An unusual way to grow cucumbers in a barrel: how to get a good harvest?
The use of non-traditional methods of cultivating various crops is usually associated with the desire to obtain effective returns, using existing resources more rationally. When growing cucumbers in barrels, gardeners primarily save the precious area of their plot. But this is not the only advantage of the method, it has many other advantages, which are worth knowing in more detail.
Description of the method, its advantages and disadvantages
This rather unusual method of growing cucumbers in a barrel has long been successfully used in China. For Russian gardeners, the method is relatively new, although, judging by the reviews, many have already applied it in their areas. Thus, it is possible to grow cucumber varieties of any ripening period, but most often the method is used to obtain an early crop. In many sources, the number of fruits obtained during cultivation in a two-hundred-liter capacity is compared with the yield on an ordinary garden bed with an area of 2 m2. This result is achieved by increasing the landing density. But there are also reviews in which it is noted that the crop grown in a barrel is not so great. It is quite possible that this could have happened with insufficiently careful care or violation of any rules of the method.
The method of growing cucumbers in barrels is becoming popular among Russian gardeners
The described method has a significant number of advantages:
- Save space on the site, as well as the ability to use places where you can’t plant anything, for example, asphalt pavement.
- For early ripening varieties, the ripening time is accelerated, since due to the effect of the greenhouse there is the possibility of an earlier planting.
- For late cultivars that yield fruits before frosts, the fruiting period is extended - the first temperature drops in the soil will not be dangerous to them.
- Plant care and harvesting are facilitated - no need to bend to them. Cucumbers do not touch the ground and are not contaminated. During harvest, the fruits have good access, they are clearly visible among the leaves.
- The fertile mixture in the tank maintains a loose and well-permeable structure during the entire period of cucumber growth; in such soil, the root system develops well.
- The likelihood of disease and pest damage is reduced.
- The risk of plant damage during freezing is reduced.
- After the end of the season, the completely rotted contents of the barrel turns into a loose substrate rich in humus, which can be used in the future.
- All these advantages are of practical importance, but there is also a dignity of an aesthetic nature: if desired, the barrel can become a garden decor, if painted and designed accordingly.
There are also some disadvantages of the method, but there are very few of them:
- A suitable container and its preliminary preparation are required.
- The intervals between irrigation are rather short in comparison with the usual method of cultivation due to the faster evaporation of moisture.
Barrel selection and preparation
Most likely, every summer resident will be able to find a suitable tank on his site. It can be a metal or plastic barrel, a wooden box is also suitable. Barrels that can no longer be used on the farm for its intended purpose are quite suitable. If the containers are old, rusty, without a bottom, with holes and crevices, this will become their advantage, as air circulation and outflow of excess moisture will be ensured . In plastic barrels, it will be necessary to drill holes. The volume can be different: from 100 to 250 liters. The most popular two-liter barrels.
For the cultivation of cucumbers, you can use any old barrel, including metal
You need to take care of filling the tank in the autumn or early spring. In total, three layers of different composition and function are placed in the barrel. The volume of each of them is about a third of the capacity. Layers contain the following components:
- The lower layer consists of plant debris and organic waste. At the bottom lay twigs, stalks of corn or sunflower, cabbage stumps - large plant remains perform a drainage function. Then lay the fallen leaves, weeds, straw, sawdust, peeling vegetables and fruits, as well as other food waste. To speed up the process of processing biomass into humus, the first layer can be treated with biodestructors (Compost, EcoCompost, Baikal EM and others). The bottom layer is best prepared in the fall. By spring, its components decompose, forming an excellent substrate for growing cucumbers.
First, the barrel is filled with plant debris and food waste.
- Fresh manure is ideal for the middle layer. During its ripening, a lot of heat is generated and the increased humidity is created, which is necessary when growing cucumbers in the early stages of ripening. If there is no manure, add small (quickly decaying) components of the first layer, mixing them with a small amount of fertile soil or humus.
