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Cucumbers are a popular pumpkin crop, an annual herb that has been successfully grown both in open ground and in protected greenhouses. Cucumbers have been successfully cultivated by humanity for more than 6 thousand years, they come from the foothills of the Himalayas and are even mentioned in the Bible. Despite its ancient origin, the cucumber is still part of numerous national cuisines and is successfully used to prepare a variety of tasty and healthy dishes.
Due to the dietary properties of this vegetable, it has many fans around the world: it contains almost no protein, carbohydrates and fats, but it contains a lot of potassium, indispensable for the health of the heart and kidneys, vitamins, including carotene, as well as a high percentagetrace elements. Since ancient times, cucumber has been used as a medicinal plant, as well as in cosmetics.
Peculiarities of growing cucumber seedlings
In order to properly grow cucumber seedlings at home, it is necessary to follow a number of rules:
- Selection of soil.
- Terms of planting cucumbers for seedlings.
- Light Mode.
- Planting cucumber seedlings in the greenhouse.
Properly grown and prepared for planting cucumber seedlings should have at least a couple of true leaves, a strong short stem, rich juicy green color, a well-developed root system( if the capacity for seedlings is transparent, it should be seen that the whole clod of earth is covered with roots).
For the cultivation of cucumber seedlings for the greenhouse, it is necessary to select the so-called parthenocarpic or self-pollinated varieties that do not need the help of bees and other insects. If the seedlings are intended for open ground, bee-pollinated varieties of this vegetable will do.
Offered for sale seeds come in various qualities - regular, processed and granulated.
- Regular seeds need to be calibrated and discarded before planting: deliberately crippled and small seeds are immediately selected, and the rest are immersed in a strong solution of table salt - the unfit seeds that have come up, and the full-fledged ones will go to the bottom. They are selected, washed thoroughly with fresh water and dried, or immediately treated for seeding.
- Treated seeds are prepared for planting, they are often recommended to sow directly into open ground, as they are covered with a thin layer of antifungal and antimicrobial agents. Granulated seeds, in addition to protective ones, are also covered with a layer of nutrients that give a positive start to young, inferior plants.
- Calibrated seeds need moisture and heat for germination. If these two conditions are not ensured, even the already nibbed seeds can die. Most often, they are wrapped in a damp cloth and placed in a place with a high temperature( about 30 degrees).Seeds that form a small root must be immediately planted in the ground.
An important question for getting good cucumber seedlings at home - when to plant cucumbers for seedlings.
If this is done too early, the seedlings will outgrow, stretch, be pale and fragile. From such a seedling is unlikely to get a strong and healthy actively fruiting plant.
If, however, the planting of cucumbers on the seedlings is delayed, the plants will be too small and weak, rooting in the soil will take a long time and the harvest will be late.
The optimal time for planting cucumber seeds for seedlings is 20-25 days before the planned date of transplantation into the soil or the greenhouse.
Selection of soil for cucumber seedlings
For active growth and high-quality fruiting, it is advisable to plant cucumber seeds for seedlings in the ground, chemical and mechanical composition similar to the one in which the plant will live on. In this case, the roots of the young cucumber will be easier to grow in the new environment and gain a foothold in it.
As soon as the first cotyledon leaves appear, cucumber seedlings should be placed in a cooler and brighter place. This is necessary so that the section of the stem under the cotyledons does not stretch, forming weak, fragile seedlings. Light is needed a lot, but direct sunlight should be avoided - they can burn tender and soft young leaves. Watered seedlings with warm water, sprayed only in the first half of the day in not sunny weather or in a place protected from direct sunlight.
Cucumbers love humid air, but do not tolerate “leaving” at night with wet leaves - in such a situation, the plants quickly infect fungal diseases.
Thermal disturbances such as excessive heat and long supercooling of seedlings, especially in combination with increased humidity of the air and soil, lead to black leg disease. In this form of root rot, a black area appears at the base of the stem of the plant, near the ground itself, causing cell death and dying off of the entire green part. Save the affected plant will not succeed, it must be urgently removed and destroyed along with the ground - in it the source of the disease. The remaining seedlings must be treated with fungicides.
Optimal soil composition for cucumber seedlings:
- Soddy or humus soil.
- Drainage( add to the bottom of the planting tank to remove excess moisture).As a drainage, expanded clay, vermiculite, sunflower husk and other adsorbing materials can be used.
Proper planting of seeds
Prepared naklyuchuyuschysya or processed seeds must be planted in individual containers, as the cucumber does not tolerate root damage during transplantation. Such seedlings take root for a long time, are sick and may die. Even an established plant will be much less productive than that grown in a cup and planted with a lump of earth.
It is necessary to plant cucumbers for seedlings with 2 seeds per planting capacity in order to guarantee the required number of plants. After the seed has been pricked and the cotyledons have unfolded, the weaker plant must be removed, otherwise both cucumber seedlings will be weakened due to competition for water, light and nutrients. You can not pull out or pull out the plant - it can pull along the still weak roots of the remaining seedlings and damage them. The easiest way is to carefully pinch off or cut it off at ground level, the rest will gradually decompose without harm to the second plant. Now the seedling will be spacious and will get a lot of nutrients.
What should I do if the cucumber seedlings stretch out?
Spreading pale seedlings are a common occurrence when grown at home. To prevent this from happening, you need to change two modes of growing cucumber seedlings - temperature and light.
The air temperature must be reduced to about 15 degrees, and the seedlings must be further illuminated, in case there is very little light, this will have to be done around the clock.
On bright windows it is enough to install side and top mirrors that will reflect sunlight on the seedlings. Sometimes the cups of cucumbers are far apart from each other, especially if they already have large enough leaves that shade each other.
If the seedlings are very stretched, it can be helped when landing in the ground. Such a plant is carefully and carefully buried to the cotyledons, or gradually sprinkled with warm and loose earth. The main condition for a good survival of the sprouted seedlings - planting it in a well-warmed, not overmoistened soil.
If it was necessary to land in a cold ground, the ground around such a plant is covered with a dark perforated film, which accumulates solar heat and evaporates excess moisture. In this case, the part of the stem, recessed into the ground, does not rot, but will give additional roots and support weak, stretched seedlings. After a while it will be the same strong and green plant, like everyone else.
The seedling of cucumbers very quickly begins to bloom, even the first buds are already forming in the cups. This does not negatively affect the quality of strong healthy seedlings, but weakened ones can be taken away even by small forces.
For such seedlings it will be better to remove the first flowers and give the plant the chance to get acclimatized well in the soil, improve its health and form a strong bush.
This plant will start fruiting a little bit later than the others, but it will quickly catch up with the lost time and become equal in yield to the rest of the seedlings. Planted with buds or flowers, weak or stretched seedlings will be sick for a long time, they can drop buds and even the ovary, and as a result will give away much less fruit.
Cucumber seedlings planted in open ground or in a greenhouse are much more demanding on air humidity than other crops, but they cannot tolerate it if there is at least a drop of water on the leaves at night. In this case, the seedlings quickly fall ill with powdery mildew, which can kill the whole plantation or the “population” of the greenhouse.
Therefore, cucumbers are watered in the morning with warm water, trying not to leave the leaves moist until the evening. If necessary, the plants are sprayed, but so that they have time to dry by night.
Cucumbers is one of the most grateful garden crops, which, with minimal care and attention, will thank its owners for its abundant and tasty harvest.
Read about growing cucumbers in the greenhouse in our next article.