By: Joseph Masabni
Cucumbers are grown for consuming contemporary or preserved as pickles. They mature rapidly and are finest suited to bigger gardens. Nonetheless, they are often grown in small areas if the crops are caged or trellised.
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Though cucumbers do finest in unfastened sandy loam soil, they are often grown in any well-drained soil.
Cucumbers should be grown in full daylight. As a result of their roots attain 36 to 48 inches deep, don’t plant them the place tree roots will rob them of water and vitamins.
Take away rocks, giant sticks, and trash earlier than getting ready the soil. Go away positive items of plant materials similar to lifeless grass and small weeds as a result of they’ll assist enrich the soil when turned underneath.
Spade the soil to eight to 12 inches deep (Fig. 1). That is in regards to the depth reached by most shovels or spading forks. Flip every shovel of soil utterly over to cowl all plant supplies with soil.
Work the soil into beds 4 to six inches excessive and a minimum of 36 inches aside (Fig. 2). Ridges are particularly essential in heavy soils and poorly drained areas as a result of cucumbers will need to have good drainage.
Cucumbers are grown for slicing or for pickling. The cucumbers finest suited to slicing are 6 to eight inches lengthy and 1 inch or extra in diameter when mature. Cucumbers grown for pickling are 3 to 4 inches lengthy and as much as 1 inch in diameter at maturity. Both sort can be utilized for pickling if picked when small.
Varieties to develop in Texas for pickling embody Calypso, Carolina, Fancypak, Multipik, and Nationwide Pickling.
For slicing, varieties embody Burpless, Dasher II, Poinsett, Pointsett 76, Slice Grasp, Straight 8, Candy Slice, and Candy Success.
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Cucumbers require heat temperatures and can’t survive frost. Don’t plant cucumbers till all hazard of frost has handed and the soil begins to heat.
Cucumbers are a vine crop requiring lots of area. The vines can attain 6 to eight ft lengthy or extra. In giant gardens, cucumbers can unfold out on the bottom. Plant them in rows on the ridges ready earlier. Use a hoe or persist with make a small furrow about 1 inch deep down the middle of every ridge.
Drop three or 4 seeds in teams each 12 to 14 inches down the row (Fig. 3). By planting a number of seeds, you usually tend to get a stand. Take away further crops quickly after emergence.
Cowl the seeds with about 1 inch of positive soil. Use the flat aspect of a hoe to agency the soil over the seeds, however don’t pack it.
In small gardens, you’ll be able to prepare cucumbers on a fence, trellis or cage if wire is offered (Figs. 4 and 5). Plant three or 4 seeds in hills 4 to six inches excessive alongside the trellis or cage.
You possibly can plant fast-maturing crops similar to lettuce and radishes between the cucumber hills to save lots of area. These can be harvested earlier than the cucumber vines get too giant.
Cucumbers require loads of fertilizer. Scatter 1 cup of a whole fertilizer similar to 10-10-10 or 10-20-10 for every 10 ft of row; then work the fertilizer into the soil and depart the floor clean.
When the vines are about 10 to 12 inches lengthy, apply about ½ cup of fertilizer for every 10 ft of row or 1 tablespoon per plant.
Soak the crops effectively with water weekly if it doesn’t rain.
Care through the season
Maintain the cucumbers as weed free as potential. Don’t plow or hoe the soil deeper than about 1 inch as a result of you could minimize the feeder roots and sluggish the plant’s progress. Cucumbers produce two sorts of flowers, female and male. Male flowers (Fig. 6) open first and all the time drop off. Feminine flowers (Fig. 7) kind the cucumber and mustn’t drop off.
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If the feminine flowers do start to drop off, contact the within of every female and male flower with a tender brush or cotton swab. This may pollinate the flowers and assist them grow to be fruit.
Many pesticides can be found at backyard facilities for home-owner use. Sevin is an artificial insecticide; natural choices embody Bt-based pesticides and sulfur. Sulfur additionally has fungicidal properties and helps management many illnesses.
Earlier than utilizing a pesticide, learn the label and all the time comply with cautions, warnings, and instructions.
A number of illnesses assault cucumbers. Most of those illnesses show up as spots on the higher or decrease sides of leaves or on fruit. Examine the crops every day, and spray them with an accredited fungicide if illnesses seem. Neem oil, sulfur, and different fungicides can be found to be used. At all times comply with label instructions.
Harvest cucumbers once they attain the specified measurement and are inexperienced in shade. Don’t wait till they flip yellow. Yellow cucumbers are over mature and may have a robust taste.
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