Cucumber is a fast growing,
short-seasoned vegetable that belongs to gourd family (Curcurbitaceae). The
gourd family members include Watermelon, Melon, Squash, Pumpkin, etc. Cucumber
matures in 40 – 50 days. Cucumber has different sex expressions that could
affect pollination, eventual fruit formation and yield. Cucumber may be Monoecious, Dioecious, Gynoecious, Androecious, Hermaphroditic, Andromonoecious
or Parthenocarpic. However, a gynoecious cucumber produces more fruits and
mature earlier while parthenocarpic cucumber can be suitable for greenhouse
production. A lot of breeding efforts have been put into cucumber by Asians and
other continents/countries. Cucumber production is a very lucrative agribusiness
that can return millions in short time. A bag (25kg sack) of cucumber costs
N3,000 and it may be lesser or more
depending on the season. The bag will contain between 50 – 60 cucumbers pieces depending
on the size. It is possible to get 1,000 - 2,000 bags of cucumber from 1
hectare depending on variety and management practice adopted, this implies that
a sum of N3,000,000 – N6,000,000 can be realized from one
hectare in one production cycle.
The following considerations are
necessary to get a good yield from cucumber production;
Market: Market analysis should come first
before any production commences. It is important to understand the market
dynamics in your region. Know the place and price to sell your product, know
your potential customers and middlemen involved. It is important to know how
market agents operate in the market where you want to sell your cucumbers. e.g.
To sell your cucumbers at Mile 12, you will have to pay 10% of your cucumber
sale to market agent.
requires a well drained but loamy soil. Cucumber cannot tolerate a water logged
condition hence; it thrives at a pH of 5.5 – 7.2 with a temperature of 20oC
– 30oC. The soil can be ploughed, after ploughing the bed should be
made to a height of 20cm – 30cm, 100cm wide and 50cm - 100cm between beds. Cucumber
is planted at a spacing of 40cm – 50cm. It can be planted in an open field or
greenhouse, in the soil or seed tray. When planted in the seed tray, you
transplant when the first true leaves appear at 6 – 10 days.
Variety: Variety selection is crucial to
cucumber production. It is necessary to determine varieties that are acceptable
and can thrive well in your region. Maturity, sex expression culture, colour,
length and tolerance to diseases vary with varieties. Various seed companies
have successfully bred high yielding cucumber varieties. Some of these seed
companies include; Chia Thai Co. Ltd, Technisem, Premier Seeds, East West
Seeds, Yuksel Tohum Seeds, etc. Some of
these cucumber varieties include Cu999, Amata 765, Murano, Nagano, Market more
Supply: Cucumber needs
adequate water supply in form of precipitation (rain) or irrigation. When there
is rainfall deficit, you need to support with irrigation to meet water
requirement. Different types of irrigation can be used for cucumber but drip
irrigation performs best. Drip irrigation ensures continuous supply of water at
the right time and quantity during wet or dry season. Cucumbers are most
sensitive to moisture stress during flowering and fruiting hence water deficit at
this period will negatively affect yield and fruit quality. Drip lines are laid
after bed preparation.
responds well to cured manure/compost and chemical fertilizers application. The
amount and mode of application will depend on soil test and requirement. Inadequate
fertilizer supply may result in bitterness in cucumbers and low yield
does very well when planted in compost, just open the soil, pour compost and
plant the seed, you will get best yield, supplement this with organic
fertilizers like Super Gro, DL Grow, Boost Extra etc. before fruiting” said Kalusam, a
crop farmer expert.
In another reaction by Kolawole Rauf, an
agronomist at Dizengoff Nigeria,
“You will need a balanced fertilizer NPK
15.15.15 or NPK 20.20.20 as basal application at planting between 30 – 50g per
planting hole. Potassium based fertilizer with minimum 46% Potassium (K) at
flower initiation, and calcium based fertilizer at the same time. The rate and frequency
of application depends on the fertilizer type available”.
Control: Weed can be
counter-productive if not properly managed in cucumber farm. Hand weeding
herbicide can be used to control weeds. These two methods have their benefits
and limitations; however weed can be effectively controlled without the use of
herbicide by making use of Mulching films to cover beds and using agricultural
waste like rice straw to cover the furrow. Where there is no waste, herbicide
can be used to control the furrow weeds. Herbicide could be injurious if
allowed to touch cucumber plant. The use of mulching film has drastically
reduced the cost of weeding.
and Pests control:
You don’t wait for diseases and pests to occur before you start applying
necessary treatments. Prevention is better than cure. Fungicide and Insecticide
are needed to be sprayed on cucumber at programmed intervals. Nematicide can
also be applied during planting where there are Nematode infestations.
and Pruning: Staking and
pruning are very important in cucumber production and benefits are numerous.
Staking provides support for growing cucumbers and prevents the fruits from
touching the ground where which it can be attacked by pests and diseases. Pruning
also prevents the fruits from touching the ground and promotes bigger fruits.
Pruning is usually done at early stage before fruiting.
Cucumber has been found useful in many ways;
it is not only good for fresh consumption or salad preparation but can be used
in skin/hair care production, facial treatment and as a detox. Cucumber
has ability to reduce cholesterol, fight cancer, cure diabetes, control blood
pressure and promotes digestion.
Lets receive your comment/inquiry/contribution below!!!