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For many, pickled cucumbers are a favorite snack at a festive feast. Moreover, gourmets have special requirements for the vegetable. First of all, the cucumber should be small, even, with small seeds, and most importantly, crispy. All these requirements are met by gherkins, the length of the fruit of which does not exceed 10 cm. Thanks to the painstaking work of breeders, varieties for open ground have appeared, with which we will get acquainted today.
What is this grade
The fashion for pickled small cucumbers came from the French. Often in many recipes or descriptions there is another name - pickles. Many call it gherkins. However, this is a misconception, because pickles are nothing more than a general designation of pickled vegetables. Summer residents often collect cucumbers that have not grown to the required size from the bushes for conservation and roll them into jars, showing off to the guests, the so-called gherkins. However, this is just an unripe cucumber.
There are special varieties of cucumbers, the adult fruit of which cannot grow more than 5 or 10 cm. These are real gherkins. In this group there is another subgroup of varieties with ready-made fruits no more than 5-7 cm in size. They are called mini-gherkins.
Some summer residents have the opinion that real gherkins can only be grown in a greenhouse, and in the absence of such a structure, the owners continue to pluck unripe fruits of ordinary varieties for canning. Do not despair, because among the many gherkins there are varieties intended for open ground. We will talk about their diversity and growing method further.
Secrets of agricultural technology gherkins
The method of growing gherkins, even if the varieties are intended for outdoor use, is slightly different from traditional cucumbers. The fact is that they are very thermophilic and a seed thrown into the cold earth may simply not ascend. Gherkins can be planted on a garden bed with seeds or seedlings, but if the first method is used, then sowing should be done not earlier than June. At this time, the soil will warm up enough. It is better to use seedlings for open ground. It is optimal to plant it on the vacant plot of the garden after harvesting early greens.
Important! The method of planting seeds and growing seedlings of gherkins is the same as for simple cucumbers. The only difference is in the seedling cups. For good root development, gherkins require larger glasses, for example, 0.5 liters. Let it be low, but, most importantly, wide.
Many varieties of gherkins intended for open ground are characterized by weak branching. However, seedlings in the garden cannot be planted densely. Optimal at 1 m2 arrange 3 plants.
As for the soil, it should be loose with an acidity of 6–7 pH. The plot of the garden allotted for cucumbers must be fertilized with manure every 5 years at the rate of 10 kg per 1 m2... Before planting seedlings, they dig a trench with a shovel bayonet depth, cover the bottom with hay, and apply mineral fertilizer. All this is covered with compost 15 cm thick and covered with soil. Dig holes on the resulting puff cake, where the seedlings are planted. For the first feeding of the root system, humus can be added to the holes.
The video shows the planting of gherkins in open ground:
Attention! All varieties of gherkins prefer yeast feeding.
It can be made by preparing a solution of 1 pack of dry yeast and 10 liters of warm water. When the tremors become active, another 50 liters of warm water are added to the liquid and the plants are watered with this composition 2 times per season. This top dressing is very effective for open ground. Thanks to the yeast, plant growth is enhanced.
Some tips for growing crispy gherkins
Due to the fact that the fruits do not outgrow, lazy summer residents can leave them hanging on the plant, picking them off only when needed. This cannot be done. Adult cucumbers gradually lose their crisp properties, begin to turn yellow or fall off. But, most importantly, old fruits pull nutrients from the plant, preventing the formation of a new ovary.
The most important thing appreciated in pickled and fresh gherkins is its crunch. Of course, this indicator depends on the variety, and sometimes on the canning recipe. However, calcium is still responsible for the crunch, especially necessary in sufficient quantities for a developing plant. It is brought in during feeding. Limestone, bone meal, phosphorite, or gypsum work well.
Advice! Plucked gherkins for conservation should not be stored for a long time. They will lose their crunch due to moisture evaporation. Such fruits in the jar will be soft. Even if the cucumbers lie for a couple of days before conservation, they should not be placed in the refrigerator, otherwise they, in general, will quickly deteriorate.
Two varieties of gherkins for beginner gardeners
As already mentioned, there are many open field gherkins. First, let's look at 2 varieties that are optimal for novice gardeners.
"Son of the Regiment"
The plant is characterized by an average fruit ripening, which occurs 45 days after planting in the garden. Cucumbers of this variety belong to mini-gherkins. Stems of medium branching are covered with female-type flowers.
The fruits of the plant have the following characteristic differences:
- oval-shaped vegetable on the skin is rarely covered with large pimples;
- cucumbers have white thorns;
- an adult fetus grows no more than 8 cm long.
