The main problems in growing cucumbers and methods for solving them
Cucumbers are the most popular representatives of the pumpkin family among gardeners. A well-growing, healthy cucumber bush has wide, uniformly colored green leaves, hard stems and a rich harvest. Healthy cucumbers can bear fruit for 2-3 months without a break, but vulnerability to pests and diseases prevents the culture from reaching its full potential. Recognizing the symptoms of the main problems when growing cucumbers will help you cure plants as soon as possible. This will prevent crop loss, and cucumbers will not look “tired” in the middle of summer.
Withering of cucumbers due to insufficient watering
Withering causes the leaves of cucumbers to fall or curl inward. At the same time, spots of various localization are often formed on the leaf blade. Most wilting problems occur due to improper watering, although illnesses or pests can sometimes be the cause. Correct diagnosis of the cause and its quick elimination can revive vegetables to life and prevent the complete death of the plant.
To prevent wilting associated with irrigation, it is important to regularly check the soil. To do this, immerse your finger in the ground near the cucumber bush. If at a depth of about 2.5 centimeters the soil feels rather dry, it is urgent to water the plants. The soil is moistened in a radius of 15 centimeters around the stem. Moisture should be saturated to a depth of about 20 centimeters. In this case, directly near the root neck, the earth should remain dry so as not to provoke fungal diseases.
Irrigation water is necessarily warm (25-28 degrees). The jet is made weak so that when watering it does not compact the soil, does not erode, and does not injure the roots, since they are located superficially at the cucumber. You can water cucumbers in the morning or in the evening, as soon as the heat subsides.
In hot weather, you have to water the cucumbers more abundantly and more often, as the soil dries faster. If the soil seems moist or damp, then watering should be reduced, allowing it to dry out a little.
In hot summers, to slow down evaporation and maintain soil moisture, it is recommended to spread a layer of mulch at least 5 centimeters thick on the cucumber bed. As mulching materials, straw, mowed grass, peat, etc. can be used. Mulch also inhibits weed growth, preventing plants from competing for moisture, nutrition and the sun, making life easier for the gardener.
On especially hot days, even mulched cucumbers can still fade slightly, but they should recover quickly when the temperature drops at night.
Sometimes, growth retardation and yellowing of foliage also causes a sharp drop in day and night temperatures.
Yellowing leaves due to malnutrition
When the lashes of young cucumbers grow, it is useful to feed them with nitrogen fertilizer. A lack of nitrogen can lead to poor growth and yellow foliage. If the problem was a lack of nutrition, then the foliage will quickly acquire a bright green color.
A lack of nutrients can occur at any time during the growing season, in which case the plant does not develop, the ovaries become soft and deformed. In addition to a lack of nitrogen, cucumbers are also often deficient in potassium. In this case, it is necessary to water the beds with potassium sulfate, azophos or a solution of wood ash.
Amateur gardeners also note a positive effect on bread dressing for cucumbers. For its preparation, it is necessary to fill the bucket with crusts of bread by 2/3, add water and put under the press for a week. For top dressing, it is necessary to dilute the infusion three times. If desired, you can add universal fertilizer at the rate of 50 grams per 12 liters of water.
Yellowing of cucumber leaves due to fungal diseases
Cucumber plants suffer from various fungal diseases, but powdery mildew and downy mildew often cause the crop the most significant damage. Powdery mildew causes the growth of powdery spots from white to grayish-white in color on the leaves and stems. Downy mildew initially appears as small yellowish spots on the lower old leaves. Over time, these spots grow and merge, and the leaf blade turns into brown and dies.
Both pathogens often cause growth of stunted deformed leaves and premature fall of foliage. Powdery mildew pathogens thrive in cool, humid conditions, while powdery mildew fungi prefer dry, warm weather with a high level of humidity.
Cucumbers can also stop growing due to the development of anthracnose (coppers). This is a disease in which brown necrotic spots appear on the leaves, stems and fruits, eventually turning into weeping sores or holes. The treatment method is watering the plant with 1% Bordeaux liquid, which must be repeated 1 time in 2-3 days until the cessation of new signs of the disease. In this case, it is better to remove all damaged parts of the plant.
Prevention and control of fungal diseases of cucumbers
Compliance with a number of agrotechnical methods will help prevent the spread and growth of fungi: do not water cucumbers from above, which increases the level of humidity around the plants. Place cucumbers far enough apart to ensure good air circulation around each plant. Control the onset of the disease by simply tearing off the affected leaves if the disease is just beginning.
Alirin and Fitosporin proved to be effective biological preparations for the prevention of fungal diseases. But it is necessary to use these funds before the onset of the disease - three times, according to the instructions. As an adhesive, you can use "Epin-Extra."
If the problem has gone far and the defeat has become severe, then you will have to turn to chemical preparations, for example: Oksikhom, Ordan, Skor, Topaz, Prognosis, Bordeaux Liquid, and others.
