Cucumbers plants belong to the kingdom Plantae, higher classification Cucumis and have the scientific name Cucumis Sativus. This plant is a family member of Cucurbitaceae. Cucumbers have nutritious seeds and the peels. Cucumber is believed to have a variety of nutritional value to a human body when consumed.
They contain vitamin K and vitamin C. Vitamin k is believed to aid in blood clots. It also contains fiber that helps prevent constipation. It has high water content that is important to a human being when consumed as it helps prevent dehydration.
Cucumbers have low amounts of calories and hence recommendable for consumption to all kinds of people including those with blood sugar problems. Cucumbers are believed to help manage blood sugar levels. Those willing to lose weight voluntarily or on medical grounds can consume cucumbers for better results.
Cucumbers are classified into three group types. The three groups comprise of;
1. Slicing cucumbers which include the English cucumbers, the muncher cucumbers, and the ashley cucumbers among others. They have thin skins which do not have to be peeled. They are modified in a way they have lesser chemicals so that when consumed they do not cause stomach upsets.
2. The pickling cucumbers. These types of cucumbers are pickled in a solution and then left to ferment. The solution could be acidic or vinegar. Examples of this category of cucumbers are the English hothouse cucumbers.
3. The specialty cucumbers. They include the lemon cucumbers and the greenhouse cucumbers.
When to fertilize
Once the cucumber has been planted and started germinating it is important for the farmer to start watering. Enough amounts of water leads to quality cucumber production.
After a short period of time the planted cucumbers start producing some blossoms. This now becomes the right and adequate time to apply fertilizer. It is always recommendable to use an all purpose type of fertilizer. An all purpose type of fertilizer that is water soluble. Use a kind of fertilizer that is rich in these three nutrients. The nutrients are the nitrogen, the phosphate nutrients and the potassium
Check for the fertilizer bags with 12-12-12 labels or those with 10-10-10 labels. The fertilizer bag with the 12-12-12 label means that it has equal portions of the three nutrients that is nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. The nitrogen nutrients help in the growth of the plant foliage. The other two nutrients that is the potassium and the phosphate nutrients help with the plant production.
How to fertilize
The fertilizer is scattered on the ground of the plant. The person scattering the fertilizer should take thorough cautions not to apply on the plants leaves as it may burn or cause other harmful effects. The fertilizer is applied on the base of the plant. When applying the fertilizer that is after the plant has blossomed, it is also recommendable to water the plant. Watering the plant dissolves the fertilizer. After the plant has produced fruits for the first time then the farmer can apply fertilizer once again.
NPK Ratio for cucumber
A cucumber plant needs low amounts of nitrogen nutrients and a higher amount of potassium nutrients and phosphate nutrients. Some all purpose fertilizers have high amounts of nitrogen nutrients. These high levels of nitrogen nutrients in these fertilizers are not healthy for a cucumber plant. Cucumbers produce quality fruits in low nitrogen levels. High nitrogen levels in soils promote growth in the plant but do not produce quality fruits as per the expectation of every farmer. High nitrogen nutrients in any garden to be planted promote growth in vines and leaves rather than the cucumber fruit. High nitrogen contents can also cause the cucumber flowers to fail to open.
Cucumbers produce quality fruits in soils rich in potassium nutrients and phosphate nutrients. These nutrients aid in fruit production. There are several types of fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphate nutrients.
As a farmer it is good and of great importance knowing the soil types on your garden. Different soil types have different nutrients requirements. There are some types of soils that are rich in nitrogen nutrients and other types of soils that are rich in potassium and other nutrients.
Sandy soils for instance have poor nutrient content. A farmer planning to plant cucumbers on sandy soils might need to buy a type of fertilizer that is composed of all nutrients required in the growth of cucumbers. This means the farmer might need a fertilizer rich in nitrogen nutrients and potassium and phosphate nutrients.
Farmers planning to plant cucumbers on soils that have manure whether compost manure or might need fertilizers composed of high phosphate and potassium nutrients but low nitrogen nutrients. This is because the manure produces about 2 percent of nitrogen which is released frequently. Compost manure helps in regulating the amount of nitrogen nutrients released on the soil.
The best cucumber NPK ratio should be 2-3-6. Apply the fertilizer when planting according to the instructions given on the leaflet and again apply when you see the true leave of the cucumber. Use a water-soluble fertilizer such that after scattering the fertilizer you can pour water on it to dissolve it.
The cucumber plant is a very nutritious plant with a lot of health benefits to a human body. They can be consumed raw, cooked or even after being fermented by an acidic solution or vinegar. Cucumber’s peels and seeds are nutritious. There are several types of cucumbers but they are divided into three major categories. These categories are the slicing cucumbers, the pickling cucumbers and the specialty cucumbers.
Cucumbers require soils rich in high levels of phosphate nutrients and potassium nutrients. For good fruit production cucumber plant requires low levels of nitrogen nutrients. High levels of nitrogen nutrient in soils reduce the fruit production of the cucumber plant.
The best time to apply fertilizer on the cucumber plant it is after it has produced blossoms. The fertilizer is to be applied on the base level. Fertilizer scattered on the plant can cause harmful effects.