Before starting your cucumber farming business, here are some important factors you need to put into consideration and the best ways to handle them.
1. Carryout a Good Research
First you have to make a good and adequate research on what cucumber is all about and how to grow one.
2. Make a good business plan
After you might have gathered your research findings then the next step is to make a business plan which will help you organize and plan your farm the way it should be.
You might want to shy away from this thinking that it is unimportant but believe me it is. A well organized business is the path to its growth.
3. Select a Good Location
It is advisable to consider looking for a loamy-clay soil because as cucumbers need enough water as 90% of it contains water therefore a loamy-clay soil can absorb and retain water.
Cucumbers requires enough sunlight, therefore the land to be chosen for planting should not have shades that will prevent sunlight from entering and also prevent your cucumbers from growing well.
The site should also be easily accessible, to aid in the easy transportation of your cucumbers and also for the buyers. The site of the land required largely depends on the capacity of the cucumber farming you want to cultivate.
4. Sourcing for seeds
The success of your cucumber farming largely depends on the seed used for the cultivation, therefore the choice of seed and the source should be critically considered.
5. Land Preparation
The land to be used must be cleared and all weeds must be removed for best results then make the beds for appropriate and coordinated spacing. The use of herbicides to weeding should be prevented as it can make the soil inappropriate for the cucumber growth.
Moisten the soil if it is dry, before planting and ensure that the pH of the soil is well balanced; if possible, the pH of the soil should be fairly neutral-slightly alkaline, that is, pH level close to 7.0.
Fertilize the soil before planting your cucumber, you can use NPK 15:15:15 or you can also use organic manure but it is recommended that you use organic manure to make the soil natural and for the health of the crops.
Read Also: 13 Health Benefits of Cucumbers
6. Planting methods in Cucumber Farming
During the planting process in the field, push the cucumbers seeds slightly into the soil on the beds at about 1 inch into the top of the soil. The planting space should be between 45.72 to 92.44 cm apart (for planting seeds or seedlings/transplanted seeds).
After planting the seeds, stakes should be built at the sides of the beds to support the cucumber leaves as they grows because cucumbers are mostly climbers and so they generally, require supports to grow.
As soon as the seedlings sprout up, mulch the vacant soil with mulching films: Mulching is an act of covering the vacant beds (where you did not plant the seeds therefore Make an opening where you plant your seeds for growing) of the soil with long/roll of dark nylon which can be easily purchased in markets.
To put the mulch, use a shovel to open the sides at the edge of the beds and tuck the films in it. The reason why you are mulching is because it is very good for keeping the soil warm and moist and also help in controlling the quick growth of weeds. If you intend to plant it in the nursery and then transplant the seedlings to the field, make sure you fertilize the soil.
7. Time for Planting and Irrigation
Cucumbers can be planted anytime of the years, provided that you provide it with enough and adequate water.
Therefore adequate arrangement must be made for the source of water which could be from a nearby stream or a borehole source which you could use sprinklers to spray, also control erosion, too much damp or drought.
Manual weeding must be done at about 20-30 days after planting then apply placid liquid fertilizer or preferably organic fertilizer every two weeks
Try to prevent the leaves from turning yellow, but if it does then apply a high nitrogen fertilizer but do not over fertilize the plants.
9. Pests and Diseases in a Cucumber Farm
One of the most important obstructions which affect the successful growth of your cucumber farming business in Nigeria is pest and diseases.
Some flies which usually perches on the cucumbers leaves are good like the butterfly and bees, they do not eat the leaves but only perches on the leaves during the day because of the brightness of the cucumbers flower but some insects which eats the leave destroys the plant.
Pests like anthracnose, mildew, mosaic, lady bird, beetles and grasshoppers are among the leave destroyers. Target when they use to come and spray insecticides at regular intervals to control these pests also control monkeys, cow, cattle and goats, these animals eats the leaves and fruits as they grows which causes loss in your cucumber productions.
Diseases like Alternaria leaf blight, Angular leaf spot, Anthracnose, Aphids etc should also be looked out for and prevent.
10. Harvesting and Marketing in Cucumber Farming
Cucumber are harvested when their color appears green and ensure not to harvest cucumbers when it is ripe because the fruits will be yellow in color and nobody will like to buy this kind of cucumber.
Before harvesting, find buyers who are interested in purchasing the fruit to prevent it from spoiling after storage. The maturity day of cucumber is between 40-45 days; though this depends on the type of seeds you buy. Harvesting is done manually with hands and should to be handled with care to prevent bruises and damages.
After harvest, wash them quickly in a basin of water and arrange them carefully in bags ready for sell.