Monday, November 2, 2009

Monsoon Cultivation Of Cucumber

Monsoon Cultivation Of Cucumber by Pritham 'Metal Farmer' D'Souza

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most widely used salad crops grown both in North and South India. Fruits contain good amount of Iron and Vitamin C along with carbohydrates. It is highly recommended for people suffering from Jaundice, constipation and indigestion

since i am mentioning the monsoon cultivation techniques here, the land preparation is very similar to my other posts where i have mentioned monsoon cultivation. Some main points to begin with
  • The land selected must have adequate drainage
  • water logging areas should not be selected
  • however if availability of land is a constraint, seeds have to be sown on elevated bunds as shown below
  • Due to heavy rains, most of the seeds get drowned with too much moisture and they start to rot even before germination, hence more seeds have to be sowed.
  • bunds or raised seed beds should have a minimum height of 10 to 15 inches and seeds once germinated must be thinned out and plant distance maintained

germination seen 7 to 10 days after sowing

close up of germinated seedling

seedling reaches 3 leaf stage in the 3rd week of sowing

the above pic shows water severely logged in the field. the raised seedling bed literally saved the seedlings from rot and drowing.

the photo above shows considerable growth and development of the plant when rainfall recedes and light intensity increases

excess plants must be thinned out and plant distance must be maintained as seen above

  • Since this is monsoon technique, irrigation is not given, however, due to erratic rainfall patterns, lite irrigation is a must at the time of sowing to moisten the field in case rains fail.
  • while making the raised beds/bunds, decomposed Organic Manure must be added to the soil, and mixed thoroughly and seeds must be sowed on top of this. When the seeds germinate and grow, they will make use of the nutrients present in the soil
  • DO NOT spray the crops during monsoons using pesticides or liquid fertilizers when there is not enough sunlight.
  • Spraying of Liquid fertilizers should be done only when required and in the presence of sunlight. plants prepare their own food during photosynthesis and so sunlight is the most important factor.
  • Soil aeration can be increased by loosening the soil around the root zone of the plants. this also helps in drainage.
the above figure shows rapid development of the plant and tendril stage

soil loosened to provide good aeration and also allow better drainage

  • The plant receives the basal dose of decomposed farm yard manure at the time of preparation of the land and sowing.
  • Spray 1 ml seed weed based algae Organic Manure in 1 litre of water at every 10 day intervals. addition of wetting agent like APSA or other sticking agents is recommended so as to increase the effectiveness of the sprays
  • Flowering will be seen 40 to 45 days after sowing and the mature fruits can be harvested after 55 to 60 days after sowing.
  • Timely harvesting the fruit is a must otherwise they over ripe and become unfit for consumption. for salads, the green color of the fruit must not turn brownish yellow.
  • fruits must be plucked every alternate days to avoid over riping
  • for seeds, yellow brown fruits , golden fruits (mature color) are harvested, seeds extracted, washed thoroughly in water and dried
  • the seeds thhus obtained must be sowed again within 3 to 6 months or it looses its viability
  • Cucumber yields up to 100 quintals per hectare

the above pic shows the same stretch of land with excellent growth and flowering

formation of tender fruit buds

growing tender fruit
mature fruit ready for harvest

  • I only recommend the usage of pure neem oil @ 5 ml per litre of water to be sprayed only when insect attack is seen
  • Imidochloprid systemic insecticide @2 ml in 5 litre water can be used every 10 days for the young seedlings since they are most vulnerable to sucking pests like aphids, thrips and plant minors. it is also effective in controlling red pumpkin beetle which damages the growing leaves and severely injures the plant
  • Spraying must be done in sunny weather and not in gloomy weather
  • spraying in the evenings from 4pm to 5 pm is recommended than spraying during day time as it will affect pollination
  • adding 2 ml per litre sticking agents or wetting agents is required to increase the effectiveness of the sprays

all photos and data by Pritham D'Souza


  1. Great P2, Thanks for updating us on the Monsoon Cucumbers.



  2. Hi :

    I benefit a lot by your sharing of experience , your inputs and tips. I have a doubt on cucumber growing...

