Good news awaits city gardeners this season. The Manul Seed Breeding Company has created a new group of unique varieties of cucumber for growing on the balcony. A balcony or loggia is a place with a limited area for arranging beds, low air and soil humidity and, often, insufficient illumination, so ordinary varieties are not suitable for these purposes. The hybrids of the "Balkonny" group have a number of features that make it possible to successfully grow cucumbers, while receiving a high yield, in such difficult conditions for garden plants.
The main differences between balcony varieties of cucumber:
1. Relative drought resistance, shade tolerance, powerful root system.
2. Small size of the leaf blade.
3. Short internodes.
4. Abundance of ovaries in the knots.
5. Zelentsy pickle or gherkin size, do not outgrow.
The compact habit of such plants (short internodes, medium-sized leaves; while the main stem is long) make it possible to effectively use a limited volume of a balcony or veranda. And numerous small, excellent quality greens that do not outgrow for a long time can be harvested for a long time, even if the collection of fruits is irregular. Thus, balcony cucumbers are better than others adapted to the specific conditions of a balcony or loggia.
In 2009, the first 2 hybrids of a balcony cucumber were entered into the State Register: F1 Urban cucumber and F1 Balkonny, and in 2011 - balcony hybrids F1 Balagan, F1 Calendar, F1 Hummingbird, F1 Machaon.
It should be noted that cucumbers of this group can be grown with equal success in spring greenhouses and in the open field.
Agrotechnology for growing cucumber on the balcony and loggia
Site preparation, substrates
For growing cucumbers, balconies oriented to the east or southeast are most suitable. Northern balconies and loggias are less well lit and warmed up. Nevertheless, even here the growing conditions are better than on the windowsill in the apartment.
For planting, you can use various containers: flowerpots, pots, boxes, as well as double plastic bags with folded bottom edges. It is better to select pots, flowerpots and boxes with a double bottom: in the upper bottom there are drainage holes for draining excess water, the lower bottom functions as a pallet. It should be remembered that cucumbers consume a large amount of water, so watering should be abundant and regular. The containers are filled with potting soil, without adding 5-6 cm to the upper edge. During the growing season, as the soil shrinks, it will again be possible to fill it up to the previous level.
The minimum volume of substrate for one plant is 5 liters, otherwise the soil will dry out greatly during the fruiting period. Any loose soil (but not dense soddy-podzolic or clayey soil), peat (high-moor, low-lying), compost, various peat-soil mixtures are suitable. The acidity of the soil (pH of the water extract) should be in the range of 6.6-6.8. It can be determined using a household appliance pH meter (acidity tester). Soil mixtures can have varying degrees of acidity. If the soil is acidic, it is limed by adding finely ground chalk, lime or dolomite flour. At pHaq.6.2-6.5 per 10 liters of soil, on average, 5-10 g of dolomite flour are applied. The application rates for chalk or lime are lower than those for dolomite flour.
It is most convenient to use ready-made soil mixtures, lime-made and filled with fertilizers. Water-retaining additives (eg agrogel) can be added to the soil.
About substrates for seedlings - in the article Sow me with love.
Sowing and growing seedlings
If the weather is stable and warm (the optimum germination temperature for cucumber seeds is + 24 ... + 26 ° C), direct sowing in pots or flowerpots with dry or germinated seeds is possible. In case of unstable cool weather, it is better to plant ready-made seedlings on the balcony and loggia.
Seeds are sown in well-moistened soil to a depth of 1.5-2 cm and covered with moist earth or peat sifted through a sieve on top, slightly compacting it (but not watering it). In the case of sowing germinated seeds, the peat sprinkled on top is not compacted. Immediately after the emergence of seedlings, it is desirable to maintain the air temperature at the level of 20-24 ° C during the day and 18-19 ° C at night, and the soil temperature at the level of 20-24 ° C. The higher air temperature will lead to the elongation of young plants. The optimal volume of a seedling pot is 200-300 ml. With a larger volume, the soil ball will crumble during transplantation, since the roots will not be able to braid it tightly, with less, it will dry out quickly.
