How to grow early cucumbers?
Weather conditions in Tatarstan not every summer allow you to get a high crop of cucumbers in the open ground. That is why our gardeners so widely use temporary film shelters. It is the film and the seedling method of growing cucumbers that make it possible to annually harvest a greenhouse crop of 12-15 kg per 1 m2.
I will share my experience. The soil in my area is sod-podzolic. Tomatoes are often the forerunner of cucumber.
After removing the tomato tops, since the fall I have been digging deeply, after which I bring (per 10 square meters) 1 kg of superphosphate, 0.5 kg of potassium chloride and 2 kg of wood ash. From the autumn, I prepare a ridge 160 cm wide. In the middle of the ridge I dig a wide furrow 25 cm deep, where I put the fallen leaves. I spread nitroammophoska (1 kg) and wood ash (1.5 kg). Then I mix the leaf with the ground and top with soil, taken out of the furrow, with a layer of 15 cm. I make a groove around the ridge with a width of 45 cm and a depth of 30 cm. I align the surface of the ridge with a rake and set 7 arcs from the iron bar along the length at a distance of 1 m from one another . The bed for planting seedlings of cucumbers is ready.
In early April, even with the remaining snow stains, I covered the ridges with plastic wrap, to the longitudinal edges of which round poles were nailed. I press the end ends of the film to the soil with bricks.
The snow under the film quickly melts, and as soon as the soil leaves, I bring in 0.7 kg of urea. I fill up the fertilizer with a hoe to a depth of 8-10 cm. Then I level the surface of the ridge with a rake and occupy the edges with green vegetables. I spend longitudinal grooves at a distance of 10 cm from one another and sow in them radishes, lettuce, spinach, dill, plant onions on a feather. I do not occupy sowing only the middle of the ridge 60 cm wide. To better warm up the soil before germination, I again cover the bed with a film. When the shoots appear, I remove the film, I leave it only in the middle of the ridge, where the cucumbers will be planted. Green crops ripen already in the first decade of May, and in warm springs even earlier.
I grow cucumber seedlings on the windowsill. I have tested a lot of varieties, but the best results were given by Elegant, Harvest and first-generation hybrids - State Farm, Dolphin, Rodnichok, TSHA 211.
Presowing seed preparation is simple. I take out full-weight seeds and pickle in gauze rags in a 1% solution of potassium permanganate (1 g per 100 g of water) for 15-16 minutes. Then I wash the seeds under running water, after which I soak in the same marleks (12-14 hours at 20-22 °). Then I harden the swollen seeds with variable temperatures: 16-18 hours at 0 - plus 2 ° (in the refrigerator) and 8-6 hours at 18-20 °. So alternate low and high temperatures for 4-5 days. Then I keep it warm for 1 - 2 days (22-24 °) and, as soon as the seeds are nacked, I sow them in pots. The best sowing date in our conditions is April 20-25. I do the pots like this: I cut strips of plastic film 30 cm long and 12 cm wide. I connect the ends of the strips in width with an overlap and in four places I sew them with aluminum wire. It turns out a pot without a bottom with a diameter of 9 cm. I install such pots in a dive box, previously covered with a film, which I fill (3/4 of the height) with a nutrient mixture consisting of humus and lowland peat in equal proportions. I add 1/4 cup of granular superphosphate and 2 cups of wood ash to a bucket of such a mixture. All this is thoroughly mixed.
In each pot I sow one germinated seed. As soon as the seedlings begin to appear, I set the box to the brightest window for 3-5 days, where I maintain the air temperature 12-15 ° during the day and 8-10 ° at night. Then I increase the temperature by 6-8 °.
© H. Zell
So that in the phase of the cotyledonous leaves the plants do not stretch much, I pour the nutrient mixture into the pots 2-3 times. I pour it with warm water. 10-12 days before planting in the ground, I endure seedlings on a loggia for hardening. After three weeks, the seedlings will acquire 2-3 real leaves. And then it will be ready for landing.
I transfer seedlings to a permanent place in the evening hours, after watering abundantly. In the middle of the ridge I make a 35–40 cm wide hoe with a hoe, make a humus at the rate of a bucket for 2 linear meters of furrow, and pour plenty of hot water (I add 1 g of potassium permanganate to 10 liters of water). When planting, I take out aluminum wire, remove the film and plant a plant with a lump of earth, planting it obliquely at a distance of 18–20 cm from one another. I tilt one row in one direction, and the other in the other, closing the stem to cotyledonous leaves with loose soil. The distance between the rows is 40–45 cm. I pour it with warm water and cover the arcs with a film.
I make sure that the air temperature under the film cover is not lower than 18–20 ° and not higher than 30 °. I do not forget 0 regular watering, top dressing, adding humus after watering.
Two weeks after planting, flowers appear on the plants. There is little hope for bees, and the plants are most often covered by a film, so I spend artificial pollination of flowers on a daily basis. I pinch all side lashes over the 1-2nd leaf.
© H. Zell
With the onset of warm weather (in mid-June), I remove the film and raise the plants on trellises. To do this, after 3 m along the length of each row I drive in stakes 2.2 m high, on top I connect with a rail. Then, on the bottom of the stem (10-12 cm from the soil), I put on a free loop of twine, wrap the stem around and tie the other end to the top rail. In the future, I systematically correct the stems, letting them twine around the twine. I remove the antennae, since they do not cling to their supports.
The roots of cucumbers are shallow, so I spend watering often (after 1 - 2 days), but in small portions (12-15 l per 1 m2). Once every 10-12 days I give top dressing with mineral fertilizers.
Zelentsy begin to ripen in late June. I collect them first after 1 - 2 days, and then - daily. I do not allow overgrowing of fruits.
With proper care (watering, top dressing, removing fading leaves, pinching, etc.), cucumbers bear fruit until the beginning of September. I do not use any chemicals against diseases and pests.