Cucumber Seed Germination Process: Cucumbers are a tender and warm-weather crop. Cucumber plants are one of the most-loved vegetable garden crops, trailing closely behind tomatoes and peppers on the favorites list of many gardeners. Cucumbers are easy to plant, delicious, and they are prolific producers. This is a widely cultivated plant in the Cucurbitaceae family.
A guide to cucmber seed germination process
Cucumbers are vining plants commonly grown by home gardeners. Home gardeners may start the seeds themselves as a more cost-effective method to produce plants for their gardens. You can grow cucumber seeds through direct seeding or planting the seeds indoors in a seed tray to get a head start on the garden. Germination times for cucumber seeds depend mainly on the soil and air temperature. In this article we also discussed below topics;
- Tips for growing cucumbers
- How to germinate cucumber seeds indoors
- How many cucumber seeds required per hole
- How to grow cucumber at home
- Cucumber growing time from seed
- Cucumber seed germination time
- Cucumber seed germination temperature
- Reasons for cucumber seeds not germinating
- Should cucumber seeds be soaked before planting
- How do you prepare cucumber seeds for planting
- Best times to plant cucumber
- Germinate cucumber seeds indoors
- Paper towel germination method for growing cucumber
- How long do cucumber seeds take to germinate
Conditions for growing Cucumbers
Cucumber is a creeper, and hence you want trellis arrangement for it to grow well. And it can even be grown on the ground without a trellis, but that way a lot of space is wasted. If you are growing cucumber on your terrace and not on ground then it is not safe to let them grow on the slab as a concrete slab can get very hot during summers. A trellis for cucumber plants can simply be built by tying pieces of bamboo together like a mesh.
Cucumber plants grow mainly in two forms. They are vining and bush. Vines scramble along the ground and clamber up trellises. Bush plant types, such as Burpless Bush Hybrid, form a more compact plant. Normally, vining cucumbers yield more fruit throughout the growing season. Bush selections are particularly suited to containers and small gardens. You can increase the season’s yield of bush plant varieties by planting several crops in succession 2 weeks apart.
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Select a site with full sun for growing cucumbers. Cucumbers require warmth and lots of light. It requires fertile soil. Mix in compost and aged manure before planting to a depth of 2 inches and work into the soil 6 to 8 inches deep. Make sure that soil is moist and also well-drained, not soggy and compacted. The soil must be neutral or slightly alkaline with a pH of around 7.0. Also, improve clay soil by adding organic matter. Improve dense, heavy soil by adding peat, compost, and rotted manure.
The main care for cucumbers is water. They want at least one inch of water per week (or more, if temperatures are sky-high). Put your finger in the soil and when it is dry past the first joint of your finger, and then it is time to water. Inconsistent watering leads to bitter-tasting cucumber fruit. And mulch the soil well to reduce evaporation due to sunlight. When the cucumber plant starts flowering it’s time to amend the soil with good quality compost. This will help in the plant getting the necessary energy to bear fruits. Water slowly in the morning or early afternoon, avoiding the plant leaves so that you don’t encourage leaf diseases that can ruin the plant. If possible, water your cucumbers with a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to keep the foliage dry.
Process of cucumber seed germination
Germinating cucumber seeds indoors for outdoor transplanting typically takes 7 to 10 days if people do it correctly. By chitting cucumber seeds (soaking them in warm water), gardeners can germinate cucumber seeds in 1 to 3 days. While some seeds in a chitting batch may germinate overnight, most of them will take a couple more days. No one variety or cultivar produces cucumber seeds will germinate faster.
Temperature for cucumber seed germination
If there are both ideal soil and air temperatures, cucumber seeds germinate in 7 to 10 days. If the soil and air temperatures are lower than the optimal temperature ranges or are on the lower end of the ideal temperature ranges, then the cucumber seeds take longer to germinate. In colder conditions, the germination time can be up to 3 weeks.
Soil temperature for cucumber seed germination
The ideal soil temperature for cucumber seed germination is between 70 and 85ºF. The soil must be within this temperature range regularly. Seeds can germinate at soil temperatures that are at least 60ºF, but this is not an ideal temperature, and there is a greater likelihood that the seeds will not germinate. If there is even a slight frost or a prolonged dip in temperature, then the seeds could need to be replanted.
