By Cindrelah Rushabwa
Cucumber is a warm season crop that is very sensitive to frost. They require an optimum temperature of 210c-280c and they are very susceptible to chilling injury at all growth stages. (Starke Ayres, cucumber production guidelines)
At germination very low temperatures causes radical rots.
At seedling stage there is wilting, stunting and under severe condition there is death of the plant.
At fruit set, the setting will be very poor due to pollen damage by frost and this will lead to low viability of the pollen grains and poor pollination (these ones pollinate unlike seedless hybrids).
After fruit formation, the fruit shrivels and at sometimes water soaked spots may develop therefore allowing secondary pathogens to enter the fruit.
The fruits produced in frost conditions some of them will be deformed.
Frost can be successfully escaped by planting cucumbers early August, September and October in Zimbabwe so that they escape winter period which is characterised by very low temperatures.
(References: Total farm solutions, vegetable calendar)