- The last layer is a nutrient mixture, which includes soil, compost (or humus) and peat in equal proportions. Instead of peat, you can put rotted sawdust or chopped straw. And also to improve soil aeration, you can add vermiculite, which is widely used as a mineral substrate in crop production. Its ability to absorb and release moisture easily helps maintain optimal soil moisture. 1-3 tablespoons of complex mineral fertilizer can also be added to the finished mixture. The top layer in which the root system will be located should be at least 25 cm.
The contents of the tank are spilled with 30-40 liters of warm water and can withstand at least 15-20 days, during which time the soil will settle. The distance from the level of the backfilled soil to the upper edge of the barrel should be about 20 cm, if the earth settles to a greater depth, it must be added.
Since the cucumber is a light-loving and heat-loving culture, the place for the location of the tanks must be selected well-lit and protected from the wind. It is better to place them on the south or southwest side. In regions with hot summers, it is undesirable for plants to be exposed to scorching sunlight all day. It is better to prudently put barrels near the trees, which will give partial shade in the heat. Branches can also serve as additional support for weaving cucumbers. If the containers are placed next to the gazebo or the fence, the plants can be tied to them - it will be convenient and, to some extent, decorative.
The place for installing barrels with cucumbers is chosen well-lit and protected from cold winds.
Cucumbers in a barrel: growing step by step with a photo
In a barrel or other container, both zoned varieties and hybrids can be grown. Seeds are on sale both in processed form and in ordinary form. During factory processing, they undergo calibration, grinding (thinning the peel to improve the access of nutrients and moisture), disinfection and encrusting.
When inlaid, the seeds are covered with a thin layer of a water-soluble mixture, which has an unusually bright color and consists of nutrients and protective agents.
Inlaid seeds can be distinguished by an unusually bright shell, they do not require pre-sowing treatment, as it has already been carried out by the manufacturer
You can sow cucumber seeds in a container 15-20 days earlier than in open ground. The planting process is as follows (for inlaid seeds, the first four points are omitted):
- First, the seeds are calibrated to separate the highest quality planting material. This can be done in one of two ways:
- manually select large, without deformation, uniformly colored seeds;
The highest quality seeds can be selected manually
- soak the seeds for 5-10 minutes in a 3% solution of sodium chloride and use for sowing only those that have sunk to the bottom, rinsing and drying them.
- manually select large, without deformation, uniformly colored seeds;
- For the prevention of diseases, seed disinfection is carried out, for this there are also two options:
- Soak for 20-30 minutes in a 1% manganese solution. This treatment kills the infection only on the surface of the seeds.
Seed disinfection in a solution of manganese destroys infection only on their surface
- To free seeds from diseases that are in the embryo, they are etched in bacterial preparations (Fitosporin-M, Baxis) for 1-2 hours.
To get rid of possible diseases that are in the seed germ, special drugs are used
- Soak for 20-30 minutes in a 1% manganese solution. This treatment kills the infection only on the surface of the seeds.
- Soaking promotes more intensive germination of seeds. They are placed on a fabric laid on the bottom of plastic or glassware, and poured with water (preferably rain). It must be ensured that the seeds are constantly moist. At the same time, they should not be completely covered with water. Soaking planting material for 1–2 days before cracking the shell. And also for soaking, you can use nutrient solutions of Epin, Zircon and other similar drugs. The processing time for each of them is different, it is indicated in the instructions.
Before planting, the seeds are soaked in rainwater or nutrient solutions at the bottom of the glassware.
- Hardening of seeds increases their endurance to adverse environmental factors. The seeds wrapped in a moist cloth are placed in a glass dish and kept in the refrigerator for two days at a temperature of 0— + 2 ° C, preventing their drying.
Hardening of seeds increases their stability, it is carried out at a temperature of 0— + 2 ° C
- The day before planting, the soil is abundantly watered with settled warm or hot water. With significant subsidence of the soil add the right amount.
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- Then proceed to the planting of seeds. The sowing depth is 2-3 cm. In a two-hundred-liter barrel the nutrition will be enough for 4-5 plants. Sow seeds with a margin (6–8 pieces) so that later you can choose the strongest seedlings. Make the required number of recesses, compact the soil in them and put the seeds in the pits.
Planting material is buried by 2-3 cm, sowing a few more seeds than it will grow in a barrel
- Depressions with seeds sown in them are covered with fertile soil and slightly compacted so that there are no voids. Planted planting material on the same day is not recommended to be watered.
