Originally from Southeast Asia, the gherkin is a very tasty vegetable in Germany, where it is common to eat it canned and combined with vinegar and spices to achieve that typical bittersweet flavor. To know how to grow pickles, you have to know the characteristics of this crop and some of the environmental conditions that are needed for it to grow with good development.
Therefore, in this article we are going to explain all the characteristics and how to grow pickles.
This plant is commonly confused with the cucumber plant. The main difference between cucumber and gherkin is when the fruit is harvested. If the pickle is left to grow longer, we will have a cucumber. If you want to know how to grow pickles, you should know that the fruits have to be collected daily. From one day to the next they can grow too big and it won’t do. You have to wait until they grow just enough.
If you want to grow pickles non-commercially, just have any variety of cucumber plant. This makes the plant present some characteristics and common needs with it. The most important characteristic of this plant is that it has large leaves, tendrils to support itself and to be able to prepare and both male and female flowers . It has a deeper main root and the rest of secondary roots that extend in the first 40 centimeters of the ground.
It is a plant that needs many nutrients, so the soil where we sow it must be fertile and fertilize it enough, both before and after cultivation.
When are pickle seeds planted?
If you want to grow gherkin at home, you will need soil rich in compost and with very good drainage, as this plant does not support stagnation in the roots. On the other hand, it needs the sun to grow so it must be exposed at least 6 hours a day.
You can grow them directly on the ground or in storage or in pots. You can make a hole of 30 cm and then fill it with a mixture of soil and compost in equal parts and place two seeds for today taking care to sow them on the edge and leaving one of the tips protruding. Follow the same process if you plant in a pot and in all cases avoid compacting the soil too much because the pickles like the soil somewhat loose.
The best time to sow is spring and remember to keep a distance between plant and plant of 120 cm. and 150 cm between line and planting line. Regarding irrigation, it is a plant that needs a lot of humidity in all its stages of development, so it is recommended to carry out regular watering, taking care to avoid puddles.
When the plant has seven true leaves, it is best to point out its vegetative, that is, the upper tip of the plant, so that it then spreads.
Good news is to know that the pickle is a fast growing crop that can be harvested from week 8 . They must be collected as soon as they are ripe, preventing them from aging on the plant.
As it is a climbing plant , it is best to place a fence or trellis to help its growth. On the other hand, take care that the fruits do not touch the ground by placing a plastic or glass and remember that when the earth is wet the fruits are juicier.
Tips for planting the pickle
- In order for this voracious plant to absorb the maximum possible nutrients, the soil must always be loose . It is important that it does not become caked so that the plant can develop optimally.
- When the fruits begin to appear and develop, it is advisable to prevent them from coming into contact with the ground . To avoid this, you can put a plastic between the fruits and the ground. If the fruit comes into contact with the ground continuously, it will degrade its quality.
- Because it is a climbing plant, a tutor is needed to be able to hold its branches as they develop. You can use homemade grates made from rope, plastic, or wood.
- One of the fundamental aspects for the correct growth of the gherkin is to keep the soil always moist . This means that rain or irrigation water does not accumulate. To avoid this, it is necessary that the soil has good drainage. Soil drainage will take care of not allowing water to accumulate, drowning the roots. Keeping the humidity high will allow you to get juicier pickles.
- If you want to give the plant greater strength and that its branching can be extended, it is necessary to point out its vegetative tips . The time when it is necessary to perform this maintenance task is when the pickle has 7 true leaves.
Other advice that we give so that they can develop in good conditions is to protect them from excessive heat. If the summer is too hot in the climate where you live, they will cause the flowers to come out in greater numbers of a male type than a female type. This will cause problems in pickle production. It is best to place them in areas where there is some shade during the hottest hours. You can also use an umbrella or cover it with a white sheet that can reflect light for a couple of hours a day.
You can also use padding to keep humidity levels high. With this padding we will reduce the evaporation of water, reducing the need for irrigation and keeping humidity high. We will also avoid overheating the pickle.
How to know if the cucumber can already be eaten?
It is one of the most common questions among hobbyists planting pickles for the first time. The pickle’s main indicator is texture. The pickle should be firm and crisp . Keep in mind that it is mostly water and, as they age, they become soft and smooth. You have to collect them pickle is when they are still young.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about how to grow pickles.