By Albert Makendenge
Some vegetable salads are never quite complete without cucumbers and rather than going to the market each and every time you need them, one can simply learn how they can be grown successfully at home.
Well-drained fertile soil (of pH 6.6 to 7) with compost or fertilizer worked 15 to 20 cm deep into the soil are the best for growing cucumbers.
Cucumbers like warmth and lots of light (at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day which automatically make them a summer season crop). The crop grows best at 20oC to 24oC and is not suitable for frost.
The cucumber seed should be sown to a depths of 2cm at a distance of 1.5m to 2.5m (row to row) by 60cm to 90cm in row spacing.
Manure or fertilizer should be added into the soil at the time of soil preparation with sufficient and recommended amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus to be added on as time progresses.
In case of low rainfall, drip irrigation is the most effective method for cucumber farming. For a summer crop drip irrigation should be given to maintain moisture and during the rainy season if and only when needed.
Weeds, pests and diseases
Shallow cultivation can be given during the early stages of cucumber plant growth to control the weeds. Herbicides may also be used to control the weeds. Down mildew and fruit flies are among the common pests and diseases to watch out for.
Harvesting can be done at 40 to 45 days after sowing stretching up to 80 or 90 days. Timely picking of cucumber is more important for better quality of fruit.