When it comes to growing cucumber, following a few essential tips could make all the difference between low yield, or an enormous harvest.
Good thing we all know what an enormous harvest means so let's get on to what you should be doing to achieve it.
Here are eight vital tips to help you achieve the best cucumber production;
Provide Consistent Moisture
With 95% of the crop consisting of water, cucumber needs enough water to thrive.
Watering should be before the sun comes up (early in the morning or evening). The base of the plants should be the targeted area. Watering on the leaves would result in severe fungal diseases such as powdery and downy mildew.
Don't let the soil dry it out. The minimum amount of water should be 1gallon per week or if it's possible, get a drip irrigation system.
Mulch around the base of the plant. It slows down soil moisture evaporation, and prevents soil compaction caused by heavy watering.
The more water it gets, the more productive the yield. It is also important to note that when the leaves begin to wilt or turn yellow, this suggests they are not getting enough water. Insufficient watering also results in bitter tasting cucumbers.
Grow In Full Sun
Cucumbers love the sun - they require a lot of sunlight to produce those massive harvests.
The crop relies heavily on photosynthesis which is a process entirely dependent on the availability of sunlight.
Cucumber plants that do not receive enough sunlight are more likely to have a poor fruit set and produce an overall low yield. Therefore, it is best to plant them in areas that receive at least 8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Aim For The Best Soils
Great soil equals an enormous yield. Cucumber thrives well in rich and appropriately drained soils. Enrich the soil with lots of organic matter before planting to conserve moisture and provide required nutrients. A soil pH of 6.8 or higher is suitable for growth.
The preferred method of planting cucumbers is by direct seeding. Alternatively, transplanting gives the plant a better chance of fighting pests and disease. After the soil warms up to about 60°c, push 2-3 cucumber seeds an inch into the soil.
If the soil is warm and moist, the cucumber seedlings will emerge. If not, the seeds will not germinate. Proper spacing should be carried out by about 18-36 inches apart as crowding cucumber increases the risks of certain diseases, for example, Powdery mildew.
Make Room for Pollination
Pollination is a process that leads to the production of fruits. This process is dependent on the transfer of pollen grains from flower to flower (male to the female).
Therefore, the more flowers your cucumber plant produces and the more they get pollinated, the larger your yield.
Be patient enough to sow more seeds every couple of weeks so you can have more flowers in your garden.
Pollination in cucumber can be carried out naturally by bees or manually by the farmer.
Growing your cucumber plant outdoors will help the bees find the flowers and pollinate them. In case planting is done indoors (greenhouse) or where there is low bee population, hand-pollinating would also suffice.
Hand pollinating is a delicate procedure that requires brushing the inside of the flower to transfer pollen grains with a thin-bristle paint brush.
Once this is attained, water the plants and watch as the newly born cucumber fruits begin to emerge.
You do not need to wait that long before harvesting cucumbers or else, the plant will shut down (suppressing the production of fresh flowers and fruits).
As the cucumbers grow to the appropriate size for the variety, harvest immediately. It notifies the plant to produce more.
When the harvest is overdue, the plants focus their energy on making existing fruits bigger - this results in woody, full of seeds and bitter-tasting fruits.
Harvesting should be done early in the morning before the sun hits to get the best flavour and texture.
Cucumbers will be ready for harvest in about 55 to 65 days from planting.
I hope you learnt something new? Now go out there and get that bumper harvest! If you have any tips that can be helpful to other readers please share them in the comment section.
Need help on how to go about the entire cucumber plant production? Visit our website on www.farmsby.com