It is no secret to anyone that pre-planting seed treatment is a highly effective way to speed up the emergence of seedlings and increase their number. At the same time, rumors are often spread among amateur gardeners on the Internet and with the help of word of mouth about miraculous ways to multiply the yield of cucumbers by processing the seeds. Practice and many years of experience show that any such information should be taken critically and rechecked before being put into practice.
Types of processing before sowing
Pretreatment of cucumber seeds is an effective and often necessary technique that allows you to achieve excellent results in the cultivation of cucumbers in the difficult conditions of risky farming zones.
It should be borne in mind that most of these activities require professional skills and knowledge, therefore, must be carried out by qualified specialists. You also need to understand that not all methods can be used at home without the presence of special equipment. In addition, one should take into account the variety of climatic and other domestic conditions that must be taken into account when choosing a method for pretreating cucumber seeds. What gives an excellent result in the Urals can seriously damage when used in the Krasnodar Territory, and vice versa.
Currently, there are the following varieties (largely conditional) processing, which the seeds are subjected to:
- disinfection or disinfection;
- shortening the time before the emergence of sprouts (removal from dormancy);
- an increase in the immunity of cucumbers (various biological simulators, hardening activities, etc.);
- others, often useless and even harmful, without scientific justification.
It would be quite logical to consider each of the listed groups of methods separately.
Before resorting to disinfection methods, it is necessary to find out the origin of the cucumber seeds. This is important because in most seed farms, which are the suppliers of the best hybrids and varieties of cucumbers, as a rule, all the necessary measures to protect against possible diseases are taken without fail. In other words, only seeds collected independently or of questionable origin need to be processed. In the first case, it is better to process the treatment, and in the second, simply refuse to use such seeds.
There are two main types of disinfection, each of which has its own characteristics.
They are never used at home, since the use of such methods is possible only with the use of specialized equipment. Attempts to simulate the creation of such conditions at home will make the seeds unsuitable for sowing.
Chemical methods (pickling)
The most popular and simplest pre-treatment that seeds are subjected to before planting. Performed, as a rule, using commonly available potassium permanganate. The processing itself is a set of the following simple activities:
- preparation of a 1% solution (dosage - 1 g of the product per 100 g or ml of ordinary water);
- placing seeds in it for 15-20 minutes;
- washing and subsequent drying of seeds.
Attention should be paid to the observance of the recommended concentration of the solution, as well as the processing time. If one or the other is exceeded, a significant decrease in the viability of the shoots is possible. With proper disinfection, seeds are cured of almost any fungal infection (if any).
When using this method, it should be borne in mind that it is harmful for the beneficial microflora, which is also located on the surface of the processed cucumber seeds.
The numerous literature for gardeners often contains recommendations for the use of chemicals that are more aggressive and potent than potassium permanganate. Before following such recommendations, it is necessary to clearly understand that for cucumber seeds, even treatment with potassium permanganate is severe stress, and any, even weak, chemical is still not only a medicine, but also a poison. In extreme cases, experienced gardeners-practitioners recommend using special tools, for example, "Maxim", clearly following the instructions for their use.
Removal from a state of rest
There are quite a few ways to bring cucumber seeds out of their dormant state before planting. The choice of a particular one depends on the characteristics that are determined by the conditions of growing, storage and processing already carried out. Several methods are used for cucumbers.
Soaking and subsequent germination
One of the most popular and common methods of preparing cucumber seeds before planting. It has been in use for many decades and has proven to be effective despite its simplicity. It consists in the following: cucumber seeds are wrapped in a cloth that absorbs water well, then moistened and placed in a sufficiently warm place (the most suitable temperature is 25-28 degrees). After carrying out all the activities, the seeds "hatch", after which they should be dried a little.
The following point should be taken into account. Many hybrids and varieties, especially those supplied from abroad, have already been treated with strong pesticides (for example, thiram). When performing soaking, the following can happen: only the germ that has appeared will experience the effect of a pesticide, which will not lead to anything good. Another disadvantage of the method is the great vulnerability of germinated cucumber seeds after planting to adverse weather conditions.
Soaking in nutrient solutions
The essence of the method is that soaking is carried out not in water, but in special nutrient solutions. These can be organic or mineral fertilizers, salts of humic acids, a solution containing wood ash, etc. One should not expect super-efficiency from such feeding, since the seeds are at rest, therefore, the ability to assimilate any substances by them is reduced.
Improving plant immunity
There are two main types of method most commonly used.
Treatment with growth stimulants
It is used to increase the immunity and resistance of sprouts to the effects of negative factors. The essence of the method consists in placing seeds for 0.5-1 hour in a solution of special preparations. The most commonly used chemicals are "Zircon", "Epin-Extra", as well as those of natural origin "Amulet", "NV-101", etc. The main condition is compliance with all the requirements of the instructions for use.
A recommendation for the use of this method is quite common. Its essence lies in cold processing for a certain period of time. Scientists question the positive results of such an event. Most experts believe that it is much more advisable to harden the seedlings. Nevertheless, the method is quite common.
The most common method recommended by numerous literature and gardeners is calibration. It consists in soaking and subsequent sorting according to the principle: drowned or not. It should be noted that this sorting has nothing to do with seed germination. However, this method is widely advertised and used.
Oddly enough it sounds, but most leading experts and scientists do not attach much importance to the processing of cucumber seeds before planting. Moreover, many of them believe that the treatment already carried out in seed farms is quite sufficient. For self-harvested seeds, only some of the treatments described above are recommended.