Air temperature for cucumber seed germination
The ideal air temperature for a cucumber seed to germinate is between 75 and 95ºF. However, cucumber seeds can germinate in air temperatures that are 65 to 70ºF. The lower the air temperature, the longer the germination time. Cucumbers are a warm-weather vegetable then they will not tolerate prolonged cold weather conditions or even a light frost.
Sowing methods of cucumbers
Sow cucumbers from mid-spring into pots of seed starting or general-purpose potting mix. Sow 2 seeds about an inch (3cm) deep, and then water well.
Cucumbers need temperatures of at least 68ºF (20ºC) to germinate, so place pots in a propagator for speedier germination, or simply wait until late spring to get started. Once the seedlings appear, and then remove the weakest to leave one per pot. Sow seed about ¾ to1 inch (1.9-3.8 cm) deep. Cucumber seeds will germinate in 5 to 7 days at 68°F (20°C) or warmer. Cucumber seeds will not germinate at a soil temperature range below 50°F (10°C). Space plants in the garden about 12 inches (30 cm) apart in rows 24 inches (60 cm) apart.
Soaking Cucumber seeds before planting
Cucumber seeds normally sprout fine without soaking. However, if you want a quick germination process, soak the seeds before planting. After seed soaking, plant the seeds in a full sun area in well-draining soil. Soaking cucumber seeds before planting accelerates the seed germination process. Warm temperatures combined with water directly activate the Cucumber seed’s growth hormones, giving you a head start. The Cucumber plants that emerge won’t be better; they will just be faster.
There are two main methods to soak Cucumber seeds. Moisten a paper towel, then lay your Cucumber seeds on the towel and cover them with a second moist towel. Leave the Cucumber seeds overnight, and then plant them. Alternatively, soak the seeds for up to 8 hours in a glass jar fitted with a screen lid, then drain the jar, rinse the seed, add lukewarm water and lay the jar on its side. Repeat the rinsing and draining two more times that day, and repeat it for the next 2 to 3 days until you see small roots, then remove the seeds from the jar and plant them. Keep the soaking seeds in a warm room then they can sprout properly. If you notice seeds that split, discard them; plant all intact seeds after the seed soaking.
Water germination process in cucumber
You can germinate cucumber seeds by direct seeding into a garden bed or in the soil in a seed tray. However, cucumber seeds can be started with only water, as long as the temperatures are sufficiently high. This is a quick method of germinating cucumber seeds, although the cucumber seeds germinated in this manner may not be as hardy as those that have germinated in soil. To germinate cucumber seeds by using water, wrap the cucumber seeds in a wet paper towel and place them in a shallow bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and leave it in a sunny and also warm space. The cucumber plant seeds can germinate in as short a period as three days.
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Paper towel germination for cucumber plants
Paper towels, filter paper or even newspaper provides a good medium for germinating seeds. They are pathogen-free and make it easy to control the moisture content for the proper germination process. This method takes the guesswork out of knowing if your seeds have germinated since you can easily observe them.
Unfold the paper, and put it into the lid. Sprinkle some water in there and place the seeds in the middle and fold back the paper towel. Keep the dish in a dark and warm (about 25°C – 28°C) environment and wait. The lid is a great way to maintain the paper towel moist. And do not wet it too much. The initial root needs some motivation to search for moisture and grow better that way.
Fold cucumber seeds into a dry paper towel. Soak the folded paper towel in water and put it in a glass. Cover tightly with cellophane and put on a sunny window sill. After 4 days, they sprouted nicely and ready for planting. Then fill planters nearly to the top with potting soil. Make 2 holes in each planter using the back of a fork (holes must be about 3/4-inch deep and spaced 1-inch apart). Place one seed (tail or shoot side down) in each hole. Use the fork or your fingers to cover the cucumber seed with dirt and pat down the dirt over and around the seed. If the shoot is long, it’s ok if the tip of the seed is visible. Then water each planter just enough to moisten the soil. Then place the planters on a sunny windowsill.
Chitting procedure for growing cucumber
Soak the seeds in water for 5 to 10 hours before draining them. Then dampen a paper towel in warm water. Fold the cucumber seeds into the towel. To maintain the moisture in the towel from evaporating, put it in a plastic bag or box. Keep the temperature range of the towel above 70 F. Also check the seeds at least once daily. When spot seeds that have developed roots, transplant them into a potting mix. If the roots have grown into the towel, tear the towel around the roots and plant together. Plant the rooted seeds about 1/2 inch deep in 3-inch-wide peat pots containing a seed-germinating mix of 1 part vermiculite, 1 part perlite, 2 parts of screened compost and 4 parts of sphagnum peat. To this add enough dolomitic lime to bring the mix to a pH level of 6.