The advantage of this variety for open ground lies in the inability to outgrow the fruit with the subsequent acquisition of yellowness. The plant does not lend itself to most types of disease, is fertile and resistant to scab. Possessing a good taste, cucumbers of this variety are considered universal in purpose.
The ideal variety for open ground is Madame gherkin. This hybrid is characterized as mid-season, bearing fruit 48 days after germination. The plant is covered with female-type flowers, however, the participation of bees is required for fertilization. The ovary on the stems is formed in bunches, no more than 6 fruits.
The characteristics of the gherkin fruit are as follows:
- usually the length of a cylindrical vegetable is 10 cm, but the fruit can outgrow to 12 cm;
- the peel is dark in color with light stripes, covered with thick pimples;
- thin skin, one might say, very delicate, protected by white thorns;
- an adult fetus weighs a maximum of 85 g.
The advantage of the hybrid is its resistance to various diseases, especially root rot. Adult fruits of a gherkin do not outgrow, have a dense structure and acquire yellowness is unusual for them. Cucumbers of this variety bear fruit intensively, which allows for good harvests. It is important only during the formation of the bush to make the stem pinching above the third leaf. For use, the fruit is considered universal. Suitable for cooking and pickling.
Attention! When choosing varieties for open ground, you need to know that gherkins need potassium more than other types of cucumbers. Timely feeding will increase the fruiting of the plant.
Rating of the best varieties of gherkins
If the considered 2 varieties are a good option for novice gardeners, this does not mean that they should be the only choice. Let's look at other popular varieties of gherkins that do not differ in the worst characteristics.
The early variety belongs to the bee-pollinated species. The first fruits appear on the 41st day after germination. The length of a mature vegetable varies from 6 to 10 cm.
The video shows the seeds "Parisian Gherkin":
"Moravian gherkin F1"
According to its characteristics, this cucumber can be called a colleague of the "Parisian Gherkin". The plant is similarly intended for open ground and requires pollination by bees.
"Kai F1" and "Gerda F1"
Two more closely related brothers feel good in cold climates. Plants of these varieties adapt to extreme conditions, and even if the summer turns out to be cold with lingering rains, the harvest of gherkins will still be there.
This vegetable belongs to the earliest ripening gherkins. Sometimes on advertising labels of this variety you can see the inscription "Super early maturing". Fruits 7-9 cm long are very tasty with a characteristic crunch.
The same early maturing hybrid with a high yield. The fruits of this variety are not afraid of transportation and are stored for a long time without loss of taste.
"Accordion player F1"
The early ripening variety is distinguished by long fruiting. The ovary is formed on the stem in bunches.
Finishing the rating, I would also like to highlight the hybrids "Mademoiselle", "Suzdal", "Quadrille", "Cappuccino", "Bobrik". These gherkins belong to the parthenocarpic species and in an open garden they perfectly pollinate themselves without the participation of bees.
The best mini gherkins
A characteristic difference between mini-gherkins and ordinary cucumbers is the ripening of the fruit on the third day after flowering. The small vegetable has all the full qualities of an adult cucumber and has a delicate crunchy flesh.
The hybrid has good performance. The neat shape of the bush with beautiful leaves makes the plant a contender for growing not only on the street, but also on the balcony.
The hybrid belongs to the early maturing variety. Suitable for outdoor and greenhouse cultivation. A small dark green vegetable with small pimples has a sweetish taste. The plant is resistant to temperature extremes.
A mid-early hybrid yields about 50 days after planting. A plant of medium height and the same branching forms female flowers, followed by a bundle ovary up to three pieces. The dark green fruit is characterized by white stripes and white thorns. The length of the vegetable is no more than 8 cm. The crunchy flesh of the gherkin has a sweet taste without bitterness. When preserved, the cucumber retains its firmness.
A tall plant with the formation of a large number of branches is covered with flowers of a predominantly female type. Short fruits, no more than 8 cm long, do not overripe and turn yellow. The vegetable is characterized by crispy sweetish pulp with a characteristic aroma. From 1 m2 land plot will be able to collect about 10 kg of harvest per season. Gourmets consider gherkins to be the most successful for preservation. The crop is harvested 3 times a week, and 5 cm pickles are picked every day.
Of the less popular varieties, one can single out the mini-gherkins "Marabulka F1", "Mikado F1", "Tablecloth - self-assembled F1", "Nastya F1". They do not have the worst characteristics and have won their popularity in certain circles of gardeners.
Giving preference to any of the gherkins, you should not plant a garden bed with one variety. It is better to plant several varieties of cucumbers with different ripening times in open ground. This will make it possible to harvest the whole summer and decide on a more suitable variety for your home garden.