In a megalopolis, we are forced to eat only those products that are sold to us in supermarkets. But for those who have an irresistible desire to feast on fresh cucumbers of their own production, even in a city there is a great opportunity to start growing this crop on their own balcony.
- How to grow cucumbers on the balcony?
- Balcony cucumber seeds
- Seedlings of cucumbers on the balcony
- Caring for cucumbers on the balcony
How to grow cucumbers on the balcony?
Not every balcony is suitable for this purpose:
- First, it must be glazed. Cucumbers do not like drafts very much, and most likely you will not be able to harvest at least some crop on a balcony unprotected from the wind.
- Secondly, cucumbers need a lot of light. And even with additional lighting, it will be difficult for you to achieve good fruiting if the balcony faces the north side of the house (the best orientation is east and southeast).
If these conditions are met, then you can safely proceed to the selection of seeds.
Today, several varieties of cucumber seeds can be found on sale at once, specially designed for growing in a city balcony. When choosing, read the label carefully. It should indicate that the variety is shade tolerant, has small fruits, does not require pollination and can be grown on the balcony.
Such hybrids include varieties:
- "F1 city cucumber"
- "F1 Balagan"
- "F1 Courage"
- "F1 Balcony"
- F1 Berendey and others
You can start sowing cucumber seeds for "balcony cultivation" in the second half of April - early May. Planting seeds earlier can cause buds to form before the plant can be brought out onto the balcony, which in turn threatens to drop the ovaries. In addition, vines, due to lack of light, will grow too actively.
Balcony cucumber seeds
Balcony cucumbers can be planted in ordinary plastic containers for home flowers (80x25cm), which must have special drainage holes and a water stand. Often, ordinary wooden boxes or pots for seedlings are used in this role.
The second important part of growing cucumbers on the balcony is the soil. Cucumbers gratefully grow and bear fruit only in fertile land, therefore, if we are talking about buying soil in the nearest flower shop, then this should be a universal option for growing vegetables (acidity pH 6.3-6.8), and it will be even better, if you can get some garden land from the dacha, and mix it with the purchased one in a ratio of 4: 1: 1 (another part of perlite).
One plant will need about 5 liters of soil, which must be additionally treated before planting seeds with one of the most convenient options for you: spill it with a fungicide, steam it over boiling water, or warm it up in a microwave oven.
Cucumber seeds, due to the fragility of their seedlings, are preferably sown dry. If the seeds you bought have a colored shell, this means that they do not need additional treatment against pests. Otherwise, it is necessary to lower the cucumber seeds in a solution of potassium permanganate for 20 minutes (1 g per 0.5 tbsp. Water), then rinse under running water.
Prepared seeds can be planted in a container. In the middle, holes are made for seeds at a distance of 40 cm (you can plant two seeds in each hole for reinsurance). At a depth of 1.5-2 cm, the seeds will feel very comfortable.
Crops should be covered with a plastic bag and placed in a well-lit place (preferably a warm windowsill). In this case, the total temperature should not be lower than 24-26 degrees C.
Seedlings of cucumbers on the balcony
Cucumbers love moisture, so it's important to keep track of the topsoil. Until shoots appear, the soil is moistened with a spray bottle. In less than a week, sprouts should appear. During this period, you can get rid of the plastic wrap, and keep the seedlings in the room at a constant air temperature of at least 20 degrees C.
If the seedlings produce all the seeds, the weakest of them are removed by cutting at the base of the earth. The rest are grown indoors until 2-3 leaves appear. The plant is now ready for hardening. During the day, it can already be left with the window open, and in good calm weather in the morning, you can accustom cucumbers to direct sunlight.
The plant is transferred to the balcony when, according to meteorological forecasts, the threat of frost will finally go away, and constant +15 degrees C will be established on the street, not forgetting to water it as the topsoil dries up.
Once in the conditions of the balcony, your cucumbers will give new and new leaves. When 5-6 leaves appear, the plant will need support. At first, this role can be given to ordinary trellis for climbing plants. But this measure will not be enough for long - already 7-8 leaves will be difficult for the plant to hold even on a spatula, and a garter will be required.
In the balcony wall, next to which you will place containers with cucumbers, you need to drill holes at a height of 2.5 meters. Attach the clothesline holders to them, and tie one end of the rope 1.5 meters long (the other end should hang freely). Cucumber vines are wrapped around the rope, and are weakly fixed.
Caring for cucumbers on the balcony
Caring for cucumbers is mainly about timely daily watering. The plant should not lack moisture. In this case, it is necessary to moisten not only the soil, but also the air. To do this, it is enough to put a bucket of water on the balcony, and constantly replenish it. In the evening, cucumbers are sprayed with water from a spray bottle. In addition, water must be added to the bottom pan, from where the roots that have sprouted through the drainage holes will additionally absorb water.
If it is too hot outside (more than 30 degrees C), the leaves of the plant must be protected from direct sunlight, otherwise they may burn out.
As the vines grow, they also change the place of the garter. As a rule, balcony hybrids do not stretch to a great length, and do not require pinching. However, if your plants are too grown, they can be pinched in the state of 10-12 leaves.
It is possible to feed plants already 14 days after the appearance of the first shoots. For such still small sprouts, use a weak aqueous solution with potassium (15 g), ammonium nitrate (5 g), superphosphate (3 g) and magnesium (5 g) per 10 liters of water. Water the cucumbers so that the solution does not fall on the leaves.
When the plant grows up a little, another solution can be prepared: take a mullein solution (1:10), add superphosphate (20g) and potassium sulfate (15g) to it. Top dressing is done once a week.
August nights are already cold enough for cucumbers, so at these hours the containers are wrapped in sackcloth. Thus, hypothermia of the roots can be avoided.
The fruiting cycle of balcony cucumbers lasts about 90 days. After the end of this period, the vines are cut off, and the rhizome is completely dug out. The rest of the earth is not thrown away, but put in bags - it can be used next year as a base, adding half of the volume with new soil. Containers and ropes are also useful. They can be removed for the next season.
It's so simple and without any serious labor costs, you can independently get an excellent harvest of crispy cucumbers on your own balcony. Surely the idea of every day in the summer is environmentally friendly, and your family will support it. So good luck with this endeavor!
Watch the video and grow cucumbers on the balcony with us: