The origin of cucumber goes back to India and West Asia. North India is the original home of the cucumber where the principal species is Cucumis Hardwicki , believed to be a form of wild cucumber. Cucumber has been known in in India for over 3000 years and was only introduced to Europe around 1000 years ago. Cucumbers were eaten by the people of Iraq and the ancient Babylonian city of Ur. and some say it spread from there to the countries of South Eastern Europe (Turkey and Bulgaria), then towards Greece and from Greece to the Romans, who loved it very much and then moved to China and spread it. The Romans used cucumbers not only as food, but to treat the bites of scorpions. The name "Cucumber" in English is a derivation of the words "Cow cumber" because in the 1600’s they were believed only fit for cows (Cow) and not for humans!
- Occurrence & Agricultural Importance in this Country:
- Cultivation Areas:
- Cucumber is one of the most important vegetable crops in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is widespread due to its growth fast and the maturity of an early and abundant production.
- Main Varieties:
- Class Bahi, Emperor
- Marketing Information and Uses:
- Cucumber is one of the important green summer crops. It is cultivated for local consumption (fresh or pickled). Cucumber is popular in the summer as a main meal eaten with cheese and bread.
- Mainly local consumption.
- Crop Management:
Cultivation conditions and methods:
- Soil Type:
- Cucumbers prefer deep soil, well-ventilated and rich in organic ingredients, although it is can be cultivated also in heavy soil so long as it is well drained and it helps to add organic fertilizer and a little of sand to improve the quality of soil. pH needs to be between 6 and 7.
- The optimum temperature for germination is between 15.5 – 35 c, while the crop grows between 18 – 24 C. High temperature leads to poor pollination (due dry pollen) and thus lower production. Exposure to cold temperatures below 7 C for long time can lead to death of the plant.
- Water Requirements:
Cucumber intolerant to salinity. Optimal production of cucumber is encouraged when irrigation is with fresh water (which has low concentration of chlorine less than 300 Ppm). If the irrigation water has high concentration of salinity the production will be low; for economic crops cucumber should not be irrigated with water of a high concentration of salinity (above 500ppm).
Cucumber is a crop that thrives on water and being thirsty will cause both growth inhibition and it will also impart a bitter taste to the friuts. In general plants require a large amount of water, estimated at 2-3 litre daily for each plant.
- Nutrition Requirements:
- Soil should be subject to soil analysis for nutrient availability.
- Harvesting Period:
- Harvesting for cucumber starts after 45 to 60 days from planting the seed and depends on many factors including variety and prevailing temperature during the period of growth. Harvest date is also determined depending on the size of the fruits required by the market. The crop is picked every 2- 3 days at the beginning of the season and then a daily then will be from 5- 7 days in cold climates and production can continue for 1.5 – 2.5 months according to climate and.
- Harvesting Methods:
- Hand picking