CUCUMBER

CUCUMBER

The cucumber, Cucumis sativus, is a close relative of the melon and watermelon and has been used by man since ancient times. Descriptions of this vegetable have been found in Egyptian tombs and in Roman mosaics. It is believed that it may be a cucurbit native to India which was later diffused throughout the world. It is a climbing plant which needs a sufficiently hot climate, ideally between 18-20 °C at night and 25-30 °C by day. The fruits of cultivated varieties are parthenocarpic—they develop from flowers without the need for pollination. Thanks to a very low caloric value (14 kcal/100gr), the cucumber is great for diets, contains interesting amounts of vitamins and minerals, and has diuretic, cleansing, and refreshing properties. To increase its digestibility (besides removing the skin), placing the cucumber slices for about ten minutes in contact with salt is effective. Once rinsed, it can be prepared in salads and eaten raw without causing digestive difficulties. Thanks to its soothing properties, cucumber is also used in cosmetics for skin applications.

CULTIVATION

The transplantation of seedlings can be achieved as soon as minimum temperatures exceed 10°C. The distances between transplantation should allow an average of 2-3 plants/sqm. For the cultivation of seedlings, it is good to place net supports. During fertilization, it should be noted that the removal of the major elements are in the ratio of 1:0, 5:2.
If, during cultivation, there is an excess of vegetation, it is opportune to green prune, shearing each branch after the fourth or fifth leaf. The period of the harvest comes about 60 days after transplantation and is done when the fruit is still green and has not differentiated its seeds.

ADVERSITIES

The most common diseases of the cucumber's foliar apparatus, similar to other cucurbits, are powdery mildew, Pseudoperonospora, and botrytis cinerea. These fungal parasites may be eliminated with copper and sulfur based treatments. More specific and focused interventions can be made, using caution, with specific chemicals, under the careful supervision of a qualified technician. Among insects, attacks by aphids and white butterflies are frequent, and can easily be contained with natural pyrethroid sprays (being careful not to treat during the flowering period so as not to target insect pollinators), or by throwing insect predators such as Chrysoperla carnea, Aphidoletes aphidimyza, Aphidius colemani, and Harmonia axyridis. One final warning should be made ??concerning the attacks of red spider mites, which can be distinguished by the fine cobweb woven on the vegetative apex and below the leaves. These can be eliminated by introducing the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis.