Every experienced gardener will tell you with confidence that you can get a high-quality and rich harvest of cucumbers only from strong, well-developed seedlings. In the process of growing young seedlings from cucumber seeds, the climate plays an important role.
Cucumber is a warm and light-loving plant, and that is why many summer residents prepare seedlings in a greenhouse or at home. Growing cucumber seedlings at home on the windowsill, you can constantly keep their growth under control, take care and water on time, while getting not only pleasure from the result obtained, but also invaluable experience.
How to choose cucumber seeds for home seedlings
An important component of quick seed hatching and good growth of cucumber seedlings is the choice of planting material. To grow cucumber seeds at home, opt for early self-pollinated, resistant varieties or hybrids adapted to low light growth.
When buying planting material for cucumbers in the store, pay attention to the varieties that are well-proven for growing at home:
- Parthenocrapic hybrids - Barnaulets, Balkonnoe miracle F1, Dragonfly, Matrix;
- Self-dusting hybrids - Cucaracha, Zozulya, April, Parus, Courage.
Please note that some of these varieties were bred by breeders specifically for growing cucumbers on balconies and loggias, so the varieties are maximally adapted to home conditions and closed ground.
If you decide to grow insect pollinated varieties of cucumbers on the windowsill for further transplanting the plant into open ground at the dacha, pay attention to such as: Olympiada, Ladoga, Fregat, and annoy several seedlings from Ermine and Hercules seeds as pollinators.
Choosing a place for planting cucumbers
The main thing that must be foreseen when growing cucumber seedlings on the windowsill is that it should not be in a draft. Try to place your cucumber seedlings on a window that you rarely open for airing. A sharp fluctuation in temperature, especially with small early shoots, can destroy the plant.
Cucumber seedlings love warmth and sunlight, so cultivate on a windowsill, where the frames are well insulated for the winter and nothing prevents natural light from entering the apartment.
If the cucumber seedlings will sprout in late February - early March, provide additional lighting on the windowsill. The same should be done if the seed is pecking late or the seedlings rise too slowly. Supplementing is an important stage on which the cultivation of cucumber seedlings at home depends.
Before installing planting containers on it, be sure to cover the surface of the window sill with any heat-insulating material, so that the soil in the pots does not "pull" the cold from the window sill. A cold substrate can significantly harm a cucumber by overcooling a not yet strong root.
How to prepare planting material
Even if you did not buy cucumber seeds in the store, but collected them from the previous harvest, and are completely sure of their quality, carry out preparatory measures before planting. For seeds, the seedlings from which will be grown on the windowsill, it is necessary to calibrate and disinfect, as well as germinate them for quick germination of seedlings.
Use a saline solution to select high-quality cucumber planting material for cultivation. Good seeds placed in salt water will settle immediately, while hollow seeds will float up. After the procedure, the material must be rinsed with warm running water.
Attention! For complete confidence that the seedlings will not be susceptible to fungal and viral infections, be sure to dip the cucumber seeds in a 1% solution of potassium permanganate.
Another procedure included in the complex of measures for the preparation of planting material for cultivation is warming up. This procedure can be carried out by keeping the cucumber seeds at a temperature of 45-500C within 3 days. At home, this can be done using a conventional aquarium water heater as a heat carrier.
If you are planting seedlings from the seeds of cucumber hybrids or using imported crop varieties for planting, be sure to read the instructions. Most often, the manufacturer prescribes in it all the recommendations for preliminary processing and proper care of the seedlings.
The last stage before placing the planting material in the soil is germination. This is necessary in order to plant the already hatched cucumber seed in the soil, and get a guaranteed 100% germination.
Cultivation begins with the fact that the grains are laid out on cotton cloth, gauze or a napkin soaked in growth stimulants. Planting material is kept in a humid environment at a temperature of at least 250From until the formation of cucumber sprouts 10-15 mm in length. As a rule, the whole process takes no more than 3 days.
Soil and containers for cucumber seedlings on the windowsill
Before choosing a container for planting seeds, decide when and how you will transfer the seedlings to the greenhouse or to the open ground. If the cultivation of cucumber seedlings is carried out in a city apartment, and they have to be taken to the garden in the trunk of a car, it is better to choose small planting containers that fit well into the box without damaging the plant stems. For growing cucumbers on a balcony or loggia, choose volumetric pots with a soil volume of at least 5 liters.
Attention! Before filling the soil, the container must be treated with a weak solution of potassium permanganate!
