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Snake cucumbers, salad cucumbers

Verena Schmidt Verena Schmidt

Snake cucumbers, also called salad cucumbers, must be ideally grown in the greenhouse by hobby gardeners. How to plant and care for the low-calorie vegetable.

Origin

Like pickled cucumbers or gherkins, which are usually cultivated outdoors, snake cucumbers or salad cucumbers are a group of cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) and, like all cucumbers, belong to the cucurbit family (Cucurbitaceae). High in water content, the salad cucumbers can be eaten either raw or used in preparing a tasty salad. Since their heat requirements are quite high, it is best to plant them in Greenhouse.

Appearance and Growth

Just like other cucumbers, salad cucumbers are annual plants. Depending on the variety, they can be anywhere between 11.81 to 27.55 inches long, dark green, fusiform and almost straight. Cucumbers are climbing plants: They grow along the ground without support and form shoots from 3.28 to 13.12 feet long. Therefore, a scaffolding on which they can climb is an absolute must. Almost all modern types of cucumber are female of the species and parthenocarp (Greek for "virgin fruit"), that is, they form a seedless cucumber from each flower without pollination. The advantage of these hybrid strains is sooner than expected higher yields. Resilient and vigorous young plants are often sold in the market. These cucumbers were usually grafted on the fig leaf pumpkin , (Cucurbita ficifolia), and sometimes on seedlings of the musk pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata). The flowers of cucumber are bright yellow.

Flowers of snake cucumbers, salad cucumbers

With their yellow flowers, cucumbers are a pretty sight in the vegetable patch

Location and Soil

Snake cucumbers or salad cucumbers need a lot of light and warmth. This is the reason why most of the cucumber varieties are cultivated in the greenhouse. Humus-rich and loose soil that warms up quickly and can still store enough water is suitable as a substrate. You can also grow varieties for outdoor use on mulch film with a cover made of fleece.

Crop Rotation and Mixed Cultivation

Similar to other types of cucumber, you should grow snake cucumbers, which are among strong uptakers, in the same area only every four years. or celery, for example, are suitable for preculture. We recommend lettuce, cabbage or beetroot as border plants. Caution: Tomatoes and cucumbers should not be grown together in the greenhouse - tomatoes like it sunnier and airier than cucumbers with slightly lower humidity.

Sowing

Since the young plants grow quickly, you should start the preculture three weeks before planting in the vegetable patch or in the greenhouse. You can pre-cultivate cucumbers in the heated greenhouse from mid-March: To do this, place three seeds in an 3.14 inches pot that is half filled with potting soil. Let the seeds germinate at around 71.6 to 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit and keep them constantly moist.

Planting

When the seedlings have two to three leaves, they can be carefully planted out. Take care not to damage the roots. The cucumbers can be put into the heated greenhouse from mid-April, in an unheated greenhouse you should wait until the beginning of May to plant them out. In the greenhouse, the planting distance between the rows is 51.18 to 66.92 inches, in the row 15.74 inches. Important: With grafted cucumbers, place the grafting site a finger's breadth on the ground. Fleece covers serve as protection and heat storage.

Care

Snake cucumbers have a high water requirement, almost one to three liters of water per plant per day. In the greenhouse it is important to guide the cucumbers upwards on wires or strings, in the open field a trellis is a good option. Wrap new shoots around the trellis or string twice a week so that the shoots are directed upwards. The best fertilization in the greenhouse is a thin layer of mulch made of grass cuttings.

Guiding the salad cucumber plant upwards

Cucumbers should be lifted up using wires or strings. This prevents fungal infestation and gives the plants more space

For optimal fruit growth, you should continuously shorten side shoots below 23.62 to 31.49 inches in height to two to six leaves and leave the ones where the fruits formed in the leaf axils. The central branch is slipped on a rod or a thick cord and cut as soon as it has reached the end of the cord.

Harvesting and Use

With cucumbers, the harvest usually begins seven to ten weeks after sowing, depending on the variety. Up to three harvests should be done every week. You can store the fruits at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit for about one to two weeks. Snake cucumbers taste wonderful with salad, as a healthy snack in between meals or in summer soft drinks.

Harvesting salad cucumbers

Harvest the cucumbers several times a week

Variety Tips

When growing snake cucumbers in the greenhouse, only female-flowering varieties such as "Sudica" or "Dominica" are reliable. “Dominica”, like the “Eiffel” variety, is up to 13.77 inches long. New is “Midios” with medium-sized, juicy and aromatic fruits. “Delfs No. 1” is a cucumber for outdoor cultivation that has proven to be very robust; “Dorninger” is an old variety with tender flesh and is suitable for both outdoor and greenhouse cultivation. “Long de Chine” is also around 13.77 inches long and is characterized by firm flesh and a fine taste. In mild regions, this variety is also suitable for outdoor use. “Streits Nr. 5” and “Selma Cuca” are robust and richly bearing cucumbers.

Diseases and Pests

Apart from downy mildew there could be a powdery mildew infestation in the greenhouse. Make sure that there is sufficient spacing between the plants and choose robust varieties. In addition, tend to appear on cucumbers, but they can be easily and naturally combated with beneficial insects. Signs of the cucumber wilt are weak leaves.

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