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Vegetables. Slicing Cucumber Production

Vegetables. Slicing Cucumber Production

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Published by: Na kamura Nakamura on Apr 04, 2012
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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Fact Sheetsare also available on our website at:
Slicing CucumberProduction
Potassium per acre
When test shows 0 to 99 100 to 149 150 to 199 200 to 249 250+Add lbs K
O 250 150 100 50 none
Apply 50 lbs/A N with the P
and K
O ertil-izer, as shown in the preceding table, in a preplant incorporatedapplication. When vines begin to run, topdress with an ad-ditional 50 lbs/A N. On soils where severe leaching occurs,more N may be needed. Care should be taken not to applytoo much N early in vine development as this will encouragevine growth and retard ruit set.
Spacing and Planting
Cucumbers are usually seeded in single rows at 1 to 2pounds per acre at a depth o 1/2 to 1 inch. Row spacingsvary rom 3 to 6 eet. Final plant spacing should be 9 to 12inches in the row on irrigated land and 15 to 18 inches on dryland. Plants should be thinned beore the our-lea stage ithe stand is too thick. Cucumber seed will not germinate atsoil temperatures below 60°F, and the most rapid germina-
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service 
Jim Motes
Extension Vegetable Specialist
Warren Roberts
Extension Vegetable Specialist
Jonathan Edelson
Entomology Specialist
John Damicone
Extension Plant Pathologist
Jim Duthie
Extension Plant Pathologist
Production Requirements
Cucumbers are a warm season crop and susceptible torost damage. Low humidity is avorable to cucumber produc-tion because o lower incidences o ruit and oliar diseases.Extremely high temperatures may cause light green ruit colorand bitterness in many cucumber varieties. Cucumbers willgrow on almost any well-drained soil. Light, sandy loam soilsare preerred or early production. A good slicing cucumberyield in Oklahoma is 300 bushels per acre, although muchhigher yields are possible.
Varieties producing all emale owers (gynoecious types)produce ruit earlier and have more concentrated production.In experimental trials the ollowing varieties have producedhigh yields o marketable ruit and have resistance or toler-ance to common diseases. They all have the uniorm greenruit color required in the marketplace.Burpee Hybrid Comet A IIDasher II Marketmore 80Slice Master Sprint 440 IIVictory
Soil pH and Fertilizer
Apply lime to maintain a soil pH between 5.5 and 6.8 ipH is low. On a lbs/A basis, cucumber plants absorb about120N, 20P, and 115K rom the soil. Based on OSU soil testresults the ollowing quantities o P
and K
O are recom-mended.
Phosphorus per acre
When test shows 0 to 19 20 to 39 40 to 69 70 to 99 100+Add lbs P
/A 100 75 50 25 0
tion occurs at 95°F, so delay planting until ater the date othe last spring rost. Seedlings are very sensitive to chillinginjury and will be stunted and leaves will become brittle andturn white under cold growing conditions.
Weed Control
Shallow mechanical cultivation and hand hoeing areneeded to control weeds beore plants have vined. Pruningroots and vines with cultivating equipment slows cucumberdevelopment and reduces yield. Cucumber roots otenspread horizontally aster than the vines and many roots arevery shallow. A limited number o pre-emergence herbicidesare available that will control germinating broadlea weedsand grasses in seeded and transplanted cucumbers i usedproperly. Chemicals are economical when used in narrowband applications over the planted row. Other chemicalscan be used as a layby application between the rows beorevines begin to run. Consult the most recent revision o OSUExtension Fact No. 6008
Weed Control in Vegetables 
or thelatest edition o OSU Extension Circular E-832 OSU
Exten- sion Agent’s Handbook o Insect, Plant Disease, and Weed Control 
.As runners are being ormed, cultivate each row in thedirection that vines are to be trained. Always cultivating inthe same direction keeps the vines in the row, produces anarrow row, and reduces vine injury when workers harvestthe crop.
Field Scouting for Plant and Pest Devel-opment
Fields should be scouted at minimum once per weekater planting by walking across the entire feld in a V-shape orX-shape pattern and recording plant development, and weedand insect occurrence and numbers. Results o surveys willbe needed to make decisions regarding projection o harvestdate, need to bring in honeybees or pollination, and pestcontrol inputs.I known, scout or diseases in areas o a feld in whichdiseases tend to appear frst. Otherwise, use the V-shapeor X-shape sampling pattern outlined or insects. Some oliardiseases will appear where air circulation is reduced andleaves remain wet, such as in low areas and along borderssheltered by trees. Foliar diseases typically appear frst oncrown leaves close to the base o the main stem. Shadedcrown leaves oten senesce and could be mistaken or disease.Root diseases tend to appear where soil remains wettest,such as in low areas and in heavier soils.
Fields previously in sod or having heavy inestations oweeds in the prior year should be treated with a soil-appliedinsecticide at planting to control soil insect pests includingcutworms. Small seedlings are extremely susceptible to eed-ing damage rom adult striped and spotted cucumber beetlesand may need to be treated with a oliar applied insecticideto prevent complete deoliation and/or inection by bacterialwilt which is transmitted by cucumber beetles. Squash bugsmust be controlled early in the growing season and can bestbe located by examining the underside o leaves or eggswhich are laid in groups. Aphids and mites can cause dam-age to leaves and leave deposits on ruit, reducing marketableyield. Low numbers can be tolerated throughout most o theseason and scouting results will indicate whether populationsare increasing and should be controlled.Good ruit set and development or cucumbers aredependent upon insects, primarily honeybees, to pollinatethe emale owers. Flowers are receptive to pollination ora matter o hours on the day they open. Flowers should beexamined to determine activity o honeybees. I ewer thanone bee per ten owers is noted during the morning hours,the producer should bring bee hives into the feld to ensureadequate pollination.
