The cucumber, from the family of Cucurbits, belongs to the same botanical species as the gherkin, but they are however two very different varieties, contrary to popular belief. Let’s see how to sow then maintain and finally harvest the cucumber, a creeping herbaceous vegetable plant for which it is necessary to reserve sufficient space in the vegetable garden.
It’s in march or april that cucumber is sown in a mini greenhouse or in pots to advance the harvest by a few weeks at most compared to the sowing in place.
Pour sow under coverthe following points should be observed:
- Use a mini greenhouse filled with soil for seedlings, light and loose,
- Plant the seeds no more than 2cm deep.
- Lightly tamp the substrate,
- Spray generously and use the greenhouse following the advice given on the box,
- Store the seedlings in a bright room, where the ambient temperature is between 20 and 22°C.
- Loosen the garden soil by plowing 30 to 35 cm deep,
- Remove all weeds, roots, stones,
- break up clods of earth,
- Level the ground with the claw by passing the tool several times in all directions,
- Dig pockets (small holes intended to receive several seeds) 30 cm deep and arranged in one or more rows spaced from each other by 90 cm to 1 m: so that the holes are perfectly aligned, do not hesitate to using a line,
- Line the bottom of the pockets about ten centimeters with plant matter such as grass clippings or dead leaves because they decompose quickly,
- Prepare its substrate by mixing the garden soil extracted from the holes with perfectly decomposed compost or with compost for seedlings,
- Fill the pockets with the substrate obtained then pack lightly,
- Dig a hole in the heart of each pocket with your finger and place three cucumber seeds in it at a shallow depth,
- Cover the seeds
- Water carefully in fine rain so as not to dig up the seedlings.
When the seedlings reach about fifteen centimeters in height or have formed three leaves, it is time to transplant in pockets enriched with well-decomposed compost. However, it is necessary to wait until the risk of frost is no longer to be feared, that is after May 13, which marks the end of the ice saints. It is recommended to respect a distance of 60 cm between the feet, and an interval of about 1 meter is necessary between two rows of cucumbers.
In the absence of a mini greenhouse, cucumbers can very well be sown in buckets which are placed on saucers and topped with a makeshift bell made, for example, from a plastic bottle. After a month, the young plants can be transplanted into the garden as soon as it is no longer freezing and the cucumber harvest can begin in July.
The sowing in place are to be carried out only from the to me. It is important to wait until the earth is sufficiently warmed by the sun and there is no longer any risk of freezing. To sow cucumbers in place, the advice to follow is as follows:
It is then necessary tolighten keeping only one plant out of three, when the seedlings have three leaves. Compact the soil at the foot of the young plants after the operation. Seedlings that are uprooted can still be replanted elsewhere.
The cucumber is grown in cool soils, furniture, well enriched with humus et deep. He likes them very sunny and warm exposures. It is very sensitive to the wind, to excess humidity which must absolutely be avoided and because it is not at all hardy, it does not resist the slightest frost.
Maintain your cucumber production
Cucumber is not very complicated to grow. It is therefore ideal for amateur gardeners who do not necessarily have a lot of experience in this area.
Watering should be regular but above all not excessive.
It is very useful to install a mulch at the foot of the cucumbers because it preserves the freshness of the ground. Watering can thus be limited. Mulch also slows the development of weeds. So we spend less time weeding.
It’s not an obligation. Some gardeners let the long stems of their cucumber plants run over the ground. But we can trellis for gain some space in the garden and allow the fruits to remain clean since they develop in height and are therefore not in contact with the ground. If you want to trellis your cucumbers, you can use a simple iron wire, mesh or even a decorative trellisstraight or arched, to give style to your vegetable garden…
In addition to amending the soil in the fall at a rate of 4 kg of manure per square meter in anticipation of planting cucumbers the following year, then when transplanting young plants, it is necessary to do some fertilizer inputs throughout its culture because it is a very greedy plantespecially potash and nitrogen.
The nettle manure is ideal, as well as organic complete fertilizer granules, well-decomposed manure or compost provided it is mature. As for its needs in trace elements and phosphate, they are more moderate.
In any case, the gardener must avoid making the culture of cucumber succeed that of other greedy plants such as cucurbits, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines.
Pour accelerate fruit formationit is advisable to carry out successive sizes retaining four fruits and pinching the two-leaved stem above the forming cucumbers. In this way, two new stems are obtained. Subsequently, each of them will have to be pinched above its fourth leaf. Finally, some time later, another pruning is carried out in order to pinch above each small cucumber.
Pests and diseases
You can sometimes see the devastation caused by the nematodes on the cucumber plants which then remain stunted. To prevent nematode invasions, simply plant marigolds in cucumber rows.
But it is mainly poor growing conditions that can expose cucumbers to certain maladies. We therefore absolutely avoid sowing or planting cucumbers in soil that is too cold, and we banish excess humidity. In the same way, watering carried out in spurts is detrimental to them. It is therefore necessary to water moderately and regularly in summer, especially when temperatures are particularly high and/or when drought is deplorable.
The main cucumber diseases are caused by pathogenic fungi (Phomopsis et Pythium) that cause root rot. The revealing signs of fungal disease are the wilting or even total yellowing of the plants, which can appear from the very beginning of cultivation. As for the leaves, they are also prey to various fungi.
Cucumber is susceptible topowdery mildew which can develop on this plant even if the foliage is wet. To limit the risk of powdery mildew, you can maintain sufficient ambient humidity, but the other side of the coin is that this promotes mildew… To have peace, it is important to select varieties that tolerate powdery mildew without flinching. In the event of an attack, there is a solution that can be used in organic farming, namely the wettable sulfur. It can also slow down the progression of mildew whose attack on cucurbits is often overwhelming.
Harvest your cucumbers
This is between July and September, sometimes even until October, that the cucumbers are harvested from the garden, as they develop. Sharp scissors are used to pick cucumbers by cutting at the stem.
They should not be left on the stalk beyond their maturity. In other words, the cucumber must remain good green. If it starts to turn yellow, or its skin is dotted with spots, it is that it is a little late to harvest it. The cucumber is much better when harvested young.
To eat it, wipe it with a clean cloth or pass it quickly in clear water before sponging it. Preferably, we keep our skin because it is the one that contains the most vitamins and minerals. As for its pips, they can be removed to make digestion easier.
The cucumber is a slimming ally because it is low in calories and rich in water. It also contains fiber. Cut into cubes, it can be offered as an aperitif and will have no complex next to the much more caloric peanuts, which you can still offer to your guests, especially if they are those that we grew ourselves!