Table of contents:
- Reproduction of Pepino
- Soil preparation and planting seedlings
- Protection from pests and diseases
- Preparation of mother plants
- Preservation of mother plants
Video: Pepino: Features Of Cultivation And Reproduction
Long-term communication with pepino made it possible to learn (although not completely) its biological characteristics, cultivation technology. But the main thing is that a perennial shrub semi-lignified plant, an inhabitant of the southern area, was able to adapt to our conditions and cultivate it as an annual plant in the open field, receiving a harvest of wonderful fruits.
The agricultural technology of a new culture for us is similar to the agricultural technology of tomato, with the exception, perhaps, of preserving mother plants in the winter.
Reproduction of Pepino
Pepino can be propagated by seeds and cuttings. Seeds from the grown fruits have high sowing qualities - germination and germination energy. We sow seeds in late January-early February in a light and loose soil mixture. They are small, so we do not embed them in the soil, but only lightly sprinkle them.
To retain moisture, cover the vegetation with foil or glass. The optimum temperature for seed germination is 26-28 ° C. Seedlings appear in 5-7 days. In the phase of two or three true leaves, the seedlings dive into pots and cups, deepening them to the cotyledons. For the prevention of black leg disease, we use steamed soil mixture or pre-spill it in planting containers with a solution of potassium permanganate. Cover the dived seedlings with a film (over the arches) to maintain air humidity and better survival of the seedlings. In the first month, they grow very slowly and by the time they are planted in open ground they reach 8-10 cm in height, forming 7-8 leaves.
We have now made it easy to grow seedlings. After checking the germination of the seeds, we sow 2-3 pieces at once. in cups. In them, plants develop (without picking) before planting in open ground. Additional lighting helps to accelerate the development of seedlings. Time is saved and the root system of plants is not injured once again.
To grow pepino from seeds in protected and open ground, you should know that even under favorable conditions, not all pepino varieties produce full-fledged seeds. Due to the splitting of varietal traits, seedlings not only bloom late, but also form heterogeneous fruits, which leads to a loss of the purity of the variety.
The safest way to propagate and grow pepino is by rooted cuttings. Separating cuttings from overwintered plants should be started in mid-February. To do this, cut off the top of the shoot with 7 leaves. Remove the bottom 2 leaves, and shorten the next 2-3 by half to reduce moisture evaporation. With a lack of mother plants, the lower part of the shoot with 4-5 internodes can also be used as planting material, also removing and shortening the leaves.
It is best to root the cuttings in a standard cuttings, if not, in a shallow container. Cuttings should not be placed tightly in the container. There should be enough water so that the lower leaves of the cuttings do not sink into it.
Pepino cuttings root almost 100% without any stimulants. At normal room temperature (20-24 ° C) after 5-7 days on the cuttings, roots grow massively with a length of 1.5-2.0 cm or more. This is the best time for planting rooted cuttings in seedling pots or plastic disposable cups. In the bottom of the cups, you need to make several small holes to drain excess water when watering. The soil in the seedling container should be as loose as possible, since pepino roots are sensitive to a lack of air in the substrate.
Cuttings can be planted in seedling containers without rooting in water. In this case, they need to pay more attention. Cuttings should be kept in moist soil and high humidity. Such cuttings take root within two weeks. It should be remembered that containers with rooted cuttings, planted with rooted cuttings should be under the film to maintain the necessary high humidity during this period.
Soil preparation and planting seedlings
Pepino prefers light, fertile soils with neutral acidity. The best predecessors are crops harvested early: cucumber, onion, garlic, beans. After harvesting the predecessor, we loosen the soil, clear it of weeds, and, if possible, dig it up before the onset of cold weather.
In the spring, when the soil is ripe, we loosen it to retain moisture before planting. Before planting seedlings in the place of future rows (the distance between them is 70 cm), we prepare shallow trenches for a double width of the shovel and add organic fertilizers to them: after the fertilized predecessor - well-decomposed manure or compost - 3-4 kg / m2, after the unfertilized - 6- 7 kg / m2 and ash.
We plant seedlings in open ground in early May, when the threat of return frosts has passed. We orient the rows from north to south, place the seedlings in a checkerboard pattern, deepening them 2-3 cm lower than they grew in the container. We plant the seedlings in moist soil in the afternoon or evening. The distance between plants in a row is 40-50 cm. After planting, water and mulch the plants with dry soil. At the same time, moisture evaporation is reduced and conditions for seedling survival are improved. Watering is repeated in 2-3 days depending on weather conditions.
