Hydroponic/Soilless Cucumber Production in greenhouse – Part II

 

This article is a continuation of Part I of Hydroponic Cucumber production. The response to the previous article was amazing. Questions started pouring in in huge numbers. This shows how much interest people have in commercial hydroponics. I will try to keep these articles simple for a home gardener and at the same time, sticking to methodologies followed for a commercial production.

This last part dealt with seed starting, transplanting and training. This part will deal with crop management, irrigation, fertilization and harvest.

Seedless cucumber in Hydroponics Recap:
These plants are about 40 days from the date of sowing. They are sown in black polythene bags filled with coco peat media.
Each bag contains about 12 liters of media in it. If it is mini cucumbers, there can be 2 in a bag but for bigger English cucumbers one per bag is recommended.The spacing of the plants are at 16-18 inches apart.
Cucumber plants trained vertically Pruning:
Regular pruning results in healthy, sturdy plants that yield continuously. The fruits will also be of uniformly large size.
Too many branches can dilute the vigor and when then number fruits goes higher than the plant can handle, it automatically aborts the next set of flowers till the current ones are harvested.At the same time, care should be taken
It can be observed that there are flowers on all the nodes.

 

Young cucumbers forming Pollination:
English cucumbers are parthenocarpic. It means, there is no need for pollination for the fruit set. This feature makes it a wonderful candidate for greenhouse growing.
The grower need not worry about brining in bumble bees for pollination. Also, all the flowers are female flowers. As many flowers there are, that many cucumbers you will get( Well, Technically!).In the picture to the left, you can see the tender cucumbers growing vigorously. It takes 10-14 days for a cucumber to mature. It grows very fast especially in the last few days of that duration. The weight ranges from 400-550grams per cucumber. This weight depends on the stage of picking.

 

Cucumbers close to maturity Maturity:
These cucumbers are approx 1 week old ( from the day of flowering). The ridges are a feature of the cucumber variety and they gradually become very shallow as the cucumber matures.
The skin is very thin so care should be taken to immediately store them in a cool place or shrink wrap them. Otherwise, they can lose moisture too quickly and become soft and rubbery.

On the left, is cucumber 2 days short of harvest. More you leave on the plant, more nutrients are diverted to the old cucumbers and this might delay new ones getting formed at the top. Always maintain a balance with respect to number of fruits per plant. 6-7 fruits at any point in time is a good number. More than that, one might experience deficiencies of calcium due to the inability to support more fruits.  
Cucumbers Training Training:
The plants are allowed to reach the top overhead wire. Till it reaches that height, all the side shoots and branches are removed.Once it touches the overhead wire, the top is cut off and two branches are allowed to form. They are allowed to fall down from the top. Care should be taken such that the stem doesn’t break as it winds around the wire.
The fruits are allowed to form on the laterals.These plants on the left have about few inches before their tops are cut off and are allowed to branch.
Closeup of cucumber yield Nutrients:
Most of the questions, I received were related to this one topic. Nutrient! Nutrient! Nutrient.
My idea was to write a dedicated post on Hydroponics Nutrients. Not just for Cucumber but for any crop. A subsection in a post will do no justice to the topic. So in this section I am just going to mention the ppm values used and deal with this topic in detail the next post.
 

Macro Nutrients

Nitrogen(NO3):190
Nitrogen(NH4):20
Phosphorous:50
Potassium:380
Calcium:190
Magnesium:50

Micronutrients:

Fe:0.8, Mn:0.5,Zn:0.3,B:0.5, Cu:0.05, Mo:0.05

Another shot of cucumber Nutrients Continued:
It is important to remember that the nutrient is only part of the equation. There is no one single nutrient for any crop. Plants tolerate a range of nutrients. It is the growers responsibility to read the plant and if necessary modify the nutrient to suit the environment. Regularly “read” the plant for deficiencies, toxicity, insect attack. If you find certain the plant is too vegetative( lush leaves, less/no fruits), then take certain measures to steer it into generative mode.
There are lots of methods one can use to steer the plant towards vegetative or generative. Temperature, Irrigation duration/frequency, Electrical Conductivity(EC) are some of them.So one formula doesn’t suit all. It needs to be tailored to the area. In the coming posts, I will explain in detail about How to make hydroponic nutrients and how to modify it to suit the plants need. Also on how to “read” your plant.
Harvested english cucumber This is 1st Harvest. Each cucumber weighed 500-550 grams. We were very excited that we didn’t even eat these cucumber for couple of days.It was like ..in the song from “Damadamm” no touching no touching.. only seeing only seeing”). Most of them averaged and 14-15 inches but some of them dared 17inch mark. This was from one plant that was first to yield. It was also the one that had saw-dust mixed in along with cocopeat as a trial. I was impressed :D.
2nd Harvest of seedless long english cucumber 2nd Harvest was huge. I picked about 20 cucumbers and what I liked about this crop was the uniformity. Every plant had almost same number of cucumbers on them and was quite a view in my greenhouse. One thing to remember with english cucumbers is that they have a very thin skin. If not stored properly, they lose water very quickly leading to a soft rubbery fruit. They remain crunchy for a long time if stored properly. The fruit is so juicy and crunchy without the seeds coming your way.
Cucumber_Yield 3rd Harvest and again I got 20 cucumbers. At this point, we were loaded with cucumbers in our house and I already started selling this to my colleagues at work. Who doesn’t love vegetables delivered to their cubicles.. Parallely I had beefsteak tomatoes growing and their yield was pretty good as well. It was tomato and cucumber month. I had so much surplus that I approached nearby Vegetable supermarket and the push cart guys. To my surprise both of them agreed in a jiffy. The best part was I got to set the price and they were ready for it. They also said that they will take lettuce and other exotics I grew. So far, I have harvested around ~40 kg. The crop had its share of insects. I will handle insects and diseases to watch out for in cucumber production in my next post which is Part III.

