Growing Cucumber Seedlings

Cucumbers fresh, pickled, and salted are a must in our diet. At the dacha from morning till evening you hear the "delicious" crunch of fresh (from the bed) cucumbers and, it seems, there is nothing more pleasant. Cucumbers - the most common vegetable crop, which, depending on weather and climatic conditions, grown in the open field, greenhouses, greenhouses, under temporary shelters. But the technology, in principle, is always the same. To get a good quality harvest of cucumbers in the early terms in regions with a long cold spring, it is better to grow the culture through sprouts. This can be done in different ways: in soil or without it, in separate containers or containers, special cassettes, in greenhouses, on the kitchen window sill, under temporary shelters on warm beds. The main thing is to grow healthy seedlings.

Growing cucumber seedlings
Cucumber seedlings. © beclecto


  • Preparing soil and containers for sowing
  • Preparing cucumber seeds for sowing
  • Sowing cucumber seeds for seedlings
  • When to plant cucumbers for seedlings?
  • Cucumber seedling care
  • Sowing cucumber seedlings in the ground

Preparing the soil and containers for sowing

Cucumber seed containers

Preparation work begins 3-5 weeks beforehand with the preparation of containers for seedlings. The root system of cucumbers does not tolerate interference from the outside. Therefore, the home cultivation of seeds is better to carry out the sowing in separate peat-peat pots or cups from under the fermented milk products.

In these containers cucumber seedlings practically do not suffer root rot. If the dishes are used repeatedly, and transplanting seedlings carried out by transshipment, it is necessary to disinfect all containers in a 1-2% solution of manganese.

Preparing soil mixture

Like other cultures, cucumber seedlings need light in composition, but water- and air-permeable soil mixture, sufficiently saturated with organic and mineral fertilizers. Sprouting period of cucumbers, depending on the variety and type of maturity (early, medium, late) ranges from 25 to 30 days. Consequently, it is better not to fertilize seedlings during their growth and development, and the seeds should be sown immediately in a well fertilized soil mixture.

Newcomers usually buy ready-made decontaminated soil and thus reduce the time spent on preparatory work. Those who like to tinker prepare soil mixtures by themselves. The universal self-prepared soil mixture usually includes 3-4 ingredients:

  • leaf or sod soil (not from under conifers),
  • mature compost or ready biohumus,
  • top peat,
  • sand.

All parts are mixed respectively in the ratio 1:2:1:1. If there is no peat, you can prepare a mixture of 3 ingredients. Experienced gardeners prepare their own time-tested soil mixes and make sure to check their acidity (pH=6.6-6.8). To know how much mixture and utensils to prepare, as a basis of calculation, take 3 plants per 1 square meter of area.

Cucumber seedlings can be grown on peat tablets, placed in plastic containers with an undercut bottom. The tablet with a thickness of 5-8 mm is placed in a plastic container, watered, waited until it swells and the seed is planted. Ready to plant cucumber seedlings, by bending back the undercut bottom, are pushed out of the container and planted in the ground.

Growing cucumber seedlings
Cucumber seedlings. © Stephanie

Decontamination of cucumber seedling soil

Prepared purchased soil is sold decontaminated, but (just in case) is put out in the frost for additional freezing.

Please note our detailed material: How to prepare soil for sprouts?

To prepare a self-made mixture in northern regions since autumn or 2-3 weeks before sowing the seeds it is obligatory to freeze or, in warm and frostless regions, by steaming/heating, by other methods.

After disinfection, mineral fertilizers and compounds are added to the independently prepared soil mixture to promote rapid formation of the root system, suppress fungal and bacterial infection (possibly not completely destroyed during disinfection).

Remember! The most common cause of early death of seedlings and young seedlings is soil fungal and bacterial infection, causing rotting of roots.

For every 10 kg of fertilizer in the soil mixture add 200 g of ash (glass), 40-50 g of phosphate fertilizer and 30-35 g of potassium sulfate. You can add 80-90 g of kemira or nitrofoska instead.

