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Video: 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.
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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 impossible 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 interchanged 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 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 must 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, chopped bark, used bath brooms, etc. Sprinkle everything thickly with lime and leave it 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.
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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. So 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 in full.
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 many different styles, from long to very small. By the way, hybrid salad cucumbers can be easily salted, without waiting, of course, when they grow "the size of a bast shoe". 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 you can read the phrase "genetically without bitterness" or "fruits have no bitterness". This is also relevant, 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, you do not need to be afraid if your cucumbers are not in a greenhouse, but in a greenhouse (semi-open ground). No bee accidentally flown in will 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 every year I carefully study new products in this area and again choose something new, there are hybrids that I have preferred for quite a long time. These are Regatta, Buyan, Marinda, Mazay and Pasadena, and of the recently appeared I really liked Break and Courage. Of course, other regions have their own excellent zoned 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 the 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 into 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 effective 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 window sills 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 receipt 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, about 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 - the sawdust prepared in the fall is taken (it is the sawdust obtained as a result of sawing, and not the chips formed during the planing process). I prefer sawdust rather than 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. The containers with the 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).
While 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 biohumus, which will give another 1-2 days. And when seedlings appear on the surface of the soil, 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 dries up 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 normal, then with the full opening of the cotyledon leaves, you need to proceed to planting 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
As soon as possible (in our Urals this usually happens in mid-April), you should intensively prepare the soil in the greenhouse so that by the time the seedlings are planted, it will warm 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 (best of all, Kemir) 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 to work), you can start planting work, just keep in mind that the root system of cucumbers does not tolerate low temperatures at all. One night with temperatures up to + 2 ° C is enough to destroy all seedlings, although this will not lead to freezing of the plants. You probably noticed that after the next drop in temperature at night, cucumbers in the morning, at first glance, look alive and die only after a few days.
But even after the night temperature + 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 cotyledonous leaves must first be watered very carefully (the water in the container must 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, which ensures intensive development of the root system, on the one hand, and guarantee an absolutely painless transplant, on the other. Your plants won't 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 appear here after 2-5 days, since the emerged 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 warming up in early spring. And that's 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.