Cucumbers are one of our gardeners’ favorite vegetable crops. However, not everyone or not every time can get a really good harvest.
Growing cucumbers require constant attention and care. There is a little secret that can improve their yield from time to time. This is the charm of the Prune cucumber.
Why Prune cucumber, how and when to Prune？ We will tell you in this article.
WHY PRUNE CUCUMBER
Do not forget water and fertilize. At the same time, an important point of agricultural technology of cucumber is to formation or type of growth.
There are two options for growing cucumbers:
- when the plant is in the ground by the stem.
- When the plant is tied up and it grows vertically upwards.
The second method is more effective, it allows you to get a greater yield of cucumbers – with a beautiful shape and no flattened cucumber barrels in contact with the ground. About it, we will discuss it.
It is best to choose cucumber varieties and hybrids with limited side bud growth for vertical cultivation. If you prefer any particular variety with side shoots, then you will have to put more effort into its formation.
The distance between cucumber seedlings depends on the branching of the shrub.
ADVANTAGES OF PRUNE CUCUMBER
One of the main problems of growing cucumbers is their thickening due to side shoots. It seems that there is something wrong with this, more shoots – more space for oviposition, more cucumbers. However, it is just the opposite.
Due to overgrowth, the plant loses strength, is not ventilated, and the fruit does not get enough sunlight, resulting in low yields and many diseases.
To avoid cucumber overgrowth, agricultural techniques such as pruning are used. In addition, the opportunity is taken to shape the plant to obtain greater yields and improve the quality of the fruit.
Main advantages of Prune cucumber:
- early pruning promotes the development of the root system.
- By pinching off the shoots and removing the yellow leaves at the bottom of the stem, the plant is well ventilated later in the season, preventing root rot and disease formation.
- Pruning can help the plant retain energy for further growth and produce more fruit.
- Juice is supplied more actively to the top and cucumbers ripen faster.
- If the shrubs are too dense, the cucumbers will start to turn yellow.
- The stems are properly formed, the plants are well ventilated, and have plenty of light.
- Shrubs allow more plants to be planted in the same area, allowing more cucumbers to be harvested.
WHEN TO START PRUNE CUCUMBER
In spring, we sow or plant our cucumbers – seeds or seedlings. Seedlings should not be overgrown in greenhouse conditions so that there is less stress on the plant when transplanted into the ground. The appearance of 1-2 true leaves is sufficient.
After the seedlings are planted, the soil is mulched to retain moisture in the soil and get rid of any weeds that appear. At first, depending on the soil conditions, cucumbers should be watered daily. If the soil is dry and lacks moisture, the leaves of the cucumber turn noticeably darker, and the edges of the leaves become pointed.
At the beginning of summer, the plants have grown and can engage in their slinging and formation, and accordingly – pruning.
HOW TO PRUNE CUCUMBER
On grown plants, fruits are birthed and shoots appear in the leaf axils.
Remove the emerged ovaries and lateral shoots at a height of 12-16inch (30-40cm) from the ground, leaving the leaves behind. It is important to remove them (spines) immediately and not wait until the shoots will stretch.
It was a pity to remove the first cucumber, I wanted to get the harvest as soon as possible, but it will pay off later.
In fact, in the early stages of growth, the root system of cucumbers is very shallow. If the first shoots and ovaries are left, not only is the root system not strengthened, but especially if the soil is dense, the plant will take the effort to pull the stems.
In this case, the underdeveloped root system cannot adequately provide nutrients and water to the cucumber.
In the axils of the next 3-5 leaves of growth, we leave the ovary and the side shoots we pinch off. This is about the next 12-16inch (30-40 cm). Leave the cucumber on the main stem.
Leave the ovary on top as well, and prune the shoot after the first leaves have formed on the ovary.
With subsequent growth of cucumbers, 2 leaves and ovaries have been left on each layer of 3-5 leaves on the shoot, above – 3 leaves, further – 4 leaves, and so on.
When the cucumber stops growing upward, the stem is fixed to the top of the trellis and allowed to grow freely downward. When the distance from the ground reaches about 1 meter, prune the top.
Removing the excess fibrous roots will reduce the plant’s water consumption.
If the upper shoots begin to shade the lower shoots, prune a few axillary shoots.
As the cucumber grows, gradually prune off the plant’s side shoots so that they become the main stem.
Remove yellow, diseased, and oversized leaves as they grow.
Once the lower part of the plant is harvested, the roots can be buried. Clean out the hole and cover the lower part of the stem with compost and soil. This will promote the sprouting of new lateral roots and enhance the growth and fruiting ability of cucumbers.
In dry weather, remove the stepchildren with a sharp pruner. Leave only small 5-7 mm stumps.
After pruning, water the injured cucumber well with warm water, preferably 68-78°F (20-26°C). Avoid watering directly pruned areas on the plant as this may cause rot. Fertilizer can be added by loosening the soil half an hour after watering.
Don’t forget the most important rule for a good cucumber harvest: harvest in time and don’t let the cucumbers over-ripen. This will stimulate the appearance of new ovaries and the normal distribution of sap movements.
Have a wonderful and tasty harvest!