Everyone usually has cucumbers on their raised beds, and they grow as well as if they were their own. However, cucumbers can sometimes become different. Not crisp, crooked, have atypical variety colors and suddenly become soft or develop very slowly.
Today we’ll talk about what causes undesirable changes in cucumbers, what they’re really missing, and how to fix the situation?
BASIC NUTRITION FOR CUCUMBERS
Cucumbers need all nutrients without exception, except chlorine. Cucumbers do not tolerate chlorine, so fertilizers containing chlorine should not be used and cucumbers should not be grown on soils with too high a content of this element.
Nitrogen is a component needed by all plants and, of course, by cucumber plants. Thanks to nitrogen, plants develop rapidly and increase the quality of vegetation, that is why it is best if nitrogen is present in the ground during the early stages of cucumber development.
Thanks to his presence, it will form the groundmass needed for complete photosynthesis.
It is perfectly acceptable to schedule a cucumber nitrogen fertilizer just a few days after sowing seedlings in the field, and then repeat the application within a week after its landing in the new place.
What is the dosage? Literally, put a teaspoon of urea in the hole at planting time and mix it thoroughly with the wet soil. One week after planting – dissolve one teaspoon of urea in a bucket of water and use this amount to water one square meter of land.
However, excessive application of nitrogen – that is, the third feeding, the fourth, etc. should not be done, which has an extremely negative effect on the cucumber plants, they will simply be greedy, accumulate, and increase the volume of asexual reproduction, damaging the yield.
You can tell a cucumber plant has consumed enough nitrogen by the way its leaves change – they turn dark green.
What can you do? If the weather is dry, water your cucumber plants daily to try to flush nitrogen into the deeper, more inaccessible layers of soil for their roots.
Don’t forget that nitrogen can also be deposited in the fruit of the cucumber, so it’s best to stop feeding nitrogen to the cucumber altogether once the first ovary appears.
But in addition to excess nitrogen in the soil, there can also be a lack of nitrogen, and the plant will signal reduced growth activity with reduced leaf size, a change in leaf color from normal to light green or even light yellow, a dramatic reduction in the number of cucumber ovaries on the plant, and very small, unsightly fruits if they develop at all.
Of course, if you notice this on cucumbers, you should definitely do fertilizer containing nitrogen, either under the roots (loosen the soil and pour 5-7 grams of urea dissolved in water under each plant) or spray the plants (the same amount, but per bucket of water, spend on foliar spraying) so that the nutrients can get into the plant tissues as soon as possible.
Phosphorus is an important element on our planet and is needed by many plants, including vegetable crops such as cucumbers. In this plant, this element is responsible for the growth and development of the roots: if there is little phosphorus in the soil, the root system will be stunted and unable to absorb other useful elements from the soil, which will lead to a decrease in the plant’s immunity and cause it to die out.
The main thing to know is that phosphorus is not disturbed at any stage of cucumber development, therefore, when planting cucumber seedlings, even if they are placed in a well, pre-mixed with the soil and moisten it (half a teaspoon of phosphorus).
Cucumbers need and important phosphorus during heavy flowering and ovary formation – during these important periods for cucumbers you can use calcium superphosphate at 8-12 grams per square meter of the planted area.
Lack of phosphorus causes cucumber leaves to change color to light blue or even scarlet, new leaves are much smaller than old ones, shoot growth almost stops, the number of ovaries decreases, and the ripening process slows down.
Foliar feeding is urgently needed. First, dissolve a teaspoon of calcium superphosphate in boiling water (a small amount of boiling water), then in a bucket of water, fill a sprayer and treat the plants adequately.
An interesting fact that not many people know: Cucumbers are rarely deficient in phosphorus in normal soils and can become deficient if the soil is too poor and acidic.
The following happens to cucumbers with too much phosphorus: the growth of lateral branches starts to accelerate while peeling, the leaves become pale yellow and sometimes even necrotic spots can be seen, and if there is also a lack of water, the plant starts to lose its dampness and wilt. Active watering is the answer.
Don’t forget that too much phosphorus doesn’t solve the problem – too much phosphorus prevents the plant from absorbing potassium, which is just as dangerous. So you have to be careful.
Speaking of potassium: thanks to this element, nutrients flow freely from the root system to the fruit and leaves, which brings the harvesting period closer and closer.
In view of this, in order to convert potassium into a form usable by cucumber plants, it is made a month in advance (one teaspoon of potassium sulfate per 1 m2) and added a week later (12 grams of potassium sulfate per 1 m2 per 10 liters of water).
Horticulturists believe that the normal existence of cucumbers without potassium is simply not possible.
If there is enough potassium in the soil, cucumbers tend to be crisp, tasty, and juicy, and the culture itself will be more immune.