 

Hope you all enjoyed this part of the Hydroponic cucumber production series.

Link to Part I :

 

See you in my next post. Until then Happy gardening

GG

Related posts:

  1. Hydroponics/Soilless Cucumber Production in greenhouse – Part I
  2. Growing European Cucumber
  3. Updates from the greenhouse – Hydroponic tomatoes
  4. Growing Tomatoes in Growbags – Hydroponic way
  5. Bhut Jolokia Harvest – The Heat is ON

18 comments to Hydroponic/Soilless Cucumber Production in greenhouse – Part II

  • anil padaki

    can u able to supply me aNFT unit or guide rather give me details required for apreparing aNFT unit immediately. with regards. anil

  • Srikanth

    Superb. Awesome…..

    You continue to inspire us all. I love the part where you were able to set the price.

    Now please stop being a tease and get that NS recipes and NS management out soon.

    Thanks,
    Srikanth

    • Thanks. Regarding the NS recipes. I wanted to kinda publish that along with this. But later realized that it needs a separate post for listing out various terms, measurements..dos and don’ts. So when people search for Nutrients, they see this and not something with cucumbers in it.
      So I put the ppm values in this post. The next post is getting ready with NS recipes, recommended EC, pH and NS management, deficiency identification etc.

  • Sumathy

    HI GG,

    Lovely! great, you are an inspiration. Liked the part, no touching… only seeing:-).

    Would like to know about the methods that you use to control mealy bug without chemicals. Please write about that.

    regards,
    Sumathy

  • Lovely Post..This article is not only interesting but informative as well.You are such a great inspiration for all of us.I just learned a lot from your post. Thanks a lot.

  • Srikanth

    One week later we are all eager waiting for the post related to NS Recipes.

  • Absolutely awesome! The plants are healthy and the harvest is beautiful. Thanks for writing about it.

    Regards,
    Asha Ram

  • RAJENDRA LEHGAONKAR

    VERY INFORMATIVE.THANKS FOR ENLIGHTENMENT ON HYDROPONICS.CAN YOU SUGGEST WHETHER COWS URINE, WORMIWASH,CAN BE USED INSTEAD OF SOLUBLE CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS IN ORDER TO GET ORGANIC PRODUCE.
    ALSO PLEASE SPECIFY THE Ph VALUE TO BE MAINTAINED WHILE PREPAIRING THE HYDROPONIC NUTRIENT SOLUTION.THANKS A LOT

  • Tharani

    Hi GG,

    I am a first time gardener from Chennai using my balcony to grow plants. It june now & the summer is still on. However there is no direct sunlight coming to the balcony. Does mint & tomatoes require direct sunlight? Please advice the vegetables that can be cultivated from this place. Looking forward to your advice,

    Regards
    Tharani

  • Nakul

    Great post here and a good read! Do you continue growing hydroponic cucumbers even now? We have toyed with cultivation of Cucumbers and Gherkins but are not seriously enough. Did you face any significant pest / plant maintenance issues? Will try looking for Part III of this blog.

  • hello dear sir
    i ahave net house but crope(tomato and cacumber ) coz flowwer is not big for frute is not good growing so iwant good Nutrients so any body sugest me how can i will takw good crope sir
    jayanti patel 7567103030

  • darly

    really usefull post. i got all the necessary info. i had been looking for.
    thank you very much.

  • vidur

    hi gg

    first of all you inspire me. thank you so much for these posts

    secondly,i have a problem. i have a lemon plant that i grew from a seed about 5 years ago. it is about 5 feet tall. it has never had fruit or even flowered. now the older leaves on it are starting to yellow. i think it is because of low levels of nitrogen. if there a way to supply nitrogen without fertilizer and compost(since they are not available here). are there any household materials i can use. also are there any tricks to make it bear fruit?

    thanks for any help you can give me

  • Srikanth

    Hi Vidur,

    You can try used coffee powder as nitrogen supplement.

  • [...] The following picture was about a week to 10 days after the previous picture. Once the roots start to touch the nutrient solution, you can literally forget about this system. After that there is no maintenance in any form at all. For the nutrient formulation information you can refer to the Hydroponic Cucumber Production Part II [...]

  • Srinivas

    Very interesting, how to use it commercially

  • Welcome to Hydroponics. Please go through the various posts written on hydroponics and let me know if you have any specific quesiton via the forum.

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