Latin Name: Cucumis sativus
Item #: 144K
Good shelf life, short necks, dark green skin. Packet contains 25 seeds.
(Mildew Tolerant) For summer and fall crops when PM and DM become a problem during damp, hot weather. Good shelf life, short necks, dark green skin. Scab tolerant for northern areas. Packet contains 25 seeds.
THE SUGGESTED CULTURE OF EUROPEAN CUCUMBERS For Greenhouse Culture Only
What are Parthenocarpic Cucumbers? In Europe and Great Britain, the public has always favored this 14 -16 inch longer Cucumber. It is bitter free, seedless, does not require peeling and does not cause indigestion (burpless) like the American greenhouse types often do! Parthenocarpic means "seedless" or the fruit set without seed. The plants differ greatly from American varieties, due to the fact that they do not require bees to pollinate them. In fact, a stray bee can cause serious deformity to a fruit, by carrying male pollen to a female bloom. The bee starts a second pollination (since the plant is self-pollinating)which causes a deformed or "fertile fruit" and seeds will start to form in the lower end of the fruit. These look like base ball bats or swollen-end gourds.
New and Old Varieties. One of the most popular varieties for many years has been F.1 Hybrid, Bestseller. This is a regular F.1 Hybrid and although seedless, the plants produce male and female blooms - therefore, the greenhouse vents must be screened in the spring and summer months to keep out stray bees and male blooms removed. No type of European (parthenocarpic) cucumber should ever be grown in the same house or near a neighboring greenhouse containing American types. American varieties such as Burpee Hybrid require a hive of bees for pollination. During the last two years many leading European seed firms have introduced a more fertile type of F1 Hybrid. These are all female or gynoecious - parthenocarpic Hybrids. Unfortunately many of these Hybrids have been introduced before they could be claimed 100% female and many of these new varieties will produce 15%, 10% or 5% male blooms. The male blooms on parthenocarpic types should be removed, since they are a source of male pollen. A male bloom is easy to identify as it does not have a small fruit formed on the back of the bloom, and is darker in color than the female bloom. Gynoecious Hybrids are claimed to be "all female" and thus, the tedious job of removing the male flowers is almost eliminated. However, lower temperatures (less than 70?) or shorter days will sometimes encourage a small percentage of male flowers to bloom. To date, there are only a few true 100%, all female European types to choose from the many hybrids that are claimed to be free from male blooms.
Isolation: During winter months, vents do not usually have to be screened as it is too cold outside for bees to travel. Pickling or field cucumbers should not be grown in close proximity to the greenhouse, unless the vents are screened during the summer. In theory, the need for screening vents when using the new gynoecious Hybrids is not as critical as it is with the older varieties - such as Bestseller. Since the gynaecious types such as Fertila, Rocket, Pepenex etc. are claimed to be 100% all female, there should not be male blooms present. However, it is best to check for male blooms when suckering the plants. One male bloom, plus a stray bee, can spoil quite a few fruit. European Cucumbers cannot be grown outside in the summer in areas where field Cucumbers are popular.
Culture: WINTER CROPS are usually started after fall tomatoes are finished about Jan. 5 - 10th. Seeds are expensive, but germination usually is 95% or better. Sow one seed per Jiffy Pot or Jiffy-7. Keep moist until they germinate (about 3 days). Keep plants in a bright sunny location, to prevent drawn or spindly plants. Temperature is critical and should never drop below 70?F. Transplanting should begin about 3 weeks after sowing. Each plant requires 7 to 10 square feet. Rows should be 5-6 feet apart and plants about 24" apart in each row. Distance or spacing also depends on regional daylight and month of transplanting. Your first crop from a February sowing would be in 9 weeks. SUMMER CROPS - these cucumbers provide an excellent source of income during the summer after bedding plants are set outside in cold frames, and the greenhouse is empty. Sow seed about April, transplant about April 20th. Your first cut should be about June 1st or sooner. Late summer sowing for early fall crops will mature faster on shorter plants, about 4-5 weeks from transplanting. Late Nov. and Dec. harvesting is usually impractical, due to insufficient light during this period.