Dried soil mixture can be treated with biofungicides: trichodermin, phytosporin in a tank mixture with bioinsecticides: actophyt and fitoverm. One week before filling the seedling containers, the soil mixture can be treated with a working solution of Baikal EM-1, Ekomik yielding or dry preparation Emochka-Bokashi. Moisten the soil. In a warm, moist environment, effective microorganisms will quickly multiply and finally destroy the pathogenic microflora.

Preparing cucumber seeds for sowing

Newcomers to growing seedlings is more practical to buy ready-made seed material. It is already prepared for sowing. It does not need additional treatments, except germination (if it is provided). Please note: the packaging of cucumber seeds must necessarily indicate the following data:

  • name of variety or hybrid,
  • region, growing area (zoning),
  • cultivation method (for open field, greenhouse),
  • date of sowing for seedlings,
  • orientation period for planting in a permanent place,
  • ripening dates (early, medium, late etc. ),
  • harvest designation (salad, pickling, other types of winter preparations).

Do not buy seed material from random sellers. You may be deceived.

Please note our material: Which cucumber varieties to choose?

Growing cucumber seedlings
Cucumber seedlings. © Stephanie

Cucumber Seed Calibration

Self-picked cucumber seeds must be calibrated and sanitized. To make the sprouts friendly, it is necessary to sow seeds of the same condition. For this purpose, calibration is carried out.

A glass of water is added to a dessert spoon without the top of salt. Cucumber seeds are poured into the prepared solution and stirred. Within a few minutes, the lightweight lightweight cucumber seeds will float, and the heavyweight ones will sink to the bottom. Separate the lightweight seeds. Drain through a sieve salt solution, and the seeds left at the bottom of the glass is thoroughly rinsed under running water and lightly dried at room temperature.

Treatment of cucumber seeds

The easiest way to disinfect cucumber seeds at home is to soak seeds wrapped in gauze for 15-20 minutes in a 1% solution of manganese.

A longer soaking negatively affects the germination of seeds.

After disinfection it is necessary to wash the seeds again under running water and dry them at room temperature on the unfolded napkin (not on the film) well absorbing the moisture.

The disinfection of cucumber seeds in the solution of one of the biological preparations - Alirin-B, Fitosporin-M, Gamaira-SP is more successful. Preparation of dressing solution is prepared according to the relevant instructions. After disinfection with biopreparations it is not necessary to wash seeds. They are immediately spread out for drying on a napkin. Always dry the seeds to dryness, but at room temperature.

Sowing cucumber seeds for seedlings

Sowing in containers

After all the preparatory work before sowing the seeds of cucumbers filled 2/3 of the container with prepared soil, putting drainage at the bottom, set the container on a pallet and watered. Allow excess water to drain through the drainage holes. Leave at the time containers for maturation of the soil mixture (it should be moist, crumbly, not sticky).

In the middle of the prepared container directly to the soil or in 0,5-1,0 cm deepening put 2 seeds of cucumbers. After sprouting seedlings leave one, better developed. The second seed is removed by pruning at soil level. Seeds can be dry or sprouted. Cover the cucumber seeds at 1,0-1,5 cm with sand or dry soil. Lightly compact. Moisten the sprinkles through a sprayer and cover with film to simulate greenhouse conditions.

Trays with sown cucumber seeds are placed in a warm place. The air temperature before sprouting is maintained at +26 ... +28°C. Before cucumber sprouts, the soil mixture is not watered, but only sprinkled with warm water from a sprayer. Daily lift the film (when sprinkling) for airing.

When to plant cucumbers in seedlings?

Time of planting cucumber seeds in seedlings for different regions can be seen in our material "Time of planting vegetable crops in seedlings for different regions".

Growing cucumber seedlings
Cucumber seedlings. © Leslie

Cucumber seedling care

Cucumber seedlings appear on the 3rd-5th day, depending on seed preparation (dry or germinated) and before sprouting conditions. When mass sprouts of cucumbers appear, the film is removed and the trays with seedlings are placed in a well-lit place. Lack of lighting can cause one-sided stretching of seedlings in the direction of better light.