Cucumber is susceptible to several diseases that attackthe roots, oliage, and ruit. The most common diseases inOklahoma have been anthracnose, angular lea spot, downymildew, bacterial wilt, powdery mildew, and virus diseases.Gummy stem blight, damping-o, and root-knot nematodesalso have been problems. Consult OSU Extension CircularE-853
Cucurbit Production and Pest Management or E-929 Guide or Identifcation and Management o Diseases to Cucurbit Vegetable Crops 
to help identiy these diseases.Disease control is essential in the production o high qualityslicing cucumbers. A preventive program that combines theuse o cultural practices, genetic resistance, and chemicalcontrol as needed usually provides the best results.Cultural practices are useul or limiting the establish-ment, spread, and survival o pathogens that cause cucum-ber diseases. Many o the ungal, bacterial, and nematodepathogens survive in old crop debris and in soil. Fields shouldbe rotated with non-cucurbit crops or at least three years toreduce pathogen levels. Grass crops are ideal or rotationswhere nematodes are a problem. Select well-drained soils tominimize damping-o, root rots, and ruit rots. Late plantingsshould not be situated nearby and downwind o early plantedcucurbit felds where oliar or virus diseases already exist.Avoid the movement o contaminated soil or plant debrisinto clean felds on workers or equipment. Diseases such asanthracnose, angular lea spot, and gummy stem blight areknown to be carried on seed. This can lead to the introductiono diseases into clean felds. Purchase seed rom reputablesources and apply a ungicide seed treatment prior to plant-ing. Most oliar diseases are spread by water-splash or areavored by long periods o lea wetness. Utilize drip irrigationor avoid requent sprinkler irrigation with small amounts owater. Finally, use tillage practices soon ater harvest thatpromote the rapid decomposition o old vines and ruit.The use o disease-resistant varieties is an economicalmeans o controlling diseases. In slicing cucumber, excellentresistance is available to most o the important diseases andvariety selection should be the primary method o diseasecontrol. Several varieties are resistant to angular lea spot,anthracnose, downy mildew, powdery mildew, scab, and oneor more virus diseases. Consult OSU Extension Circular E-853
Cucurbit Production and Pest Management 
or a listingo locally adapted varieties with disease resistance.Given proper cultivar selection, oliar disease manage-ment with ungicides should not be necessary unless gummystem blight becomes a problem. Fields should be monitoredat least weekly or early disease detection. A spray program
should be initiated shortly ater the frst appearance o gummystem blight. A 14-day schedule is adequate. Managemento bacterial wilt may require the use o insecticide to controlcucumber beetles which spread the disease. Consult OSUExtension Circular E-832 OSU
Extension Agent’s Handbook o Insect, Plant Disease, and Weed Control 
or a listing oungicides approved or use on cucumbers.
Pesticide Applications
Insecticide applications should be made only whennecessary as determined using results o feld surveys. Forcontrol o diseases, ungicides are most eective when appliedbeore disease begins to increase. The potential or very rapidincrease is greatest shortly beore harvest when the canopyis most dense or anytime during rainy periods. Insecticidesand ungicides should be selected based on proven eective-ness. Ground applications should be applied in a minimumspray volume o 20 gallons per acre at 40 psi pressure toensure adequate canopy penetration and oliar coverage.Aerial application should be applied in a minimum volumeo 5 gallons per acre. Chemigation is an eective method oapplying some ungicides.Bee hives maintained near felds or pollination must beprotected rom spray drit by removing the hives or coveringthem. Additionally, the bees working the felds must be pro-tected by using insecticides with a low toxicity to bees and bywithholding applications until late in the day when bees areless active.
Irrigate with moderate amounts o water since cucum-bers root only 3 to 4 eet deep but have many shallow roots.Moisture stress during harvest can seriously reduce the yieldo marketable ruit. When overhead irrigation is used, watershould be applied early in the day so leaves can dry beorenightall to reduce the incidence o ruit-rotting and oliagediseases.
In normal seasons, the frst picking can be made 45 to60 days ater planting. Generally, cucumbers are harvestedevery two or three days, but under ideal growing conditions,daily harvest may be needed to harvest a high percentageo ancy grade ruit. When picking, do not pull the cucumberrom the vine. This may tear the ruit and damage the vine.When picked properly, the stem is pushed o the ruit withthe thumb. Cucumbers must be resh and crisp when re-ceived by the consumer. The market desires a uniorm darkgreen cucumber that is well ormed, straight, and o mediumsize. This requires requent picking and careul handlingand grading. Trellising will improve the quality and color othe cucumbers, but extra labor and supplies are required toconstruct and remove the trellis, and train the plants to growonto the trellis. Allowing ruit to become too large on thevine will reduce quality and yield o the crop.
Post-Harvest Handling and Marketing
Cucumbers can be held 10 to 14 days at 50°F and90 to 95% relative humidity. The ruits are very susceptibleto shriveling so the relative humidity must be kept high. Be-low 50°F cucumbers are subject to chilling injury and at hightemperatures they turn yellow. Do not store with ruits thatproduce ethylene such as ripe tomatoes, apples, or canta-loupes. Slicing cucumbers are usually waxed ater washingand grading. This adds slightly to the cost o production, butimproves appearance and is eective in preventing shrinkageand loss o reshness during storage, shipping, and marketing.Cucumbers are normally packed and sold in cartons or cratesholding 50 to 55 pounds.
Related Extension Publications
E-832 OSU Extension Agent’s Handbook o Insect, PlantDisease, and Weed Control.E-853 Cucurbit Production and Pest Management.E-929 Guide or Identifcation and Management o Diseaseso Cucurbit Vegetable Crops.

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