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Introduction to Crop Farming from Cucumber Seedlings

Introduction to Crop Farming from Cucumber Seedlings in South Africa  

Commercial farming with cucumber from seedlings as opposed to growing the vegetable from seeds holds several benefits:

  • Easier to grow than from the germination stage.
  • Lower risk of plant losses during the early stages of development.
  • Uniform stand, as the seedlings from the nursery are all of the same size.
  • Reduced time from planting to harvesting.
  • Cost savings in terms of chemical applications.
  • Lower cost of irrigation.

Commercial cucumber farming is not without its challenges. The plant is best grown in a tunnel or greenhouse environment, as temperature control is extremely important for flowering and fruit setting. The ideal medium pH is between 6 and 7. A soil analysis should be performed before nutrients are added.

With the plant performing best in subtropical climates (flower-production temperature is 21 to 23 °C), most farmers propagate cucumbers from seedlings in tunnel environments where they can provide ideal conditions. The average temperature for growth is 23 to 27 °C. Fungal diseases pose a threat in high-humidity environments. If they are transplanted in a greenhouse or tunnel environment, the spacing between rows should be increased. It is possible to get more than 30 000 plants on a hectare.

Micro and drip irrigation work well because the entire plant does not become wet. Overhead sprinklers are best avoided because it is difficult to finely control irrigation and, with too much water all over the plant, fungal diseases can develop. Yield ranges from 15 to more than 50 tonnes on a hectare, depending on spacing, fertilisation, irrigation, climate, and disease control. Growing from seedlings provides a good foundation for crop success, as the plants from the nursery are pest- and disease-free. With good stock in the ground, the probability of a high yield is thus increased. With tunnel or greenhouse production, it is possible to get more than 500 tonnes from a hectare within twelve months.

Contact Hishtil SA to order pest- and disease-free cucumber seedlings for crop farming.

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