Have you ever wondered how you can start a cucumber farming business? You wish to own a cucumber farm but don’t know how to go about it?
Anyway, in this blog post we willl be going through practical process to start a cucumber farm from beginning to harvest your product.
I will try as much as possible to neglect all scientific terms we are use to in school like plare used one degree, temp, to rainfall one-degree unnecessary botanical names.
The full potentials of agribusiness opportunities in the world have not been fully tapped; there is an abundance of opportunities yet to be fully explored by agripreneurs.
One of the untapped opportunities in agribusiness is cucumber farming.
Understanding cucumber farming
Cucumber farming is a very profitable agribusiness due to its popularity, acceptance and health benefits.
Individuals who have invested in cucumber farming in the world can attest to its profitability. Cucumber is not as complex as other areas of agriculture; one can start cucumber farming with little or no experience in farming.
THIS IS GOING TO BE PARTIALLY ORGANIC CUCUMBER FARMING
Why partially organic because generally in some under developing countries like Nigeria, Congo, South Africa etc. Nobody can practice full organic yet.
The reason being that they would still make use of certified seed which is not organic but the use of chemical should be limited.
Cultivation of cucumber require some factors which require explained as below and the reason behold all those factors.
It is through cucumber seed that you will be able to determine whether you can make more profit in a plot of land of cucumber.
Now ask your self these questions:
The cucumber seed you have with you, is it local or foreign?
Open or closed seed?
Hybrid or General seed?
If you are venturing into cucumber or any other agribusiness please don’t go for local seed ever again just because they are cheap.
As cheap as they are, they won’t let you breakeven or make reasonable profit.
The reasons are:
- Some seeds can produce 1tonne of cucumber per hectare each harvest, others can produce 500kg, 200kg, even as low as 50kg.
- And some can produce up to 2-3 tones under the same agricultural conditions. A kG of cucumber sells for minimum of $1-$2 in wholesale depending on the season you cultivate them.
The 2nd objective of seed is that it tends to tell you how many times you can harvest your produce.
Some are 3-5 times, some 5-10times while a select few can go 15-20 times before they wither. (Other factors contribute to how long harvest lasts)
ISSUES ON VARIETIES.
Cucumber has several varieties but we have some varieties that are best left for the experts these are Burpee, greengo, darina etc.
These GreengopDarinan oceious species is high synoecious female to male flower, the ratio is high in some that every leaf comes with a female flower.
After reading through this guide, you will become an expert in this field because we touch every aspects you needed.
To clear the burden of no pollination these are what we can do which is planting a simple monoceious variety like markmonoeciousks before we marketer high yield type (Murano) in the same farm.
So when the high yield female will come bees will have male flowers around for good pollination, but we have to be ready for every 2 days fertilization of this plant with nutrient if possible everyday! yes, every day because everyday we go to works place.
In the absence, the workplace can decide to plant Murano alone but be ready with daily fertilizer application and wetting.
As for me, Burpee is still the best.
So i would say Burpee seed is vital factors for a successful cucumber farming.
As an expert i would recommend Burpee Straight Eight Slicing Cucumber Seeds.
It’s contain 200 seeds.
Don’t even bother planting cucumber if you do not have source of water.
After land which is your initial fixed asset water should be the next factor in crop production.
Let me ask you this question;
Can “cyber café ever operate without adequate electricity supplyly or network subscription”
The answer is probably NO. This is what we are not getting right in agriculture today, how can a cattle eat all of your farm (Please let us think very well).
So you would need adequate water supply in other to run a cucumber farm ing business.
But in the absence of rainfall there’s another option left for you in agriculture which we termed ‘Irrigation’
This is where irrigation comes in. Over 70-85% of cucumber composition is water. Yes! Water…
The need for constant water cannot be underestimated. And for this, irrigation is key.
Please wherever you are developing land, once the land is secure from pests the next thing we should do is to secure a constant source of water.
It could be a nearby stream or It could still sink bore-hole in the land.
Please if you don’t have constant source of water, ccumber farming is not for you.
This is because if the plants are not well watered, the primary well-watered the products will be bitter.
Have you eaten bitter cucumber before? Let’s just say it’s a combination of quinine and bitter leaf.
Nobody will buy it from you or or would you use your money to pirchase a bitter cucumber?