    The seeds were sown on Dec 1st on terrace (planter boxes on the parapet wall) and had 100 % germination rate, which I did not anticipate. I transplanted a few plants due to crowding and they have not grown as well as the non-transplanted ones. Their leaves are parrot-green in color unlike the lush green I see in my non-transplanted ones ( as also seen in the photos in your blog) , show very stunted growth. They are about 1.5 mths old now, very little flowering is seen. Can I do something about them? I use only organic manure, spray Panchagavya fortnightly, applied biofertilizer and neem seed powder.

    Meena K

  3. dear Meena,
    thank you for visiting my blog. there are few questions i need to know before i come to a conclusion
    1. what soil did u use for transplanting
    2. where have u placed the transplanted seedlings
    3. does the transplanted box have proper drainage
    4. is the soil in the boxes hard or compacted?
    5. when u transplanted the seedlings , did u provide shade?
    6. were any of the roots damaged while transplanting?

    also please try and send me a photo of the weak and stunted seedlings, then it would help me in finding a solution to the problem. thanks

  4. Hi :

    Thanks for the very prompt response. My replies to your questions are given below:

    1.In some containers , I used ready potting mix got from Lal Bagh (I live in Bangalore), for some I used soil+vermi compost+sand +gravel.
    2. I put the transplanted seedlings in cement bags (2 together), with holes made.
    3. I think drainage is fine.
    4. The soil looks firm on the surface, but I am able to dig easily.
    5. I did not provide shade explicitly, but Bangalore had partly shady weather in December.
    6. We did the transplant quiet carefully, so I don't think we caused any damage to the roots.

    Thanks for making me think on various aspects, by your questions. I will try and take photos tomorrow and send them. I am a beginner in terrace gardening on container and I am very inspired by the experiences you share in your blog.
    BTW, I don't see a way to publish a photo directly in my reply. Can you help me?

    Thanks a lot!

    Meena K

  5. hey no problem... in many cases, transplanting results in what is known as transplanting shock. its a common feature but attributed to only field crops.

    u have an excellent mixture mentioned, soil, vermi compost... however.. i am not a big fan of sand. coz it might contain salts and that might be problematic but i cannot say right now...

    ya blore weather is fine so no need to provide shade.

    u can send me the pics to me email address or u can use any of the free file sharing sites like, etc. upload the file there, then u will get a share link. u can send me that.

    however i still recommend u send me the photos to my email :)

  6. just another thing. u mentioned cement bags.... are all the seedlings growing in cement bags or just the transplanted ones?

    plus... have u thoroughly washed the cement bags? coz it might contain traces of cement which is detrimental to the growth of plants

  7. Hi:

    I sent photos of my cucumber plants to your mail id. Just wnated to check if you got my mail...

    Meena K

  8. sorry for the delay... was preoccupied with lots of local farm work here :)

    there are several factors why u have diseased plants in ur cucumber patch, esp the transplanted plants....

    * cucumber is generally a tropical to sub tropical crop, so it requires plenty of sunshine, and adequate moisture. even though u may have provided everything, there must have been some problems during transplanting.
    * transplanted plants are highly susceptible to various soil borne pathogens, and most of them are root based nematodes. the first symptom is discolouration and leaves are turning yellow
    * however, since we here at padval farms, grow 80 percent of our crops which belong to the cucurbit family, i am now definitely convinced of the problem that is plaguing you.
    * if u look closely, near the flowers, or developing fruit/flower buds, u will find, black/brown irregular or granular shaped droppings. that is the very first sign of infection caused by larvae of various insect species.
    * these worms are very tiny and they easily hide mostly on the under surface of the leaves... on in the flowers itself...
    * the leaf of diseased cucumber plant.jpg u can see long cylindrical shapes/ scarring... that is caused by fungus....
    * fruit of diseased cucumber plant.jpg is caused by worst enemy of all cucurbits... a tiny fly called daucus dorsalis... mroe about it and how to get rid of if is mentioned in my agri farming blog... u can use sprays... organic or otherwise, but its not very effective...the best method is to use pheromone baits....
    * the incision is first made by the fly, and the young fruit or fruit bud starts to 'bleed'... this bleeding and exposure attracts a variety of fungus which totally destroys the immune system of the plant....
    * even the very first photo, which seems healthy, is not really that healthy.... if u look closer u can see thread like irregular patches on most green leaves... that is caused by a virus called mosaic virus, coz the leaves appear to have a mosaic appearance. there is sadly no cure for virus, but it is transmitted by even tinier flies and plant hoppers and mites. use 3 to 5 ml neem in 1 litre water and spray twice weekly... that is the most effective way to control the vectors that transmit the virus....
    * also refer my blog to see how i have used sticky traps to control pests..... that is very very effective....

