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Cucumber Cultivation

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Cucumber

Introduction

The cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, one of the more important plant families.The cucumber most likely originated in India(south foot of the Himalayas), or possibly Burma, where the plant is extremely variable both vegetatively and in fruit characters. It has been in cultivation for at least 3000 years.

Climate

Cucumbers are very sensitive to cold temperatures. They can be easily injured by frost, and growth will be slow at temperatures below 50°F. Optimum soil temperatures for germination and growth are between 70 and 80°F, with air temperatures between 70 and 85°F.1 Seeds or transplants should be planted after soil temperatures are above 60°F and when air temperatures remain above 50°F.2

Soil 
Sandy loam rich in organic matter with good drainage and pH range from 6.5-7.5 are ideal for cucumber cultivation. This crop requires a moderate warm temperature.

Season
Sow the seeds during June or January to April

Seed rate
About 2.5 kg of seeds are required for a hectare.

Seed treatment
Treat the seeds with Trichoderma viride 4 g/kg or Pseudomonas fluorescens 10 g/kg or Carbendazim 2 g/kg of seeds before sowing.

Preparation of field 
Plough the field four times and form long channels at 1.5 m apart.

Sowing 
Sow the seeds on one side of channel giving a spacing of 0.6 m between hills. Thin the seedlings to two/hill at 15 days after planting.

Irrigation 
Irrigate the field before dibbling the seeds and thereafter once a week.

Application of fertilizers 
Apply FYM 40 t/ha as basal and 35 kg of N/ha at 30 days after sowing.Apply Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria 2 kg/ha and Pseudomonoas 2.5 kg/ha along with FYM 50 kg and neem cake @ 100 kg before last ploughing.

Drip irrigation
Install drip system with main and sub-main pipes and place the inline lateral tubes at an interval of 1.5m. Place the drippers in lateral tubes at an interval of 60 cm and 50 cm spacing with 4 LPH and 3.5 LPH capacities respectively.

Field preparation
Form raised beds of 120 cm width at an interval of 30 cm and the laterals are placed at the centre of each bed.

Sowing
Sow the seeds at an interval of 60 cm distance at the centre of the bed along the laterals. Sow the seeds in polybags @ one per bag for gap filling. Spray pre emergence weedicide like fluchloralin 1 kg a.i. or metalachlor 0.75 kg a.i./ha on third day of sowing.

Fertigation
Apply a dose of 150:75:75 kg NPK/ha throughout the cropping period through split application for F1 hybrid. In respect of phosphorous, 75% has to be applied as a basal dose.

PESTS/DISEASES

  • If your cucumber plants do not set fruit, it’s not usually a disease. There is probably a pollination issue. The first flowers were all male. Both female and male flowers must be blooming at the same time. This may not happen early in the plant’s life, so be patient. (Female flowers are the ones with a small cucumber-shaped swelling at the base that will become the fruit.)
  • Lack of fruit may also be due to poor pollination by bees, especially due to rain or cold temperatures, or insecticides. To rest assured, you could always hand pollinate. (Dip a Q-tip into the male pollen and transfer it to the center of the female flower.)
  • Remember, gynoecious hybrids require pollinator plants.
  • Squash bugs may attack seedlings.
  • Aphids are always a nuisance for any vegetable plant but easily managed.
  • Powdery mildew can be a problem if the leaves get wet (water at the soil level). Apply fungicides at the first sign of its presence.
  • Cucumber Beetles may attack the vines and can cause disease.

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES

  • Don’t let cucumbers get too large or the will taste bitter.
  • At peak harvesting time, you should be picking cucumbers every couple of days. They’ll grow quickly!
  • Harvest regular slicing cucumbers when they about 6 to 8 inches long (slicing varieties).
  • Harvest dills at 4 to 6 inches long and pickles at 2 inches long for pickles.
  • The large burpless cucumbers can be up to 10 inches long and some types are even larger.
  • Cucumbers are best picked before their seeds become hard and are eaten when immature. Do not let them get yellow. A cucumber is of highest quality when it is uniformly green, firm, and crisp. 
  • Any cucumbers left on the vine too long will also get tough skins and lower plant productivity.
  • How to pick? Using a knife or clippers, cut the stem above the fruit. Pulling the fruit may damage the vine. 
  • Keep them picked. If you don’t, as plants mature, they will stop producing.
  • Cucumbers are over 90 percent water. Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to retain moisture.
  • They will keep for a week to 10 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.
Yield
8 – 10 t/ha in 80 to 90 days for salad.

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