Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Oh what a tangled web we weave
These cucumbers, according to the description on the package, were only supposed to need 18" to 24" of space and were bred to grow in containers. Well, the greenhouse is eight feet long, and they are now slightly short of both ends, and three or four feet off the floor. As it is only the first of July, I expect Tarzan, Jane and Cheeta will be living in the upper branches by the middle of August.
Being the first to admit that I have no clue as how to garden in a greenhouse; I decided I needed a book on the subject. The book I selected from the local library is The Complete Book of Greenhouse Gardening by Ian G. Walls. Although the book concerns itself mainly with soil gardening, I thought plants are plants when it comes to light, temperature and humidity. After reading about all the problems that must be addressed in soil gardening in a greenhouse, I wonder why on earth anyone would bother? Who the hell wants to heat soil to almost two hundred degrees to sterilize it? I'll stick to hydroponic gardening any day.
One thing I read got my attention; Mr. Walls wrote that cucumbers should not be pollinated, as it makes them bitter. Information I found from one of the Ag/Tech colleges said they should be pollinated. Who to believe? I decided to be lazy and not pollinate them because I noticed early on that the female flowers already had small fruit before I pollinated them. The information from the Ag/Tech college also advised that they do not need a lot of nitrogen, as it would make them grow more vine than cucumbers. I followed those directions and did not use a lot of nitrogen, and went heavy on potassium and phosphorus. I began to see the bottom leaves turning yellow. Nitrogen is a transferable element, and plants will draw it from the lower leaves and move it to the growing leaves where it is needed. My theory is that because the environment is very conducive to growing, these plants are determined to grow. So, I am adding slightly more nitrogen to the AutoPot reservoir. I am not concerned about any supposed lack of cucumbers, as there are more than we can use right now. I asked my wife to find our crock as the dill in the garden is just about ready and I am thinking Kosher dills, yum..