Proven Tips to Grow Cucumber in Indoor Hydroponic Garden
Growing cucumbers in hydroponics is a different chore compared to traditional soil farming. Novice growers may have problems with the setup and caring processes.
From choosing the cucumber varieties to harvesting, there is so much to consider if you want to achieve excellent yield.
In this article, we have provided the tried and tested tips to cultivate cucumber in the indoor hydroponic system. Just follow these stepwise growing strategies, so that you get the maximum fresh and high-quality cucumber produces.
In-Depth Guide To Grow Delicious Hydroponic Cucumbers
#1. Start with the Selection of Cucumber Varieties
You can grow almost any cucumber variety in hydroponics. But some species do well than others. The preferred varieties for growing hydroponically include hybrid cucumbers (best alternative), English cucumbers, Marketmore, American Slicers, etc.
#2. Choosing the Hydroponic Cultivation Method
There are various forms of hydroponics to provide an appropriate growth environment for varying fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The choice of hydroponic setup is extremely important to determine your success with indoor cucumber farming.
The two recommended methods for hydroponic cucumbers are-
Ebb and Flow Systems
Those who have some prior experience in hydroponics can do well with the ebb and flow system. It is a high-end recovery cultivation method for soilless cucumbers.
The water pump regulates the periodical water supply to the roots of the plants. Thereafter the solution drains back to the reservoir for repeated use. You can save water by reusing the solution for at least a week.
Beginners may also try this system with 1-2 plants.
Deep Water Culture (DWC) Systems
If you want a simple low-cost setup, DWC is an excellent method. You don’t need a water pump to supply water and nutrients to the plants.
You need a reservoir (grow bed) to provide the water-nutrient solution to the plants. The roots will remain suspended in the solution so you may skip installing a water pump.
Cucumbers grow fast in DWC systems. Hence it is a recommended grow system for beginners.
#3. Decide How You Want to Get Started
There are three ways to start hydroponic cucumbers-
Growing hydroponic cucumbers is fast, easy, and hassle-free to do with seeds. This is the recommended method for starters. The seeds require 70°-85°F (21°-29°C) temperature for optimum growth. Once planted, the seeds need 3-10 days for germination.
If you want the exact trait in the new plant, cloning is the best method to start cucumbers. However, it is a time-consuming process and requires much effort to achieve high-end success.
Transplantation from the Dirt
Do you have some cucumber plants in the soiled garden?
You may switch to grow them hydroponically as well. This is a messy task but a low-cost option compared to buying a new plant for hydroponics.
#4. Essential Requirements for Hydroponic Set Up
Suppose, you are a novice grower who wants to cultivate cucumbers in a low-budget hydroponic system. For entry-level gardeners we have herein provided a list of items to set up a deep water culture system at home:
- Plastic container with lid (drum/barrel)-100-200L capacity
- Netpots (must have holes on it)
- Grow media (preferably rock wool/ cocopeat pellets)
- Grow lights (optional)
However, if you want to do it in the ebb and flow system, you will need some extra equipment such as the pump installation, and drainage system for recovery, etc.
#5. Provide the Right Grow Environment
Space- One of the major problems of growing cucumber indoors is the lack of space. Maintain a sufficient gap (2-6ft) between the plants to provide sufficient space for plant growth.
Temperature- The plant growth depends on the right temperature adjustment. Cucumbers thrive well in a temperature of about 70°-80°F during the day. A drop in about 10°F is the recommended nighttime temperature for these plants.
Note: The minimum required soil temperature for seeds germination is 60°F.
Lights- If you are using grow lights, the plants should remain at least 4-6 inches below the LED panel. You must turn on the lights for 12-16 hours every day for proper healthy development.
If you are growing cucumbers in sunlight make sure they receive direct light for 12-14 hours during the day.
Nutrient- You need vegetable plant’s nutrients for cucumbers.
However, during the fruiting stage, you must change the nutrient pattern. The ratio of nitrogen to potassium in the nutrient at this stage should be 1:2.
Note- Nutrients rich in potassium and phosphorus with 50% less nitrogen concentrate are best for ample fruit development.
pH Level- The recommended pH level for cucumber plants is 6.0-6.5. During seeds germination, you need a pH level of 5.0-6.0 in the grow media.
Plant Support- Cucumber plants will become too heavy to stand when the fruits start growing big. Make sure you are using trellises to provide adequate support.
#6. Training and Care Regimen
There are three ways of training cucumber plants-
- Drape Method: This is a simple way to train your cucumber plants to grow across the trellis wire. When the plant reaches the trellis wire, train the vines to get over the wire and start growing downwards.
- Umbrella Method: Pinch off the growth between the two vines to train them to drape around the trellis wire for downward growth.
- V-Cordon Method: If you want maximized light intervention, using the V-cordon method. Pull the trellis wire away from the stem allowing it to grow towards the aisle in an angular growth.
Pruning and Pinching
Your success with plant growth lies in care measures. Pruning is an integral part of cucumber plant caring. Monitor the plants for weak tendrils. Just snip the weak tendrils, dried leaves, and other unwanted growth carefully using a sharp pruner/ scissors. This helps the plants to get proper nutrition for balanced growth.
Note- Prune the plants at the time of fruiting to ensure a single leaf has only one fruit. Don’t hesitate to pinch out the dried outgrowths between the stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits.
Protect Against Pests and Diseases
Indoor cucumbers are exposed to moisture-laden air if you are not using a dehumidifier. Certain varieties are resistant to pests attacks and diseases.
Powdery mildew, bacterial wilt, mosaic viruses, and anthracnose are common cucumber plant diseases. Additionally, you must monitor the plants regularly to see if it is attacked by cucumber beetles, thrips, aphids, or whiteflies.
#7. Harvest Periodically to Prevent Overloading
Depending on the variety, cucumbers take around 60-84 days (average 12 weeks) to become mature. Some pickling varieties are harvested when they are 4-8 inches long. But in general, cucumbers are 12-14 inches long when they are ready for harvest.
Keep harvesting cucumbers when they become mature to avoid overloading. The plant can’t bear too much weight, so the branches will bend down.
Avoid tugging at the time of harvest. This can cause damage to the plant parts. Just snip them with a sharp knife/ scissors at the vine about a centimeter away from the fruit.
# Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget to Pollinate the Flowers
Cucumber plants produce male and female flowers. Outdoor plants are pollinated by insects. But for indoor hydroponically grown cucumbers, you need to do the pollination part.
There are two methods to do the pollination-
- Use a blower fan to transfer the pollen from the male flower to the counterparts. Make sure you have set the low-speed mode. Else, it can cause excessive dryness to the plant parts.
- Rub the male flowers gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Then repeat the process on female flowers for transmitting the pollens.
Cucumbers grow faster and better hydroponically than in the soil. Your success with the cultivation and yield depends on the choice of growing method, variety, and other factors.
I have coined these tips based on years of practical experience in cucumber farming indoors. Hope you find these helpful and enjoy growing these fresh, delicious juicy products in your hydroponic system.
So get started with confidence. Soon you will enjoy the fruits of your hard work in the meal every day!