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Cucumber can be grown year round in Hawaii, as it is essentially a warm weather crop. Best growth is obtained when the temperature is 70F or higher. Temperatures below 60 F or above 90 F slow growth.
Varieties to Plant
Hybrid cucumbers such as Lehua, Gemini-7, Triumph, Challenger, and Burpee produce well in Hawaii. Patio Pik, a variety with compact plant type, can be used for small areas or pot culture in 3-to-5-gallon containers.
Seed of Lehua hybrid is available from the Department of Tropical Plant & Soil Sciences of the University of Hawaii and at some garden shops. Seed of other varieties and hybrids is available from garden shops or from mainland seed companies.
Soil Requirements and Preparation
Cucumbers can be grown on any soil type that has a high water-holding capacity and good drainage with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. Application of 10 to 20 pounds per 100 square feet of manure or compost will improve the soil condition and fertility. Work the soil to break up any hardpan and then work in the manure or compost to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. If nematodes are present, fumigate after soil preparation and allow 2 to 3 weeks before planting.
Cultivation and Irrigation
Weed whenever necessary when the cucumber plants are small. Weeding will become more difficult when the plant starts to vine. Use shallow cultivation to avoid injury to the cucumber roots. Frequency of irrigation is largely dependent upon soil type and we ather conditions. In general, lighter soils require more frequent irrigation than heavier soils. If pot culture is used in growing cucumbers, daily watering is necessary after the plant begins to set fruit.
Disease commonly affecting cucumber are damping-off, nematodes, powdery mildew, and mosaic viruses. Damping-off and nematodes can be controlled by planting in clean soil or treating the soil with captan-terrachlor for damping-off and with nematicide for n ematodes. Powdery mildew can be controlled by using maneb, zineb, or copper fungicides. Watermelon mosaic virus may be a problem in certain areas at various times of the year. Lehua hybrid is highly resistant to this virus and should be grown where it is a problem.
CAUTION: When using pesticides, always read the label and follow the directions carefully.
A general garden fertilizer such as 10-30-10 can be applied at the rate of 2 to 3 pounds per 100 square feet. One-half of the fertilizer should be applied at planting, placed 2 to 3 inches away from the seed and 3 inches below in a single band. The remain ing half of the fertilizer can be applied 3 to 4 weeks later. Additional nitrogen may be applied at the beginning of harvest to prolong vine vigor and fruit production.
Most cucumber varieties will produce fruit ready for harvest in 50 to 60 days. Frequency of harvest will depend on the vigor of the plant, the location, and the time of year. Usually every other day or daily harvest is necessary when the plants are growin g vigorously at the lower elevations during the hot weather. Removing fruits as they mature will aid in maintaining the plant vigor and productive capacity.
Insects commonly attacking cucumbers are the melon fly, white fly, aphid, leaf miner, and cut-worm. Some measure of control must be taken to ensure a successful crop. A general purpose spray, available under various trade names at garden shops, can be use d according to the directions on the label. Diazinon, malathion, or naled
(Dibrom) can control most of these insects. The best insect control practice is the use of a regular spray schedule to prevent a build-up of insects. Bagging the young fruit soon after pollinations with brown Kraft bags may help control melon-fly damage.< P>
Cucumbers are planted at the rate of 1 ounce of seed per 100 feet of row. Spacing between rows should be from 4 to 5 feet and spacing between plants should be from 15 to 18 inches. Plant seeds directly into the seedbed at a depth of l/2 to 3/4 inch. Uprig ht trellises 5 to 8 feet high should be constructed along the plant rows to support the vines. Trellising will result in fewer fruits lost to soil rot and easier insect and disease control.