If there is little potassium in the soil, the leaves turn black, the twigs become too long, the smallest ovaries form, yellow edges may appear on the leaves, and the cucumbers will definitely turn bitter.
Emergency help with foliar spraying – dissolve 16 grams of potassium sulfate in a bucket of water and spray the plants until the symptoms of potassium deficiency disappear completely.
However, too much potassium does not bode well – the leaves become pale, the plant grows slowly, the distance between nodes is extended and a kind of mosaic may appear on the surface of the leaves. Excess potassium, strange as it may seem, can cause premature leaf loss in cucumbers.
Excess potassium has such a negative effect on cucumbers because it inhibits the flow of another essential element, nitrogen, into the plant, and a shortage of nitrogen, in turn, can lead to inhibited growth and development.
To avoid this, you can try treating the plants with ammonium nitrate, diluting 12 grams in 10 liters of water, and spraying it on the plants.
However, not only nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are important for cucumbers, trace elements also play a role, sometimes a rather important one.
Lack of boron on cucumber leaves, for example, results in yellow edges, mediocre flower and ovary loss, and mild chlorotic bands on fruits that have had time to form.
Usually, in the absence of boron, the fruit is strongly bent, but in its excess, the edges of the leaves begin to actively contract, curl and become similar to the domes of a parachute.
The first signs of magnesium deficiency affect the cucumber in the form of uneven leaf color: in it, you can see both normal color lesions and considerable shrinkage. Excess magnesium is also not a good sign the leaves are strongly darkened and curled upwards.
If the veins and leaves of the cucumber bulge and turn dark green, and the leaves themselves look chlorinated, then a manganese deficiency is obvious. Excess manganese is also a problem, with the veins turning red and the spaces between the veins being covered with small brown dots.
If there is too much manganese, the plant will become toxic and may die quickly.
An important element for cucumbers is also calcium. Calcium deficiency on cucumbers can be noticed by the dry, yellowish border on the edges of the leaves.
Most interestingly, against this background, the leaves themselves can be almost completely white, non-tropical, and curled upward.
With large amounts of calcium, chlorosis begins to appear, manifesting itself as clearly visible round spots on the leaves. This is because the cucumber becomes unable to absorb manganese and boron.
SAVE CUCUMBERS FROM NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES
About once a month, you can prevent cucumber plants by adding wood ash 200 g per 1 m2. It contains up to 5% potassium and trace elements, which are well absorbed by cucumber plants.
Boric acid can compensate well for the lack of boron and is best treated during the flowering period of cucumbers, which will also improve the fruit set. Not enough boron is needed – usually no more than 0.2 grams of boric acid per liter of water, and this amount should be thoroughly sprayed on the plants by the atomizer.
Adding magnesium to cucumbers allows them to receive it twice in a season – within a few weeks of planting and again within a month of the first application. About 10-12 grams of magnesium per square meter of soil is sufficient.
As an alternative to ammonium nitrate, you can use dolomite powder or charcoal, both of which should be used at a rate of 50 grams per square meter of soil under cucumbers.
If you want to know where to get manganese, then there is a solution – take and dilute a weak, literally light pink solution of common manganese.
Calcium can be enriched into the soil by using calcium carbonate; you only need 0.5 grams per square meter of soil. Incidentally, ordinary chalk, dolomite powder, or wood ash are rich in this element.
A lot of calcium and eggshells. The main thing is that the calcium is really preserved there, the eggs do not need to be boiled, they should be broken and the eggshells chosen and ground to a powder with a coffee grinder, the finer the better.
This can be applied in the form of half a teaspoon per square meter of soil spent. By the way, you can put half a teaspoon of shells in the hole when you sow the seedlings and pour another teaspoon in the previously loosened soil a week later.
SOME PECULIARITIES OF CUCUMBER FERTILIZATION
During the flowering period, treatment with boric acid – spraying is appropriate. It is necessary to add 0.2 g of boric acid to a bucket of water, and this solution is good to sprinkle on all the flowers.
A few days thereafter, introduce potassium sulfate dissolved in water and the same volume of calcium superphosphate, previously dissolved in boiling water, in the amount of one teaspoon per square meter.
As for nitroaminophos, many gardeners put it on the tip of a teaspoon throughout the season, they dissolve it in water and spray the plants with this composition in the evening throughout the season, usually without anything bad happening.
It is important to spend three to four force-feedings of cucumbers during the season, more is possible, but not urgently needed. It is better to water the plants more often, loosen the soil and fight weeds.
Conclusion. Like all living things, cucumbers need nutrients, and they need to be balanced and preferably diversified.
Don’t stuff your cucumbers with the same fertilizer, don’t use large doses of nitrogen, try to use more natural fertilizers – like weeds, wood ashes, soot that have been fermented for a few days – and then your crop will be both taller and, most importantly, useful!