It is believed that the best containers for growing cucumber seedlings are small peat pots or ordinary paper cups. The main thing is that after transplanting the roots of the plant are not damaged.
The substrate is prepared from the following components, taken in equal proportions:
- The land is soddy;
For 10 liters of such a mixture, be sure to add a glass of ash, 50 ml of nitrophoska, 30 ml of urea. A little finely chopped sawdust can be added to a mixture well mixed in a volumetric container. The planting containers are filled with the mixture by 2/3, and after the first and second watering, the substrate is added, if necessary.
Planting cucumber seeds for seedlings
Once the seeds have hatched, they can be planted in the soil. Spread the containers with soil evenly over the prepared surface of the window sill. Remember that if you have chosen a planting box as a container for growing seedlings, then the seedlings will need to be pinched during the growth process, and when transporting them to the dacha, be sure to plant them in separate containers.
Cucumber seeds are carefully transferred with tweezers into moistened soil and sprinkled with substrate so that the sprout is visible on the surface. After that, watered again. At the initial stage of growing cucumber seedlings on the windowsill, it is important to create a greenhouse effect for it. Each container is carefully covered with plastic wrap, and the temperature regime in the room is provided - at least 250FROM.
Important! Remember that the air temperature on the windowsill in winter is always 1-20C lower than in the room itself.
The film is removed from the planting containers when the cucumber seedlings are clearly visible on the ground. Once this has happened, take care of the stable natural light of the windowsill. In winter, when daylight hours are still too small, additional lighting should be supplied for at least 10-12 hours a day. Without this, growing seedlings on the windowsill is simply impossible.
Care for seedlings of cucumbers on the windowsill
As soon as you saw two leaves above the surface of the soil, the seedlings on the windowsill must be fed. To do this, 2-3 teaspoons of nitroammophoska or nitrophoska are diluted in 3 liters of settled warm water.
If the day is not hot, and the leaves do not get exposed to the sun's rays, you can perform foliar feeding, just sprinkling the leaves and stem with the prepared fertilizer. In bright light of the window sill - root dressing, simply adding 1-2 teaspoons of the solution to the soil. After carrying out the procedure several times, the seedlings of cucumbers are watered very carefully, avoiding overflow and stagnation of water in the container.
The second feeding is carried out two weeks after the first. Fertilizer solution can be the same. During the second feeding, 0.5 cups of fertilizer are poured into the planting container. After that, the plant is not watered for two days.
Watering cucumber seedlings throughout the entire growing time on the windowsill should be carried out at the same time. For example, at 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning, but so that you are sure that you can do it at the same time. It is advisable to defend water for watering cucumber seedlings in the same room where the plants are kept. Small or weakened seedlings react to the slightest changes in temperature, so watering should not cause them discomfort.
Pay attention to the fact that for a young plant, both overflow and underflow are equally bad. Cucumber is one of the crops that love a humid environment, but too wet, the substrate that does not have time to dry out, often becomes the cause of rotting of the not yet matured root. As soon as the seedlings grow up and get stronger, you can add spraying to watering.
Indoor diseases and pests
If the seeds for seedlings have been fully pre-treated, then growing seedlings, as a rule, will not cause trouble, and the seedlings themselves will grow healthy and strong. However, in exceptional cases, the plant may be exposed to an invasion of pests, which need to be known.
The best remedy for this insect is a strong tobacco solution. Coarse leaf tobacco is placed in a spacious container, filled with boiled water so that it slightly covers the leaves, and kept in a water bath for 20-25 minutes. The cooled infusion is poured over the seedlings of cucumbers.
An insect capable of almost completely destroying the leaves of seedlings within two days. When disinfecting seedlings, the same decoction of tobacco is used, with the only difference - the plant is not watered, but only the leaves are wiped with a solution.
If the cucumbers are infected with a spider mite, then the best way to get rid of it is to prepare a garlic solution. One head of finely chopped or crushed garlic is kept in 1 liter of settled warm water for an hour. This infusion is poured over seedlings.
Healthy and strong seedlings on the windowsill will grow only if the climatic conditions are maintained when planting seeds and caring for the seedlings, and the plant itself receives a sufficient amount of moisture and light.
Transplanting seedlings into the greenhouse can be carried out as early as mid or late March. The plant is placed in open ground, having reliably made sure that the soil has warmed up and no more frosts are expected on the soil.
You can find out what else to look for when growing seedlings on the windowsill by watching the video.