If you want to take control of your life financially, then this guide on dry season irrigated cucumber farming in Nigeria is a good way to started. All that’s required is the right guide (like this post) and you’re well on your way to attaining some level of financial independence.
Dry season cucumber farming entails the production of cucumber in months of no-rainfall. In Nigeria, the period of no-rainfall ranges between October – April each year. As such, the availability of irrigation water is indispensable so as to ensure maximum productivity within this period.
How lucrative is cucumber farming in Nigeria?
You may ask. Truth be told, there are only few vegetables in Nigeria that are massively consumed as the cucumber, especially in the dry season. This is actually so because of the enormous health benefits inherent in cucumber. Thus, it helps the body to rehydrate, it helps the body to prevent and fight diseases like diabetics, cancer, skin infections and the likes.
Very many farmers tend to grow cucumbers during the rainy season i.e between April and September simply because cucumber like every other crop needs water to grow.
However, you would agree with me that the demand for cucumber is usually higher in the dry season than in the rainy. As such, you are guaranteed to make more money if you embark on dry season irrigated cucumber farming in Nigeria using this guide and more.
Dry season irrigated cucumber farming in Nigeria therefore, is one of the most lucrative agribusiness that doesn’t require huge capital to start but nevertheless gives you maximum returns.
This and other reasons too numerous to mention makes the market for cucumber too big for you to ignore as an entrepreneur.
For you to have a successful outcome in dry season cucumber production, there are some certain info or tips that you need to familiarize yourself with;that’s exactly what this post is meant to provide you with.
Varieties of cucumber in Nigeria
Variety selection is vital in dry season cucumber farming in Nigeria. Thus, it is necessary to determine varieties that are dominantly acceptable in the market and can perform optimally in your location. Factors such as maturity period, sex expression culture, length, colour and tolerance to pests & diseases tend to vary with several varieties. Some seed companies have successful bred high yielding cucumber varieties.
Some notable cucumber varieties include :
2.) Tokyo F1
3.) Amara 765
4.) Greengo F1
6.) Monalisa F1
8.) Murano etc
You may want to contact the seed regulatory body of Nigeria to confirm the variety of cucumber seed you’re getting.
How do Nigerians farm cucumbers in dry season?
Now that we’ve given you some highlights on why investing in dry season cucumber farming is the way to go, let’s see the guidelines that would help you get started the right way in order to ensure a successful venture.
• Have a detailed cucumber farming business plan
The place of a very good business plan to guide you in your dry season cucumber farming is indispensable. The business plan would contain how you intend to go about your farming business and as such, it will serve as your guide in the course of your farming activities
Your marketing strategy, SWOT analysis of your dry season cucumber farming in Nigeria as well as the the result of your market research are also contained the business plan.
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More so, you stand a good chance of accessing government loans with your dry season cucumber farming business plan. It as well helps you to attract potential investors.
• Selection of suitable farmland –
The best known and recommended farmland for the farming of cucumber especially in the dry season is loamy soil. Loamy soil is the most suitable because of the following reasons;
It has good water retention capacity
It has good aeration or air circulation and gaseous exchange
It has good porosity and as well,
Loamy soil has good temperature regulation
Your selected farmland should have ample access to sunlight, this is because the cucumber needs it for optimum growth and yield.
The location of the said farmland should not be too far from the market.
• Cucumber farm preparation –
In dry season irrigated cucumber farming in Nigeria, after selecting a farmland with the proper soil type following this guide then clearing of the farm land comes next. Clearing and packing is preferred to burning in order not to destroy the vital nutrients in the soil. After clearing comes tillage. Advantages of tilling the soil include the following ;
it increases water retention,
brings up nutrients to the top,
helps to control weeds, pests and diseases, and
it adds organic material to the soil.
After tillage, the next thing to do is to add the organic fertilizer of your choice – if that’s what you’ve decided to use or you can wait till after 2 weeks of germination to add your inorganic fertilizer.
