Properties of cucumbers
Cucumber is an annual plant in the gourd family, and belongs to the same family as pumpkin, melon, and watermelon. Besides growing outdoors during the summer season, cucumber is one of the most popular greenhouse crops during the winter season.
It has long creeping, fragile stems, reaching up to 3 meters in length, branching into side shoots. Yellow flowers of cucumbers are formed in the axils of the leaves. both male and female are found on the same plant. The fruits are oblong in shape and of different sizes, depending on the variety that is grown.
Cucumber roots grow strong, but superficial. The leaves are large, palmate, covered with soft pubescence, on long petioles. Varieties of cucumbers differ in the shape and size of the leaf blade.
Cucumbers have significant nutritional value, containing 95% water, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, while at the same time they contain very few calories. They are consumed fresh and used for pickling.
Note! Cucumber is a cross-pollinated plant pollinated by insects. Early varieties begin to bloom a month after germination, and late ones – even after two months.
What do you need to plant cucumbers? Growing cucumbers is easy and doesn’t take much time or effort. They can be planted in two ways – by sowing seeds directly into the ground or by planting seedlings. When to plant cucumbers? Seeds can be sown in open ground no earlier than mid-April, as cucumbers are demanding on heat and do not tolerate temperature drops (below 10 degrees). For open ground, it is important to wait until the soil warms up well. You need to find a place protected from direct sunlight.
Note! Cucumbers do not grow well in the shade (for example, under trees) and when the soil around is overgrown with weeds. They require fertile soils, easily heated, with high water capacity. The soil should not be crusted. Cucumbers do not grow well on heavy and excessively wet soils, as well as on light sandy soils.
Cucumbers do not have to be tied up, they can grow and bear fruit on the ground, but should not come into contact with moist soil so that the fruits do not rot. It is better to keep cucumbers on supports. They will be better illuminated by the sun’s rays, it will be easier for insects to pollinate flowers, and it will be easier to collect fruits.
How to sow cucumbers? Before sowing, the seeds should be soaked in water for 10-12 hours, thereby contributing to their germination.
Note! ! The soil in which it is planned to sow cucumbers should not be too calcareous or acidic, because all this can be the reasons that cucumbers do not grow.
How far apart should cucumbers be planted? Cucumbers require a lot of space, they are planted avoiding dense plantings at a distance of 50-70 cm between planting sites and 1.5 meters between rows. Rare planting contributes to better ventilation and lighting of plants, reducing diseases.
The seeding depth is 2-3 cm. It is advisable to put them in two pieces in one hole, so that after growth a stronger plant can be left.
Additional Information! You can use seedlings for planting, but cucumbers do not survive if the root system is damaged, so you need to grow them in peat pots and plant them in the soil with them.
How often should cucumbers be watered? Their need for water is high, so you need to make sure that the earth is constantly wet. Cucumbers require intensive watering. It is best to water them in the morning (watering in the evening increases the risk of contracting fungal diseases). To have good growth and significant fruiting, water them every two to three days during the season. On hot summer days – every day.
When watering, make sure that the foliage of cucumbers does not get wet, as this can cause the development of fungal diseases. In conditions of high humidity, rot may appear in that part of the stem that is close to the soil. Plants should be mulched with straw, peat or bark to retain moisture.
How often do you fertilize cucumber crops? It is worth planting them in a freshly fertilized area, as growing cucumbers has significant nutrient requirements. Organic fertilizer is needed, preferably compost.
Every three weeks, a complex organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen, potassium and magnesium is added to promote stability, flowering and fruiting of plants. In addition, the addition of an iron-containing fertilizer enhances the greenness of the foliage, as cucumbers can show symptoms of iron deficiency.
Diseases and insects that affect the cultivation of cucumbers
Cucumbers suffer from various diseases and insects that attack the foliage, shoots and flowers. A particularly important problem is powdery mildew, which causes blanching of the leaves and at the same time creates a problem for the fruit.
Powdery mildew on leaves
To combat powdery mildew, spray around the root with sulfur. You can use a solution of homemade ingredients:
- 1 tsp baking soda;
- 2 tbsp. l vegetable oil
- 2 l. water.
Cucumber stalks are attacked by a spider mite – a small spider that dries the leaves and spoils the fruits. Mealybugs are also often attacked. To combat them, every 2 weeks, biological insecticides from potassium salts and natural pyrethrin are used, which can be purchased at agricultural stores. In case of mild infection, dissolve Art. l. grated green soap with 1 tsp of medical alcohol in one liter of water and spray cucumber foliage weekly.
Why do cucumbers turn yellow? This may be due to excessive moisture, with a lack of nitrogen fertilizers. In these cases, organic nitrogen fertilizers are added to the plants.
When are cucumbers harvested and how should they be stored?
Harvesting of most varieties of cucumbers begins 2 months after planting. They are collected early in the morning and stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag for several days.
Some small-fruited varieties are pickled in jars. In some varieties, the fruits become bitter due to heat or sudden changes in temperature and humidity during cultivation.
Varieties of cucumbers
On sale there are dozens of varieties and hybrids of cucumbers. Depending on the size of the fruit, they are divided into large-fruited and small-fruited.
Experienced gardeners recommend planting hybrid seeds as they yield earlier, are more resistant to various diseases, and require less care than varietal seeds. Old varieties are tastier and more fragrant, but their cultivation requires more effort and timely treatment for diseases.
Planting cucumbers in the company of other plants such as onions, peas and beans has a positive effect on their growth. Thanks to the neighborhood of dill and basil, they are less susceptible to diseases and pests. However, they should not be placed next to gourds, as there is a risk that pumpkins, marrows, marrows, or watermelons will suffer from the same diseases and be eaten by similar pests.