- Crops are protected by film or agrofibre, securing shelter on a barrel.
The barrel is covered, protecting crops from exposure to low temperatures
Emerging shoots in warm weather are ajar. When the threat of a drop in temperature passes and stable warm weather sets in, the shelter is removed.
Video: how to plant cucumbers in a barrel
Caring for cucumbers grown in a barrel is somewhat easier than with the usual method.
For intensive development and fruiting, cucumbers need a sufficient amount of moisture. If it is not enough, you should not count on a good harvest. And also with insufficient watering, the fruits can acquire a characteristic bitterness. Nutrients enter the root system with water. The vertical arrangement of the makeshift beds contributes to the accelerated outflow of moisture. The contents of the barrel warms up better than a regular bed, but also dries faster. Plants will need more frequent watering - up to three to four times a week. For each bush, you need to spend at least three liters of warm, settled water. After watering, the soil can be mulched with some organic material to preserve moisture.
There is a good way to provide additional moisture to the plants. The bottom of a plastic bottle is cut, the neck is closed with a lid, and several holes with a diameter of 2-3 mm are made around it. The bottle is placed in the soil with its neck down, leaving a few centimeters above the soil level. This is best done while filling the barrel. Water must constantly be in the tank, which will gradually penetrate the soil and maintain the necessary humidity.
Additional moisture to the roots can be achieved with a plastic bottle dug into the ground without a bottom
Despite the fact that during the preparation of the soil a fertile mixture is laid in the tank, cucumbers growing in a barrel must be fed. Since the nutritional area of one plant is not very large, a certain deficiency of minerals and trace elements is possible. In order for plants to be strong and hardy, they must receive a sufficient amount of nitrogen during the growth of green mass and before flowering. At this time, you need to water the cucumbers with a solution of urea (one tablespoon per bucket of water), spending one liter per plant.
When fruiting begins, nutrition will be required every two weeks. The best option would be the alternation of complex mineral and organic types of feeding, the composition of which may be as follows:
- A tablespoon of nitrophosphate is diluted in 10 liters of water, a liter of solution is used per bush.
- Organic fertilizers can be used in two types:
- poultry manure (1:10) or cow manure (2:10) is insisted for 10-14 days, then 1 liter of concentrated infusion is diluted in 10 liters of water and 1 liter of solution per plant is added.
- In the absence of bird droppings and cow manure, they can be successfully replaced with the so-called green infusions. Weeds, cut grass are infused in warm water for 10-12 days and feed cucumbers with fermenting liquid. It is believed that such a fertilizer in nutrient content is not inferior to humus.
As an organic fertilizer, you can use an infusion of mowed grass
Cucumbers growing in a barrel must be properly formed, and productivity also depends on this. There are two methods of formation, which are recommended to be applied depending on the need for pollination of plants. They look as follows:
- The formation of self-pollinated hybrids lead into one stem. From the sinuses of the first five leaves, all growing branches (flowers and stepsons) are plucked. With the growth of the following five leaves, flowers and ovary are left in their sinuses, and the appearing stepsons are removed. When the stem reaches a height of one meter, several stepsons are left to form side lashes. After 3-4 leaves grow on them, pinch the tops, which provokes the formation of additional lateral shoots.
- Varietal cucumbers pollinated by bees are often shaped like a bush. To do this, pinch the top when the 5-6th true leaf appears, which will cause active growth of stepchildren. After the formation of a fifth leaf on each of the lateral shoots, the tops above them are also removed. On the formed 10-12 lashes of the third order, ovaries will intensively form. Since mainly female flowers are formed on the lateral shoots, they leave one bush for pollinating without pinching - it will produce empty flowers, which are the source of pollen.
Video: the formation of cucumbers in a barrel
One of the simplest garter options is to install a two-meter wooden or metal support in the center of the tank with two crossbars at the top, located crosswise. You can fix 3 or 4 crossed beams, which form respectively 6 or 8 rays. At the edges of the barrel, pegs are driven in, to which the twine is tied and fixed to the cross. When 5–6 true leaves appear on the bushes, they are tied to twine. The lashes, clinging to the rope, will grow up and over time they will braid the cross.
