Zucchini are unpretentious crops, so in most cases they are grown in open ground. However, this does not mean at all that they cannot be cultivated in greenhouse conditions. On the contrary, this will make it possible to harvest a richer crop - on average, up to 30 kg of fruits per 1 sq. Km. m. What should be taken into account when growing this vegetable crop in a greenhouse, and how to properly care for it, we will find out further.
The advantages of growing indoors
In greenhouse conditions, zucchini is rarely grown, as they delight with a good harvest and in the garden. Moreover, they are resistant to night cold and undemanding in care. However, even with this in mind, their cultivation in the greenhouse is not without meaning, as it involves the following advantages:
- the fruits ripen several times faster, which positively affects the number of harvested crops;
- when forming zucchini, they acquire a more delicate and delicious taste;
- hybrids intended for growing under film conditions do not require increased attention to care;
- seedlings are not attacked by pests and practically do not get sick;
- early varieties can be profitably grown for sale on an industrial scale.
Zucchini does not require a special soil composition and temperature conditions, so their cultivation in closed ground is inexpensive.
For cultivation in a limited space, it is best to choose compact cluster F1 hybrids, since they simultaneously meet several important requirements - they occupy a minimum of space, have a high yield and a long fruiting period, and have excellent taste. If you also choose early hybrids, you can grow them in a greenhouse throughout the year.
For sale, small-fruited varieties with zucchini of a light or medium-saturated hue are more preferable. It is important that the plant itself does not have growths on the petioles, so that it is easier and safer to collect a large crop.
Taking into account the above requirements, it is best to cultivate such varieties and hybrids in closed ground:
- Kuand F1 . Early ripening variety, bred at the Kuban experimental station of the All-Russian Research Institute of Plant Industry. Recommended for cultivation in sheltered soil under a small-sized film shelter in the Northern, Volga-Vyatka, Lower Volga, Ural and West Siberian regions. Fruiting occurs on 52-61 days after the appearance of full seedlings. Productivity - 20-25 kg per 1 sq. Km. m. Fruits weighing 1.1-1.5 kg and a length of 21-28 cm are excellent for processing and canning.
- Cavili . A hybrid of Dutch breeding with a long fruiting period (more than 2 months). Typically, direct zucchini is harvested for 45-50 days after the emergence of seedlings when they reach a length of 16-22 cm. For 10 square meters. m greenhouses enough to plant only 8-12 plants. Productivity - 10-60 t / ha.
- Nemchinovsky . A hybrid variety of compact sizes that does not form long lashes and bears fruit with pale green squash weighing 610-770 g. The plant is early ripening, therefore, it bears fruiting on 38-48 days. It is characterized by friendly return of fruits.
- Aral F1 . Enriches the list of the earliest early zucchini - the first fruits can be harvested already on the 35th day. Zucchini, upon reaching technical maturity, weigh about 0.5 kg and reach a length of 16-18 cm. The high yield is more than 500 kg / ha. When grown in a greenhouse, fruits should be harvested every 3-4 days, which will contribute to the formation of new ovaries.
- Dealer . Another early ripening variety of zucchini, the technical ripeness of which occurs in 35-50 days. On average, fruits weigh from 0.5 to 1 kg and have excellent transportability.
Zucchini grows well both in polycarbonate greenhouses and in simple film shelters. In any case, to get a good harvest, it is worth taking a number of requirements for the greenhouse into account:
- Even to get a good harvest, the area of the greenhouse can be small - about 45-50 square meters. m. Its height does not matter much, but for the convenience of caring for plants and harvesting between bushes, it is worthwhile to withstand a wide passage.
- If you plan to grow a vegetable in the winter season, you should build a greenhouse on the foundation, and cover wooden or metal frames with glass or polycarbonate. Additionally, it needs to be equipped with ventilation windows and a heating system using an electric boiler or wood stoves. If the greenhouse is simply covered with plastic, then you can use household air heaters. In expensive greenhouses, an automatic drip irrigation and climate control system can be provided.
- For zucchini, it is advisable to provide biofuels, which will warm not so much air, but how many plant roots. Such a pillow is prepared by mixing equal amounts of straw with rotted manure (pork, goat or cow). The resulting pile must be folded, well poured with water and left not 3-4 days under the film. Next, in the greenhouse, you need to remove the top layer of soil, evenly distribute biofuel and cover with a layer of nutrient substrate.
Such a pillow is also an excellent top dressing for seedlings during the period of active growth, because it emits carbon dioxide, which contributes to the rapid ripening of fruits and improve their taste.
- For zucchini in the greenhouse, you need to prepare a light, oxygen-filled soil with a slightly alkaline or neutral reaction. Before planting, it can be fertilized with ash or mineral top dressing. It should be borne in mind that the vegetable crop does not like to grow in the same place from year to year. It is best to alternate her landing with such crops:
To enrich and improve the structure of the soil, it is recommended to plant green manure.
