10 important rules for growing cucumbers in the open field
Cucumbers are the favorite culture of most gardeners, so they grow on our beds everywhere. But quite often, inexperienced summer residents have many questions about their cultivation, and, first of all, in the open ground. The fact is that cucumbers are very thermophilic, and the agricultural technology of this culture in temperate zones has its own characteristics. Everything you need to know about growing cucumbers in the open ground, we will tell in this article.
1. The variety of cucumbers - this is important!
Cucumbers are thermophilic plants, demanding of growing conditions, so it is very important to choose the right variety or hybrid - recommended specifically for your growing region. Only such plants can show excellent results in the open field of local conditions.
Bee pollinated, self-pollinated or parthenocarpic varieties or hybrid forms of cucumbers are suitable for outdoor cultivation. When choosing seeds, you need to focus on those for which the bag says: cold-resistant, resistant to temperature extremes, diseases. Such plants develop better and bear fruit in difficult growing conditions without shelter.
Another important factor - you need to choose medium-sized varieties of cucumbers (this information is also indicated on the package with seeds). It will be easier for such plants to establish supports for growing, and if necessary, they can be sheltered to protect them from the cold.
2. The choice of places and beds for cucumbers
The cucumber bed is best placed in the most lighted place, preferably on a hill - cucumbers cannot tolerate waterlogging, stagnation of water and cold soil in lowlands. The best is a place open to the south. The bed should be protected from the wind.
It is advisable to prepare the soil for cucumbers in advance - in the autumn carefully collect and remove all plant debris, add organic fertilizers to the site - manure or humus. Cucumbers are very demanding precisely to the introduction of organic matter.
For cucumbers, the so-called warm beds are ideal. They are rich in organic matter, on the one hand, and on the other, the temperature of the soil in them is higher than on ordinary beds. You can start growing cucumbers in warm beds much earlier, and harvest the last crop much later.
Read more about warm beds in the article Correct beds - less work, more yield.
3. When to sow cucumbers?
Cucumbers can be sown both for seedlings and immediately in open ground at the place of cultivation. It is necessary to sow directly into the soil when the soil warms up well and there is no threat of a sharp drop in temperature. Cucumbers are very thermophilic, they can simply not ascend in the cold earth.
If the seedling method is used, then seeds must be sown 30-35 days before the seedling planting date. It is at this age, it is possible a little earlier, seedlings take root well in a new place. Overgrown seedlings due to very delicate and vulnerable roots will be more difficult to adapt.
The normal growth and development of cucumber plants occurs when the soil temperature is not lower than + 15 ... + 16 ° C. It is these conditions that you must try to comply with, so that the planted seedlings develop well. At lower temperatures, plants, even if they sprout, will not grow until warmer weather arrives.
The second important factor determining the success of growing seedlings is the creation of conditions for the maximum preservation of the root system during transplantation. Cucumber plants tolerate it very poorly. Therefore, the seeds need to be sown in loose soil, and transplanting seedlings as carefully as possible. Otherwise, the cucumbers will be sick for a long time, and the deadline for the first harvest will shift. At the same time, the crop itself may be lower than expected.
4. The optimal time for planting seedlings in the ground
Optimal for the development and fruiting of a cucumber is considered a fairly high air temperature - approximately + 24 ... + 27°C. Therefore, with the planting of seedlings do not need to rush.
Usually in the middle lane, the seeds of cucumbers for open ground for seedlings are sown in the second half of May, seedlings are planted in open ground in mid-June. At this time, the threat of freezing frost is already past, and the temperature during the day and night is quite comfortable for these heat-loving plants.
But in recent years, as experienced gardeners have noticed, the weather can change dramatically in one direction or another. Therefore, in each season you need to act on the basis of specific weather conditions.
5. Do not thicken the cucumbers when planting!
Wherever you grow cucumbers - in open ground or in a greenhouse, you must leave enough space between the plants. Otherwise, cucumbers will obscure each other, compete for moisture and nutrients, which will affect the harvest.
When determining the distance between cucumber plants, it is necessary to take into account the size of a particular variety. It is desirable to plant cucumbers at a distance of 50-60 cm from each other and about 100-120 cm between rows.
6. Cucumbers need to be shaped!
This moment of departure is not clear to everyone, especially many questions about the formation of cucumbers in inexperienced summer residents. First of all, you need to remove the lower shoots that are in contact with the ground - there will be no good crop on them due to lack of lighting.
