from each other.
When white or light yellow dots appear, growing over time, you can notice a spider mite on the plants. He braids the leaves from the lower part of the leaves with a thin cobweb, pierces the leaves, drinking the juice.
In the fight against ticks, insecticides are used: Phosbecid, Fitoferm, Agravertin or Karbofos.
The melon aphid can also damage plants. This small insect settles on the lower part of leaves, shoots, flowers, ovaries, causing the plant to curl and dry out.
When larvae are found, they are washed off with a cotton pad dipped in soapy water. In case of severe damage, insecticide treatment is carried out. Plants are sprayed 2 times with an interval of 3 days.
As a prophylaxis for ticks and aphids, plants can be sprayed with clean water, a weak solution of potassium permanganate.