Secondly, the plants won’t last long before they wither. Which would not allow you to harvest as many times as you need to.
In Agricuture today we have what we called HRM (Human Resource Management)
This is where your labour falls in. I was made realized that your labourers must be experienced in such agricultural sector you want to venture into.
It’s only works in other sectors that workers would said (either market comes or not, the sales agent would collect salary) now the reverse alarm case.
If the farm did not make sales under one worker management it will delay his/her salary also. Funny but that is the bitter truth.
Labourer can kill your business and make your business a successful one.
HRM explain how you can treat your labourers even in your absence laboratory will be running smoothly.
This is a broad topic that I can tackle here.
I remember one cucumber farmer I met sometimes ago , he said that his first fam was a plot of land and he handled it by himself, he only hired labour when making the beds.
He told me he made $300 in 2 months. Like I was shocked! And I even joked that don’t play joke with me.
He now explains everything to me in details.
But later he extended his farmland to 1 acre of land and hired (4 workers).
He was expecting to make at least $2000 or $2400. But he only made $1000. And had to pay their salaries of $600. ($100 each for 2 months). He was disappointed that his projected analysis was not met.
He said there are two things about workers especially from African countries:
- An average African youth wants to get rich quickly but not ready to work. Believe me they are very lazy to the bone.
- If it’s not my fathers business, they are very dangerous to destroy whatever you are building.
I’ll therefore suggest that you should build up your labour force gradually with laboring, trust and hardworking personnel.
PESTS and DISEASES.
I think this is one the serious problems we have about agriculture in Nigeria. Pest is a very serious problem expecialy when you are dealing with vegetable production but their solution is very simple.
We farmers are sometimes to be blame on the use of inorganic chemicals.
The issue is, we all know that Pests is usually a problem to compare with because it’s a deadly situation.
The reason is, the major pests of cucumber are insects, and cucumber needs some insects for pollination like butterfly, bees e.t.c other insect will just eat another infected leaf and stunt the production of the crop.
This is common, there is something we call ECONOMIC THRESHOLD LEVEL meaning the cost of controlling the pest will provide an economic return, this is practiced in organic agriculture by fertigation and pestigation (sorry I coined investigational) of organic controls for your plant.
I recommend this kaoline product from amazon, though you need to use it very wisely. Its advisable you apply in the evening or at night.
Organic agriculture is the key for cucumber farming.
It is also the pest population at which control measures should be initiated to prevent population rising above ECONOMIC INJURY LEVEL.
EIL is the minimum pest population which causes economic injury level.
So the question is “How do I spray pesticide on the crop without killing the beneficial insects”?
After much research and research findings. I realize this Cucumber (other examples Okra , pepper, tomato etc) produces colourful flowers and that colorfulttracts butterflies and bees (useful insects) for pollination.
While the other insects come to suck leaf and live on the leaf. So when the flowers are not bright the useful insects fly away.
When are the flowers not so bright? IN THE NIGHT!!! So the best time to spray insecticde/pesticide on cucumber that will not kill useful insects is in the evening or night.
I tried to create a symbiotic relationship for plant so that they can have a mutually benefit from each other on the issue of pollination, insect control, and weed control which is what I called INTEGRATED CROP PRODUCTION.
I realize that I can plant some plant that will benefit plantings during their production period.
There was this research article I came across online
“The idea behind companion cropping is to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem and functionally diverse plant community to increase individual plant production,” he said;
“When we have different crops that fill different functional niches, we find diverse planting that can produce more overall and decrease input costs.”
Peanuts and cowpeas are legumes, which fix nitrogen from the air and supply it as nitrates to companion plants, Masabni said. Watermelons were chosen as a smother crop to suppress weeds and provide soil shading to conserve water moisture.
Okra was chosen for its tall growth form and as a potential pollinator attractor due to its large showy flowers.
Hot peppers were chosen as a potential pest barrier.
Franco utilized five treatments to test the intercropping system within the same rows, including a row of peanuts and watermelons; peanuts, watermelons, and okra; peanuts, watermelon, on, okra and cowpeas; a row of all five plant species; and a strip intercropping system of peanuts and watermelons consisting of alternating single rows.
We found that three to four species consistently yielded higher per-unit land area compared to crops grown alone,” Franco said.
“We reduced inputs like fertilizers and herbicides. We actually used minimal fertilizer and no herbicides, and the only major input we utilized was irrigation. So we enhanced resource use efficiency by planting the crops together.”