After 4-5 days, the daytime air temperature is increased to 20-24 ° C (in cloudy weather) - 24-26 ° C (in sunny weather), and at night - up to 19-21 ° C. It is difficult to regulate the temperature at home, so you can transfer the seedlings from the room to the balcony and vice versa, trying to achieve the desired temperature in this way.
The soil temperature should not drop below 18-20 ° C, otherwise the seedlings will start growing slowly and will be weak.
Seedling pots (always with a drainage hole) are best placed in plastic trays. Leaves of neighboring plants should not shade each other.
After the main dressing of the seedling mixture (if initially there was no fertilizer in it), the seedlings are fed 1-2 times (in phases 2 and 3 of this leaf). To do this, use complex water-soluble mineral fertilizers (2-3 g / l). They are fed with such a solution under the root until the seedling pot is completely wetted.
In central Russia, cucumber seedlings are planted on open balconies from May 10-15, on glazed balconies and loggias - from May 1-5. Planting should be completed by mid-June.
The optimal age for cucumber seedlings for a balcony is 10-20 days (plants with 2-3 true leaves). But in the Balkonny variety, you can plant more mature seedlings without losing its quality. If the seedlings of ordinary cucumber varieties begin to "fall on their side" (outgrow) in the phase of 5-6 true leaves, then in balcony cucumbers, thanks to the strong stem and small leaves, young plants can stand upright and in the phase of 6-8 true leaves. Thus, by planting an adult (5-6 true leaves) seedlings, you can ensure a stronger run of plants in development and accelerate the onset of cucumber fruiting on the balcony.
Growing methods, shaping
Cucumbers grown on balconies are a must tie to supports... Supports are placed on the sides of the balcony or along the wall. As it grows, each plant will need to be wrapped around twine - a vertical twine attached from above to a stationary balcony support. In greenhouses, the trellis wire (to which the twine is tied) is placed at the height of the hand raised up (2.1-2.2 m). On the balcony, where the flowerpots or boxes are raised above the floor level, the distance from the ground surface to the trellis will be less (which means there will be fewer stem nodes, and, accordingly, the yield). Therefore, when the plants reach the balcony support, you can untie the twine from the trellis, lower the flowerpots or boxes from the stands to the balcony floor, lengthen the twine twine and re-tie the twine to the trellis.
On balconies, loggias, as well as verandas, it is very convenient to use mobile trellis. Mobile trellis are boxes, pots or flowerpots with a support attached to them that replaces the trellis wire. The convenience of a mobile trellis is that such plants can be easily transferred from place to place at any age. A mobile trellis can be in the form of a U-shaped contour made of wood or metal, fixed to the sides of a pot or flowerpot, in the form of a ladder or in the form of another structure. Plants are allowed along the very contour, or twine is tied to the contour, twisting the stems around them (as in a greenhouse).
Cucumbers on a mobile trellis need shape... Since the height of the mobile trellis is lower than in the greenhouse, the formation of plants here is somewhat different from the accepted schemes.The lower 2-3 knots completely blind (remove the ovaries and lateral shoots). In the next 1-2 nodes, the ovaries are left, and the lateral shoots are plucked out. Above the stem, lateral shoots are left, pinching them to the middle of the trellis height by 2 leaves, and higher by 3-4 leaves. A short pinching of the lateral shoots in the lower nodes of the stem accelerates the growth of the stem in height, enhances the filling of zelents.
The top of the stem can be formed in different ways: pinch it when the plant reaches the height of the mobile trellis, pinch it over the 3-5th knot above the trellis, or, carefully twisting or bending the stem over the trellis, let it go down and then pinch it at a height of 50-60 cm from the surface of the pot or flowerpot. If you need to enhance the decorative effect, leave rather long side shoots in the lower part of the stem.
