Cucumbers are usually grafted onto a pumpkin. Both species are related to each other, which is why this usually works very well. Even if the cucumber is considered the diva of fruit vegetables, her bitches are so refined. The plants develop healthier, there is a more plentiful harvest and the fruits also get bigger if you let them. On the whole, a grafted cucumber plant is more robust and tougher. The refinement is not difficult at all. We’ve put together everything you need to know about it. Continue reading!

Why are cucumbers grafted?

Grafting on a pumpkin plant has a few advantages. The most important is probably the resistance to wilt diseases, which are quite common. Even if the grafting does not protect against powdery mildew and downy mildew, many diseases are eliminated for the time being and powdery mildew can be combated.

  • Stronger cold tolerance (3° more)
  • Better vigour, simply more vigorous and stronger
  • more resilient
  • Pumpkin is resistant to wilt fungus
  • Does not help against powdery and downy mildew fungi
  • More fruit and mostly better quality

cucumber cultivation

Cucumbers are sown from mid to late April. It is best to place one or two cucumber seeds in a small 7 cm pot with potting soil. Very high temperatures and constant humidity are important for germination.

  • 1 to 2 seeds per seed pot
  • Put the flat side of the seed in the ground
  • Cover seeds only lightly with soil
  • use potting soil
  • Temperatures between 22 and 25°C
  • Keep evenly moist, never too wet
  • Don’t let it dry out
  • If both seeds germinate, simply cut off the weaker seedling. So you save yourself the pricking that always harbors dangers. Tearing apart the roots is a risk and thus eliminated.
  • After the formation of the first true leaf, the seedlings are transplanted into 12 cm pots.
  • It is important that the root ball is not injured.
  • As a rule, a cultivation period of 25 to 30 days must be assumed.

Cultivation of the pumpkin seedling

Fig leaf cacti are used to refine cucumbers. There is a Kiepenkerl cucumber grafting set on the market that contains seeds, lead foil and detailed instructions. Not much can go wrong there.

  • The pumpkin seeds are sown 3 to 5 days later as they grow faster.
  • Also stick the pumpkin seed with the flattened edge into the seed compost
  • Keep evenly moist, just like with the cucumbers
  • Grafting can be done when the seedlings are about 8 to 10 cm tall
Tip: If the pumpkin seedlings grow too quickly and outstrip the cucumbers, simply put them in a cooler place, which will delay growth.

Refining cucumbers – counter tongue refinement

Young cucumber plants are extremely robust. However, as they age, they become more and more vulnerable. A strong root helps against this. Cucumbers do not have these themselves, which is why they are refined. One speaks of a counter tongue refinement. You take seedlings that are about 3 to 4 weeks old and nice and strong. The stems should be about the same thickness so that they fit together well.

  • You need two plants of about the same size, a cucumber and a pumpkin . Cucumbers grow slower than squash, so it is better to sow them a few days earlier.
  • A sharp razor blade is used for the cut.
  • Do not touch the interface!
  • Lay the pumpkin plant in front of you so that the cotyledons are crosswise.
  • Make a cut about an inch below the cotyledons, about 1.5 cm long and from the outside to about the middle of the stem
  • Cucumber is cut from the bottom up
  • Cut must end about 1 cm below the cotyledons
  • Therefore start 2.5 cm deep under the leaves
  • Cut very carefully, the cucumber plant stem is very thin and is often cut through
  • Cut again only to the middle of the stem
  • Take the pumpkin in your left hand, spread it open a little, carefully take the cucumber in your right hand, with the cut towards the pumpkin plant
  • Also bend the cucumber slightly and put the two cut tongues into each other = counter tongue refinement
  • Wrap the connection with lead foil, from bottom to top, slightly at an angle
  • Spray the plant with water and pot
Tip: If you have trouble telling the two plants apart, you should mark them. Plant binders are great for this. This saves you from the bad experience of cutting off the wrong plant.

Pot grafted plants

The freshly grafted plant must now be further cultivated. It is potted, initially in a slightly larger vessel.

  • Use normal potting soil with a nutrient content that is not too high
  • Put a small support stick in the container for support
  • Water, spray and ensure sufficient humidity
  • You are also welcome to put a plastic bag over the plant and container to create a constant environment
  • Secure with rubber at the bottom of the pot
  • Keep bright and warm, but protect from direct sun.
  • Temperatures around 25°C are ideal
  • The high humidity is important
  • After one to two weeks, the grafting point has grown together.
  • The bag can be removed

Further cultivation of the grafted cucumber plant

  • If the stalk becomes thicker and the lead foil opens up on its own, this is a sign that the grafting has been successful.
  • The head that grows out of the squash is cut off as soon as it begins to grow (about 10 days). Only the cucumber remains. Be careful, if you mix up the plants, you get pumpkin instead of cucumber!
  • When they are big enough, the young cucumber plants are planted in the greenhouse or in the open ground.
  • For cucumbers, the greenhouse is often the better option.
  • You take care of the plants and let them grow.
  • Remove all fruit buds from the bottom 50 cm of the plant. This encourages growth.
  • In the course of cultivation, remove every second fruit set on the trunk.
  • Remove the bottom leaves of the cucumbers. This is how diseases are prevented. Only the upper leaves remain.
  • Once at the top, the cucumbers are guided back down.
  • From now on, all fruit buds are left standing.
  • The cucumbers are ripe when the ends are rounded and no longer so pointed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which cucumber varieties are particularly suitable for grafting?
Cucumbers are used. The varieties ‘Dominica’, ‘Midfios’ and ‘Sudica’ seem to be particularly recommended. The mini snake cucumber ‘Printo’ also delivers very good yields. The ‘Ministars’ variety is ideal as a traffic light plant.

Are there already ready-grafted cucumber plants to buy?
Yes this is not a problem. Plants of this type are available in nurseries, but also in hardware stores and garden centers. However, the prices are comparatively high. Such a grafted plant costs about 5 euros.

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