Cucumber Greenhouse Growing GuideMany gardeners extend their growing season by using greenhouses for fall and winter vegetable production. These structures take many forms, from small and simple to large and elegant. Greenhouse seed varieties are parthenocarpic (do not require pollination to set fruit), and they have been especially developed to resist diseases common to greenhouse environments. These varieties make it easier for the home gardener to enjoy greenhouse-produced vegetables year-round.
Cucumbers are somewhat easier to produce in the greenhouse than tomatoes. Cucumbers grow more rapidly and produce earlier than tomatoes. Seedless or parthenocarpic varieties are particularly well suited for greenhouse production because they do not require pollination. Two to three crops can be grown each year. Seeds should be started in their permanent pots if possible. Two to 5 gallon pots are sufficient for greenhouse growing. Use a good quality potting soil and clean pots. Work 1/2-1 cup of our complete fertilizer into the soil for each pot. Six to 9 square feet of bench space is required for each plant. Plants need to establish a strong root system and vegetative stem before fruit is allowed to set. All lateral branches, flowers and tendrils should be removed until the plant has 8-10 leaf nodes. Twist the support string around the plant as it grows, always in the same direction. Remove all lateral branches, training the plant to a single stem, remove bottom leaves as new leaves form on the upper portion of the stem, leaving 50-60 inches of green, healthy leaves. When the plant reaches the top of the trellis wire, it can be allowed to grow another 30 inches and hang from the support wire. Pinch the end to terminate growth. Maintain an adequate supply of water to the plant roots. Excess water reduces soil aeration. Young plants put in the greenhouse mid-winter may only need to be watered every 10 days while plants in mid-summer may require 1/2-3/4 gallons of water per day. Most insects, fungal and viral diseases can be controlled with proper pesticides, the use of beneficial insects, as well as proper sanitation and sterilization of soils, pots, and equipment. Contact your local county agent for specific diseases and insect control measures. With good management, 15-25 lbs. of fruit can be picked over a 4-month harvest. Cucumbers can be held up to 3 weeks at 45°F with a relative humidity of 95%.
Key to Cucumber Disease Resistance/Tolerance PM | Powdery Mildew S | Scab TSP | Target Spot
Key to Cucumber Flower and Fruit Set GY | Gynoecious - Has nearly all female flowers. PAT | Parthenocarpic - Has the ability to set fruit without pollination. Triggered by low temperatures, short day length, and plant age.
Tomato Greenhouse Growing Guide
Tomatoes are one of the most commonly grown greenhouse crops. Most growers will use a one-crop schedule (December to December) or a two-crop schedule (August to December and January to June). Sow seeds into a sterile seedling mix 1/4 inch deep, water lightly, and cover with a grow dome or plastic to insure that the seeds do not dry out. Tomato seeds germinate best in a temperature range of 70-90°F. Days to emergence: 6-14 days. Transplant into 3-4 inch pots for finishing at the emergence of the second true leaves. Tomato flowers form 2-3 weeks prior to becoming visible. Research has shown that a cold treatment during this time will hasten the development of the first cluster as well as resulting in a better fruit set. A cold treatment consists of exposing the seedlings at the time of cotyledon unfolding to a continuous temperature of 52-56°F until the plants reach the two true leaf stage. This may take ten days to three weeks. Following the cold treatment, the night temperature should be raised to 58-62°F and the day temperature should be maintained at 60-62°F during cloudy days and 65-75°F during sunny days. When the transplants are about 8 inches tall transfer them to their permanent location. They should be planted into no less than 2 1/2 gallon pots using a good quality potting soil. About 4 square feet of bench or floor space are needed for each plant. Plants should be trained to a single stem and supported by strings from overhead wire. The vines can be twined around the string and secured using soft string tied in a loose knot. Fertilize with fish emulsion every 10-14 days. The clay and organic fractions of the soil normally provide micronutrients. Soil tests are necessary to determine if additional micro nutrients are needed. At the time of planting blend 1/4 cup of our complete fertilizer into the soil. An application of 1/2 cup bone meal can help avoid blossom end rot. Maintain an adequate supply of water to the plant roots. Excess water reduces soil aeration. Young plants put in the greenhouse in mid winter may only need to be watered every 10 days. Under greenhouse conditions, tomato flowers need to be agitated manually or a fruit set spray needs to be sprayed on the flower cluster regularly to ensure blossom set. Smaller greenhouse growers use the 'flick' method where they flick the blossom cluster each morning to encourage pollen shedding and fruit set. Cluster pruning can be used to encourage larger fruit size. Generally no more than 3-4 fruit per cluster should be allowed to form. Fruit number per cluster is the factor that affects fruit size, assuming all other growth factors are adequate. Most fungal and viral diseases can be controlled with fungicides and proper sanitation. It is important to sterilize your soils, containers and equipment. Contact your country agent for specific disease treatments. A good sanitizer for the home greenhouse grower is 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water. Use this solution to sterilize pots, benches and equipment. Flush with fresh water after a 10-minute soak. Harvest at nearly ripe stage or at the mature green stage and allow to ripen off the vine. Store mature-green fruit at 55-70°F and ripe fruit at 45-50°F and at a relative humidity of 90-95%. It usually takes about 3 to 4 months from seedling to your first crop.
Key to Tomato Disease Resistance/Tolerance HR indicates high resistance. IR indicates intermediate resistance. F* | Fusarium Wilt L | Gray Leaf Spot N | Roundworm | Nematode TMV | Tobacco Mosaic Virus ToMV* | Tomato Mosaic Virus V | Verticillium Wilt * Numbers indicate specific disease race.