Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vegetable Cucumber farming

Vegatable Cucumber belongs to the family of cucumbers (Cucumis sps) is widely cultivated & used in curry's in south india coastal belt, esp Mangalore.

Land selection & preparation
well drained loamy soils is best suited for sowing. It is necessary the soils must be fertile & supplemented with rich organic manure. it prefers pH of 5.5 to 6.5. However it cannot tolerate salt concentration.
clear weeds, unwanted plant material on the site of sowing the seeds. stones must be removed as germination is affected. in the monsoons , raised beds are made & seeds sown on them as shown in the above photo. the raised seed beds help prevent excess water from damaging the seeds. for quick germination, light, temperature & moisture play important role. when field condition is optimum, germination can be seen within a week after sowing. (see photo below )

above photo shows germination , 4 days after sowing

third week after germination

It is very important to constantly remove all weeds as it affects the main crop adversely. weeds act as a host to variety of insects which damage the tender leaves of the young plant.

Manuring & Fertilizer

responds well to NPK application. at 5th week, top dressing , earthing up & inter culture operations like weeding, should be performed. foliar sprays show better absorption of nutrients than soil application.

above 2 photos show crop stage after 5th week of sowing seeds.

well rotted farm yard manure should be applied to the base of the raised beds & top dressing is done. care must be taken to see that the farm yard manure is well rotted. if its fresh, it contains toxic ammonia gas, which gets released slowly, and it will damage the plant, even causing death.


since the vines grew long, it requires adequate water in the summer. here instead of raised beds, long rows are made, & the seeds sowed in them. light irrigation is recommended when the seedlings are still young and tender. too much moisture can cause fungal infections. at all times , crust formation should be checked & avoided.

during monsoon, irrigation is not necessary, but adequate height of the raised seed beds will ensure that water does not stagnate near the roots or it will kill the plant. proper channeling between the rows must be done to ensure flow of excess water away from the roots of the plant.

above photo shows crop stage after top dressing with farm yard manure 6 weeks from date of sowing. flower formation starts. plant hormones like NAA can be sprayed @1 ml per litre. this will increase the number of female flowers.

harvesting and post harvesting

green coloured vegetable cucumbers with white stripes turn yellow & this is a common harvest index. the fruits must be plucked at an interval of 2 days. seed formation takes place usually nearly a month after pollination. & the cucumbers selected for seeds must be tied using thread or strips of cloth, for identification purpose & must be harvested at much later stages.

above photo shows the vegetable cucumber in a semi ripe condition.

above photo shows the change in strip color to yellow, which means its ready for harvesting. the keeping quality of the fruit depends on the use of fertilizer inputs. in farms which practice organic methods, it is known to have a shelf life of more than 3 months.

semi ripe fruits are sometimes harvested, when the stripes are still green, & these fruits are used in salads & also in preparation of sweets.

Photos and content by Pritham 'Heavy metal farmer' denzil dsouza


  1. Hi there,

    The vegetable cucumber plant is putting out only male flowers - is this normal or a result of a deficiency?

    The plant is growing in a pot that is placed in the balcony. During the day the floor gets very hot - is this bad for the leaves / vines creeping on the floor? As of now, I cannot see any visible damage.

    Thanks in advance

  2. hi AG
    the veg cucumber plants have hat problem.. dont worry... there is excess flower production.. and its normal... only about 2 or 3 percent of flowers that produce are females..

    and yes the floor temp is very important, & it should not to too high, what can be done, is u can add gunny bag or other material to the floor... cheers

  3. Hi there,

    The plant flowered (all male) for a while and nothing now. Why does that happen? It is growing in a pot (attached is picture link, if it is going to help)


  4. i see u have a nice garden there... the problem with veg cucumber is that they display what is called 'pseudo flowering'... the vines will be filled with a million flowers, and only a few hundreds will pollinate.. this is very common...

    another thing i noticed is ur vines are growing on floor tiles... now this will be a problem when the temp rises. the heat that is reflected off the floor tiles, is enough to damage the flowers... i suggest u use cloth bags, hay, straw, or anything that will absorb the heat...cheers