Nutrition or Feeding: Many growers forget to test their greenhouse soil for food value before transplanting. A normal balance of nutrients or a soil poor in nutrition is recommended! Nutrients may always be added but they are hard to take away, when excessive. A salt reading of about 85 or slightly less is ideal. A reading of 100 or more is too high. During the first 3 weeks after transplanting (summer crop) feed about twice a week with 20-20-20. This will vary according to your soil. (Example: 1% to 2 lbs. of liquid fertilizer per 100 plants). As cucumbers form, 2-3 inches long, change to Aero Prills (high nitrogen) and Potassium Nitrate which should be mixed together dry at 3 lbs. of Aero Prills (Nitrogen) and 1/2 lb. Potassium Nitrate per 100 plants. Broadcast, dry, at the base of the plants (without getting any on the plants) and water in - at once - with a gro-hose (soaker hose). Plants must be fed every other day, from this point on. The nutrition of these types is much more critical than American varieties, due to the fantastic yield (24 to 26 fruit per plant during July and August). Plants are almost self-pruning as they only retain those fruit that they have food for, the rest fall off. The feeding program must be consistent and never be neglected - or poorly Colored, light green fruit and decreased yields will become evident in a few days. Poor nutrition signs are the following (1) Younger fruit do not fill to the tip (2) Yellow plants are a sign of high sales (3) Yellow or light green fruit means not enough feed (4) Inconsistent feeding causes fruit to loose their color quickly, after they are cut. Fruit should be a dark "forest green"!
Suckering Plants: After transplanting, use plastic coated twine for training vines. Cut off the shoots or suckers of the first four leaf axils. The following 8-10 shoots should be cut down to one leaf, the remainder trimmed to two leaves, with weaker growth to three leaves. Plants are usually trained to about 7 ft. and then back across the pathways using "twist-ems". Check for male flowers (see previous note) - they must be completely eliminated! All female types develop female flowers along the main stem and also in each leaf axil. Remove the stem fruit from the bottom 12 to 14 leaf axils, so that lateral (bushy) growth is stimulated. These fruit would probably touch the ground and curve anyway. This assures enough plant frame work to carry the fantastic crop on each plant, later in the season. Later fruit develop on laterals on a taller main stem. Move any leaves from the path of the fruit to prevent curling.
Yields: Each plant should have 8 to 9 fruit on the plant at all times, in various stages of maturity. With proper feeding, some growers report a total of 200 cases per 100 foot row (2400 fruit) using F1 Hybrid "Fertila", a total average cut of 24 fruit per plant, from June 1st to August 31st.
Temperature: Keep temperature at a minimum of 70°F and keep well ventilated with fans during hot, muggy months to prevent botrytis.
Straw Bale Culture: Planting is done on a so-called forcing furrow and during the last few years, it has also been done on bales of straw which are brought to fermentation by watering. The quantity of forcing material is dependent on the season, in cold periods more than in warm periods.
Kind of straw: Wheat-straw and rye-straw are to be preferred. Compact bales of 44 lbs. to 55 lbs. are used. About 10 days before the planting, the bales are put into the glass house in furrows of about 6 inches deep. The bales are thoroughly wetted in three stages with intervals of 2-3 days. As fertilizer, nitro chalk or nitrate of lime is used (8 1/4 lbs. per 220 lbs. of straw, and per bale approx. 1 oz. of nitrate of potash and approx. 1 oz. of superphosphate is given). The fertilizer is washed in until all manure has dissolved and has disappeared from the upper layer of the bale and not longer. The temperature begins to go up @-3 days after the application of the fertilizer and sometimes reaches a maximum of 113?F , after which the temperature goes down to about 86?F in 5-8 days. After this, planting can be done.
PLEASE NOTE: The above suggestions regarding Parthenocarpic Cucumbers and Straw Bale culture are only basic information regarding growing techniques applied to this particular type of crop, Growers should adapt these to their local conditions and consult with their nearest Department of Agriculture representative for additional information.