- After spring treatment of the greenhouse, the soil should be mulched with sawdust or other organic matter. Such top dressing is also useful during the period of plant growth.
- In the greenhouse, it is important to maintain optimal temperature conditions. During the day, it should be kept at + 23 ° C, and at night - do not fall below + 14 ° C. The soil itself must be warmed up to + 20 ... + 25 ° C.
The method and timing of landing
In open ground, zucchini can be grown as seedlings and seeds, but in a greenhouse it is much more efficient to use seedling technology. You can apply it throughout the year, but it is best to do this at the end of winter - the beginning of spring, since autumn squashes are the best keeping quality (they last 2-4 months). In addition, by spring, the body most of all needs vitamin support.
If you start growing seedlings in late February or early March, the first crop can be harvested around the beginning of April.
Experienced gardeners have noticed that the exact timing of planting seedlings in a greenhouse depends on where they grow. In Moscow, it should be dived into the ground on May 5-10, in Siberia on May 15-20, and in the Krasnodar Territory on April 10-15.
To get a good crop of zucchini, in early March you need to grow strong seedlings. This procedure can be conditionally divided into several stages, each of which requires a separate consideration.
Seeds even with 6-8 years of storage germinate quite amicably. However, for this they need to be properly prepared, adhering to this instruction:
- Pour seeds with hot water (+ 45 ... 52 ° C) and leave for 5-7 hours. Instances that pop up within the first few minutes are hollow, so they need to be caught and discarded.
- To reduce the risk of developing fungal diseases, lower the remaining seeds for 2 minutes in ice water.
- Wrap the seed in a damp cloth and keep it for 2 days in a room where the temperature is at least + 23 ° C. During this time, keep the fabric moist.
Immediately before planting, the seeds can be soaked for several minutes in a solution of a stimulant or potassium permanganate.
Zucchini seeds are large, so they should be grown in separate containers. Given that the plant does not tolerate transplanting, it is better to use individual peat pots with a diameter of 10 cm or more. If there are none, you can use their plastic or wooden counterparts.
Soil for seedlings can be bought at a garden store or prepared independently by mixing for this:
- 7 parts of garden land;
- 5 parts of peat;
- 3 parts of mullein;
- 150-200 g of ash;
- 30-40 g of superphosphate;
- 25-40 g of ammonium nitrate.
With this nutritional composition, you need to half fill the pots. It needs to be well moistened a day before sowing. When planting seeds need to be deepened into the ground by 1.5-3 cm. If they have sprouts, then they need to be planted with hatching sprouts down. 2 seeds should be released into each hole. After sowing, the soil needs to be slightly watered, and then covered with a film or glass.
Most seeds will germinate on day 3-5, but only the strongest sprouts should be left in the pots. The rest must be carefully cut off above ground level. In no case can they be pulled out, since this can damage the entire root system of the plant.
After sowing the seeds, it remains to ensure competent seedling care, which implies compliance with the following rules:
- Until the first shoots, keep the pots at a temperature of + 26 ... + 28 ° C. When the first sprouts appear, lower it to + 17-18 ° C during the day, and to + 12 ... + 14 ° C at night. This mode must be maintained for 4 days, and in the future it must be adjusted depending on weather conditions and time of day. So, on cloudy days the optimum temperature is + 21-22 ° C, and on sunny days + 26 ... + 28 ° C. At night, it should be maintained at + 17-18 ° C.
- Excessive watering should not be allowed, as well as crusting on the soil surface. All this can lead to the development of stem and root rot. To prevent this, seedlings should be irrigated with warm water as the earth dries.
- When growing seedlings on a windowsill on the south side, the sprouts do not need additional lighting. On the east or west side, daylight hours last at least 11 hours, so there is also no need for incandescent lamps. However, they will be required in case of growing seedlings on the windowsill on the north side.
At the age of 20-25 days, seedlings will acquire 3-4 real leaves. In this phase, it can be transplanted to a permanent place.
Planting seedlings in a greenhouse
The soil in the greenhouse, in which zucchini will be planted, should be well prepared. To do this, it is advisable to add rotted manure to it at the rate of 10 kg per 1 sq. m and dig well. Mineral fertilizers can be applied directly to the wells before sowing at the rate of 30-40 g of nitrophosphate per plant. After making them you need to mix with the ground in the hole.
Seedlings are often transplanted to a permanent place in early May or a little earlier. Before this, you need to warm the soil with a furnace or electric boiler. To maintain a normal level of humidity in it and to ensure rapid ripening of the crop, it is worth performing mulching with sawdust, sunflower husk or other organics.
Pick-up should be done in the morning, in the evening or on a cloudy day. You need to do this by the square-nested method according to this scheme:
- the distance between the holes is 0.7-0.8 m;
- row spacing - from 0.8 to 1.5 m.