There is another common way to garter. Two arcs of metal or plastic, which form a frame, are installed crosswise in a barrel. When cucumbers grow up and need a garter, they are tied to arcs. The height of such a support is not very large, long lashes will hang down along the edges of the barrel. To prevent plants from being injured on a sharp edge, you can attach an old rubber hose to it.
As a support for cucumbers in a barrel, two arcs can be installed crosswise
Video: a plentiful harvest of cucumbers in a barrel
How to harvest
And finally, the long-awaited cucumbers appeared. To assemble them correctly, you need to follow the following simple recommendations:
- It’s best to take cucumbers early in the morning while it's cool. And you can also do this in the evening, when the sun is setting.
- In order for the ovaries to grow faster, you should regularly collect the grown fruits. It is better to do this daily or even twice a day.
- Cucumbers need to be cut with scissors or a knife, you can not pull, pull or twist the stalks - this will harm the plant.
- All non-standard fruits (damaged, deformed, stained) should be regularly removed.
Cucumbers need to be collected daily so that a new ovary grows faster
I tried to grow cucumbers in a barrel about 20 years ago, but in one barrel, there were no others. Over time, several 200-liter watering barrels became leaky and my husband sawed them in half. Painted in bright colors. I drilled holes 5 - 10 cm from the ground so that water would not stagnate. He placed the barrels along the path between the gooseberry bushes, so that the low bushes shade the barrels from the sun. The barrels were filled with foliage, grass, branches, organic matter sprinkling with earth, fertile land 10-15 cm above, 6-7 cucumbers in it with seedlings or seeds. Two arcs stuck crosswise from above, tied cucumber lashes to them, covered with lutrasil, which protected it first from the cold, then from heat and from the wind. The harvest was very good, even did not make a cucumber bed. There were 6 half barrels in total. There were also 4 things long Chinese cucumbers in the greenhouse. Connie F1, Masha F1, Mamenkin favorite F1, City cucumber F1 planted barrels. I will definitely do the same in 2016. It is easy to care for and save space (beds). The main thing is not to bend over when weeding and harvesting.Tamara48, Moscow
I have been growing cucumbers in old barrels for about 15 years. This is a method for the lazy. All organic matter goes to the barrel, on top there is a bucket of horse manure or compost (if any) + two buckets of good earth. I coat the edges of the barrel with the gel "Great Warrior" - otherwise the ants eat it. I sow seeds dry for the May holidays. On top of the barrel a piece of covering material, I fix with old tights, which act as gum. It is very convenient to watch what is growing there. No need to untie - tie. You can water without removing the covering. When the cucumbers grow to cover and the weather allows, then you can remove it. If it’s still cold, then loosen. Cucumbers will raise the covering. Then cucumbers grow freely, cover the barrel with foliage, which on hot days saves from the sun. Again, watering should be less common. Once or twice a week. When planting seeds in the wells, add a tablet of glyocladine (from root rot). And I do not form them (laziness), I only blind to the fourth sinus because these are hybrids.Tatyana, St. Petersburg
In defense of barrels. For technical reasons, I was not at the cottage for 4 weeks. All my landings died during the June frosts. When I finally arrived and wandered around the orphan beds, I came across a barrel, into which I just threw a couple of seeds of cucumbers just in case and tied it up with a black plastic barrel with a rather narrow throat. So I took off this lutrasil, and under it, the Jungle! 3 wonderful whips! And they lived a month without watering! And it was warm to them in frosts! In general, he was happy!Nadezhda N, Moscow
Cucumbers in barrels are growing, funny. Last year I liked it so much that I prepared four barrels instead of two for this year, but then I thought, where are there so many cucumbers? She planted a super-cascading petunia in one, and nasturtium in the other.Elena72
The method of growing cucumbers in a barrel has many positive aspects, summer residents should pay attention to it. The problem of lack of space on the site is being solved, and the crop can be harvested earlier than from a regular garden. It will be necessary to work a little during the preparation of the containers for planting, but subsequently caring for the plants will be more of a pleasure, and the result will bring satisfaction.