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By Ginger

Indoor Winter Cucumbers 2011

Started my winter cukes - this year's first contenders are Tasty Jade (the Japanese cucumber Beth's been raving about), and Socrates:

tasty jade (johnny's selected seeds) socrates cucumber (johnny's selected seeds)

They both seem like good candidates for growing indoors. So far, they've just sprouted:

 

For an outrageously expensive seed (62 cents apiece ), the Socrates only sprouted 1 out of 2 planted. Edit:  eventually, the second Socrates seed sprouted.

They'll stay on the sunny windowsill, until big enough to transplant, probably. I've been having good luck with adding hydroton grow rocks to potted cucumbers. For seedling stage, modified that to 1/4 perlite to 3/4 Miracle Gro potting mix. Hopefully that'll keep them wet and dry enough...

Harvests:

socrates cucumbers: 53 (first 11/03, 7 weeks from seed!)
tasty jade cucumbers: 46 (first 11/19, 8.5 weeks from seed) 
super snappy peas: 12? pods (first 11/28, 9 weeks from seed)

terminated 9/23/2012 - just over a year productive lifespan

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Ginger
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Felt the cukes were getting kinda stretched, so gave them a light. And 2 days later, gave them another light and full-sized pots. They're young yet, but I decided to germinate some peas, you see... So they got final pots when the peas had roots starting to extend.

   

Really responded fast to the additional CFL lighting.

Prepared the pots pretty carefully - Miracle Gro potting mixed, with Vegetables Alive! plant food and hydroton grow rocks and perlite mixed in.

The peas got legume innoculant. They're supposedly edible-podded, but we didn't care for the pods. The peas were great, tho... I've had really dire luck getting peas to germinate. Seem to always plant them right before an unexpected blizzard or 10" of rain. This time, soaked the seeds in water until plump - about 8 hours. Then rinsed them ~5 times a day for 2 days - never let them get dry, but not soaking in water either. And their roots started articulating. Then planted them - outdoors and in. (Some of the outdoor ones were sugar snap peas.) In an average winter, the ones outdoors probably don't have time to produce. But, Connecticut's autumns tend to be balmy, and sometimes the winters are mild. They might yield. Probably won't.

Oh, the second Socrates cuke seed did germinate eventually, but like 5 days after the first. It got thinned.

Ginger
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Coming along nicely. Both cukes have little growth tufts now.  The super snappy peas are up, and look several days ahead of their cohort-mates outdoors. I need to remember this trick for pre-germinating peas. Normally, if I just plug them into the ground, even pre-soaked a little, they lay dormant for weeks outside, and then maybe a third sprout, eventually.

 

Beth11
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Hi Gisette, I hope you like the Jade cuc! I've started my first winter cuc in the AG. It will be going into a DWC pot with hydroton in a bucket. I'll get around to taking pix. Had to take a work trip to the UK (waved to Peat while in the air) and had friends visiting this weekend. Got the peppers planted in the hydro unit, too, they're doing good -but I will be busy this week, a good friend's Mom passed away (not unexpected but still sad. I lost my Mom in 2000 and Dad in 2004 so I can relate..) Beth

Ginger
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Looking forward to seeing your cukes when you have time, Beth! The jade cuke looks great so far. They're both outperforming outdoor-planted seeds.

I really wanted to try an autopot for the winter cuke this year, but money's tight, and I knew the pots would work. But I was thinking something like an autopot, or just a lot of growrocks with the nutrient solution, might work. The autopot isn't DWC, tho - more like ebb&flow. So I'm very interested to see how it works for you!

Ginger
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Cukes doing very well. Added a third light bulb. Also as per the seed packet instructions, pinched off side growth tufts and little forming cukes up to the 5th node on the Socrates cuke. (Some on the Tasty Jade as well, but those haven't really formed yet.) Not sure about this, since I don't plan to train the plants up. But, should at least result in a stronger plant before developing first fruit.

3.5 week tasty jade and socrates cukes, 2 week super snappy peas - pruned off lowest fruit buds a la packet instruction

My one concern with the cukes is yellow-edged leaves. Hopefully that's from over-watering, since I can't imagine they're nutrient deficient in anything at this stage of the game. Though... I haven't really been overwatering. But they're not drinking much yet.

The peas are doing well. For comparison, the outdoor peas (of the same variety) are half the size. Oddly, the sugar snap peas planted outside are the same size as these. Good pea growing weather... I'm still really pleased with the results of pre-germinating the peas. Just sticking them in the ground, some small percentage would just be emerging now - or a week or so from now...

2 week super snappy peas - much smaller outdoors than the ones with indoor cukes

Ginger
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Cukes happy. Added a fourth light bulb (reddish, aot the three 6500 lights), and training them sideways. Alas, the tasty jade shot up 6" overnight, the way cukes do, and kinda burnt its growth tip. Not pruning any more side shoots / cukes off of them - hopefully some will ripen now.

4.5 week tasty jade and socrates cucumbers, 3 week super snappy peas 4.5 weeks - socrates cucumber buds

And the comparison peas outdoors. Not sure how well the indoor peas will do with the cukes wrapping around them. The outdoor sugar snaps really took off this week - big pea plants for age 3 weeks! Used some Vegetables Alive! fertilizer on them last weekend.

3 week sugar snap peas - wow. 3 week super snappy peas

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Still no cukes plumping. Getting pretty crowded in the cuke enclosure, the peas have been swallowed.

5.5 week tasty jade and socrates cucumbers, 4 week super snappy peas 4 week sugar snap peas - climbing, but growth slowed with colder temperatures

Beth11
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Cucs looking good! Nice and healthy! Hope you get peas!

Ginger
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Beth - thanks for the comment, you inspired me. I rearranged the cuke furniture so the superstructure counter is between the pots (about same height as the pots), and the cuke plants spread out across that. And added another light. This way the cukes aren't coiled over the peas. More light volume, if not light density...

Getting to be quite a few little Socrates cukes on that vine, none convincingly plumping yet. The jet star is behind, but then, it grows bigger fruit. And I did burn off its growing tip - bit of a setback.

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Rearranged cukes for more light volume, and added a light. Still using the white board to reflect light back at them, just can't take a picture of them that way. May harvest first Socrates cukes by next week!

6.5 week tasty jade and socrates cukes, 5 week super snappy peas 6.5 weeks, biggest socrates cukes 6.5 weeks, biggest tasty jade cukes - not clear any are plumping yet 5 week super snappy peas not doing great, but they live

And the biggest of the outdoor peas - may yet live to fruit. Unlikely as it seemed they'd survive the weekend...

5 week sugar snap peas - may yet produce...