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Some gardeners are still confused about the varieties and hybrids of cucumbers. To choose the optimal varieties for certain conditions, you need to be aware of their characteristics. So, cucumbers differ in the size and shape of the fruit, taste and color, the height of the bush and the presence of lateral shoots, yield and resistance to diseases or lower temperatures. All this is very important, but it is necessary to start choosing a suitable variety of cucumbers with the type of pollination.
Parthenocarpic and bee-pollinated: who is who
As you know, in order for a flower to turn into a fruit, it must be pollinated. For this, the pollen from the male flower is transferred to the female one. Only female pollinated inflorescences turn into cucumbers. Pollination is most often carried out by insects (bees, bumblebees and even flies), in addition, wind, rain or humans can help transfer pollen.
Cultivars and hybrids of cucumbers that require pollination for the formation of an ovary are called bee-pollinated (it does not matter who actually pollinates - a bee, the wind or a person). Bee-pollinated cucumbers should be planted where insects can enter - in open areas or in large ventilated greenhouses.
Without proper pollination, female flowers become barren flowers, and the excess of male inflorescences "draws" nutrients and moisture from the entire bush.
Important! The owner of the garden must monitor the balance of male and female flowers (their ideal ratio is 1:10), as well as the activity of the bees.
Parthenocarpic cucumbers are often confused with self-pollinated cucumbers, but this is not correct. In fact, parthenocarpic varieties do not need pollination at all. These hybrids have been bred specifically for indoor greenhouses and areas where bees do not fly. All flowers on the parthenocarpic bush are female, there are no male inflorescences at all. The female flower is considered to be initially pollinated (fertilized); it can produce a cucumber itself.
Such a structure of parthenocarpic varieties reduces the care of plants, the gardener does not have to monitor the balance of male and female inflorescences, attract bees to the site and worry about too cloudy weather in which the bees do not fly.
All parthenocarpic cucumbers are hybrids, moreover, the fruits of these varieties do not contain seeds, there are simply no seeds inside the cucumber. Therefore, in order to plant the same variety next year, you will have to re-acquire seeds, they cannot be collected with your own hands from your own harvest (which is quite possible for bee-pollinated cucumbers).
Who is for bee-pollinated varieties
It would seem that if everything is so good with parthenocarpic hybrids, why do we need bee-pollinated cucumbers at all, who continues to engage in their selection and cultivation. But there are some nuances here - these varieties have unique properties that are not inherent in non-pollinated hybrids. Among them:
- Unique taste. Almost any bee-pollinated variety is tasty both fresh and salted, pickled, and fermented. This is great for home growing where the owner will use the same cucumbers for different needs.
- High productivity. With sufficient pollination and proper care, bee-pollinated hybrid varieties give the highest yields.
- Environmental friendliness. The same bees will help to check the level of environmental friendliness of a particular variety - the insect will not pollinate bushes treated with dangerous pesticides.
- The presence of seeds. First, seeds are free seed for the next seasons. And, secondly, (most importantly), it is the seeds that contain the most useful vitamins and minerals that are so rich in cucumbers.
- Bee-pollinated varieties are the best breeding material. It is from these cucumbers that the best hybrids emerged.
Important! Bee-pollinated varieties are also great for film greenhouses. These greenhouses are temporary, when flowers appear on the bushes, the film will already be removed, nothing will prevent the bees from doing their work.
Today there are a lot of bee-pollinated cucumbers, their demand has hardly diminished after the appearance of parthenocarpic species.
"Actor" is a bee-pollinated hybrid that embodies the best qualities of this species. This cucumber has a high yield, which allows you to collect up to 12 kg per square meter of land.
The fruits of this variety are pimply, with large tubercles, they have excellent taste characteristics and have absolutely no bitterness (cucumbers are equally appetizing in a salad and in a jar). The size of the cucumber is average (up to 100 grams), the fruits ripen quickly - on the 40th day after planting.
Green branchy bushes are disease resistant and can grow both outdoors and indoors.
Hybrid "Hermes F1" is early maturing. This is one of the most productive varieties - over 5 kg of cucumbers are harvested from one meter. Small cucumbers have a regular cylindrical shape with small pimples. Cucumbers taste juicy and crunchy, suitable for universal use.
Inside the fruit there are no voids, yellow spots, all cucumbers are even - the variety is excellent for marketing. The cucumbers themselves are short - only 7-9 cm, they must be picked every day, otherwise the fruits will outgrow and deform. Bushes are medium-sized with green leaves. The Hermes F1 hybrid is planted only in the ground, this cucumber is not suitable for closed greenhouses.
Important! Male flowers not only do not bring "offspring", their excess can harm the lash, sucking out all the nutrients. Therefore, extra flowers with stamens must be torn off.
Features of parthenocarpic cucumbers
Parthenocarpic varieties are an easier way to get about the same yield. The bushes have only female inflorescences, they do not need bees, hybrids are distinguished by increased resistance to diseases and temperature jumps. Why parthenocarpic cucumbers are loved:
- Lightweight care.
- Versatility - you can plant cucumbers in the ground, in a closed greenhouse, and on a balcony.
- Less "capriciousness" of varieties in relation to the shade. Parthenocarpic cucumbers do not need to be thinned too much, they are less susceptible to disease and rot due to poor ventilation and low light.
- No need for bees.
- No need to plant male plant seeds. All seeds are only female, they are completely self-sufficient.
- Yield equated to bee-pollinated varieties, there are many hybrids, giving up to 20-21 kg per square meter.
- Good taste and no bitterness. Selection eliminates the substance that gives the cucumber a bitter taste. Parthenocarpic varieties can be eaten fresh and canned.
The versatility of parthenocarpic varieties puts them on a par with bee-pollinated ones. When cultivating this crop, do not forget that non-pollinated cucumbers do not have seeds. The owner will not be able to independently breed new varieties and save on seeds.
Mid-season parthenocarpic cucumber "Abbad" does not need bees, the plant does not need pollination. The yield of the variety is at a height of up to 11.5 kgm², and the taste characteristics of the fruits practically do not differ from bee-pollinated cucumbers, however, this hybrid is more suitable for salads than for pickling.
Cucumbers are long (up to 16 cm) and smooth, bright green in color and cylindrical in shape. When the soil warms up, they can be planted both indoors and outdoors. They are planted from March to July, and harvested until October.
The proof that parthenocarpic varieties are in no way inferior to bee-pollinated varieties can be the hybrid "Augustine". This is an early ripening cucumber that ripens in 36-38 days.
Cucumbers are large enough - up to 16 cm and 110 g, suitable for conservation and fresh consumption. Lumpy fruits have absolutely no bitterness. The variety is not afraid of diseases, even such as downy mildew. A high yield allows you to harvest 265-440 centners of cucumber per hectare of land. Planting a hybrid cucumber is allowed in both open and closed ground.
Which variety is better
It is impossible to say unequivocally which varieties of cucumbers are better; each owner must take into account the peculiarities of his plot, greenhouse, and pay attention to the soil. Well, the main criterion, of course, is the bees.
If cucumbers are supposed to be planted in open ground and there are hives nearby, then it is better to prefer a bee-pollinated variety. Parthenocarpic cucumbers are still more suitable for a greenhouse.