Who doesn't want to feast on their cucumbers as early as possible. Growing cucumber seedlings at home allows you to speed up this pleasure.
In this case, the most important thing is to correctly calculate the timing of sowing seeds. It's not difficult at all.
To do this, study the features of the growing season of the selected variety, count the number of days from the date of planting seedlings in open ground to sowing the seeds according to the calendar in reverse order. This will be the cherished sowing day. At the same time, the sowing time must be adjusted so as not to fall under the spring frosts, if in the future the cucumbers will grow in the open field.
Knowing these secrets, it is not difficult for any gardener to grow strong seedlings at home, guaranteeing a rich harvest. It is all the more important to know them because after sowing the seeds, it takes 20-30 days for a good strong seedling.
You need to start with potting soil.
To obtain an early harvest of cucumbers, the seedling method of growing is of exceptional importance. In this case, it is very important to choose the correct composition of the soil mixture.
Most often it is prepared from humus (dung or compost) and low-lying peat (black), taken in equal quantities. A good result is obtained by a mixture consisting of turf soil - 3 parts, decomposed peat - 3 hours, manure humus - 3 hours, rotted sawdust or river sand - 1 hour. Excellent seedlings can be grown on a soil mixture consisting of peat - 3 hours ., humus - 1 tsp, rotted sawdust - 1 tsp.
Add 3-4 tablespoons to a bucket of any of these mixtures. tablespoons of wood ash, 1 tbsp. a spoonful of superphosphate, 1 teaspoon of urea or apply complex mineral fertilizers ("Solution", "Aquarin", etc.) according to the instructions and add 0.5 cups of wood ash and mix everything thoroughly.
If you use fresh, not blackened sawdust to prepare the potting mix, then you must first pour boiling water over them 2-3 times to wash off the resinous substances. Many gardeners also heat the mixture (steam, boiling water, frying in the oven for 30 minutes).
An excellent and inexpensive soil can be obtained by mixing 2 hours of ready-made soil "Gardener" (for cucumbers), 2 hours of stale sawdust, 1 hour of vermicompost. Instead of "Gardener" you can use ready-made soils "Uralets", "Flora", "Krepysh", "Ogorodnik", "Special No. 2" (based on "Living Earth"), universal soils "Gumimax". It will be nice if you add a handful of "Biud-soil-2" (for pumpkin crops) to a bucket of mixture.
Moreover, if you plant cucumber seeds in boxes, then the mixture should contain a little more loosening materials (sand, sawdust). If we fill the cups with the mixture, then the mixture should be denser so that the lump of earth does not fall apart during transplantation, which holds the roots of the plants.
Then the soil mixture prepared from these components must be watered with a warm strong solution of potassium permanganate to combat the black leg.
Do I need to prepare seeds?
Varieties for the first harvest should be chosen early, parthenocarpic (self-pollinated), shade-tolerant. It is best to buy first-generation F1 hybrids that are distinguished by their endurance, vitality and productivity.
Proper preparation of seeds for sowing should provide plants with friendly and strong shoots, good growth in the initial growing season, abundant formation of fruit ovaries, protection of plants from viral diseases and early root rot.
Before sowing, your own cucumber seeds must be prepared, preferably before the swelling stage. Of course, they will sprout faster if germinated, but these sprouts in cucumbers are very fragile. And it is very difficult to store sprouted seeds if you do not have the opportunity to sow them immediately. And it is more convenient to work with swollen seeds, and it is easy to store them on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
Well, what about the seeds bought in the store? Remember that cucumber seeds produced by large manufacturing firms are generally shipped to stores already treated against pests and diseases. Therefore, you must very carefully read the annotations, which are usually on the back of branded bags. After reading the annotation, you should know whether it is necessary to prepare these seeds for sowing or not.
But it also happens that there is no annotation on the bag, and the cucumber seeds have an unusual, often very dark color. In this case, ask the store for clarification. If they cannot explain anything there, then it is logical to assume that these seeds have already been processed in a special solution. And it is best not to buy seeds in such a store.
And the "colored" seeds of cucumbers from bags (red, blue, green), treated with polymers, should be sown only dry in the soil pre-moistened with warm water, without subjecting them to any processing. Any additional treatment of them can lead to the most unpredictable consequences, up to the complete death of the seeds ...
It is easier to create the necessary conditions for growing seedlings in a greenhouse, especially if it is heated with biofuel. But here, too, it is better to grow seedlings in pots.
When the cotyledon leaves unfold, the seedlings are watered with warm (30 ° C) settled water. The first days it is better to water it with a teaspoon, because seedlings are easily washed out of the soil. Plants should not be allowed to wilt, but excess water is no less dangerous.