Solarization of the soil is also a measure to prevent the development of fungi. In this case, increasing the temperature of the soil by heating with sunlight under a transparent film can kill fungi transmitted through the soil. To do this, cover the soil in the beds with cucumbers with a clear plastic film for four to eight weeks, at a time when the daytime temperature rises above 26 degrees.
Verticillus wilting of cucumbers
Verticillin wilt, affecting many cultures, including cucumbers, unfortunately, is not amenable to treatment. The fungus infects the capillary system of the cucumber, thereby interfering with the normal transport of moisture. As a result, yellowing and wilting of the leaves occurs, you can also notice the light brown stripes that appear along the stems.
To verify the diagnosis, you can cut the stem near the node. With verticillous wilting, strips inside the stem will be visible. Also, if you cut the roots across, you will find the same brown stripes. When confirming the disease, destroy all infected plants immediately to prevent the spread of the fungus.
To avoid verticillosis, initially choose varieties resistant to this disease. In addition, a clear crop rotation is required. That is, do not grow cucumbers where potatoes, peppers or tomatoes used to grow.
The absence of ovaries in the cucumber
The absence of flowering and, as a consequence, the absence of fruits can provoke some pests, including infection with a nematode. Soil nematodes feed on plant roots, as a result of which they inhibit growth and reduce yield.
Incorrect spacing between plants can also lead to low fruit set. When the cucumber bushes are planted too close or too far, this can affect pollination, and plants can produce more foliage and less flowers and fruits.
It is best to plant cucumbers when grown horizontally at a distance of 70 centimeters to 1 meter between holes and from 80 to 100 centimeters between rows. If cucumbers are grown vertically, then the distance between the bushes will be 35-40 centimeters. Cucumbers on the other side of the trellis are planted at a distance of 45-60 centimeters. The second row, planted in a similar way, is done by retreating 80 centimeters.
By the way, gardeners usually observe higher productivity (2-3 times more) when growing cucumbers vertically on supports. Perhaps this is due to the fact that foliage receives more sun for successful photosynthesis. A partial explanation for the high yield is also that cucumbers on trellis are easier to harvest, as they are easier to spot and you are less likely to miss large overripe fruits. In addition, with vertical cultivation of cucumbers, it is easier to prevent and control problems with pests and diseases.
How to increase the number of ovaries?
If the first two or three flowers on young plants are fertilized, the growth of the shoots will slow down, as the plant assumes that its main mission is completed - the seeds were tied to produce offspring. But if the first female flowers fall naturally or deliberately pinch off, the plant perceives this as a message that more flowers and fruits are needed, its growth and development increases.
Therefore, it is ideal to pinch off the first few ovaries, in the interests of greater productivity. The pinching of the main stem is also important, since, basically, the ovaries appear on the lateral shoots.
Do not forget about the fact that the regular timely collection of greens stimulates fruiting. Moreover, the more often they are collected, the higher the yield. Large, yellow ripe cucumbers are not suitable for food, and if the fruit is fully ripened, the plant temporarily stops fruiting. This is most often due to the low yield of cucumbers in summer residents of the "weekend".
The main pests of cucumber in the open ground are melon aphids. Spider mite and whitefly harm cucumbers in the greenhouse. For the timely detection of pests, periodically check the back of the foliage, where they are localized most often. Other signs of damage - the leaves begin to fade and curl, they appear bleached yellow spots or dots.
Acaricides are used to fight the tick; insecticides help to overcome the whitefly. It is better to use systemic means, for example, Aktaru. Aphids are susceptible to most contact and systemic acaricides. Insect control is especially important since pests can spread viral diseases that are difficult and sometimes impossible to cure.
How to extend the fruiting of cucumbers?
In August, cucumbers usually "get tired" and stop bearing fruit. With horizontal cultivation of cucumbers, the lashes located on the ground are best not to be disturbed. They will form new roots in order to additionally nourish the plants, which means that fruiting can remain at the level. Watering at this time is carried out only in the morning and very moderately, in the absence of rainfall. At night, there is enough moisture in the air that cucumbers are able to absorb through the leaves.
As the end of summer approaches, the air temperature decreases, as a result of which the roots absorb nutrients from the soil worse, which means that you need to switch to foliar feeding of soluble fertilizers on the leaf.
To protect cucumbers from temperature extremes at the end of summer, which negatively affects the yield and condition of the plant as a whole, you can cover the beds with plastic wrap or a dense non-woven material at night. Also, under the film, you can hide cucumbers from prolonged cold rains.
If cucumbers have not been mulled before August, then it is better to do it now in order to smooth out temperature differences in the soil. Planting near cucumber beds of autumn-flowering or long-flowering plants (asters, marigolds, gelenium) will attract insects for successful pollination of cucumbers.
And, of course, the surest way to extend the fruiting of cucumbers is to regularly plant seedlings of young cucumbers in a few terms.