Fertilizers for cucumber seedlings: first, after emergence and before planting in the ground

Cucumber is a favorite vegetable for many. It is impossible to imagine summer without fresh cucumber salad or autumn without pickled cucumber with potatoes. Therefore, in our country, the crop is grown everywhere – in protected ground, greenhouses, and on home windowsills. However, not all regions are lucky with heat and moisture. Using seedlings will help. She needs quality nutrition. We’ll tell you how to feed cucumber seedlings. 

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Thanks to the seedling method, you can get full-fledged fruits in almost any region. The culture is quite unpretentious, although it will take some work. Even if all recommendations are followed, there is a possibility that seedlings will lag in growth and development. The reason at the initial stage of cultivation may be the use of insufficiently nutritious soil, which does not give the seedlings energy and strength. They require additional nutrition.

The plant will signal to you about its “well-being”. The following signs indicate nutritional deficiency:

  • The growth of leaves and stems slows down to a complete stop.
  • The bright green color of the leaves becomes noticeably paler or has a bluish tint and a yellowish border or spots appear.
  • The edges of the leaves curl upward.
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Methods of fertilizing cucumber seedlings

There are two ways to fertilize when cucumbers are sown for seedlings:

  1. Foliar. Fertilizer is applied by spraying the above-ground mass with liquid mixtures from a spray bottle or a small garden sprayer. It is carried out in the early morning or late evening, while the sun is not too hot (there is no risk of burns). Foliar feeding is most effective during periods of cold weather and cloudy weather when the root system is inactive and incapable of absorbing nutrients.
  2. Root. Applying liquid fertilizers to the soil near the stem provides quick access to nutrition in the root system. And subsequently to the plant. Carry out at sunset or on a cloudy day to avoid accelerated evaporation of the nutrient fluid. Such fertilizing should be preceded by abundant watering of the soil. Do not pour fertilizer over the leaves, so as not to harm young plants. If this happens, immediately pour clean water on top.
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The application of fertilizing is regulated according to the timing of seedling development.

On a note

Weakened plants are fed more often – approximately every two weeks, starting from emergence. However, if the dosage is calculated incorrectly, there is a high probability of an excess of nutrients. It leads to the death of seedlings, especially weakened ones. Therefore, you need to approach the process carefully.

When and how to feed cucumber seedlings at home

Even in the presence of well-fertilized soil, young cucumbers need to be fed before being planted in a permanent place. There should be no more than three feedings.

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First feeding of cucumber seedlings

Cucumber seedlings are fed for the first time when the first true leaf appears. Previously, there is no point: until this time, the seedling grows due to the energy reserves in the seed, its root system is not yet ready for full absorption. The first feeding should contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium. It is carried out with minimal (half the recommended) doses of fertilizers. Additional nutrition will contribute to the formation of a powerful root system and strong stem.

Fertilizer Proportions and application
Organo-mineral fertilizer Add 30 g of superphosphate to 10 liters of mullein solution (1:10). Apply carefully after heavy watering. Water with liquid fertilizers is strictly at the root, except when spraying with microelements or growth regulators (Epin).
Complex fertilizers: Kemira, Kemira Lux, Fertika, Effecton, azofoska, nitrophoska, potassium humate, sodium humate. Add 1 tbsp to a bucket of water. spoon of the mixture and water, spending 2 liters per 1 square meter.
Aqueous urea solution
  • 1 teaspoon per 3 liters of water. Water 50–100 ml under the root.
  • Add 5 tbsp to 10 liters of water. spoons of urea. The solution is ready for foliar spraying. Used before flowering.
Superphosphate Dissolve 15 g of superphosphate in 10 liters of water, and add 7 and 8 g of ammonium nitrate and potassium sulfate, respectively. To enhance the effect, you can add a little solution of mullein or fermented chicken manure.

Feeding cucumber seedlings after germination

The second feeding is carried out as necessary during the formation of the second true leaf. Use doubled (up to recommended) doses of mineral fertilizers. Examples:

  • Dissolve 15 g of superphosphate, 7 g of potassium sulfate, and 2 g of magnesium sulfate in 5 liters of water.
  • You can replace the previous solution with Kristallin or Kristallon (no more than 50 g per 10 liters of water).
  • Dissolve a teaspoon of nitrophoska and a tablespoon of wood ash in 3 liters of water. Apply about 100 ml per plant.
  • Water-soluble complex fertilizers for seedlings: Kemira, Kemira Lux, Fertika, Effecton, azofoska, nitrophoska. The application rate is 3 liters per 1 square meter.


Cucumber does not tolerate chlorine. Therefore, do not use potassium chloride, replace it with potassium sulfate.

It is useful to combine the second and subsequent fertilizing of cucumber seedlings with the foliar application of micro fertilizers.

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Third feeding of cucumber seedlings

Carry out 1–2 days before planting in the ground. You can use any of the compositions presented above. Another option: add 15 g of urea, 40 g of superphosphate, and 10 g of potassium sulfate to 10 liters of water. About 5 liters of solution per square meter will be required. For foliar feeding, it is recommended to dilute 12 g of urea in a bucket of water and spray it on the leaves. If the seedlings are completely weakened, you can apply fertilizer every 10–14 days.

Preparations of various origins are used as fertilizers.

Organic fertilizers (natural)

These are well-known water infusions of decomposed manure in a ratio of 1:10 to water; rotted compost, mullein (1:8–10), bird droppings, diluted 10–15 times.

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You can’t overdo it, especially with mullein, which causes the development of fungal diseases if there is an excess. Feeding with fresh manure leads to burns of the root system.

Mineral fertilizers

Contains a complete mineral complex of useful elements. You can buy them at any specialized store. They are inexpensive and easy to use at any time of seedling growth. The main thing is to follow the recommendations given in the attached instructions. Every gardener has such fertilizers in stock.

Feeding cucumber seedlings with folk remedies

It is popular to feed cucumber seedlings with yeast, ash, and onion peels. They need to be diluted in plenty of water.

  1. There are recommendations for using honey supplements or infused gruel from pureed grass: infuse in water and use diluted in a ratio of 1:5.
  2. Yeast infusion promotes excellent rooting of seedlings during picking and transplanting and stimulates their further development.
  3. Feeding cucumber seedlings with iodine has proven successful. You need to make a solution: 5–10 drops of the drug are added to 10 liters of warm water.
  4. A good effect is achieved by using ash infusion: dilute a glass of ash in 3 liters of hot water and leave for 24 hours.
  5. Soak the loaf in 15 liters of water overnight. In the morning, grind everything, and add 7 drops of iodine. After filtering the prepared solution, foliar feeding can be carried out.
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Fertilizer application rates for feeding cucumber seedlings

To help with calculations and convenience, I will give approximate rates of the most common fertilizers for seedlings. 

Fertilizer Tablespoon (g) Teaspoon (g) Matchbox Bucket (10 l)
Ammonium nitrate 17  5 20
Superphosphate 17 6 24
Potassium sulfate 13 4 17
Bird droppings 5
Fresh manure 8
Fresh mullein 9
Humus 8
Wood ash 5
Sod land 12

Fertilizing is necessary not only for the normal development of cucumber seedlings but also for the accumulation of a sufficient amount of useful microelements. Without them, it is impossible to get a decent harvest.

What do you feed your cucumbers with? Share your reviews and recommendations with other gardeners in the comments.

Lucija The Traveler

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