When growing seedlings in a picking box, only those seedlings are used that have dark green cotyledons and a good lobe of roots. About 30 minutes before the pick, they are watered abundantly. With good lighting and optimal temperature, the first true leaf appears in 6-7 days.
More acceptable for seedlings is their cultivation not with a pick, but with transshipment, i.e. with a change in the container with soil from a smaller one to a larger one, in which the seedlings are transplanted with a lump of earth without disturbing the root system.
If you grew seedlings in cylinders from a newspaper, then they are placed along with the newspaper in a prepared hole the same depth as the cylinder. Then add soil around the newspaper. The newspaper will quickly get wet in the soil, and roots will sprout through it.
And if the seedlings are grown in film bags, then they must be lowered into the prepared wells along with the film, and then carefully cut the film. In this case, the entire clod of earth will be in the hole without damaging the roots. It remains only to pour soil into the hole.
At the same time, the seedlings should not experience severe restrictions in the volume of soil for the roots and in the airspace for the aboveground part. That is why, as the seedlings grow, the pots are placed from the moment the leaves touch. The ideal volume of the seedling pot at this time is at least 0.5 liters.
Before planting in the ground, the seedlings of cucumbers must be fed twice. The first time it is better to do this after the appearance of the first true leaf with a solution of mullein (1:10) or bird droppings (1:20), and in their absence, with ammonium nitrate (0.5 teaspoon per bucket of water). If you have prepared the potting mix well and the young plants are growing well, you can skip this top dressing.
The second top dressing is done 3-4 days before planting in the ground using complex mineral fertilizers (Kemira-Lux, Solution, Aquarin), liquid fertilizers (Agricola, Ideal, Dairin), organic fertilizers (Biud, chicken manure, mullein), etc.
To increase the cold resistance of seedlings, many gardeners carry out the second feeding only with phosphorus and potassium fertilizers (1 tablespoon of potassium sulfate and 1.5 tablespoons of superphosphate per 10 liters of water). In this case, 1 glass of solution is consumed in the first feeding for 4–5 plants, in the second - for 2–3 plants.
During the entire time of growing seedlings, regardless of the dressing, the plants must be sprayed with the growth stimulator "Epin".After treatment with "Epin", the plants react less to unfavorable conditions, especially the lack of illumination inherent in city apartments.
Air humidity in the apartment is of great importance. Too dry air oppresses the cucumber seedlings. Therefore, its humidity must be raised by periodically placing a damp cloth rolled in several layers on the nearest heating battery, and an open jar of water should be kept next to the seedlings.
7–8 days before planting, the seedlings begin to harden, ie. gradually accustom to a lower temperature. To do this, it must be taken out into the street, onto the balcony or open a window, but do not forget to close the doors at the same time, because cucumbers hate drafts.
And if, nevertheless, with a dive
Many gardeners still grow pickled cucumber seedlings in boxes filled with sawdust. To do this, the bottom of the box is covered with a film, sawdust scalded with boiling water is placed on it with a layer of 7-8 cm. The surface is leveled and grooves are made after 3-4 cm, the bottom of which is sprinkled with humus with a layer of 0.5-1 cm. The prepared seeds are placed 2 cm from each other. each other and sprinkle with sawdust with a layer of 1–1.5 cm. Then they are compacted and watered with a weak solution of macro- and microelements.
In the phase of cotyledonous leaves, seedlings dive into pots. Previously, you can carefully lift all the soil in the container with a rounded knife. Seedling roots easily emerge from the sawdust substrate and have almost no damage.
Remember! The overgrowth of cucumber seedlings should not be allowed, because such seedlings do not take root well in a permanent place.
Ready-to-plant seedlings of cucumbers should have dark green leaves, short internodes, a thick stem, 2-4 true leaves and a shortened hypocotyl knee. Seedlings of parthenocarpic hybrids should have short internodes, 25–30 cm high, and have 5–6 dark green leaves. The root system of young plants should tightly cover the entire volume of the cube, the roots should be white, intact.
We plant seedlings
We plant cucumber seedlings in open ground when the threat of frost has passed. The roots of cucumbers during this period are very fragile, so they need to be planted with an earthen clod, preserving the root system as much as possible.
So that the lump does not collapse during planting, the seedlings should be slightly dried, i.e. kept without watering for 2 days.
Carefully cut the bottom of the cup with a knife and push the lump out. Place the lump with the plant in a well-watered well prepared in advance, carefully sprinkle first with wet and then dry soil.
The first 2-3 days after planting, the plants are shaded with cardboard boxes or a protective net.
Read also the article Growing cucumber seedlings and planting methods.
"Ural gardener", No. 10-11, 2016