In the future, you can form plants in one stem, completely removing the side shoots. And you can pinch the plant after 5-6 leaves, thus stimulating the branching of the plant, and therefore increase productivity, by activating fruiting on the side shoots.
7. Water the plants correctly
Cucumbers are very sensitive to violation of the irrigation regime. With a lack of moisture in the soil, the plants wither, discard the ovaries. At the same time, excess moisture can also cause falling ovaries, as well as the occurrence of diseases.
Roughly during the period of plant growth they are watered after 6-7 days, and after the start of fruiting - after 3-4 days. Each bush needs at least 2 liters of water. Of course, you need to navigate and weather conditions. In cool, cloudy weather, water the cucumbers less often.
Water for irrigation must be warm, at least + 18 ° C, the optimum temperature is considered irrigation water + 23 ... + 25 ° C. In no case should you water the cucumber plants from a hose with a strong pressure of water.
8. Provide regular care to cucumbers
Cucumber plantations must be taken care of in a timely manner. First of all, they need to be weeded and loosened periodically. In the dense soil, on which the soil crust forms, the plants feel very uncomfortable - they lag behind in growth, throw off the ovaries.
So that the earth around the bushes does not compact, the soil around the plants needs to be loosened, but this will have to be done very carefully. The root system of the cucumber is vulnerable, with inept care the plants can be harmful. Loosening of cucumber bushes should be carried out to a depth of not more than 2-4 cm.
When the plants have 3 true leaves, it is recommended to spud them. This procedure will allow plants to grow a stronger root system due to the appearance of additional roots.
Mulching affects the condition of cucumber plants very well. To do this, you can use well-rotted manure, "old" sawdust, peat, straw or modern non-woven materials. Mulching helps to preserve moisture, inhibit weed growth, and reduce temperature jumps during the day and night.
When mulching, a layer of mulch is laid throughout the garden, and not just around the plants, because the roots of cucumbers are superficial, occupying a fairly large area.
Read more about mulching in our article 4 types of mulch on my site - the pros and cons of use.
9. Regularly fertilize your cucumbers
On average, cucumber plants need to be fed at least 5 times per season. Cucumbers are very fond of organics, so the best option for top dressing is the alternation of organic and mineral fertilizers (Kemira, Sudarushka, Mortar, Kristallin, etc.) or the use of complex organic mineral fertilizing.
As organic fertilizers, you can use ready-made fertilizers based on chicken or horse manure (“Flumb”, “Orgavit”, “Kaury”, “Ideal”, etc.) - in each region there are suppliers and brands of fertilizers.
The first dressing after planting can be done with a urea solution (according to the instructions), such dressing stimulates the growth of the plant and earlier entry into fruiting. In the future, it is not worth getting carried away with nitrogen fertilizers, otherwise instead of harvesting you will get a large mass of cucumber lashes.
Another fertilizing with urea can be done with a decline in fruiting - fertilizer will spur the re-development of plants.
Cucumbers respond well to dressing with ash solution - 1 glass per bucket of water. Potassium contained in the ash stimulates flowering and fruiting of plants.
In no case can chlorine-containing potassium fertilizers be used on cucumbers, plants react extremely negatively to them.
10. Protection against diseases and pests
The defeat of plants by diseases or pests leads, at best, to lower yields, and at worst to their death. Delicate bushes of cucumbers very often suffer from diseases. In open ground, they are usually affected by root rot.
To avoid the hassle of treating plants, it is easiest to carry out preventive measures to prevent diseases. A very simple but effective way to prevent cucumber diseases is to maintain crop rotation - after pumpkin crops for three years, they are not recommended to be sown. Good predecessors for cucumbers are onions, peas, cabbage, beets or potatoes, peppers.
Also, the biofungicide “Fitosporin” will help prevent diseases, which can be regularly watered for the prevention of diseases. And the Zircon preparation, on the one hand, is anti-stress and helps plants adapt to the difficult conditions of open ground, on the other hand, it forms resistance to diseases in plants.
Of the pests in the open ground, it most often affects aphid cucumbers. Due to the early maturity of this culture, it is recommended to process cucumber plants only with biological products, such as Fitoverm or Spark Bio. Chemical preparations have a long waiting period - the period when processed vegetables should not be eaten.
In general, there is nothing complicated in growing cucumbers in the open field, the main thing is not to forget about the conditions that this plant needs and try to comply with them.