Saplings need to be dived into holes with an earthen lump and deepened into the soil by 5 cm, and then sprinkled with earth to the first sheets, lightly tamped and watered. At this stage, the temperature in the greenhouse should be at + 14-15 ° C. Ventilate the room in such a way as not to lower it too much. Planting can be covered with a film in which to make holes for each plant. Watering in the future to carry out in these holes.
Care for zucchini in the greenhouse
This vegetable crop is unpretentious even in the open ground, so it is quite easy to take care of it, especially if you know the secrets of the necessary agricultural activities:
- Creating an optimal microclimate . The plant grows poorly in conditions of too hot and humid greenhouses. The ideal temperature for the full development of seedlings is + 24 ° C during the day and + 18 ° C at night. Zucchini does not tolerate stuffiness, so the greenhouse needs to be ventilated daily to maintain humidity at 60-70%. In late April - early May, the frequency of airing should be increased.
- Watering and loosening . You need to water the seedlings with warm, standing water (+ 19 ... + 24 ° C) not often, but plentifully. With the advent of the first ovary on shrubs, the amount of watering should be increased up to 3 times a week. During this period, it is worth pouring 4 liters of water under each bush. A few hours after moistening, the soil should be slightly loosened and at the same time remove all weed crops. To reduce moisture evaporation, the soil surface can be mulched with sawdust or peat. Before the flowering begins, it is necessary to exclude watering and slightly dry the greenhouse air. Such manipulation will contribute to the formation of more female-type buds.
Watering should be completely interrupted 7 days before harvesting, otherwise the fruits will have excessive water content.
- Top dressing . Zucchini is characterized by intense development, so the additional introduction of a nutrient mixture can lead to rapid growth of shoots and leaves. In turn, this will negatively affect the formation of ovaries and the growth of fruits. Thus, zucchini does not need to be additionally fed during the development period - they just have enough fertilizers introduced before planting.
- The formation of the bush . Zucchini does not need to be pinched and shaped, however, with a dense plantation at a bushy plant, it is worth removing the lower central leaves in order to improve air circulation and increase the illumination of the fruit. It is important that at least 15 leaves remain on one bush. In a neat plant, feminine and masculine flowers are easier to see. The first of them has a slight expansion at the base, and the petiole is quite short. In male flowers, the petiole is longer and more even.
- Pollination . On warm spring and summer days, you need to ventilate the greenhouse to accelerate the maturation of zucchini and attract insects for pollination - bees or bumblebees. For this, the plant can also be sprayed with sugar syrup dissolved in water. If possible, a hive should be put in the greenhouse at the rate of 1 piece per 500 square meters. m. Between the bushes, it is desirable to plant a small number of honey plants. If it is not possible to attract pollinating insects, then this procedure must be performed manually using a male flower with stamens. It is enough for pollination of 5-6 female flowers.
If zucchini is grown in winter, then pollination will have to be done only with the help of male buds. They ripen 7-10 days later than women’s, so in order not to lose a whole week, experienced gardeners plant seeds for seedlings in 2 stages: one part (10%) is sown 10 days earlier than the main one.
During the period of active fruiting, zucchini should be removed every other day and at least 3 times a week, since overriding will lead to a deterioration in the taste of the fruit and a slowdown in the formation of other ovaries, which will negatively affect the yield indicators of the variety. The following recommendations should be followed:
- It’s worth it to shoot zucchini, which in length has reached from 10 to 25 cm, and in diameter - 8-10 cm. Many of them reach such parameters on 45-50 days after transplanting. You do not need to wait for the fruits to become too large, because they will be tasteless, and their peel will lose their softness and glossiness.
- To check if the fruit is ripe, just gently tap on it. If you hear a dull sound, then you can rip it off.
- It is better to cut the fruits with scissors along with part of the tail, since in the future it will become a good barrier to pests and infectious diseases. Collected zucchini must be shifted carefully, since mechanical damage will worsen their presentation and shorten their shelf life.
- Zucchini should be removed carefully so as not to damage the tops of the bushes and the resulting lashes. Injured plants are poorly restored and may stop the formation of new ovaries.
- When harvesting, shoot both beautiful and full-fledged fruits, as well as deformed ones. If you leave them on the branches of the plant, but they will delay the development of new ovaries and lower the yield of the bush.
- If zucchini is intended for long-term storage in the cellar, after collection they do not need to be pre-washed.
Even an amateur gardener can grow zucchini in a greenhouse, since this vegetable does not require special conditions and high costs. Meanwhile, in order to get a good harvest, it is necessary to properly prepare strong seedlings, for which competent care after diving into the covered ground is required. The development of this technology will allow the grower to grow squash under the film year-round and successfully let it go on sale.