Masabni said intercropping is an ideal method for small-acreage growers with limited land space.
“The results are encouraging for these growers because we proved you can get better yields if you choose the right crop combinations of nitrogen fixing legumes, talnitrogen-fixing other crops,” he said.
“It makes me wonder how they knew to do this, but Native Americans knew exactly what they were doing, and we’ve proved the concept works.”
The type of soil is very important vital to the performance. Basically, you should look for a soil that absorbs and retains water. (Loamy and semi-clay).
Soil preparation is the key top dressing with organic manure a week before planting.
After the initial top dressing, you need to apply manure/fertilizer during the vegetative stage and mega super continous manure/fertilizer continuous flowering/fruiting stage.
This is to ensure continuous harvest for a longer period. For every harvest, you must fertigate your crop to ensure continous harvest.
Here is the secret about inorganic fertilizers be it NPK or Superphosphate, they only make your plant to be healthy and fine (Green in colour) but do not increase colored of the plant.
The yield of the plant is proportional to the variety you want to plant and render your land useless after 3 years of use.
My primary school definition about weed is an unwanted plant that grow on an unwanted area.
So if you see a maize growing among hundreds of cucumber plant, it is considered as a weed.
Weed is dangerous to the crop at a young age.
This is because it competes with the young cucumber for nutrients.
The best labour to labor weeding people and they can exhaust.
And if the cost of production is becoming too high it will become a problem for we farmers. So that is where CONSERVATIVE AGRICULTURE COMES IN.
Materials use in conservative agriculture are:
- Plant leaves
- Saw dust (newly found ideas) Sawdustg films.
The last one is common for some farmers in Nigeria today. Why conservative agriculture?
Its prevents the growth of weed and the other two will serve as nutrient for your plant. This shows that you can be free of weeding in cucumber farming.
This is the best and the last. Agronomy can shortly be defined as the technology used in food production and processing and soil science.
After knowing the factors to consider when venturing into cucumber farming and all the factors are being procured already. The next thing to do is our land preparation and normal planting.
This includes land preparation, ridge or bed making staking, mulching.
Land preparation: This is done after acquiring your land be it one hectare or plot which involve ploughing, harrowing, ridginplowing making.
As a starter please start with either a plot or two plots because cucumber is not easy.
After clearing of the land, the next step application of manure and this should be done a week before planting.
Please only apply manure at the hole you wish to plant the seed in order to maximize the use of your manure.
Selection of seed: This is one of the important factors that determine the success of cucumber farm worldwide.
Buy seeds only from a reputable source, do not buy seeds from an open market. Purchase seeds of cucumber that favour the climate of your farm.
You can always get varieties of seeds from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) nearest to you.
Planting: Cucumber can be planted at any time of the year.
Cucumber needs adequate water to thrive, so if you’re planting during the dry season, there should be an irrigation system in place to ensure sufficient water supply to the plant.
You can plant on the bed and you should ensure the right spacing between the plants.
Plant 2/3 seed in a hole where the organic manure is. Make sure to plant either in the morning or evening.
After planting, it is necessary to support the growing plant with stakes or pillars. This is because cucumber plants are climbers by nature and they require the necessary support for optimal growth.
Staking is very compulsory in cucumber farming and that is the most hardest work to do in the production of cucumber.
Don’t chop the money alone, be successful together with your friend, engage that friend of yours today so the whole burden will not be on your neck. Agriculture is wide!
Fertilization and pestigation:
The first term investigation of fertilizer for your cucumber plant through drip irrigation while the latter is a term I coined myself meaning application of pesticide to the control and not to kill the insects because some insect are beneficial.
Here is the list about cucumber, plant when others are not planting (plant during the dry season when farmers are not planting that makes you smart farmer).
Here are some little facts about dry season farming I later find out:
From my earlier statement about fertilizer that I said INORGANIC FERTILIZER DO NOT INCREASE THE YEILD OF OUR PLANT, IT ONLY YIELD THE PLANT TO LOOK HEALTHY.
we spray insecticide if we see any insects that can cause damages but now dry season it is much we spray systemic insecticide weekly to chase leaf miner, going 100% organic is a good idea considering that NPK fertilizer on cucumber stem.
in this heat will cause many mortality we are seeing much but you will be spraying foliar fertilizer weekly its better and the crops abstract it quickly than NPK.
