The days are getting longer, the temperatures are warming up, springtime is almost here. It is time to start getting some warm-season plants up and running, so I will be able to set them outside by around the end of March. I will start 2 types of peppers (Golden Marconi and Jimmy Nardello), as well as Diva cucumbers. My tomato seeds have been ordered, and those plants will also be started shortly.
Feb 13, 2016 = Day 0. Plant started from seed (Park Seed). Seeds sowed in 1.5-inch rockwool cube in 2-inch net-pot. Moistened with dilute fertilizer solution: 1.2 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow, 0.8 mL pH Down per gallon of tap water. Nutrient concentrations (in ppm): N 22, P 29, K 16, Ca 6, Mg 1.6, S 0.2, Fe 0.3, Mn 0.2, B 0.1, Zn 0.2, Cu 0.2, Mo 0.003, Ni 0.0003, Co 0.005. pH = 6.0.
Feb 15 = Day 2. Plant germinated, placed directly under a fluorescent light (2 ft. T8 bulb, 17W, 6500k) for 16 hours per day.
Feb 24 = Day 11. Installed plant into 9 cup (0.56 gallon) plastic container (Heed). Hydroponic solution composed of 0.56 gal tap water, 3.375 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow. Nutrient concentrations (in ppm): N 111, P 143, K 79, Ca 32, Mg 8, S 0.8, Fe 1.6, Mn 0.8, B 0.3, Zn 0.8, Cu 0.8, Mo 0.01, Ni 0.002, Co 0.024. pH = 6.0. No pH adjustment required.
Mar 10 = Day 26. About 2 cups of fluid has been used so far, so I added 2 cups of fresh hydroponic fluid to the container. I don’t want the fluid level to drop very much before installing in the 32-gallon bucket. The plant is getting tall and has trouble standing upright; this is OK, since the plant will be supported by a PVC structure once installed outside.
Mar 13 = Day 29. Plant installed outside in 32-gallon bucket. Hydroponic solution composed of 32 gal (121 L) tap water, 64 g MasterBlend 4-18-38, 64 g calcium nitrate, 32 g magnesium sulfate, 6.4 mL Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKt, 35.2 mL pH Down. Nutrient concentrations (in ppm): N 103, P 95, K 202, Ca 100, Mg 29, S 34, Fe 2.1, Mn 1.1, B 1.1, Zn 0.3, Cu 0.3, Mo 0.05, Si 4. pH = 6.0.
Apr 14 = Day 61. Plant is looking great, loaded with new flowers and cucumbers. The first cucumber of the season is already 6-inches long, with many more smaller ones growing as well.
Apr 26 = Day 73. Harvested 2 cucumbers.
May 4 = Day 81. The base of the plant seems to have developed some sort of fungal growth, and the stems of the plant are splitting. I have grown this Diva variety several times in the past, but this is the first time I have witnessed this. Hopefully this will not affect the cucumber production too much.
May 9-14 = Day 86-91. Harvested 9 cucumbers.
May 14 = Day 91. I had so many cucumbers that I decided to pickle them. Here is my recipe for the pickling solution: 6 cups water, 2 cups white vinegar, 4 tbsp salt (iodine-free). Heat the solution to fully dissolve the salt, then chill in the fridge. Cut the cucumbers into spears and put them into glass jars, along with garlic cloves and fresh dill. Pour the pickling solution into the jars, right to the top, and seal with lids. Store the jars in the fridge. Prepared this way, the pickles will be good for several months.
May 30 = Day 107. Harvested 2 cucumbers. The cucumber plant now has several insect infestations, including inchworms, spider mites, and leaf miners. The inchworms can be picked off by hand, but the mites and the leaf miners are harder to control. I could spray some sort of insecticide, but this cucumber plant is probably getting near the end of its productive life, so I will just let the insects remain and will hopefully get a few more cucumbers before the end.
Jun 2 = Day 110. Harvested 5 cucumbers.
Jun 4 = Day 112. Harvested 2 cucumbers. There are no more cucumbers developing, and the plant seemed to be in poor condition, so the plant was discarded at this time.
Final statistics: 21 cucumbers harvested. 12 gallons of fluid used. Final pH of fluid = 6.5.