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Introduction to cucumber farming
The cucumber plant is one of the most famous and widely cultivated vegetable plant. It belongs to a gourd family of “cucurbitaceae”, genus of “Cucumis”. This is basically a creeping vine that bears cylindrical shaped fruits that are used as vegetables. Cucumber is an important summer vegetable crop grown in the US, Nigeria and other parts of the world. Cucumber seeds can be used in oil extraction- this oil are used for most peoples daily cookings and can be eaten raw or with salt in salad.
Throughout the world, thre are three main varieties of the cucumber veggie cultivated. Out of these, other types of the cucumber family have emerged. Cucumber first originated in southern Asia before it cultivation spread to other parts of the world. This plant can be grown in hydroponic systems, greenhouse and polyhouse as well.
A recent research shows that cucumber are the 8th most grown veggie crops around the globe, followed by maize, cassava, watermelons, dry onions, sweet potatoe and sugar beet.
14 Health Benefits Of Cucumber And Facts
Below are some advantages derived when cucumber is consumed
- They are a good source of vitamin B
- Since cucumbers contain about 95 percent of water, you get rehydrated when you consume them.
- Cucumbers make your skin smoother and younger while boosting your hair growth.
- Cucumbers have been employed in recent years in battles against cancer.
- It helps in curing hangover
- Cucumbers help keep your breathe fresh while preventing bad breath.
- Cucumbers aid easy digestion and weight.
- Cucumbers reduce blood cholesterol and controls blood pressure in the human body.
- Cucumbers encourages healthy joint and relieves arthiris and gout pain.
- They help keep the heart healthy.
- It serves as antioxidants.
- A large part of cucumber flaour comes from it’s seed.
- Cucumbers contain C vitamin.
- Boost the hearts health.
Cucumber Farming Business Opportunities
1. Source of food:
Cucumbers are a good source of food to people and animals. It contains 96 percent water and depending on choice, can be eaten raw or in the form of pickle or salad.
Cucumbers are used at home or in cosmetic industries. Slices of cucumber can be placed all over the face to moisturize the facial skin while the individual lie on his back to relax. Beauty industries used it as an ingredient in shampoos, fragrances, soaps and lotion production.
Types Of Cucumber Varieties
There are many varieties in the local market. But if you plan to do commercial production of the consumer of the cucumber fruit, you should decide on the best high yielding and disease resistant seeds available. The three most popular commercial cucumber are: Japanese Long Green, poinsettee, straight eight. Others include: Sliang cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, burpless cucumbers etc.
Burpless Cucumber: Burpless cucumbers belong to the sweeter variety of cucumbers. Infact, they have a much thinner skin, easier to digest and have a pleasant taste when compared to other cucumber varieties. They can grow up to 2 feet(0.61m) in height, are almost seedless and possess a super delicate skin.
Pickling Cucumbers: These cucumbers are pickled for their longer shelf-life ability and flavour. Although most cucumber varient can be pickled commercial grown pickle cucumbers are specially grown for this task. They generally grow in uniformity of length-to-diameter ration, and that lacks voids in the flesh.
Slicing cucumbers:These variant of cucumbers are majorly grown to be eaten fresh. They usually mature on crawling vines with large leaves that provide shading and are mainly eaten in the unripe given for, since the ripe yellow form usually get sour and bitter.
Setting Up Your Cucumber Farming Business
Acquisition of a rich farmland is the first of many steps to starting a cassava farm. The most preffered soil type on this farmland should be sandy-loam and should be well drained as cucumbers will generally be planted in raised beds of around 6 inches high. The soil should contain a good amount of organic matter in it, especially manure, as these will give the plant it’s required nutrient.
The location of the land should be one that is well exposed to sunlight because these fruits require enough warmth to grow right. The land should be well turned enough to get rid of any weeds from previous crops. Doing 3 to 4 ploughing will get you the desired state of fine tilth soil and form long channels at 1.5m apart.
2.) Sowing the cucumbers
Cucumbers can be planted at summer and rainy season time and the planting time depends on the type of crop going to be grown. Summer crops are planted from January to Febuary and rainy season crops are sown from hune to july. The cucumbers can first be planted in biodegradable seed pots, to make sure the roots do not get damaged. After this, the pot can be taken outside to be planted. When it comes to planting methods, cucumber seeds can be planted 1.5 to 2.5 meters deep and a plant-to-plant spaing of 60cm to 90cm should be observed. Two to three seeds can be sown in each pit.
The cucumber fuit needs a moderate warm temperature of about 20c and 24c to grow at it’s best. It doesn’t do too well in cold conditions.
As the cucumber fruit grows, on the farm, make sure the vine can creep vertically or on the ground. To yield the best results, supporting the vine in a vertical way is preferred. Put together materials like bamboo sticks or wired poles at your disposal to make the vine grow vertically.
3.) Tending to the Crops
Most summer plants require frequent irrigations to maintain enough soil water content during its growth and development unlike during rainy season where crops do not require any form of irrigation. The main field should be irrigated before holes for sowing are made and a follow-up irrigation should be given once a week depending on the soil moisture.
In the case of water problem, drip irrigation system can be installed in a cucumber farm with main and sub-main types and place the inline lateral tubes at an interval of 1.5 metres . You should ensure to place, the drippers in lateral tubes at intervals of 60cm and 50cm spacing with 4 LPH and 3.5 LPH capabities respectively.
Cucumbers usually mature after 50 to 60 days after planting. By this time, you should check to see if the cucumbers have grown large enough to be harvested. They are best harvested while still green, because if allowed to turn yellow, the quality and flavour of the fruit decline, making it bitter, sour or even worse.
Challenges Of Cucumber Farming
Some challenges of cucumber farming in Africa and in the world include:
- Pest and diseases
- Inexperience in cucumber farming
- Financial limitation
- Lack of storage facilities
- Land tenure insecurity
- Poor and unstable investment in agricultural research
- Lack of necessary farm input
- Infrastructural delimitation
- Marketing delimitation
Feel free to watch this how to farm cucumber video for more
The high demand for cucumber globally, its relative short germination period, combined with proper farm manangement techniques makes cucumber farming a very lucrative agribusiness to venture into in Nigeria, Africa, US and other parts of the world.