These 11 crucial tips on cucumber farming should come in handy even if you’re not a practicing cucumber farmer. For some people having the challenge of drinking the required eight glasses of water a day, try taking some cucumber fruits, it’s about 96% water. Cucumber is a vegetable, a crawling plant and it has so many health benefits than you can imagine. It’s easy and fast to grow but technical to manage. Before planting cucumber seeds, you have to settle the water requirement i.e you need a good water source.
These Are 11 Tips On Cucumber Farming For Your Bountiful Harvest;
- Land preparation
- Seed selection
- Farm operation
- Nutrient needed
- Pest control
- Weed management
- Farm management
1. Land Preparation
This is most important to any cultivation as the case maybe. When we prepare the land, we are giving room for our plant to have good establishment hence the yield we are expecting. Land preparation involves the following;
- Land clearing and packing. Clearing can either be by manure, chemical, mechanical or by Bush burning.
- Ploughing. By the use of tractor.
- Bed making. This can be done manually.
- Manure application. It can either be poultry waste, pig or cow dung.
Example of bed made manually.
. This was achieved using dimensions and twin to ensure it’s straight.
. Dimensions for bed making is 1m (bed) and 0.5m (furrow).
Using the above dimensions, you should have minimum of 13,300 stands @ 30cm planting spacing. After the bed has been made, you will top dressed with the manure (i.e the manure will be poured on the bed and spread using a rake). In some cases, the manure can be applied just at the planting holes and watered properly for some days before sowing the seeds into it. Once manure is applied, the beds will have to be watered properly for at least 2 days before sowing the seeds. Cucumber is 96% water thereby a good and reliable water is needed before you can cultivate cucumber (dry season) i.e the more water you supply the more and bigger fruit you will get.
2. Seed Selection
There are various kinds of seeds in the market but the type of seed selected will determine the yield you will get. Basically, we have OPV seeds and hybrid seeds. OPV seeds are the type of seeds that takes longer time to fruit. The yield also is low compare to hybrid seeds. It’s easily attacked by pest.
Examples – Poinset, marketer, marketmore etc. Hybrid seeds, are seeds that have been biologically prepared to fruit faster, yield more and built to have high resistance to diseases thereby having longer lifespans. Hybrid seeds fruit for a longer period of time (4 weeks minimum). Examples – Darina, Murano, Tokyo, Nagano, Greengo, Monalisa, CU 999, etc. For a good yield, hybrid seed is preferred, although it’s expensive but the yield is worth it.
Planting of cucumber is very sensitive. Some farmers just bury the seeds in the name of planting and that is why some people will plant cucumber and it will not germinate. They will say the seed is not good. Maximum depth for planting cucumber is 1cm but our measurement is the first cut on your finger i.e from your nail to the first cut on your finger is enough. Hybrid seeds have high viability hence one seed per planting hole. Planting is done at 30cm between plant.
Staking is a process whereby support is provided for creeping plant to enhance yield. We have different types of staking. Using staking net and bamboo with twin.
Example of staking using bamboo.
Image 2: Example of planting at 30cm spacing. Have 2 planting lines on a bed. The bed is 1m wide. Image 3: Examples of bed making with staking using binding wire and bamboo. Image 4: Cucumber field planted and staked.
5. Farm operations
After planting, there are some regular routine that will sustain the farm.
- Regular supply of water. The plant needs to be watered daily in the absence of rain.
- Weekly application of pesticide and fungicide.
- Weekly application of foliar fertilizer (liquid fertilizer).
This helps the plant to photosynthesis well and prevent flower abortion.
Cucumber is an heavy feeder of nutrient hence there is need to supply nutrients to the plant. You might ask, after applying poultry waste, is there need for more nutrients? YES. The poultry waste is applied at the early stage. It helps the the plant to grow but to sustain the growth and make the plant yield well, there is need to supply more fertilizer. These fertilizers can either be manually applied or fertigated (using a fertigator). Fertigator can be used only with drip irrigation system.
Fertilizers that are used are as follows;
– NPK 15:15:15 or 20:10:10
– Potassium nitrate
– Calcium nitrate.
7. Pest and Disease Control
Pests and diseases are major enemies of cucumber plant which have to be taken care of seriously. If pest invades a cucumber farm, they can wipe of the farm within 24 hours. Examples of pest are cucumber bettles, grasshoppers, thrips, whiteflies, among others. These can be controlled using pesticides and that is why it will have to be applied weekly to prevent pest invasion. Disease are sickness that kills the plant gradually (fungi effect) such as downy mildew. For cucumber farmers, it is advisable to use water based pesticides which dose not have residual effect on plant such as laraforce gold, tihan, confidor, kachi or karate. Fungicide such as cabrio duo, ridomil gold among others could be used.
8. Weed management
For good growth, pest and disease control, cucumber farm should be free from weed at all times
9. Farm management
A good and scheduled operational plan should be designed for monitoring the plant growth.
– Irrigation schedule.
– Weekly pest control schedule.
– Weekly fungi control schedule.
– Regular growth performance check.
Harvest period is always a jubilation period but we sometimes kills the plant at this stage. Its advisable to always harvest with a sharp object which in most cases scissors. When you harvest the plant with your hand you damage the stem and you have prevented next harvest from coming and the plant starts dying.
This has been a major challenge to some cucumber farmers. The truth is that there is no product that does not have market but you have to locate the right market for it. There is something called MARKET SURVEY and most of us fail to do it. Market survey get you your own market even before you start farming. Many people are not aware that most buyers prefer dark green cucumbers to light green ones. The dark ones sell faster and at better prices in Lagos Nigeria.
Cucumber is easy and fast to grow but technical to manage. You need to have a good water source before planting cucumber. It could be frustrating to harvest your produce and you can’t sell them off at the right and make profit. So, the need to find the market before starting out. Go for hybrid types because the fruits are dark green in colour and many people prefer that to light green cucumber fruits in Nigeria. You can think of processing/adding value to your cucumbers after harvest to make more money.
NOTE: You can get affordable and quality cucumber seeds at farmsquare.ng.