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Farming of Grafted Cucumber Seedlings

Commercial Vegetable Farming from Grafted Cucumber Seedlings

Grafted cucumber seedlings have been shown to provide rootstock with improved stress and pathogen tolerance. The plants grown from grafted seedlings are also highly tolerant to Fusarium. With such characteristics, it is possible to farm the crop commercially in areas with substandard water quality.

Growing from grafted cucumber seedlings enables the farmer to minimise chemical use related to the treatment of soil-borne diseases. As such, the farmer can save considerably on the cost of chemical treatments and gains the benefit of a strong rootstock. Fungal disease is a major threat to cucumbers and being able to grow from grafted plants that are tolerant to it means a significant reduction in the farmer’s risks. Mechanical pest and disease management can go a long way in helping the farmer reduce the cost of controlling diseases.

Background on The Vegetable

It is part of the Cucurbitaceae family. The plant is believed to have originally been propagated in Nepal. Though the vegetable can be grown outdoors, it is sensitive to frost, so it is essential to create an environment in which it can grow without being exposed to frost. Farmers cultivate the vegetable in greenhouses from the grafted seedlings available from reputable nurseries.

The outdoor growers transplant the received seedlings to soil with due consideration for the deep-root character of the plant. The vegetable prefers well-drained soil that has a low saline content and it requires a soil depth of at least 1200 mm. Sandy loam is preferred to clay or sandy soil. The outdoor varieties in the field normally produce male and female flowers and rely mostly on bees for pollination. Greenhouse growth requires pollination by the farmer.

The spacing of the plants is dependent upon factors such as whether they are grown in greenhouses or outdoors, which types of trellising systems are in place, and how much light is available. If there is sufficient light, a plant’s space can be about 2,5 m2. If grown in a greenhouse, it is essential to ensure good ventilation to prevent diseases.

Fruit load and plant growth must be balanced. Regular pruning of the shoots, fruits, and foliage is essential to prevent the formation of a canopy that is too dense and that blocks out natural light. This can lead to inconsistencies in the fruit size and colour, with some being somewhat pale. It is also essential to limit the production of fruits, as too many fruits at a time can lead to a total crop loss, poor-quality fruits, and even plant death, as it may struggle to survive with the limited reserves.

Harvesting is done while fruits are still immature but the desired length has been reached. When the fruit is ready for harvesting, its flesh has the texture of jelly, with several seed cavities. The fruits can be harvested up to three times per week.

Getting the best results with cucumber farming starts with investing in quality stock. To this end, get in touch with Hishtil SA for information about their grafted cucumber seedlings.

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