Commercially Propagate Cucumber from Grafted Seedlings
How to Commercially Propagate Cucumber from Grafted Seedlings
Farming with cucumbers from grafted seedlings holds several benefits for the commercial farmer in South Africa. These include improved vigour and resistance to soil-borne pathogens. The production from grafted cucumber seedlings is only now starting to gain popularity and Hishtil South Africa is the first nursery in the country that supplies grafted cucumber seedlings in bulk to commercial farmers across South Africa. Below are some guidelines on the production of cucumber crops from grafted and non-grafted seedlings in South Africa.
The vegetable is grown commercially in greenhouses and tunnels. Crops for processing are normally produced on open fields, whilst those grown for fresh, culinary use are usually grown in greenhouse facilities to allow year-round production. Cucumbers, like watermelon and squash, belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and the plant originated in Asia. It has a trailing vine, enabling it to climb. As such, farmers often plant the crop in conjunction with a trellis system. The plant has male and female flowers, with the male flowers appearing before the female ones. The plant produces about ten male flowers for each of the female flowers.
Apply drip irrigation for this crop and not overhead sprinkler systems, as the plant is susceptible to disease when it is over-watered. It is, therefore, important to install moisture meters, as the plant is sensitive to water stress. Close monitoring of the moisture content is essential.
The plant is best grown in a near-tropical climate at between 20 and 24 °C for flowering and between 26 and 30 °C for vegetative growth. It is best to grow it in tunnels or greenhouses where temperature and humidity levels can be controlled. The farmer can harvest several times a year in such ideal growth conditions. One to two fruits can be harvested per plant every seven days for about 12 weeks if growing the crop hydroponically.
The average yield produces about 20 to 35 t/ha, with a good yield being anything more than 35 t/ha. However, this is only possible when growing in tunnels and paying close attention to temperature and water requirements.
If growing in tunnels, the harvesting is normally selective and done by hand. With outdoor propagation, harvesting is done by hand or mechanical harvesters.
Get in touch with Hishtil South Africa for more information about grafted cucumber seedlings for commercial farming.
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