Standard indoor germination for growing cucumber
Although chitting cucumber seeds are faster, standard indoor germination doesn’t require watching for roots developing on individual seeds. Sow 1 to 3 cucumber seeds on their sides 1/2 inch deep in 3-inch-wide peat pots with the same mix you used for chitted seeds that developed roots. Moisten the mix, and then cover it with a plastic bag so the moisture doesn’t evaporate or water it when the mix becomes dry. Do not allow the mix to become soggy. And keep it between 70 and 85 degrees. Do not plant cucumber seedlings outdoors until the soil temperature range reaches 60°F. Space them about 18 to 36 inches apart.
Germinate cucumber seeds in starter plugs
Cucumbers are a bit fussy about transplanting, so plant the seeds in starter plugs that contain their soil and can be planted directly into the garden at planting time. Because not all the seedlings could transplant well, germinate and transplant more than you need, and thin them out as necessary.
Arrange the starter plugs in a tray filled with about 1/4- to 1/2-inch of water. And drain the tray after the plugs soak up the water. Push 2 cucumber seeds into the hole in each starter plug so they are planted 1/2-inch deep. Shift the soil a bit with fingers to cover the seeds. Put the tray of starter plugs in a warm location. Cucumber seeds germinate best at 90°F. Ideally, put the tray out of direct sunlight so the starter plugs do not dry out. Cover the tray with plastic wrap to help maintain the soil moistly.
Keep the starter plugs moist, preferably watering them from the bottom by filling the tray with water as required. And always drain the excess water. The cucumber seeds must germinate in four to six days. At that time, remove the plastic wrap, if applicable, and then move the tray to a sunny location.
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Cucumber plant protection tips
Pests affected in cucumber plants
Stripped or spotted cucumber beetles – Construct tents of fine netting or cheesecloth or by using floating row cover over young transplants and seedlings. Put in place at planting and then remove before temperatures get too hot in midsummer. Control of beetles is very important to prevent bacterial wilt in cucumbers but less important in other vine crops.
Aphids – A hard stream of water can be used to remove aphids. Wash off with water occasionally as required early in the day. Check for evidence of natural enemies such as gray-brown or bloated parasitized aphids and the presence of alligator-like larvae of lady beetles and lacewings.
Squash vine borer – Remove borers by hand and then destroy. Destroy crop residues after crop harvest.
Diseases affected in cucumber plants
Bacterial wilt – Remove and discard or destroy infected cucumber plants. Control cucumber beetles that spread the bacteria and control as soon as they appear. Some varieties are less susceptible to bacterial wilt but could not be readily available.
Powdery mildew – Avoid crowding cucumber plants. And space apart to allow air circulation. Eliminate weeds around plants and garden areas to develop air circulation. In autumn, rake and dispose of all fallen or diseased plant leaves and fruit. Plant resistant varieties that are Marketmore 76, Slicemaster and Raider.
Scab – Avoid wetting foliage. Avoid crowding plants and spaced apart to allow air circulation.
Cucumber mosaic virus – Remove and discard or destroy infected cucumber plants. Plant resistant varieties that are Pacer, Marketmore 76, Dasher II, Slicemaster, Spacemaster and Sweet Success. Manage aphids that spread the virus and eliminate perennial weeds, and avoid planting next to susceptible ornamentals.
The other diseases are Anthracnose, Leaf spot, and Downy mildew.
How and when to harvest cucumbers
Cucumbers are ready for harvest in 50 to 70 days from planting. Cut them off plants by using a sharp knife or pruners. If you pick cucumbers, leave a small, one-inch section of stem attached to the cucumber. This will prevent the stem end from rotting in storage if you won’t be using the cucumber right away. The easiest method to do this, and the least stressful for the plant, is to cut the cucumber off the vine with a sharp knife or pruners. If you twist or pull on the vine, the cucumber plant can be damaged. Cucumbers will be ready to harvest about 55 to 65 days from sowing. Then harvest cucumbers as soon as they reach mature size; cucumbers left on the vine past maturity will suppress the production of flowers and fruit.
That’s all folks about cucumber seed germination process, tips, techniques. You might be interested in Profitable Organic Farming.