Causes of Curly Cucumbers and What Can Be Done to Prevent It
Are you worried about the appearance of your cucumbers? Have you been trying to know why your cucumbers are curly in shape? If yes, you are in the right place. This article will explain the causes of curly cucumbers and how it can be averted.
Curly cucumbers do not like the normal straight cucumber fruits, they are bent in shape. The appearance makes the cucumbers unmarketable.
It is a heartache to see your efforts in the cultivation of cucumbers to yield badly shaped or curly cucumber fruits.
If you are familiar with how cucumbers are sold in the markets in Nigeria, you will notice that curled or bent cucumbers are separated from the good ones. These badly shaped cucumber fruits are sold at ridiculously low prices.
Farmers who sell curly cucumbers often sell at a loss.
Cause of curly cucumbers
Cucumbers become deformed or curled due to some reasons. The reasons are explained as followed:
When pollination is not complete, cucumbers formed from the incomplete pollination process may be deformed or curly.
Factors like bad weather and inadequate or non-availability of bees can lead to problems in pollination. This can ultimately result in the production of deformed fruits.
Another cause of curly cucumbers is poor nutrition. When the cucumber plants are starved of the necessary nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium etc., the fruits produced may be deformed.
Poor Growing Conditions
When the conditions necessary for the growing of cucumbers are poor, the cucumbers fruits formed may appear curly.
Poor staking can also lead to deformed cucumber fruits.
Unchecked activities of sucking pests and insects can lead to the forming of deformed cucumber fruits. Some insects suck the cucumber fruits and damage the appearance.
The sucking and biting of the cucumber fruits by pests can lead to curly cucumbers.
Diseases like Downy Mildew can also lead to curly cucumbers in the cultivation of cucumbers.
Downy mildew is a dangerous fungi foliar disease that can reduce the yield of cucumber by as much as 90%. It is one of the main causes of deformed cucumber fruits in Nigeria and other tropical areas.
Not Harvesting on Time
Delay in harvest can lead to deformed fruits. Harvest should be done every 2-3 days; else some of the cucumber fruits may be deformed.
How to prevent deformed or curly cucumbers
The following are some of the ways to prevent deformed cucumbers:
If there is a problem with pollination, hand pollination can be done. Bees can also be introduced to the cucumber farm if there are little or no bees.
The right fertilizers should be used to supply the needed nutrients to the cucumber plants. Fertilizers like NPK 15:15:15, calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate should be used. Also manure can be used to improve the soil.
Good pesticides like insecticidal soap, neem oil and chemicals should be used to manage or kill the pests that can damage the cucumber fruits and make them appear in a deformed way.
There should be strategies to use to tackle diseases like downy mildew in cucumber plants.
Harvest should be done frequently so that the plant will not be stressed.
Curly cucumbers can be prevented if the right things are done.