NB-treat your soil with wormforce or apply poultry workforce planting to chase nematode so you can harvest 8-10 times or more.
Heat stress makes cucumbers to yield less I will not surprised if we didn’t meet the yield figures during rainy season.
In the absence of organic agriculture, we should make use of the following insecticides.
Insecticides should not be applied speculatively on cucumbers you only use when you see signs of insect attack like cucumber beetle, leaf foot bug(the blabeetles ance)
leaf miners and aphids these are common cuke pests that you can easily see the damage then use these insecticides because of low toxicity to bees, laraforce gold, actara, imiforce, aceta force, actorfenforcesacetate all systemic no nonsense insecticides, but no-nonsense is fruiting and bees are foraging use only actara very low toxicity to bees, spray a mixture of saaf fungicide(mancozeb+carbendazim) and ridomil gold(metexyl mefemoxen+copper sulphate)
Every week, don’t sulfate any cucumber disease that can survive the onslaught of these 4 active ingredients.
Cucumber is usually harvested after 40-45 days after planting depending on the variety planted. Harvested cucumber when the fruit is still green in color, avoid the cucumber is not ripe before you harvest them.
Harvesting of cucumber is usually done manually with hands and the fruits should be handled with care to prevent bruises and damages.
After harvest, wash the cucumber in water and packaged for sale
Marketing After Harvesting Cucumbers can be sold in retail, wholesale, in a market near you, or to companies that specialize in cucumber processing.
All you need to do is ensure that the cucumbers are green, big, attractive, fresh and juicy, and of a high quality.
Cucumbers are in high demand, and as long as you inform target markets that you have cucumbers you will have them waiting in line to buy them.
Lets do a projected analysis let’s plot of land:
A plot of land measured 120x60ft or 150 x 50ft in some areas.
A bed that measured 12 x 6ft is employed
60/6=10 10×10=100 beds.
This shows that a plot of land will give 100 beds or 90 using 12x6ft
A plot of land can accommodate how many plant? Using a ft spacing implants between plant will give.
The length measured 12ft a foot interval will give a total of 6 plant
Breath 6ft= 3 plant. 6×3 will give= 18 plant in a bed.
18×100 beds=plants plant populabtion
A plant will prpopulationruit or even more than that but lets say 1 fruit per stand= let’s fruit minimum.
A bag of murano variety consist of abMurano-80 fruit consisted of its big size.
1200 fruits divided by 80= 15 bags
A bag is sold for 4,500 just an example bcs its usually more than thBCS4500 x 10= 67,500
And you can harvest for like 3 times or more
This is just the least projected analysis, am very sure is more than the is.
You can only achieve this if you do the necessary procedure
Don’t forget this is just the least projected cost. We always make more than this in our cucumber farm.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FERTILIZER AND PESTICIDE
The materials needed are:
Plant leaves: after the initial clearing of land please let us try and gather the leaves and soak them in a drum for atleast 7days.
Poultry manure: this should be soak in water also for 7days. This material is doing two works as fertilizer and nematicide, soak in water as the rest.
Grinded eggshellike The residue Ground poultry maure, ash and eggshell manure extracted and apply a week before planting to the ridges.
The liquid solution should be extracted and mixed together
Pesticide: The materials
Orange peel, ginger, neem leaf or oil (neem oil is very effective than leaf but that cannot be explained here, that is for those that wish to buy our ebook guide)
These materials should be partially cooked and the water should be extracted.
The last material is Black soap: This will make the liquid solution stay on top of the leave of plant for more hours we called it Adjuvants in agriculture.
Theses two products can be combines together to producee continous spraying.
I called continuous product simple 2 in 1 liquid NPK and pesticide.
There is more to organic fertilizer and pesticide which is not reveal here you can cis not revealed more information about it.
Conclusion On How To Start Cucumber Farming
As you can see, we have analyzed every information you need to get started as a cucumber farmer, it os now depends on you to utilize the information given.
Period is just a term when we are talking about cucumber farming
As an agriculturist or a business oriented farmer, you business-orienteers are, not planting
And more so when you have a stable market you can produce any time of the year.
What are your thoughts on this topic we just treated on cucumber farming?
Don’t forget to share with fellow farmers, friends, and family.