Thursday, May 6, 2010

Growing Vegetable Cucumber or Sambar Cucumber without Soil Using Simplified Hydroponics

Growing Vegetable Cucumber or Sambar Cucumber without Soil Using Simplified Hydroponics by Pritham 'Metal Farmer' D'Souza

Vegetable Cucumber also known as Sambar Cucumber is an all time favorite vegetable crop grown in coastal Karnataka esp Mangalore. It was a challenge to grow SC in hydroponics as the crop requires a lot of care and patience in the field as it is gets easily damaged by excess irrigation, high soil temperatures and attack from fruit boring insect Dacus dorsalis fly.

Seedlings germinated within 2 days
  • Sow the seeds in seed trays and later transplant when 3 leaf stage is seen

21 days later, growth affected by red pumpkin beetle attack, immediate control using neem sprays
  • In the field, integrated pest management using organic neem sprays and Dimethoate Rogar is used to reduces pest attack of red pumpkin beetle which feed on the young and tender leaves of the plant
  • here since i do not use any chemical pesticides, i let the plant take the insect assault for a few days till i applied organic neem spray

3 days later, after using Neem Sprays, lush green growth seen and pest attack neutralized.
  • Neem spray applied when there is pest incidence proved excellent and the results speak for themselves.
  • no blanket sprays required. hence no wasting

21 days later formation of fruit buds
  • tiny fruit buds appear and its best to switch from grow nutrients to bloom nutrients

15 days later size of fruit increased considerably
  • the young and growing fruit buds need to be protected from extreme heat which was bouncing off the hard concrete flooring. hence i had placed old gunny bags on the ground and the vines were growing over it. so no direct contact with the hot floor

to prevent attack of fruit boring Dacus dorsalis, i used a plastic bowl as cover
  • this was not a good idea as the growing fruit needs light and breeze. but fortunately for me, the idea of covering the growing fruit with whatever i could find (here a plastic tray) worked.
  • The next time, i will use a net cover

the protected fruit without any attack
  • not a scratch on the fruit

Fruit ready for harvest after it changes color from green to orange
  • depending on individual tastes, generally fruits are harvested when they change their color from dark green to light green or brown and in some cases orange.
  • for long distance transporting green fruits are harvested.

another fruit protected
  • if you look closely, the fruit has an abnormal twisted appearance.
  • its probably because the growing fruit didnt rest on the gunny bag which i had kept but was growing on the concrete flooring which gets hot when the temperatures are high. hence the fruit could have gotten disfigured, but its still tasty

Ripe Vegetable Cucumber excellent to extract seeds
  • The orange color indicates the fruit is over ripe and is excellent for extracting the seeds.
All pics and data by Pritham 'Metal Farmer' D'Souza


  1. Pritham - that was a good one. I am trying to grow the same cucumber the traditional way - no hydroponics!
    I'll have to see how it goes. The seeds have sprouted (in a tray greenhouse placed on a heating mat)but they grow tall & leggy. Also not all have sprouted. Will try again- any tips?
    I am too glad to run into your blog-very good info here!

  2. here u go UJ

    i have already posted on vegetable cucumber farming the traditional way some time back now....
    the seeds growing tall coz they ned lots of sun light... the seedlings are also pale in color...
    sambar cucumber seeds have less viability....some 3 to 5 months max... then most of the seeds just dont germinate...

  3. Ok - thanks - I was trying to grow the sambar cucumber but all didn't germinate. Will try again.

  4. Hi Pritham, You are a great master of hydroponic cultivation. My congrats to you. We are in Goa and would like to go for hydroponic cultivatgion. Please let me know what are the nutrients required for vebetable cultivation; where can i get; what would be the rate, etc.


  5. thank you Anand for the kind words... for more on nutrients ans its availability, i suggest u contact my mentors, the real people responsible for bringing hydroponics to India...ret. cmdr. CV Prakash and Sangeetha Bojappa

    a lot of people keep asking me about nutrients and i promise to upload info about it very soon... cheers