Cucumber is a commonly grown crop in India, and its market is available in all states. Cultivating Cucumbers are widely farmed and consumed from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Gujarat to West Bengal. Cucumber market prices normally vary between Rs 10 and Rs 50 per kilogramme, with prices seldom falling below Rs 10 in any section of the nation. The lowest price range is typically found in regions such as Punjab, where cucumbers are abundantly farmed and there is an abundance of product.
Cucumber is a simple plant that grows quickly and requires little nutrients and resources. It thrives in full sun and sandy loam soil, and if the soil is deficient in nutrients, a small amount of fertiliser may be supplied. Similar to bottle gourd cultivation, when grown commercially, cucumber plants benefit from trellises, and high-quality seeds are essential for optimal yield and disease resistance. Hybrid cucumber seeds are known to improve productivity and provide resistance against various diseases.
Additionally, the use of trellises enables farmers to produce visually appealing cucumbers with the desired shape. Superior quality cucumbers generally fetch slightly higher prices compared to deformed or irregularly shaped ones. Cultivating cucumbers without trellises often results in unevenly shaped and discolored fruits, which are generally undesirable in the market and command a lower price.
Cucumber thrives in warm, humid climates. It is vulnerable to cold and dryness. It may be cultivated in India all year, however the yield varies according on the season and type. Yield and market price determines how profitable cucumber farming really is. So how do we maximise our profits through yield improvement?
Climate for Cultivation
Cucumber grows best in hot, humid climates. It is sensitive to frost and cold weather. It can endure a slight chill, but continual low temperatures are not recommended. The ideal temperature range is 18 to 30 degrees Celsius. It may be cultivated in tropical climates during the summer, monsoon, and winter seasons. Sowing times vary according on place and season. Sowing for the monsoon crop ideally happens in June and July; For the summer crop in February and March. It can grow as a winter crop in November and December as well.
Ideal Soil for Cultivation
The ideal soil for cucumber is well-drained sandy loam to clay loam soil enriched with organic matter. pH level analysis would suggest that 6.5 to 7.5 would be the idealvalue to plant Cultivating cucumbers. In addition, the crop can thrive in any kind of soil as long as it’s not waterlogged clay soil as that would mean root rot. Manure and compost helps in no small amount if you want to deal with clay soil and see no other way.
Varieties of Cucumber
There are many varieties of Cultivating cucumbers available today and most of them are hybrids. Hybrids are a direct outcome of cross-pollinating different types of cucumbers to develop superior features. Some of these features range from high yield and disease resistance. There are different varieties for different purposes such as slicing, pickling and salad. Some of the popular varieties are Japanese Long Green, Straight Eight, Simran and Rajani. Each of these varieties has its own features and their yield range from 12 to 30 tonnes. Apart from these, there are many other varieties developed by private and public organizations like Syngenta and ICAR among others.
The soil for cucumber should be well-drained and rich in organic matter. The land should be plowed and harrowed several times to make it fine and level. Then beds of 2-2.5 meters wide should be made. Apply farmyard manure at the rate of 25 tonnes per acre and install drip irrigation system. After the drip irrigation is ready, cover the beds with mulching sheets. Mulching sheets can help in conserving soil moisture and preventing weed growth. You can prepare your land with ease by mounting a cultivator or a tiller on your Mahindra Tractor.
Cucumber is propagated from seeds. The seeds should be soaked in water for at least 10-12 hours before sowing. Sow the seeds directly on the beds or in small pits and water immediately. The cucumber plants are fast-growing plants and germinate quickly. They produce a cotyledon leaf in less than 3 days and a true leaf in a week. They grow vigorously and usually do not need to be transplanted.
Harvesting is done when the fruits are fully grown and have a dark green color. Some markets prefer small to medium fruits ranging from 150 to 300 grams while other markets may accept larger fruits up to 500 grams as long as they are firm and crisp. Depending on the market demand, the fruits should be harvested. Once harvested, rub the fruits with a cloth or a soft brush to remove any spines or dirt. This gives a shine to the fruits and helps in better marketing. Cucumber cultivated on trellis or mulch will have less dirt and damage than those grown on the ground. You may also need to wash the fruits thoroughly in water if they are very dirty. Make sure the fruits are dried well using a cloth before transportation.
Cucumbers are usually consumed fresh and do not have any byproducts associated with them. The fruits are packed in crates or boxes and sent to the market as soon as possible after picking. No post-harvest process is required.
To conclude, anyone who is contemplating cucumber cropping this summer is in for a profitable haul. Make sure you haul your haul right, invest in a Cellestial Tractor. You’ll find cucumber to not just be a simple crop to grow, but a profitable one as well.