Frost kills the Cucumis sativus plant, thus it is essential to wait to put cucumber seeds directly into the ground until all risk of frost has gone. However, you may get a head start on their cultivation by germinating cucumber seeds inside. This will allow you to have a head start on their development. However, a “leggy” look, which is an indication of a lack of sunshine, is a typical problem that has to be watched out for. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to change lanky seedlings into healthy transplants.
Why Do Seedlings Get Leggy?
Young plants stretch themselves out and grow taller in an effort to bring their leaves and stems as near to the sun as they can with the resources they have. Plants are unable to conduct photosynthesis, the process that enables them to manufacture energy (sugar) after being exposed to sunshine, if there is not enough sunlight. The genetic coding of a plant instructs it to utilise the energy reserves in the seed capsule to develop as much as possible until it breaks through the soil and leaf litter and is exposed to the light. This occurs when the plant pierces through the soil and leaf litter. When the plant is exposed to sunlight, a process called photosynthesis begins, which allows the plant to generate fresh energy and continue its maturation.
Seedlings take on an elongated form as a result of their persistent efforts to attain the greatest height possible in order to reach the surface and the sunshine there. Even if they are not hindered by thick soils or leaf litter, indoor seedlings that get an insufficient amount of sunshine will nevertheless take on the look of being elongated and emaciated. If your seedlings are visibly growing toward the window rather than standing straight, this is another another indication that they want more sunlight.
How to Remedy Leggy Seedlings
Your seedlings should be in the best possible health in order to have any chance of successfully transplanting them, and lanky cucumber seedlings are not exactly the picture of health. In point of fact, they are having difficulty. Take some corrective measures within the house before moving the cucumber seedlings outdoors, where they will be exposed to diverse circumstances of temperature, wind, sun, and soil. This will allow you to avoid adding further strain to the equation.
To begin, you will need to devise a plan to increase the amount of sunshine that they get. If you are unable to buy or set up a grow light, the next best thing is to relocate your seedlings to a different window during the day so that they may follow the sunshine and get more light exposure. This will allow them to develop more quickly. Because cucumbers will ultimately need to be planted in the direct sunlight, you should attempt to simulate this environment for your seedlings as best you can.
Second, watch the seedlings closely to make sure they don’t run out of energy. In particular, Darryl D. Warncke of Michigan State University observes that an additional application of phosphate to cucumbers may be beneficial for early growth and development.
How to Transplant Leggy Cucumber Seedlings
Even though cucumbers are a plant that thrives in warm weather, it is best to avoid putting seedlings outdoors on a hot day or in direct sunshine immediately away. Cucumbers require time to adjust to the temperature difference before they can be planted successfully. To begin, place them outdoors in the shadow or partial shade, preferably during a time of day when the temperature outside is more comparable to the temperature inside your home. Before you transplant the seedlings, you may also assist them become more wind-resistant by putting them through wind stress. Just run a fan in the room at a speed that will give the seedlings a little jolt every so often.
Before beginning the transplanting process, it is important to make a decision as to whether you will be growing cucumbers in the ground or on a trellis. The fact that the post holes for the trellis are dug without the cucumbers in the way assures that the plants will not be trampled and that the roots of the cucumbers, which, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, may grow up to four feet in length, will not be disturbed. The Texas A&M University recommends leaving 12 to 14 inches of space between cucumber plants, regardless of the method you intend to use for managing the vines. Dig a hole that is sufficiently deep to bury the stem up to the first set of leaves, place the transplant in the hole with plenty of potting soil still on the roots, and press the transplant firmly into place to encourage healthy root growth. Digging a hole that is sufficiently deep to bury the stem up to the first set of leaves takes some time.
Cucumbers may grow in soil that isn’t very loose, but they do best in soils with a pH that falls anywhere between 6.0 and 6.5. If the soil doesn’t drain well, the cucumbers will rapidly perish. If you are cultivating cucumbers in soils that don’t drain quickly, you may need to build mounds that are between four and six inches high for each plant. To ensure a consistent supply of nutrients in the soil, amend it with aged compost, but avoid over-fertilizing it. According to research conducted by the University of Georgia Extension, excessive fertilisation promotes the development of vines rather than fruits. It is advised to do soil testing before beginning any fertilising operations.