Cucumber Production- An Overview of OH numbers in 2013 and 2014
Overview and Data Considerations
- This data covers a couple of years of data (2013, 2014). So, the goal is to present to you an overview of crop yields and schedules.
- Several of the main cultivars that we carry and that our customers use were trialed. However, these data do not represent all cultivars at all times of year, so comparisons across years are limited,
- One of the most important things to keep in mind is that these trials were carried out in relatively small blocks imitating hydroponics at home. Our vine crop greenhouse is mostly dedicated to tomato production, so cucumber trials took place in units of 10-20 buckets on the western side of the greenhouse.
- In some respects, these small sections of space dedicated to hydroponic cucumber production are similar to many grower houses, but it is important to remember that yields can vary according to light in different locations within the greenhouse.
- These trials were all carried out in Lodi, OH, so we cannot account for location variation that may be seen in other areas or seasons.
- All of these trials were run with the plant maintained in an umbrella system. The majority of the crops were produced without pinching and were removed when the main leader reached the floor after traveling up to the wire and back down.
*40% white shade cloth was installed July 16th and removed August 20th, so these solar radiation averages reflect the loss of light in the greenhouse due to shading. Additionally, in the warmest and most humid portions of the summer, some condensation on the plastic also reduced incoming radiation.
** Data not available
*No shade cloth was installed in the greenhouse in 2014, so all light as represented above is the full amount allowed through the greenhouse covering.
Manar cucumbers are Beit Alpha or mini cucumbers. This cultivar tends to produce a mid-sized fruit. We often harvested at 6 to 8 inches in length. Manar has high resistance to powdery mildew, so it is recommended for spring through summer production. It is a generative plant that will produce multiple fruit per node; however, we generally only harvested one fruit per node in this trial. In this crop, plants were grown with 8 ft2 per plant ( one plant per Bato bucket). Fruit were removed on the first 8 -10 nodes and that is one of the reasons for the long period of time from transplant to first pick.
Spring/Summer 2014- Eldora Cucumber
Eldora cucumbers are a long English cultivar. Fruit are generally harvested at 12 to 15 inches in length. Eldora has high resistance to powdery mildew, so it is recommended for spring through summer production. In this crop, plants were grown with 8 ft2 per plant ( one plant per Bato bucket). Fruit were removed on approximately the first 5 nodes, and only one fruit per node was allowed to mature to harvestable size.
Harvest Period in Detail- Mini 2014
*Total harvest weight per picking for the entire crop cycle
A few closing thoughts
This overview has thrown quite a bit of data at you the reader, but hopefully some of it has been useful. I would like to close with a few comments and certainly feel free to email or call with any further questions.
- Due to management and environmental factors, these yield numbers are not appropriate for basing production estimates in your operation.
- That being said, there are some general trends that can be useful to you in planning. Typically, growers can produce from 3 to 5 (or even more if all mini) crops in the greenhouse per year. It is clear from these numbers, though, that those crops are not likely to have the same number of days. It was common for the fall and winter crops to be in the buckets longer to produce similar yield per plant.
- Comparing the smaller cucumber data to the long English data is also useful. It is clear that the plants will often have harvestable fruit at a younger age and provide more harvestable fruit per plant. This more rapid maturation and heavier fruit load (by #) is much of the reason that the cropping cycle is typically shorter for the mini cucumber.
- One element not covered in detail in this trial is the fact that training methods can be important. We typically use a version of the umbrella method that allow the plant to grow up and over the support cable and then back down. More intensive training systems and pruning methods (we did not allow fruit to bear on lateral branches) would impact fruit load and yield. Likewise, we used a low plant density to reduce crop management burden and optimize light interception and yield.
Vine Crops cucumber production hydroponic hydroponics