Usually sowing cucumbers is carried out from mid-April to mid-May. Harvesting in this case is possible from mid-July to the end of summer. Cucumbers do not tolerate frost. That is why we do not sow them too early. However, there is a way to grow early cucumbers and taste the juicy handsome from their garden in the early summer or even in May. It is only necessary to take into account some features of this plant. 7 secrets of early cucumbers will be revealed to you in this article.Your cucumbers in May, or 7 secrets of early cucumbers
1. Where to sow cucumbers for an early harvest
To get an early harvest of green fortresses, you will have to abandon the traditional sowing of seeds in open ground. Cucumbers love heat, so spring frosts and temperature changes are fatal for them. In addition, in moist soil after snow melts, the seeds can rot even before they germinate, and hungry mice will readily eat them.
Therefore, seeds for seedlings are best germinated indoors at room temperature, then the first sprouts will appear in 1-2 weeks.
Attention! The planting time of cucumber seeds for seedlings should be calculated taking into account the climatic conditions of your area.
Seedlings will be ready for planting in the soil 4-5 weeks after sowing seeds. A longer stay in the pots will lead to thinning and weakening of the sprouts, which may reduce the future yield of early cucumbers.
2. How to plant cucumbers for seedlings
It is best to plant one seed in a small pot so that you do not have to thin out if several seeds sprout nearby. For such a planting, at the initial stage, an empty egg packaging is suitable.
Cucumber seedlings can become quite large before you decide to move them outside. Therefore, when the seeds germinate, carefully, together with a lump of earth, transplant them into pots with a diameter of 9 cm. They will be large enough for the seedlings to form additional roots and gain strength before transplanting it into the open ground.
For sowing seeds, use drained soil with the addition of coarse sand to maintain water balance. A coconut substrate with neutral acidity is also good for growing cucumber seedlings.
Seeds are planted to a depth of half a centimeter, covering them with coarse sand or 1: 1 composition of sand and soil.
Pots with seeds are placed in a warm room on the sunny side. The soil should be moderately moist. Under favorable conditions, the seeds germinate after 7-10 days.
If you have a propagator, this will greatly facilitate the cultivation of seedlings for early cucumbers. Modern propagators maintain preset optimal parameters of temperature, illumination and humidity throughout the entire period of seed development. In such a device, the emergence of seedlings occurs much faster and seedlings sprout more viable. For seed germination, set the temperature to + 21 ° ... + 23 ° C.
All the subtleties of growing cucumber seedlings are described in the article Growing cucumber seedlings.
There is one “secret” method of germinating cucumber seeds for an early harvest: before planting, douse them with very hot water, tightly close the seed container with a lid and wrap it so that the heat remains as long as possible. Or, pour boiling water over the soil intended for germination, quickly plant seeds there, cover and also try to keep warm. This technique disinfects seeds and promotes faster germination.It is best to plant cucumbers one seed in a small pot or cassette so that you do not have to thin out.
3. Planting young seedlings of cucumbers
About a month after planting the seeds, when a second, already real, pair of leaves appears over the first two leaves, the seedlings are ready for transplanting into the ground.
This happens around the beginning of May. Before transplanting seedlings into the ground, you can do the so-called hardening of seedlings by exposing them to the street or to the greenhouse for several hours on a sunny day.
Since the weather in this period is still not stable enough, cucumber seedlings are planted in a greenhouse or greenhouse. There, air and soil retain a higher temperature, and young plants will be protected from the adverse effects of the external environment. In this case, you can plant the sprouts earlier, and get the first fruits within 2-3 weeks after planting.
The timing of planting in a greenhouse depends on the possibility of heating it, the coating material, the possibility of additional warming in case of unexpected cooling.
If your climatic conditions allow, then you can plant seedlings immediately in the open ground. But before that, it is necessary to warm the soil well. The temperature at night should not be lower than + 5 ° C. At night, to avoid freezing, plants can be covered with an inverted bucket (preferably a plastic one) or a plastic bottle cut off from below.
When planting in open ground, the choice of seed varieties is somewhat limited, and the probability of plant disease is higher.
If there is no heated greenhouse, and in the open air it is still not warm enough, a greenhouse will help take care of young sprouts of early cucumbers. One of its options is presented in the figure below.
When the land is cleared of snow, a bed about 1 m wide is dug up. A 40x40 cm deep is made in the center along the length of the bed, dung with straw is poured into the bottom with a thickness of 20 cm, poured with hot water and covered with a layer of 20 cm of soil.
We plant cucumber bushes at a distance of 40 cm from each other on both sides of the nutrient groove, make arcs of thick wire or branches to maintain the film. The greenhouse must be covered with a transparent film, carefully fixing it at the edges.
When installing greenhouses, you should keep in mind:
- The greenhouse should be well lit, but not overheated.
- On sunny days, the film should be removed to ventilate, harden the young plants, and so that the leaves do not get burned through the film and from overheating of the air.
- From humus, not only heat is released, but also additional moisture.
Ventilating the greenhouse will help prevent moisture from settling on plants and rotting.Greenhouse arrangement scheme for early cucumbers
4. How to prepare the soil for planting cucumber seedlings
- Do not snow in the winter in the greenhouse intended for growing cucumbers. This will increase soil moisture and greatly delay its heating in the spring.
- To speed up the warming up of the soil that has been caking in during the winter, dig it in the beginning of spring without loosening it. Earth in clods will warm up faster.
- Two weeks before the proposed planting, you should feed the plot on the bed with any garden fertilizer for growing vegetables in the open ground.
- About a week before the cucumber seedlings are planted, you need to grind the soil and water it daily with hot water, each time after that covering it with a dark film.
- When planting seedlings, especially if it is open ground, do not remove the film from the beds. Plants are planted in cross-shaped incisions made at a certain distance on the film.
Before planting, make sure that there are no more frosts and the soil has warmed up to a temperature of about + 15 ° C. Soil temperature is measured with a conventional thermometer at a depth of 8 cm.
Ideal acidity for cucumbers is soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.8.
Attention! The plot for growing cucumbers should be sunny, fertile, with good permeable soil. The enemy of cucumbers are frost, rainfall and high humidity.
5. Warm beds for an early harvest
A warm bed is a great way to get early cucumbers in May, especially if the spring turned out to be cool. In addition, such a bed is also an additional top dressing.
Two types of warm beds are used: deep and raised. Such beds resemble a multi-layered sandwich, where the ingredients are organic fertilizers. It is good to make raised beds. In such beds, excess water can leave during rains.
The advantage of a laminated bed is as follows: when decomposing organics, a double effect is obtained - heat and nutrition.
It is preferable to make such a bed in the fall, so that its components rot during the winter, then the bed will be ready for spring planting of seedlings.
Here are a few rules for making a warm bed:
- it is necessary to choose a spacious sunny place;
- before backfilling the next layer, fill the bottom with water so that the layers are always wet;
- to fill the beds, take parts of only healthy plants, without fungal infections and damage by insect pests; the width of the bed is chosen arbitrarily, but not more than 1 meter, and the depth is the size of two bayonet shovels with a small margin, which is about 50 cm;
- the lower layer of filling the beds consists of large coarse waste, which takes longer to rot; it can be thin branches of deciduous trees, thick stems, small wood waste;
- the next layer consists of coarse herbaceous plants, peeling of vegetables (potato peel pre-boil to avoid their germination), soft stems;
- leaves and freshly cut grass without seeds are laid on top with a thick layer; the grass layer must be well compacted to avoid the formation of bumps; add complex fertilizer: nitroammofosk - 1 tbsp. a spoon per square meter - and a glass of wood ash, you can pour a solution of manure with or without straw;
- fill up such a filling with fertile soil with a thickness of 15 - 20 cm;
- cover the finished bed with a dark film.
Read more about creating warm beds in the article Correct beds - less work, more crop.
You can make a warm bed in the spring, but in this case, the bed is filled only with soft green mass, which is quickly processed in the ground, and plant food waste. It is especially good to use nettles without roots, clover, dandelion, onion peel. Mix with compost or vermicompost. Pour boiling water, cover with a dark film. Seedlings are planted in a few days.Growing cucumbers in warm beds significantly accelerates their fruiting.
6. Seed selection
When choosing cucumber seeds, give preference to those varieties that are suitable for your climatic zone. At present, many early ripening hybrids of cucumbers have been created with increased frost resistance and resistance to diseases.
It is important to determine in advance where the early spring cucumbers will be grown. For open ground, any type is suitable, in accordance with weather requirements. Parthenocarpic and self-pollinated varieties and hybrids are chosen for greenhouses.
Parthenocarpic hybrid differs from others in that it does not need pollination to form cucumbers. There are no seeds in such fruits. It can be hybrids "F1 Furor", "Shosha F1". Good seedlings give seeds "Garland", "Brownie", "Zozulya".
Popular early varieties for open ground: "Cascade", "Competitor", "Muromsky 36", "Graceful", "Antey".
7. How to care for cucumber seedlings
So that cucumbers are not bitter, have a beautiful shape, make sure that the land where they grow is always evenly moist. In dry weather, cucumbers need to be watered every day. Daily watering is a little better than a lot, but once a week.
When transplanting seedlings into the soil, add 2 tbsp. spoons on a plant of granulated fertilizer "Kemira Universal". A month after planting, they should still be fed. You can use liquid fertilizer for tomatoes, which is added during regular watering at the base of plants every 2 weeks. Or add granules of organic fertilizer every 2 months. You can feed with complex fertilizers "Ideal", "Lux", "Crystal", etc.
Check the plant for harmful insects and take action in a timely manner.
After the appearance of the fruits, do not let the cucumbers grow too large, pick them on time. Overgrown cucumbers become tasteless, acquire a yellow color.
Cucumbers are very demanding on top dressing. If the ovaries do not ripen, use the drug "Mag Bor", pour wood ash. During fruiting, cucumbers require potassium and phosphorus.
All of the above techniques will help grow early cucumbers and enjoy a May salad with fresh cucumbers. The main thing is to have desire, patience and not to overdo it. Have a good harvest!