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Tricky time of the year
The season is rapidly changing rapidly from winter to summer. Some days have been very harsh and others much softer. Managing irrigation is particularly important as you do not want to underwater, especially a cucumber crop that will feel the impact of sudden weather changes more than other ‘harder’ cultivars.
The danger for cucumber growers is finding the balance between underwatering and overwatering. Too far either way can cause root and plant health issues, so accuracy is key. If you have a good day, then your plant will suffer if is under watered and roots will die quickly and if the weather is rubbish (like we have seen) then you run the risk of saturating the substrates which will lead to wet and cold roots (causing root death).
It is important every day to check what the basic numbers are. Water volume applied and runoff % as well as recording EC and PH readings. You can get away with checking this in winter (although I strongly recommend it is checked every day regardless of time of the year), but it will only take a few days of either under/over watering at this time of the year and you will cause problems that the crop may not recover from potentially causing large losses in production.
Cucumbers that are one week from first harvest quickly start using more water/fertiliser. Again, this is increasingly tricky in Spring when the environment is changing quickly. In the summer it is easier because it is pedal to the metal.
Substrate water content and EC Sensors are a great tool for informing the grower of real-time statistics. With this information you can adjust irrigation informatively and quickly. Scales are another useful tool. If you do not have this technology, then it is vitally important you conduct manual checks
(images from a crop that has shown signs of lack of nutrition but is also due to potential over watering)
Another important piece of the puzzle is to make sure, as the season changes that you have the correct recipe. Contact your local Horticentre Branch and talk to their team of experts who can help make the changes that are critical to crop development.
For growing advice contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Article written and compiled by Stefan Vogrincic
All Article’s checked and edited by Marie Vogrincic
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