Cornichon Cucumber Crop

Course: Establish Horticultural Crops

This course, run by Ian Gaston, requires the establishment of a uniform crop of plants that are free of weed, pest or disease infestation; that are true to type; and are in an environment that will allow the continued rapid and uniform development of the plant and in particular the harvestable part of the plant. 

Issues to be considered include: site selection, soil preparation, choice of plant material, timing of planting, plant spacing and density, planting procedure, post-planting activities.

Nasturtiums and marigolds both attract pollinating insects and deter beetles, aphids, bugs and nemotodes, so I'm planning to use them as ally plants. 

I've decided to be as organic as I can. I'm not being a nazi about it so it won't be certifiably organic, but I would like to avoid pesticides and herbicides as much as I can, and I'll try to source organic materials for my soil media.

I've chosen to grow Cornichon Cucumbers ("Fin de Meaux"), which I aim to pickle once they're harvested--just in time for Christmas presents!

    Week One: 

    I sow cucumber seeds in 2x48 cell trays and house them in the Igloo at TAFE. There, they'll be regularly watered, but won't be overly cosseted. 

    Also, I sow my companion plants: nasturtiums (12) and marigolds (32) in a 48 cell tray in my greenhouse at home.

    Week Two: 

     I transfer my companion plants to the Igloo at TAFE. 

    We undertake soil tests for our plots.

    My results: 

    • pH: 6.1
    • Electrical Conductivity: 0.20
    • Texture: Clay loam  
    • Structure (aggregate stability): TBA 

    pH for cucumbers should be above 6.5, so I'll have to increase alkalinity. I can do this by using dolomite lime.

    My E.C. is low, indicating that I need more nutrients (measured as salts) in the medium.