It is believed that everyone can grow cucumbers, and there is nothing complicated about it. However, to get a really good crop of quality cucumbers, you still have to try. It is advisable to take into account the peculiarities of the culture, as well as listen to the advice of professional agronomists.
Time seedlings: calculate the sowing date
Cucumber is one of the most thermophilic crops, but due to its precocity, it can be grown both by direct sowing in the soil and through seedlings. If you want to get an early harvest in a short summer, you can not do without seedlings.
High and long-lasting illumination is the basis for obtaining high-quality planting material. Summer residents are forced to use window sills, verandas, balconies for growing seedlings. It is advisable to place the seedling boxes on the south side, but often there is no choice.
It is important to calculate the time of sowing the seeds so that the seedlings do not grow or remain immature. The time of sowing cucumbers for seedlings depends on the timing of its planting in the open ground or greenhouse . By this time, you need to get the seedlings of the optimal age. Late sowing leads to a delay in development and forced use of plants not grown for planting, and too early – stretched.
It is customary to plant 20-25-day-old seedlings in the ground after spring frosts, and the last reverse cold in the middle zone occurs in early June – until about 8-10 days. If you plan to plant cucumbers in a greenhouse or under a good sealing material, then it begins early – in mid-May. So, the sowing of seeds for seedlings should begin in the second or third decade of April.
Preparing seeds for sowing
After choosing a variety or hybrid for your plot, the gardener should pay special attention to the seeds. We have repeatedly said that seeds should be purchased from well-known, reputable companies, so that in the future there will be no problems with the harvest. Manufacturers guarantee the quality of the seed material and bring to the market only the best varieties and hybrids, and not just tested and received good reviews from customers.
In 1 g of cucumber seeds-from 40 to 85 pieces, depending on the variety and class of seeds. Before sowing, they must be sorted, choosing large, full-bodied, not injured. And the shriveled, broken, and ugly ones need to be thrown away. Cucumber seeds remain viable for 6-8 years, and the most productive are three-to four-year-old seeds.
When sown at home, the seeds can be sprouted, but the treated or inlaid seeds (they are colored) must be sown dry, and then watered abundantly.
The advice of the agronomist
- Granulated seeds of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and other crops should not be soaked in any case, since during soaking they are washed off the inlay along with fertilizers, pesticides, and after sowing they remain practically defenseless against pathogens of various diseases and pests. Such seeds should be sown dry.
- When soaking the seeds in water, change it every 5-6 hours. Do not keep the seeds in water for more than 24 hours at a time!
- When soaking seeds in cheesecloth, on filter paper, constantly monitor the humidity of these materials (even short and insignificant drying will lead to seed death) and often rinse in water to avoid fermentation and prevent moldy seeds.
We sow seeds and take care of seedlings
Cucumbers do not tolerate transplanting, so sow the prepared seeds directly into glasses-peatlands, plastic, thick films without a bottom with a diameter of 8-10 cm (3.1-3.9 ft) and the same height, with a volume of 0.5-0.8 liters. The nutrient solution is poured into pots 1 cm (0.4 in) below the edge. You can buy it in the store or make it yourself. Apply the mixture of the following formulations (in parts):
- lowland peat-5-7, humus-3;
- humus-1, turf or garden land-2;
- peat-5, humus-1, sawdust-1;
- humus-4, turf-2, sawdust-1;
- peat-6, turf or garden land-1, humus-1, mullein-1;
- peat-3, loam-2, decomposed compost waste, plant residues and waste-4, sawdust or coarse sand-1.
There can be many options for soil mixtures, every summer resident has a recipe that has been tested for years.
The mixture is watered with warm water, in the center of the glass make a depression with a depth of 1.5-2.0 cm (0.6-0.8 in), sow 2 sprouted or dry seeds and seal with earth. After sowing, the pots are watered again, but be careful not to wash the seeds. Cover with a film and keep the temperature +25 (77°F) until the shoots appear…+28°C (82.4°F). When the shoots appear, remove the shelter and reduce the temperature to +18…+20°C (64.4-68°F).
You need to know the following:
- The optimal temperature for seed germination is +25°C (77°F). At a lower temperature, the seed shell swells and rots.
- When sown in the soil heated to +20°C (68°F), seedlings appear after 5 days, up to +15…+18°C (59-64.4°F)-after 10 days.
When growing seedlings, it is important to maintain a temperature of +20…+25°C (68-77°F) during the day and +18…+20°C (64.4-68°F)-at night. The difference between day and night temperatures ensures good root development and stimulates the generative development of the plant.
During the growing of seedlings, 1-2 times pour earth or a nutrient mixture under the plant and carry out top dressing:
- The first is during the formation of the 2nd real sheet (5-10 g/0.17-0.35 oz of ammonium nitrate per 10 liters of water).
- To increase the cold resistance of seedlings before planting, re-fertilizing should be carried out: 15-30 g (0.5-1 oz) of potassium sulfate and 40-60 g (1.4-2.1 oz) of superphosphate per 10 liters of water.
It should be remembered that watering cucumbers with cold water (below the soil temperature) will lead to the death of root hairs and the death of the entire plant.
Stronger and more hardy plants are obtained by watering seedlings with a 0.15% solution of complex mineral fertilizers. This will not lead to” fattening ” of plants, on the contrary, they will turn out to be more compact, strong, with an active root system. If there is a need to postpone the planting period for several days, it is necessary to reduce the growing temperature to +17…+18°C (62.6-64.4°F) in the afternoon and +15…+16°C (59-60.8°F) at night. In addition, dry the substrate or water the seedlings with a solution of fertilizers of a higher concentration (0.25-0.30%).