Cucumbers are one of the most popular types of cultivated plants grown in Russia. Each gardener, one way or another, grows cucumbers and tries to get a good harvest in the fall. This culture is hardy and unpretentious, which adds another plus to its popularity. In addition to the secrets of growing cucumbers, gardeners may have a question about the degree of their ripeness.
After all, the cucumber itself appears in the bud after a week of the end of flowering. At this stage, it is worth deciding that cucumbers differ both in the degree of ripening and the fruit’s size. Early, mid-ripening, late-ripening cucumbers can be short, medium, and long in size. This becomes crucial for you to tell if cucumbers have ripened.
After ensuring that the selected cucumbers are ripe to the desired degree, the vegetables are cut off and start harvesting seeds immediately or let the fruit lie in the sun for a week.
How to Tell If a Cucumber is Ripe
- Squeeze the cucumber gently. If it is solid, it is ripe. If it is soft, you’d better choose a different one.
- See the color of the cucumbers. Ripe ones are medium to dark green. Avoid cucumbers with yellowish patches or dark spots on the outer surface.
- Look at the tips of the cucumber. Cracks or dents are signs that they are not good enough. According to the research made, a mature cucumber also has the same diameter as a sausage.
- Cucumber peel smell. Discard it if you notice an unpleasant smell.
Secrets of a Good Harvest for Ripe Cucumbers
- Strengthen the root system
The better the root system of a cucumber is, the more likely it is to get a good harvest for ripe cucumbers. You can help the plant form additional adventitious roots by pressing the stem to the ground and sprinkling it with moist soil.
This technique must be used to find that the root system is sick (for example, affected by rot). Typically, this can be seen in sunny weather, when the upper parts of the plants begin to wither clearly. Then you can remove half of the ovaries, lower the lash to the ground, and sprinkle its lower part with fertile, moist soil. After a while, roots will appear here, and the plant will be saved.
- Help pollinate
If there are few insects, then problems may arise with the pollination of cucumbers. To increase the number of ovaries, you need to carry out artificial pollination. It can be done with a soft brush, transferring pollen from male flowers to female flowers.
- Increase the percentage of carbon dioxide
It is known that the growth of cucumber is based on the process of photosynthesis. And it needs carbon dioxide. The usual air contains about 0.03% of carbon dioxide, and if we artificially increase this percentage to 0.5, we will accelerate photosynthesis and, therefore, increase the yield for ripe cucumbers.
- Watering Properly
Cucumbers love water, but everything is good in moderation. During the hot period, they need very frequent watering – as a rule, daily (or every other day) with warm water. When the air temperature drops, on cloudy days, watering is either limited or temporarily stopped. Watering cucumbers is best in the evening.
- Mulch properly
Mulch supports the reproduction of earthworms, soil microorganisms, makes the soil air-tight, and retains moisture. Consequently, the roots breathe very well, which affects the entire plant development positively. Many materials are suitable for mulching cucumbers, including manure and dead sawdust, cut chaff and straw, peat, synthetic films, and non-woven materials.
Summer residents have a rich choice, but some of the nuances must be taken into account. It is not recommended to mulch cucumbers with freshly cut grass, as there is a high risk of being affected by various rot. Care must be taken that the mulch layer does not contact the stems, especially in the early stages of growth.
- Properly loosen the soil
If the soil becomes compacted and crusty, the cucumber lacks soil air. It begins to lag in growth, and the ovaries crumble. After each rain and watering, the soil must be loosened to a depth of not more than 3-4 cm so as not to damage the root system. Even with sufficient compaction, Peat soil is not loosened but pierced with a pitchfork for aeration.
How do I Get Cucumber Seeds After They Ripen?
You will need a clean, dry container to obtain seeds. It is best to use glass or ceramic dishes. For prepared and washed fruits, remove 1/4 part from the side of the stalk since tasteless fruits grow with bitterness from the seeds of this zone. Then cut the cucumber lengthwise and remove the seeds from the chambers.
Cover the container with the pulp and a napkin and then leave for 2-3 days to ferment. Once you see that the pulp has stratified and bubbles have appeared on its surface, this means that the fermentation process is complete. As a result, the seeds are disinfected, and the mucous membrane of the periospermous membrane is destroyed, which will further facilitate germination.
Rinse the seeds by pouring water into the fermented mass and stir. Remnants of pulp and small seeds will rise to the surface. And large, good seeds will settle to the bottom. Carefully drain whatever floats on top.
Pour again with cold water, stir and wait for the seeds to settle to the bottom again. Then drain the water, spread clean seeds on a cloth, and leave them in a well-ventilated place for several days. During drying, it is advisable to turn the seeds over so that they do not stick together.
In what Conditions Should Ripe Cucumber Seeds be Stored?
Place the dried seeds in a paper envelope, bag, or canvas bag. In this case, the material must necessarily pass air. Do not stuff the seeds too tightly but leave enough space in the bag. Sign the variety, date of collection and store in a dry place with an air temperature of 10-18 °C and humidity of no higher than 60%.
The higher the temperature and humidity, the lower the germination rate of the seeds will be. Cucumber seeds can be stored for 6-8 years. Subject to the storage conditions, they are best used 3-4 years after harvesting. Such seeds have good germination, and more female flowers will form on the plants.
Cucumber is known as the most ancient and popular vegetable crop. It is among the few vegetables that are tastier, greener and the fruits are smaller. There are ways to tell if a cucumber is ripe, including squeezing it gently, observing the color, looking at the tips, and observing the smell. After the end of it, you will get the right cucumber fruits which are ripe.