Mulching cucumbers in the greenhouse is one of the important conditions for a rich harvest. This procedure allows you to reduce labor costs, to facilitate the process of care for the grown crop. When mulching improves the quality of the soil and the number of harvested crops. This technology can be used when growing cucumber seedlings in both open and closed ground.
Why it is recommended to mulch the soil in cucumber beds
Summer residents often neglect mulching, citing the uselessness of this method. But this is a mistaken opinion, since many people know absolutely nothing about the benefits of this procedure. Most often, their actions are aimed at the destruction of all organic matter formed on earth. However, the absence of organic additives contributes to the compaction of the earth and the decrease in the amount of mineral substances in it. As a result, to increase the fertility of the land requires constant hydration and loosening.
Permanent watering leads to hardening of the soil, moisture from open areas evaporates much faster. If you do not grow any crops in such places, they will quickly become overgrown with weeds. The soil mulching procedure helps to overcome these problems. The quality of the mulch and its quantity can lead to different reactions on the part of the plants: either a good development and a rich harvest, or an oppressed state and a small number of fruits.
The mulching procedure helps:
- improve the airing of the surface layer of the earth, allowing oxygen to penetrate unhindered to the roots;
- reduce the frequency of irrigation and its quantity, as the mulch retains moisture from intense evaporation;
- reduce the frequency of loosening, as the earth does not harden, the soil does not stagnate excess moisture;
- improve soil quality - organic mulch is an additional source of nutrients necessary for normal plant development;
- stop regularly digging up the area - this procedure can be replaced by loosening, as the soil under the mulching material is soft;
- reduce the number of weeds, because the mulch prevents weed grass from growing, not allowing the seeds and weed roots to get from the lower layer of soil to the top;
- reduce the ripening time of the fruit by about a week and a half;
- promote the cultivation of cleaner fruits, excluding their rotting and spoilage;
- maintain optimum temperature for the development of culture.
Cucumbers can be mulch with small straw, it is not forbidden to use hay or dried small grass. It is important that the organic material used does not have inflorescences and seed pods to prevent the growth and development of weeds. Mulch should be homogeneous, with no traces of rot. It is worth picking up a high-quality mulch material without an unpleasant, odorless smell.
Growing cucumbers using mulching technology is carried out in several stages:
- Planting of plants into the ground should be carried out according to all the rules, consisting in the preliminary cultivation of seedlings, its preparation for planting in the ground and direct transplanting to a permanent place. When growing cucumbers in mulch, it is important to make sufficiently wide inter-row spacings and paths between the beds. Seedlings are planted in prepared holes and shed with warm water, remove all weeds growing in beds and in between rows, level the top layer of the earth.
- Having decided on the mulching material, spread it on top of the formed row in an even layer. At the same time it is necessary to leave the area at the germ open. You can only multiply rows, leaving free aisles. It is better to mulch cover the whole bed, in order to reduce the number of weeds in the future. The depth of the mulch should not be less than 3 cm. It is important to ensure that the mulch lies evenly on the entire surface, without forming gaps. Lined material does not need to crush or water. Moisten the mulch once to start the composting process.
- After organized work, care for the crop is carried out as usual: timely watering, weed control, periodic checking for the integrity of the layer. Sometimes it is necessary to raise the layer and check the soil for the presence of the moves of a bear or moles. If pests are detected, certain measures should be taken immediately. When mulching the beds in the greenhouse or open ground, there is no need for their loosening, the number of weeds is reduced.
Mulching technology is used at the beginning of the summer season, when the ground is well heated. Before laying out the mulch layer, the soil needs to be well loosened and all weeds removed. The organic material distributed according to the rules is usually completely recycled by early autumn.
If by this time on the soil in the open ground there are some plant debris, then you should not remove them. In the greenhouse, cleaning is a little more difficult: you need to remove the entire top layer of earth and mulch if you detect any signs of disease. In the absence of disease, the soil can be left in the greenhouse for re-cultivation.
What raw materials to choose for mulching
Cucumbers in the greenhouse can be mulched at once with a large layer of material. It is necessary to update the mulch less often than when growing a culture in the open field. This is due to the fact that the composting procedure in the open air is much faster. For this culture, you can use both organic and inorganic material. You can purchase a synthetic coating and non-woven material.
Fresh grass cannot be used as mulch, as it increases the likelihood of rot on the plants and the appearance of slugs.
For mulching cucumbers you can use:
- Black perforated film. It is spread on the prepared soil until the landing of the culture. Previously it makes holes in which sprouts will be placed. The only drawback of this method is the dark color, which contributes to the overheating of the soil during high solar activity. In this case, you can put white material on top of the black film.
- Transparent polyethylene can first be used to create the greenhouse effect, so that the sown seeds will sprout faster. After the emergence of seedlings in the film carefully make holes. The film allows you to minimize the risk of weeds and improve the conditions for growing cucumbers.
- If peat, straw, hay is used, then seedlings are not deeply rooted. Failure to comply with this condition can lead to the defeat of the black leg, which will be difficult to get rid of. For mulching cucumbers, you can use such material as peat, fine straw, sawdust, needles, fallen leaves.
Cucumber plants are very fond of moisture, they are sensitive to the quantity and quality of watering. Under adverse conditions, the sprout in a short period from the stage of growth and development passes into the stage of formation of fruits. Under adverse conditions, fruiting time decreases, and fruit quality deteriorates. The use of mulch helps to avoid such consequences.
Organic material allows you to retain moisture, which requires a capricious culture. In general, it creates favorable conditions for the development of strong and healthy plants, increases the period of fruiting and improves the quality of fruits. It is preferable to use organics for mulching, but in its absence it is possible to purchase inorganic material.