Cucumber – Gergana
Cucumber – Gergana is a vigorous early variety which produces a high yield of delicious cucumbers with a smooth skin. This variety comes highly recommended from my Bulgarian friend as the best tasting sweetest cucumber ever! It’s an open-pollinated variety but still produces bitter-free fruits.
Late April until mid June
Sow individual seeds into small pots (7cm) or large modules and keep in a warm place. Pot on into a 10cm pot when ready. Plant into greenhouse or polytunnel. Two plants should be sufficient.
Between rows: 1m
Between plants in the row: 50cm
Approx. seed count: 7
Cucumber – Gergana
Soil and site
Cucumbers love warmth, high humidity and very high soil fertility. Just imagine a plant that grows to well over 2m tall and produces dozens of large fruits. It really needs to be well fed. I usually incorporate plenty of very well rotted compost or manure into the beds about a month before planting. Always plant them in full light with no shading from neighbouring plants.
As cucumbers are heat loving and quick growing plants I delay sowing until mid April and make a second sowing in late May. I sow cucumber – Gergana seeds individually into small pots (7cm) and place the pots into a propagator (21ºC) or on a warm windowsill. The seeds germinate quickly within five days. About two to three weeks after sowing the plants are ready to be potted on into a bigger (12cm) pot using a more fertile potting compost. The plants should remain in a warm place until planting.
When the plants are well rooted in the 12cm pots before they get pot-bound they can be planted into their final growing position in the greenhouse or polytunnel. I train the plants up strings that are attached to an overhead wire so when I plant them I first dig a big enough planting hole and then lay the bottom part of the string into the hole with the end sticking up, then take the cucumber plant out of the pot and place it over the string and gently firm them in leaving no air pockets around the roots. It is advisable not to plant cucumbers too deep or even to let the top of the compost stick out a bit. This reduces the risk of stem rot.
Plants should be spaced 60cm apart in the row and only a single row should be planted per bed.
Just remember, cucumbers need a tropical environment so regular misting with warm water especially during the day is highly beneficial. On a weekly basis you should gently wind the main stem of the plant around the upright string and remove all side shoots. The side shoots grow from the joint between the leaves and the stem and so do the fruits. Ensure that you don’t remove the little cucumbers.
All the fruit from the bottom 30cm should be removed while still small otherwise the cucumbers will lie on the ground and get eaten by slugs or infected by diseases. This early fruit removal enables the plants to grow stronger.
As soon as you notice that the leaves of the cucumbers lose their vigour you can sprinkle some organic poultry pellets around the base of the plants, but make sure they are not touching the stems. I usually do this in July.
There are few things that are more impressive than the yield of cucumber – Gergana. Every day each plant produces a new cucumber during the high season. Use a sharp knife or secateurs to cut them off. Cucumbers are ready when the ends of the fruits are roundish. It is absolutely important that you harvest the crop regularly. Over mature fruit will substantially lower the overall yield and encourage plant diseases.
How much to grow?
In theory one plant of cucumber – Gergana is more than sufficient, but I always grow at least two in case I have a casualty.
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