Cucumber production 201 – Develop Grower

Fig. 1. Aphid infestations in cucumber crops, as viewed listed here, can be problematic for many motives, which includes producing fruits to criminal or curl.

Photographs courtesy of Christopher J. Currey

Cucumbers are an significantly well-known fruiting vine crop to increase hydroponically in greenhouses. The fruit good quality of greenhouse cucumbers is quite distinct from their area-developed counterparts due to their skinny skin, seedless flesh and delicate flavors. With a shorter crop time than tomato or pepper, maximizing efficiency and high-quality — and averting difficulties throughout output — is critical. While we included the fundamentals of developing cucumbers in an early Hydroponic Production Primer, this post will emphasis on additional issues for developing the ideal crop feasible.

Fruit crooking or bowing can be a problematic physiological condition for hydroponic cucumbers developed in controlled environments. When greenhouse cucumbers are graded applying the standards the USDA has printed for them, in get to receive the “U.S. Fancy” grade, they have to be regarded as “well-shaped.” In addition to minimal tapering at every end of the fruit, nicely-fashioned also suggests the 11-plus inch fruits ought to be pretty straight. Considering that greenhouse-developed cucumbers are viewed as a benefit-additional crop, producers want as many fruits as feasible to obtain the most effective grading probable and cucumber crooking can decrease marketable fruit numbers. There are a couple of distinctive will cause of cucumbers forming with a curvature or crook.

To start with, insufficient pollination and subsequent ovary fertilization can be the bring about of crooked cucumbers. On the other hand, greenhouse cucumbers are gynoecious (forming only woman flowers) and are parthenocarpic, forming fruits without any pollination (consequently the seedless fruits). For greenhouse cucumbers, crooking can be triggered by the young, building fruits coming into speak to with a probable impediment to expansion, these types of as the twine or string applied to trellis fruits up, or the clips connected to the twine for supporting vines. Aware placement of trellis clips and twine can assist keep away from this problem.

Crooking can also be brought about by drinking water uptake and pest infestations. Attempt to manage water uptake to take place as uniformly as doable all through the working day, keeping away from extensive periods devoid of h2o followed by speedy uptake this is very similar to running irrigation in tomato crops to stay away from fruit cracking. Moreover, enjoy aphid populations as they can lead to fruit crooking.

In fruiting vine crops, we are generally controlling nutrient alternatives diligently to guarantee crops acquire sufficient calcium (Ca). Insufficient Ca can lead to blossom close rot in tomatoes and peppers, building fruits unmarketable. However, despite the fact that Ca is however an essential nutrient for cucumbers, potassium (K) is much more significant for this crop when compared to other vine crops. While K deficiencies are not as widespread for tomato and pepper, yellowing or chlorosis on cucumber leaf margins are a popular indicator of K deficiency in cucumbers.

In addition, K is crucial for advertising and marketing swift and uniform fruit growth, and is an vital nutrient for cucumbers and their speedy advancement. There are a few strategies to averting K deficiencies in cucumber crops.

Initial, assure crops are having sufficiently fertilized by checking the electrical conductivity (EC) of nutrient solutions supplied to crops, as very well as the EC of the leachate. However, guaranteeing enough EC by itself might not address the challenge. In its ionic sort, K is positively billed (K+) and is a cation. Calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) are also cations and have a constructive charge. Since K, Ca, and Mg are all cations, and are also taken up passively by bulk flow when water is taken up by roots, they can contend with a person a different for plant uptake. As well a lot of just one of these vitamins can cause an antagonism with the other vitamins and diminish uptake.

Fig 2. Cucumber fruits have a large potassium need that can be compounded by their immediate expansion and improvement. Guarantee enough potassium is presented to plants, and steer clear of abnormal concentrations of calcium or magnesium which can antagonize potassium uptake.

For instance, if Ca concentrations are as well high, much less K will be taken up. A two-tank approach to fertilizing cucumbers is most frequent. A person tank filled with calcium nitrate presents Ca (as perfectly as the bulk of nitrogen), although the next tank gives the other macronutrients (including K) and micronutrients and has an analysis of 5-12-26 or some thing relatively identical. The proportion that every single fertilizer contributes to the all round fertilizer EC could have to have to be adjusted to guarantee not only sufficient K, but to avoid extreme Ca.

One more important element of managing cucumber is pruning or best-functioning to make sure steady expansion designs. Cucumber crops have a fast fee of progress and development, and this incorporates stems, leaves, tendrils and fruits. The immediate level of stem extension, up to a number of inches per day, calls for repeated trellising, and the most widespread schooling procedures for canopies were outlined in the before Hydroponic Manufacturing Primer.

Tendrils, a kind of modified leaf, produce all alongside cucumber stems. Although these enable guidance cucumber vines, they are unnecessary and unwanted in greenhouse techniques in which trellis clips are utilised to help support vines. The tendrils can wrap about stems, leaves, fruits and trellis twine and induce difficulties if they are left to create. No tool is necessary to get rid of them, as they snap merely off the plant. The leaf unfolding and maturation rate can also be pretty fast in cucumber production, and vegetation can build an extreme selection of leaves on the stem.

Although the complete selection of mature, fully expanded leaves to leave on a stem at any a person time may differ with the trellis top and coaching system utilized, it can be beneficial to take out the oldest leaves on the crop as new kinds unfold. This can also assistance diminish pest and illness force.

It is also essential to slender the quantity of fruits authorized to establish in just about every leaf axil. Even though a number of fruits may perhaps be still left at a one leaf axil to develop for little “cocktail”-kind cucumbers, only a single fruit should really be allowed to acquire in each individual leaf axil for the normal lengthy-fruited greenhouse kinds. Though it is most effective to slender excessive fruits as early as achievable, be very careful to nonetheless go away a fruit to develop at each and every node.

Regardless of what sort of pruning you are performing — tendrils, leaves, or fruits — try out to conduct pruning as often as possible (i.e. day-to-day) so excessive numbers of tendrils, leaves, and fruits are not permitted to produce, only to be taken off en masse at a afterwards date. Cucumbers do not respond effectively to this method. For case in point, if too much fruits are permitted to create and then thinned, fruits still left to build may well abort.

Cucumbers are a wonderful vining crop, and their speedy growth and higher yields can make them a greenhouse crop to consider. The strategies and tricks outlined in this post are meant to offer you with some insight to wonderful-tune your cucumber output.

Christopher ( is an affiliate professor of horticulture at Iowa Condition University.

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