    and to ur question, why only the transplanted plants are infected... well... the answer is because, transplanted plants suffer from a condition called 'transplantation shock'. and it all depends on how strong the seedlings are, the time of day transplanting done, the salt content in the manures, damaged roots, etc.... and weaker the plants, more the attack....

    hope i have managed to answer ur questions.... cheers and peace


    watch how small the worms are here
    check out my cucumber patch here
    using sticky traps here
    pheromone traps for cucurbits against daucus dorsalis here

  9. Hi :

    I have really no words to express my thanks to you. You are doing farming on a large scale and to give me, a novice having a few plants on the terrace, such a detailed reply, is very , very heartening. I am really very thankful to you.

    I did not receive you mail earlier but I got the mail account creation request just now. I will create an account on Monday as I have access right permissions right now.

    I plan to remove the transplanted plants as they seem to be beyond help now. I will be careful not to transplant gourds at all, in future.

    For the neem spray, should I use neem oil, if yes, what percentage? I have coarsely ground neem seed powder, can I use it?

    Also, the healthy cucumber plants, (seeded on Dec 1st) , have stopped flowering completely, although there are small cucumbers present. Is this normal, as part of the life cycle? Otherwise, is there anything to be done to foster flowering?

    I will defnitely try out the bait traps which you have detailed. I will also check out on the organic ways to treat mosaic virus.

    BTW, with 6 plants, my tally is now about 39 cucumbers, all of them weiging between 450 gms - 550 gms. I think I may get another 15 or so. I did not use any chemicals, the cucumbers are tasty, have hardly any seeds... I wonder how many cucumbers one can expect from a plant, in a container gardening scenario, any guess?

    Hey, Thanks a ton, once again... I feel very good and motivated , despite the dejection I felt on seeing the effect of the mistake I did in transplantation ! Despite the setbacks , helpful advice from your end has charged me a lot!

    Meena K

  10. hey.. no doesnt matter if u are a novice.... so am i... we learn something new everyday...

    i had replied to ur symindia email, but for some reason it didnt reach u. then i copy pasted my reply here and thats how u got it...ya get a gmail account... the way they are going, i think they gonna own 99 percent of all computer applications and programs...

    the problem with neem is, u need to find a genuine good source... most of the neem products outt here are commercially not good quality. neem has an active ingredient which is very funny. if too much water is added, it dilutes, if spraying is done in good sunlight its properties are de activated... etc etc///... and most of the neem products are adulterated anyways...

    but neem oil is the best.. also neem powder.. the oil can be sprayed at 5ml/litre... and powder added to the soil along with your organic manure to prevent root nematodes.... which it does to some extent..

    dont worry about the 1se dec plants...u will get flowering till the plant dies... but in most cases, esp cucumber it is called pseudo 100 flowers u have 10 females and out of that only 5 will this is normal.. nothing to worry...

    to foster flowering, u need to use female flower inducing hormones which are normal and available in the market... since u live in blore, just to go gandhinagar, behind national market and check out plant hormones sprays... they induce flowering.. female flowers... and also help in great quality and elasticity of fruits..

    chemically u are looking for napthalene acetic acid or gibberlic acid...

    bait traps are best... chemtica is a world #1 bait trap and lures company...and is available in blore...

    sticky traps are very effective too

    u got an excellent production and yield of cucumbers... well there is no guage to measure how many cucumbers one plant gives, but the average yield we get here in say about 1 acre of land is 40 quintals...or 4 tons...

    but a plant according to me... should give u 10 to 15 cucumbers ... if looked after very well....which is insane...

    u have already grown 20 kg!!! thats great

    dont worry about the transplanting... it was not your fault...

    cheers and keep in touch

  11. Nice article...really great helping mentality...Getting inspired by the discussion here...thanks a lot..