Cucumber plant(Cucumis sativus)
What is a Cucumber plant?
Cucumber, scientifically named as Cucumis sativus, is mostly cultivated plant in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. Cucumbers are native to Asia. Cucumber is a summer squash and easy to grow and you can grow cucumbers with corn, beans, peas, squash, and pumpkins. However, you should not plant it with potatoes and other herbs.
Cucumber plant has heart-shaped leaves and the plant is covered with short prickly hairs. Fruits of Cucumbers are pale or dark-green, and its size ranges from 3 inches to 24 inches. Cucumber is rich in nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Vitamin A, Manganese, and Potassium. They have high water content.
Types of Cucumbers
There are dozens of varieties of cucumber, and they come in different colors. Among them, the edible ones are classified as slicing or pickling. Slicing cucumbers are cultivated to have it fresh, whereas pickling cucumbers are made for the brine jar.
It can grow from 24 inches to 36 inches in height. They can be grown in both containers and gardens. These types of cucumbers overgrow in about six weeks.
It can grow up to 6 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide. Vining cucumbers require more space to produce more fruits. They have large leaves, and its growth is fast. Vining cucumbers grow up in a fence or trellis.
They have thin, pale green skin, which bears fruit early. Its commonly grown varieties are Baby Bush, Cross Country, Salty, Clypso, Green Spear, and many others. Baby Cucumbers are taken and pickled with various ingredients.
Slicing cucumbers are mostly eaten fresh. They are primarily green-skinned, having a mild flavor, and it is easy to digest. Its commonly grown varieties are Ashley, Jazzer, Marketmore, Slice King, and many others.
It is also known as European or English cucumbers. They are seedless cultivars that are grown in the greenhouse. Greenhouse cucumber forms smoother fruits, and yes, they need extra warmth for cultivation. Its varieties are Aidas, Carmen, English Telegraph, and many others.
They are yellow-colored oval to round shaped cucumber and small in size. As the cucumber turns into yellow, then it is ready to harvest. It is suitable for pickling or eating it raw.
They are thin and heavily ribbed cultivars. The fruit of this variety grows from 12 to 24 inches long.
How to grow cucumbers in Container/Pot?
Though cucumbers are readily available in the grocery stores, you can grow them on your own garden or container/pot. Cucumber plants are climbers, and they grow in any given space.
- Select a spot of enjoying 8 to 10 hours of full sun in a day.
- If you are planning to grow cucumbers in the container, then you should choose a bigger container, as it holds more amount of potting soil.
- Fill the pot/container with 70% of garden soil, 20% organic compost, and 10% sand.
- Sow the seed 1 inch deep in the pot.
- Water the pot frequently but don’t overwater.
- After a week, you will be able to see the sprout of the Cucumber plant.
- when the plant is 5-6 inches tall, provide support so it can grow higher.
You can also transfer seedlings to the garden in about 2 to 3 weeks if you want to grow them in your garden.
How to grow Cucumber in Garden?
- Prepare the planting beds by adding organic compost mix.
- Sow the cucumber seeds about ½ to 1 inch deep in the ground.
- Water it regularly but do not overwater. Doing so may decay the seeds.
- After a few weeks, you will see the seedlings of the plant.
- Provide support to the plant as it needs something to stand on.
After growing the cucumber plant, the fruits are ready to collect in 55 to 65 days from sowing. You should harvest cucumber as soon as it reaches the mature size.
How to take care of cucumber plants?
- Planting of cucumber plants should be done in mid-July.
- Consistent watering should be done for the cucumber plants.
- Avoid the leaves while watering as it does not encourage any kind of leaf disease.
- Cucumber plants should be grown in fertile clay soil with a pH value of 6 to 7.
- Insect pests like aphids, spider mites, and cucumber beetles can cause damage to the plant, so a floating row cover is placed immediately over the transplanted seedling.
- Grow the cucumber plant vertically so that it will be easy to take care.
- A cucumber takes a lot of space, so you can save space by trellising the cucumbers.
- Start spraying the mixture of soap and Neem oil to reduce the attack of insects in the plant.
Major Diseases and Problems in Cucumber Plant and their cure
Symptoms: White powdery mildew in leaves of cucumber.
Treatment: Spraying Neem with water can stop it from spreading.
Symptoms: Leaves start to wither and fall off prematurely.
Treatment: Use fungicides as soon as possible. Avoid watering on leaves and if possible, use an underground or surface irrigation system.
Symptoms: Causes the plant to wilt and die. Can be felt with hand while trying to pull out the plant.
Treatment: As soon as the plant starts to die, take out affected plants from your garden. Use insecticides like Hydrogen Peroxide, as the chemical protects plants from bacterial infections.
Symptoms: The leaves have a speckled appearance.
Treatment: There is no treatment once the plant is infected. Try to get seeds those are mosaic virus resistants.
Pest and insects on Cucumber plant
- Cucumber beetles
Normally, the infestation by these pests can be stopped by planing flowers which attract predators like bees, wasp, flower flies. Using pesticides is not recommended on cucumber plants as it may harm the useful insects too.
Uses of Cucumber
- Sliced cucumbers are recommended to tired eyelids, soothing heat, and skin irritations.
- Cucumbers contain phytonutrient compounds having anti-cancer benefits.
- It is also used to treat the sunburn in affected areas.
- As cucumbers are a low-calorie food, it plays a significant role in weight reduction.
- They work pretty well in food recipes.
- Cucumbers are rich in beneficial antioxidants.
- Some research has also said that cucumbers contain a mineral called silica, which strengthens your hair.
- Cucumbers have a high amount of water, so it lowers blood sugar and promotes hydration.
- Rubbing cucumber on metal after cleaning makes the metal shine, and it also removes tarnish.