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Hydroponic Cucumbers

Hydroponic culture involves growing plants in nutrient solutions,

with or without the use of artificial substrates such as rockwool,
peat or sand to provide support for root growth. Cucumbers
(Cucumis sativa) grow well and have few difficulties under home
gardening hydroponic conditions. They are a common commercial
greenhouse hydroponic crop worldwide. Cucumbers are hardy in
U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through
11, though they are usually grown as annuals.

Substrate Choice

Choosing a substrate is not difficult. Cucumbers grow acceptably in

almost every substrate available to hydroponics, besides being
able to grow in just nutrient solution. However, research has
indicated that hydroponic cucumbers are more sensitive to drought
stress when grown on polyurethane foam rather than rockwool.


Hydroponics expert Dr. Howard Resh suggests that home growers

use general hydroponic formulations rather than making a specific
formulation, which is more difficult. Easily obtainable non-specific
formulations still give satisfactory production.Avoid problems by
using hydroponic fertilizers rather than general-purpose fertilizers.
According to B. A. Kratsky of the University of Hawaii, hydroponic
fertilizers contain proper amounts of all nutrients and help stabilize
the nutrient solution's acidity and alkalinity. He suggests adding
1/2 pound of a hydroponic fertilizer that has an N-P-K ratio of 10-
8-22, plus 2 ounces of magnesium sulfate to 10 gallons of water.
An alternative mixture uses 3 ounces of a 3-16-36 hydroponic
fertilizer, 3 ounces of soluble grade calcium nitrate and 2 ounces of
magnesium sulfate.

Cucumber Varieties

Home gardeners can grow most types of cucumber hydroponically.

Consider interesting cultivars such as lemon cucumbers, apple
cucumbers, Lebanese cucumbers, and the newer, small, sweet Beit
Alpha cucumbers. A difficulty with older, open-pollinated cucumber
varieties is that the fruit can become bitter if left too long on the
vine before you pick it or if the plant becomes stressed. To
duplicate commercially grown hydroponic cucumbers, grow hybrid
that are parthenocarpic -- producing seedless fruit without
fertilization -- and thin-skinned, such as "European" and "Long
English," also sometimes called Dutch-type cucumbers. These are
more difficult to grow since they need continuous, careful training
and pruning to grow and produce well.

Light and Temperature

Hydroponic cucumbers need high to medium light levels and warm

temperatures, so growing difficulties can occur during cloudy or
cool weather. Dutch-type cucumbers need temperatures between
60 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.Good growth occurs when daytime
temperatures are between 75 to 80 degrees F and night
temperatures don't fall below 65 degrees F. Beit Alpha cucumbers
have a wider temperature range, tolerating temperatures between
50 and 100 degrees F. If you don't have a greenhouse with
temperature and light control, grow hydroponic cucumbers during
the summer when appropriate conditions occur.

Plant Size

A downside to hydroponic cucumbers is that most are large plants.

Space hydroponic growing containers so cucumbers don't crowd
each other. In limited space, trellis the plants or grow bush-type
cultivars. In commercial greenhouses of Dutch-type cucumbers,
growers stretch a wire above the row of cucumbers and dangle
lengths of twine down to the top of the growing containers,
pruning and shaping the vine onto the twine and wire.


During the period of germination, the first root and shoot of the
cucumber plant emerge from the seed. Sensitive to cold,
cucumbers should not be direct seeded too early. If the soil
temperature is below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will
germinate very slowly; below 50 F it will not germinate at all.
Cucumber plants thrive between 75 and 85 F. Keep the soil moist
to aid germination and do not plant the seeds deeper than 1 1/2


After the first set of visible leaves appear, the cotyledon, true
leaves emerge and photosynthesis becomes the primary source of
nutrition for the young cucumber plant. During this stage, the
vines and leaves develop, and as the vines become longer and
stronger, loosely tying the cucumber vines to a sturdy wooden
trellis is recommended. You can also use a variety of other items,
like netting, fencing or metal garden cages. Keeping the vines off
the ground helps prevent disease and allows the cucumbers to
hang straight. Never handle the cucumber plant when it’s wet, as
it is very delicate and doing so could accidentally bruise or hurt the

Flowering and Fruit

As the plant grows, two types of flowers develop, male and female
blossoms, also known as staminate and pistillate. Staminate
blossoms drop from the vine, while pistillate blossoms, after
pollination, bear the cucumber fruit. Cucumbers during all stages,
but especially at this point, require a lot of water and nutrition.
Water daily if there is no rainfall or much humidity, as the shallow
roots of the plant can easily dry out. Organic mulch or compost
along with a nitrogen fertilizer can help feed the plant.


Depending on the variety, cucumbers will be ready to harvest

between 48 and 76 days from germination. As a fast-growing
plant, you can stagger planting cucumbers every couple of weeks
to provide a steady supply throughout the summer. Cucumbers are
eaten when still immature, before their seeds have hardened.
Harvesting too late gives you an overgrown, tough-textured
cucumber. An overgrown cucumber will start to turn yellow. During
the harvest period, you can expect to pick cucumbers at least
every day.


 A Literature on Plant without a soil - Hydroponics

This system helps to face the challenges of climate change and

also helps in production system management for efficient
utilization of natural resources and mitigating malnutrition.
Aeroponics is another techniques, more or less similar to hydroponics with
only difference that under aeroponics plants
are grown with fine drops (a mist or aerosol) of nutrient
solution[1]. In India, Hydroponics was introduced in year 1946
by an English scientist, W. J. Shalto Duglas and he established
a laboratory in Kalimpong area, West Bengal. He has also
written a book on Hydroponics, named as Hydroponics The
Bengal system. Later on during 1960s and 70s, commercial
hydroponics farms were developed in Abu Dhabi, Arizona,
Japan, Russian Federation and other countries. During 1980s,
many automated and computerized hydroponics farms were
established around the world. Home hydroponics kits became
popular during 1990s.



 Hydroponics finds its way into backyards

Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants without soil. It is not a new

concept. This technique is believed to have been practiced in the famous
hanging gardens of the ancient city of Babylon, which is considered one of the
ancient world’s eight wonders.

In the modern day setting, hydroponics provides the long-term solution for
vegetable production even under urban settings. With this, there is no issue
of “in and off-season” farming because hydroponics system allows for
uninterrupted farming.

Although hydroponics has been around for some time, it is only beginning to
find its way into the Philippine farm setting. Hydroponics farms are already
found in Cavite, and recently, in Clark Field, Pampanga. These hydroponics
systems, however, were developed abroad making it expensive and
unavailable for ordinary vegetable growers.

In a study conducted by Dr. Primitivo Jose Santos and Eureka Teresa Ocampo
of the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB), at the University of the Philippines
Los Baños (UPLB), the scientists found that vegetables like lettuce, sweet
pepper, celery, and cucumber can be successfully grown using a simple
hydroponics system called SNAP hydroponics.