The third option for growing cucumber plants on the balcony and loggia is in hanging pots or baskets (planters). Most hybrids of the Balkonny cultivar are characterized by good branching, and they can be used as ampelous plants without pinching or pinching the regrown ends of the shoots. Fruit set with this method remains high.
General cultivation techniques - in the article Cucumber planting care.
Characteristics of varieties of balcony cucumber
Parthenocarpic bundle gherkin female flowering type. The branching is average. In the nodes, from 2-4 to 6-8 or more ovaries are formed, the filling of the ovaries in the node is sequential. Zelentsy are lumpy, white-spiked, 6-10 cm long, do not outgrow for a long time. Salting and taste qualities are high. The hybrid is resistant to olive spot, cucumber mosaic virus, powdery mildew, tolerant to downy mildew.
F1 URBAN CUCUMBER
Parthenocarpic fascicular gherkin. Branching is active. Becomes fruiting 40-41 days from germination. In the nodes, an average of 3-9 or more ovaries are formed. Zelentsy are lumpy, white-thorny, 9-12 cm long, 75-90 cm in weight, on a long stalk. Zelentsy do not outgrow for a long time; remain small and thin for a long time ("finger cucumbers"). The hybrid strikes with an abundance of greens on the plant for a long time. Due to its increased shade tolerance, it is adapted for cultivation on a windowsill. Resistant to olive spot, cucumber mosaic virus, powdery mildew, tolerant to downy mildew.
Early maturing parthenocarpic gherkin beam hybrid of predominantly female or female flowering type. Weak branching; side shoots are short. In the nodes, from 2-3 to 4-6 ovaries are formed. Zelentsy are lumpy, oval-fusiform, intense green in color with longitudinal light stripes, short, 8-10 cm long, weighing 80-90 g. Taste and salting qualities are high. The hybrid is resistant to olive spot, common cucumber mosaic, powdery mildew, tolerant to downy mildew.
An early maturing parthenocarpic gherkin hybrid of a female or predominantly female type of flowering with a bundle arrangement of ovaries in the nodes. The branching is average. In the nodes, from 2-3 to 5-6 ovaries are formed; on lateral shoots, bunching is more pronounced than on the main lash. Zelentsy are lumpy, oval-fusiform, intense green in color with longitudinal light stripes, short, 8-10 cm long, weighing 80-90 g. Taste and salting qualities are high. The hybrid is resistant to olive spot, common cucumber mosaic, powdery mildew, tolerant to downy mildew.
Early maturing parthenocarpic bundle gherkin hybrid of female or predominantly female flowering type. In the nodes, from 2 to 8-10 ovaries are formed. Zelentsy are short, lumpy, white-spiked, 5-8 cm long, weighing 60-80 g, fusiform, on a long stalk. On the surface of zelents, short light longitudinal stripes are expressed. Taste and salting qualities are high.The hybrid is resistant to olive spot, common cucumber mosaic, powdery mildew, tolerant to downy mildew.
Early maturing parthenocarpic bundle gherkin hybrid of female or predominantly female flowering type. In the nodes of the stem and lateral shoots, from 2 to 7-11 ovaries are formed. Zelentsy are short, lumpy, white-spined, fusiform, 7-11 cm long, weighing 60-110 g. On the surface of zelents, short light longitudinal stripes are characteristic. Taste and salting qualities are high. The hybrid is resistant to olive spot, common cucumber mosaic, powdery mildew, tolerant to downy mildew.
Read about other varieties of cucumber in the articles:
Cucumber: how to choose the right variety
Spring-summer varieties of cucumber. Parthenocarpic bundle gherkin hybrids
Spring-summer varieties of cucumber. Parthenocarpic tuberous and smooth-fruited hybrids
Spring-summer varieties of cucumber. Bee-pollinated and partially parthenocarpic tuberous hybrids