Temperature regime for cucumber seedlings

Cucumber seeds germinate at a temperature in the range of +26 ... +28 ° C. As soon as the cotyledonous leaves of cucumber sprouts, the air temperature is reduced to +5 ... +7 ° C and in the first 2 weeks maintained at +18 ... +22 ° C during the day, and at night +15 ... +17 ° C. The optimal soil temperature during this period is +18 ... +20 ° C.

At 2 weeks of age begin to accustom cucumber seedlings to the change in temperature during the day and night. With high humidity the room is aired without draughts and a strong drop in temperature. 5-7 days before planting cucumber seedlings in a permanent place begin its hardening, accustoming it to more severe living conditions. Breeders have now bred and released varieties that are neutral in relation to the length of the daylight hours, but they remain demanding to the brightness of light. With insufficient light, long overcast day, cucumbers stretch, poorly absorb nutrients, begin to fall ill. Therefore, with early sowing phytolamps, daylight lamps and other lighting devices that can be purchased in specialized stores are used for supplementary lighting.

As cucumber seedlings grow, containers are moved apart so as not to overgrow the plants. In optimal positioning, the leaves of adjacent plants should not touch each other.

Growing cucumber seedlings
Cucumber seedlings. © Mark

Pouring cucumber seedlings

Pouring refers to the basic three conditions for growing healthy cucumber seedlings (light, temperature, watering).

Start watering cucumber seedlings 5 days after sprouting. Watering and sprinkling only with warm (+24 ... +25°C) water. Before that - only sprinkling (very shallow) up to 2 times per day. If there is a need, you can water from above along the edge of the container in a thin stream, without touching the leaves. But it is better to water through the tray.

After each watering, be sure to mulch the soil with dry sand or finely grinded mixture of soil and humus. Strong moisture causes rotting of the root system of cucumbers due to the reproduction of mold fungi. Mildew mycorrhiza covers the soil and infects the entire young plant, causing mass death of seedlings and more mature seedlings.

Feeding cucumber seedlings

If the soil mixture is prepared correctly and enough fertilizer is added, then you can do without fertilizers. The growing period of cucumber seedlings is very short - 25-30 days, she does not have time to feel the need for them.

If the leaves of cucumber seedlings have changed color, ceased to develop, droop, we can assume, given other optimal conditions (temperature, lighting, humidity, air and soil, lack of disease), that plants need to feed.

Experienced gardeners, mulching the soil with sand after watering, mix it with ash, and it acts as a fertilizer. If necessary, cucumber seedlings are fed on moistened soil with a solution of kemira, ash solution, a mixture of trace elements (with the obligatory presence of boron). To find out more accurately what nutrients plants lack, you can see signs of element starvation by pictures in catalogs and accordingly prepare their mixture or buy ready-made.

Micronutrient feeding can be carried out by spraying the leaves of seedlings. Be careful when preparing nutrient solutions. They should be mildly concentrated, diluted. Higher concentrations can burn the plants. After soil dressing, be sure to drench the soil with clean water and mulch.

Growing cucumber seedlings
Cucumber grown through seedlings. © sakura

Planting cucumber seedlings in the ground

25-30 day-old cucumber seedlings, ready for planting, should have 3-5 developed leaves, can be tendril(s), bud(s). Peat pots with plants are planted every 30-40 cm to the depth of the container so that the edge protrudes above the soil surface by about 0.5-1.0 cm. After planting, water the cucumber seedlings with warm water.

When planting cucumber seedlings by bending back the bottom cut during sowing, push out the root ball with the plant and immediately planted in a pre-watered hole. You can when watering the hole add to the solution of rooting, Planriz, fertilizers - "athletic" or "Kemira".

Are you growing cucumbers through seedlings or immediately sow the seeds in the ground? Share your experience of growing cucumber seedlings in the comments to the article.

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