Incorporate your organic fertilizer into the soil by turning it together with the soil then add or apply the mulching material of your choice; this helps to retain water in the soil and regulate excessive sunlight. After that, water the ridge for about 1 week before planting.
• Mulching and fertilizer application –
fertilizer can either be organic or inorganic. Inorganic types that can be utilized in dry season cucumber farming includes NPK, ammonium nitrate, potassium nitrate etc while organic type includes poultry manure, pig waste, goat manure etc
On the other hand, mulching helps to conserve the nitrogen vontent of the soil and there are different kinds of mulching material which can be used based on one’s choice. They include rice husk, dry grass, wood back, legumes etc.
• Seed type selection :
It has been proven that C-99(C nine nine) is the best seed type for production because its viability has been tested and it also has 99% survival so with this seed your farm is guaranteed to yied and give you great harvest.
• Season –
cucumber can be produced either in dry or rainy season but has a disadvantage during rainy season. The disadvantage is that its flower that produces the fruits are being washed away by excess rainfall which makes it difficult to have bumper harvest but cucumber production in the dry season has no such hindrance. More so, the price is usually on the increase and this would help you to make huge profit.
• How to plant your cucumber –
Now its time for planting. Number of seeds to be planted depends on the spacing type you choose, for 30cm by 30cm you plant 36 seeds, for 60cm by 60cm you plant 30 seeds, for 90cm by 90cm you plant 9 seeds.
The best time for planting your seeds is early morning or late evening. You can also decide to intercrop your cucumber seed with other crops like okro, maize, cowpea etc this helps to control weeds.
• Staking –
In about 2-3 weeks after planting, You stake your cucumber farm with any staking material of your choice and with any staking method of your choice also.
cucumber that are being staked has higher chance of doing better than others. The different staking methods include : single staking, multiple staking and this can be done with materials like sticks, bamboo etc
• Cucumber farm maintenance –
Your farm will be ready for weeding in about a month time after germination and hand weeding is advised in order not to destroy either the leaves or stem of the tender plants because any harm on them will eventually destroy them.
Diseases like mildew, Mosaic viral disease, etc can also attack your cucumber. Treating your cucumber seeds with fungicides before planting them can help prevent fungal diseases.
• Irrigation system
Cucumber needs adequate water supply in form of precipitation (rain) or irrigation in order to perform optimally during the dry season. Cucumber are notably sensitive to moisture stress especially during flowering and fruiting stages. As such, water deficit at this crucial stage will adversely yield and quality of the produce.
More so, your cucumber continues to need water until they are ready for harvest at about 7-8 weeks after germination.
There are different types of irrigation that can be used in a cucumber farm but drip irrigation is adjudged the best. This is because the drip irrigation makes for continuous supply of water at the right time and quantity
• Harvesting of cucumber –
You should endeavor to harvest your cucumber when they are green in color, not when they must have ripped. Take note that cucumber matures between 40-45 days after planting. Though, the time of maturity is largely dependent on the variety that you planted in your farm.
You should harvest your cucumber manually and with adequate care to guard against bruises on the cucumber. Always store your cucumber in a cool environment before taking them to the market for sale.
Health benefits of cucumber
There are numerous amazing health benefits of cucumber, some of which are:
1.) Cucumber contains about 95 percent of water as such keeps the body hydrated. This assist the body to eliminate toxins, aids digestion and prevent constipation.
2.) Cucumber serves as a good source of B vitamins. Cucumber contain most of the vitamins the body needs in a day. It has a good amount of vitamin C, about 10 percent of the daily recommended.
3.) It promotes joint health, relieves gout and arthritis pain . Cucumber is an excellent source of silica; that helps in promoting joint health. By strengthening the connective tissues. They are also rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium
4.) Cucumber regulates blood pressure because of the presence of potassium, magnesium and fibre in its water. It helps in reducing ageing due to its vitamin A, B and C content.
5.) Skin and hair care : cucumber skin can be used for body skin irritations and sunburns. Place a slice over puffy eyes and its anti-inflammatory properties will help reduce puffiness. It stimulates hair growth because of the presence of silicon and sulphur in them.