In recent years, we have been planting seedlings at the same time as tomatoes - in mid-April. This allows you to get ripe fruits 2-3 weeks earlier, as well as extend the growing season and thereby increase the productivity of plants. To protect the pepino from possible frost, we install a simple structure of wooden bars or reinforcing wire over the rows of planted plants and cover it with foil or spunbond. Place drip irrigation tape under the film along the row of plants. In such conditions, the plants take root well and start growing. When the temperature rises on sunny days (hours), we raise one of the sides of the shelter so that the plants are ventilated and tempered.
We open the pepino when the weather is stable (usually May 5-10). By this time, the plants have time to take root well, get stronger, they begin to grow intensively. Now is the time to install the trellises. Along each row, with an interval of 2-3 m, we hammer into the soil rather strong supports (thick metal fittings, pipes, etc.) with a height of 70-80 cm.We pull on them in three rows (after 18-20 cm) a single-core wire that does not sag under the weight of the fruit.
2-3 weeks after planting, we begin to form and tie up the plants. Usually we leave 2-3 well-developed shoots, the rest are removed without regret. We tie the left shoots to the lower trellis (lower row of wire): the central stem is vertical, the lateral ones - with a slight deviation to the sides.
An obligatory reception when growing pepino-pinching. The plant bushes very strongly and forms many stepchildren. We remove stepchildren when they reach 3-5 cm in length, leaving small stumps (0.5-1.0 cm) on the stem, which prevent the appearance of new stepchildren in the axils of the same leaves. Plants need to be pinned regularly - every week.
As we grow, we tie the stems to the trellis located above. An untied plant without pinching, under the weight of its mass, droops and lies on the soil, the stems take root and practically do not bear fruit.
Grasshopping and tying to the trellis allow plants to rationally use the radiant energy of the sun. The fruits are not tied to the trellis, long and strong flower stalks allow you to simply hang them on the trellis.
During the growing season, inversion is often expressed in plants - unremoved stepchildren overtake the apical shoot in growth and grow 1-2 knots before the next inflorescence. By leaving them one by one on the stem, you can form an additional stem that prolongs the fruiting of the plant.
Further care of plants is usual: loosening the soil in rows and aisles, removing weeds, regular watering, feeding, destroying pests and pathogens. We carry out the first feeding after the seedlings take root. We use infusion of mullein (1:10) or bird droppings (1:20). The second time we feed the plants during the formation of fruits with the indicated infusions or infusion of green fertilizer (1:20). After feeding the plant, water it. The solution that gets on the leaves is immediately washed off with water.
We do not use mineral fertilizers. If necessary, you can use mineral fertilizing (10 g of ammonium nitrate, 15 g of superphosphate and potassium sulfate per 10 liters of water) during the flowering period and at the beginning of abundant fruiting.
Protection from pests and diseases
The complex of pests and diseases with extremely limited cultivation of pepino has not yet formed. Only a few species of harmful organisms have found a new fodder plant, causing harm to it. Among them are the Colorado potato beetle, spider mites, aphids (melon, green peach), whitefly.
Pepino and diseases are also affected: the seedlings are "mowed" by the black leg, when the soil is waterlogged, root bacterial rot develops, in the second half of the growing season, if conditions are favorable for the development of the pathogen, phytophthora may appear.
Plants are susceptible to nightshade viruses. There have been isolated cases of infection with the leaf bronzing virus - the affected leaves with a bronze tint turn black and curl. The plant is noticeably stunted in growth and does not form normally developed fruits. To prevent the contamination of other plants by sucking pests (aphids, leafhoppers), such a bush should be removed.
There are no registered preparations for the destruction of pests when growing pepino in Ukraine. If necessary, you can use insecticides and fungicides recommended for protection against pests and diseases of tomato, eggplant, belonging to the same biological group as pepino (Solanaceae family). Experts note the increased sensitivity of pepino to some drugs and consumption rates that are acceptable for other vegetable nightshade crops. Therefore, it is advisable to first treat one plant stem with a preparation with the recommended consumption rate to make sure that the working solution is not toxic.
Pepino has to be protected from pests not only in the open field in summer, but also mother plants overwintering indoors. It is possible to limit the development of spider mites, whiteflies, aphids on plants in winter by treating them with insecticides when preparing and transplanting mother plants for overwintering. Use the recommended preparations for the destruction of these pests on tomatoes and eggplants. If the drugs are compatible, the treatment can be carried out with a mixture of insecticide (to destroy aphids and whiteflies) and acaricide (to destroy spider mites). But this must be done before transferring the plants to the dwelling, so that unpleasant and harmful fumes of drugs from plants and soil are eliminated.
In winter, if it becomes necessary to treat pests, it is best to use decoctions or infusions of phytoncidal plants (marigolds, tobacco, makhorka, yarrow, onion husks, garlic), which must be prepared in summer. It is necessary to spray the plants with infusions and broths in 5-7 days.
If there are no phytoncidal plants, but there is a need to get rid of pests, the treatment is carried out with actellik, 500 EK, c.e. (2 ml per 1 liter of water) or confidor, c. R. because (2-2.5 ml per 1 liter of water) in a separate room, observing all safety measures. After drying, the plants are brought into the living room.
Preparation of mother plants
Fruits are still ripening on plants, and you should already take care of growing mother material for the next season. We begin to grow mothers from stepchildren of plants in mid-August so that by the end of the growing season they have a well-developed root system.
Plants can be prepared for overwintering in different ways:
- Grow young plants from stepchildren rooted in June-July. Shorten the main stems, leaving only a few lower stepsons. The root system of plants has already been formed, it is not depleted by fruiting. With proper care, plants can safely tolerate winter.
Grow plants from stepchildren in the second half of August. Stepchildren, grown in September, do not have time to form into a strengthened plant with an early cold snap in autumn.
It is better to plant stepchildren to mother plants, where they will be protected from sultry rays and provided with moisture.
- Grow plants from the stepsons of a rooted shoot. To do this, you need to leave one shoot of the lower tier on the bush, give it the opportunity to grow, and then tilt it and pin it to the soil. When in contact with moist soil, more than a dozen stepchildren grow on the shoot and they are already with the root system. It remains to cut the stem and plant the finished plants.
Before planting, cut 1 - 2 lower leaves and plant the plant in a container slightly deeper than the removed leaves, so that additional roots form. On the aerial part of the stepson, leave 5-7 leaves, from the sheaths of which new shoots will grow, forming a compact plant.
Preservation of mother plants
Plants prepared for overwintering are dug out with a lump of earth at the end of September when the temperature at night drops to 14-15 ° C without injuring the root system. We place it in a container corresponding to the volume of the dug out coma. Pour expanded clay for drainage and a layer of prepared soil mixture at the bottom of the container. We make drainage holes in the bottom of the container for irrigation water drainage.
We leave the transplanted plants outside for several days so that they take root better. Growth processes in pepino are suspended at a temperature of 12-13 ° C. Therefore, we bring the plants into the room on time. We place them on the sills of south-facing windows and take care of them like ordinary houseplants.
Plants exposed to the north can shed their leaves during frosty periods when the room temperature drops below 10-12 ° C (taking into account the proximity of the leaves to the window frame). When the temperature rises, leaves grow back on the shoots after 2-3 weeks, stepchildren grow from their sinuses, and by early April they can already be rooted for reproduction. Plants respond with gratitude to the backlight, noticeably increase in growth, the leaves acquire a more intense color. If desired, overwintered plants can continue to be grown indoors (balcony, loggia), transplanted into a large container.
When mother plants are harvested in larger quantities than can be placed in living quarters, the plant itself helps to solve the storage issue, its biological feature is the tendency to a dormant period inherent in woody crops and shrubs.
Mother plants can be stored in both lighted and dark rooms. Preparation for such storage of plants is as follows: watering and nutrition of plants is gradually reduced to a minimum, the temperature is gradually reduced to 5-6 ° C for 3-4 weeks. The metabolic and growth processes slow down, the plant sheds its leaves.
To prevent the development of fungal diseases, air humidity should be low, ventilation is good, and watering should be at such a level that the roots do not dry out. Under such conditions, the rest period lasts up to 1.5-2 months (December-January).
With the onset of favorable light conditions, we transfer the plants to a bright room, water them with warm water, feed them and grow them until mid-April, when the time comes for the rooting of the grown shoots and stepsons.