Gardening

How to plant cucumber

Cucumis sativus

The cucumber is a climbing plant, whose branches can grow from 1 to 3 m in length. Its fruits are normally consumed while still immature, raw or canned.

Climate

The cucumber prefers warm weather, growing well in places with temperatures between 18 ° C and 30 ° C. In regions subject to frost and low temperatures, cucumbers can be grown in greenhouses. The plant should not be grown in a place exposed to the wind.

Brightness

Cucumbers grow best in high light conditions, with direct sunlight for at least a few hours a day.

Ground

Plant in soil rich in organic matter, fertile and well drained. This plant does not need a nitrogen-rich soil. The ideal soil pH is 5.5 to 6.8.

Irrigation

The cucumber must be irrigated as often as necessary so that its roots are never dry, but without the soil becoming soaked.

Planting

Cucumber seeds do not germinate well at temperatures below 20 ° C. Sow preferably in the garden, as the seedlings do not support the transplant well. However, if desired or convenient (for example, if your region has cold winters and you want to plant in early spring, when there is still a risk of low temperatures), the seeds can be sown in pots, plastic bags for seedlings or cups made of newsprint, kept in warm places, and then transplanted carefully to the final place. The seeds can be sown 2 or 3 cm deep, and germination takes 5 to 15 days.

The spacing indicated for the cucumber can vary widely with the cultivar and the cultivation method. In tutored cultivation, the spacing can usually be 60 cm to 1 m between the cultivation lines and 45 to 50 cm between the plants. For cultivation with plants growing flat, the spacing can be 2 m between rows and 75 cm to 1 m between plants. For the production of cucumber intended for canning, the spacing can be 1 m to 1.2 m between the cultivation lines and 20 cm between the plants.

It is possible to grow cucumber in pots that are at least 30 cm in diameter and depth, but most cultivars do not grow and produce well under these conditions.

Cultivation

The cucumber can be grown as a creeping plant or can be tutored, then grown on a fence, a trellis, a pergola, etc. There are a few cultivars that form thickets and do not spread across the land.

The tips of the main branches can be cut to promote greater plant branching. For tutored plants, this should only be done when the branches reach the full height of the support.

Most cultivars require the presence of bees for pollination and consequent fruit formation. A few cultivars are parthenocarpic, that is, they show fruit formation without pollination. These cultivars generally produce only female flowers, but occasionally they can produce some male flowers, which can be removed. In these cultivars, pollination should be avoided, as fruits lose quality if they produce seeds. To do this, either prevent the bees from reaching the flowers, for example, by growing in a closed greenhouse, or do not plant other cucumber cultivars nearby.

Harvest

Usually the cucumber harvest starts 30 to 70 days after planting, depending on the cultivar, the purpose (canned cucumbers are harvested earlier) and the growing conditions. The harvest of the fruits of most cultivars should be done when they are well developed, but before they start to ripen. Canned cucumber is harvested at a young age, when it is 3 cm to 9 cm long. The cucumber is an annual plant.

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