8 Secrets for growing cucumber in pot and your garden
Cucumber is one of the most popular summer vegetables that we plant in the spring in our garden and harvest in the summer. What better way to enjoy delicious and healthy cucumbers from our garden! And if we don’t have the space to plant vegetables, we can grow cucumbers in pots on the balcony. Annual, herbaceous plant, cucumber, belongs to the same family as zucchini, melon and watermelon, it is characterized by long stems that creep or climb and reach up to 3 meters. Growing cucumbers is medium difficult and with proper care can give us a satisfactory harvest. So let’s see what are the best varieties to plant, as well as tips for all stages of cultivation, in order to enjoy the most delicious and crunchy cucumbers from our garden.
What are the most well-known varieties of cucumber?
The varieties and hybrids of cucumber, depending on the size of the fruit, are divided into large-fruited varieties and small-fruited ones that are also used for pickling. A traditional long-fruited variety of cucumber is the Kalivian cucumber, suitable for summer outdoor cultivation that gives very tasty smooth dark green fruits, about 40 cm long. From the small-fruited varieties, we single out the Knossos variety, from the area of Heraklion, Crete, with a smooth dark green crispy fruit about 20 cm long. Most cucumber varieties are harvested 2 months after transplanting the young cucumber plants. A common production of a cucumber plant can reach 20-40 cucumbers in 1-2 months after planting depending on the variety.
When do we plant cucumbers and at what distances?
If we want to plant early young cucumber plants in March-April before the weather warms up enough, we must prepare the seed pods in a vegetable greenhouse and transplant them after about a month as soon as they are ready. If the cucumber is planted at a later time, during the May-June period when the temperature has risen to 20-25 ° C, we can plant the cucumber seed directly in the ground. In this case, the plant takes root directly in the soil, adapted, better to environmental conditions and will not be “stressed” due to transplanting. We plant cucumber plants at the appropriate planting distances, avoiding dense plantings, facilitating creeping vegetation. Sparse planting every 50-70 cm between sites and 1.50-1.70 meters between planting lines, helps to better ventilate and illuminate the plants and reduce fungal and entomological diseases.
Does cucumber cultivation need support?
The cucumber does not need to be supported, as it can grow and bear fruit, crawling on the ground with its propellers. If we want to support the plants to save space, our cucumbers can be climbed with twine as it is done in greenhouses or in pots on our balcony. In our garden we can build a special grid with an angle of 45 degrees, made of stainless steel or reeds to climb our cucumbers. In this case, if the cucumber is supported and does not fall to the ground, we achieve better ventilation of the plant and avoid the development of various fungal diseases.
How often does cucumber need watering?
Cucumber is demanding on water to have good growth and significant fruiting. Watering is needed every two to three days during the spring and every one or two days during the summer, so that the soil is kept moist during the growing season. Also, it is important to mention that cucumber needs watering with good quality water, as it is sensitive to the high content of irrigation water, but also the soil, in salts. We prefer to water the cucumber with a drip irrigation system so that its foliage does not get wet and fungal diseases such as powdery mildew develop.
How often do we put compost in the cucumber?
Initially, before transplanting the cucumber, we incorporate organic matter into the planting sites in the form of compost and well-digested manure. At the same time, we add a complete organic fertilizer every three weeks to help the vigor, the vegetative growth of the plants, the flowering and the production of cucumber fruits. Cultivation of cucumber is demanding on nitrogen and potassium, as well as magnesium. In addition, the addition of iron enhances the greening of the foliage as several times the cucumber shows symptoms of iron deficiency (malnutrition).
How do we deal with diseases and insects of cucumber?
Cultivation of cucumber is affected by various diseases and insects that infect the foliage, shoots and flowers. A particularly important problem in the cultivation of cucumber is the fungus of powdery mildew that causes whitening on the leaves and also creates a problem on the fruits. Also, cucumber is affected by the moth that dries its leaves during the summer and degrades its fruits. To deal with them, we dust with sulfur around the root, so that the fumes during the hot days provide protection for the powdery mildew and the blackhead. Alternatively, we can use an improvised solution to prevent spoilage by dissolving one tablespoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in 2 liters of water. Cucumber is also very often affected by the insects of the meligra and the floury, which create honeydew and then the tobacco fungus that darkens the leaves develops, as well as by the insect of the thrips. To treat cucumber insects, we spray their foliage every 2 weeks with potassium salts supplied by agricultural shops, as well as with natural pyrethrin to protect them from thrips. Alternatively, we make the recipe ourselves with natural ingredients, dissolving a tablespoon of grated green soap and 1 tablespoon of alcohol in a liter of water and spraying the leaves of cucumber plants every week.
How is cucumber propagated?
To create new cucumber plants, the best way to propagate them is by seed. If we want to keep specific varieties of cucumber that we will plant every year, we choose varieties of cucumber (and not hybrids), as they have separate female and male flowers and produce fruits with seeds. It should be noted that cucumber hybrids have only female flowers and produce virgin fruit, without seeds whenever we can not cultivate next year. In the case of hybrids, we must procure new seeds or ready-made cucumber plants from nurseries every year.
And one last secret about growing cucumbers
In some varieties the cucumber fruit is bitter due to dry thermal conditions or sudden changes in temperature and humidity. Many old growers mistakenly believed that the bitterness of cucumber was due to the accidental pressing of small cucumber fruits in the ground.
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