How to grow cucumber for profit – Commercial cucumber cultivation

How to grow cucumber for profit - Commercial cucumber cultivation


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The cucumber (Cucumis sativus) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, also called cucurbits or the gourd family, together with squash, pumpkin, watermelon, and muskmelon. It is widely cultivated for its edible fruit. Cucumbers generally prefer relatively warm weather (after all, it is a summer vine), with temperatures between 75 to 85 °F (24-30 °C) and 4-6 hours daily direct sun exposure. Additionally, they need deep, fertile, well-drained, loose, rich in organic matter, and soil with a pH of 6.0- 7.5 in order to thrive. Typically, cucumber farmers apply tillage or/and plowing in a depth of  2.5-5 cm (1-2 inches) to loosen up the soil and destroy any weeds before sowing or planting their crop.

The selection of a cucumber variety is crucial and must be taken after considering numerous factors. One of the most important is the end use of the product and the targeted market. Most cucumber varieties are categorized into slicing (salad) and pickling types, with the picking ones being much smaller in size and crunchier. The fresh/sliced Cucumber varieties are mainly cultivated in gardens. One of the most important requirements is the uniformity of the fruits. The European or English cucumber is the most popular slicing cucumber variety. Nowadays, most cucumber hybrids used for commercial cultivation are gynoecious or “all-female flowers” or parthenocarpic. However, there are still many cucumber varieties that need to be pollinated in order to produce fruits. 

Due to the lower costs and the acceptable results, most cucumber growers (especially on larger scales) prefer direct sowing from February to early June (depending on the region and the local climate). The cucumber seeding requirement is 1-2.5 kg of seeds per hectare (0.9-2.2 lb per acre). Cucumber is usually planted in having 60 cm (24 inches) between the plants and 120-180 cm (48-72 in) between the rows. Some farmers use mulch to cover the soil around the plants to maintain good soil moisture. Row covers like plastic tunnels, plastic or fabric covers, and others can be used to boost earliness and protect cucumber seedlings in colder areas early in the season. The covers have to be removed when the temperature on the soil has reached 30 °C or/and the plants are flowering.

The general recommendation for an average expected yield of 30 tons of cucumber per hectare in open field cultivation is 50-120 kg of N, 40-100 kg of P, and 80-180 kg of K per hectare (45-107 lb N, 36-90 lb P and 71-160 lb K per acre. Usually, N is applied early in the season, and in multiple applications, phosphorus in 1 dose right before planting and K a bit later (to be available after 30-55 days after planting). Most farmers prefer to apply some compost or well-rotted manure 1-2 months before sowing to offer their plants the nitrogen and other nutrients needed for the first-growth sages. Irrigation is essential in most cases. Cucumber needs 2.5–5 cm (1–2 inches) of water per week. While there are other irrigation systems used in cucumber, drip irrigation is used in the majority of cucumber fields.

Cucumbers can suffer from plant diseases and pests. The most common diseases in the crop are Downy and Powdery mildew, Bacterial and Fusarium wilt. Similarly, aphids, spider mites and cucumber beetles are some of the most common pests infesting cucumber that, if left uncontrolled, can cause significant yield losses.

Cucumbers are usually harvested  50-60 days after planting, and the average yield of the crop in an open field could be around 8-40 tons per hectare (3-15 t/acre)

Cucumbers are stored in rooms with 10-13 °C (50-55 °F) temperature and 85-95% relative humidity (1,7). Cucumbers can be stored in such conditions for 10-20 days



Further reading

Cucumber History, Plant Information, Interesting facts, and Nutritional Value

How to grow cucumber for profit – Commercial cucumber cultivation

Principles for selecting the best Cucumber Variety

Cucumber Soil preparation, Soil, and Climate requirements, and Seeding requirements

Cucumber Irrigation – Water Requirements and Methods

Cucumber Fertilization Requirements and Methods

Cucumber Pests and Diseases

Weed Management in Cucumber Farming

Cucumber Yield, Harvest, and Storage


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