Cucumber is a fruit usually consumed in salads. It is rich in potassium, which provides flexibility to the muscles and gives elasticity to the cells that make up the skin, which results in the rejuvenation of the epidermis, especially in the face area.
They are annual plants with lobed leaves and a yellow flower. The vegetables are long, with light green bark with streaks and dark spots, light-colored pulp and mild flavor, with flattened seeds similar to melons, which is another member of the Cucurbitaceae family.
The cucumber originates from the mountainous regions of India and is suitable for planting in tropical and temperate regions. It has been cultivated since early times in Asia, Africa and Europe and was introduces to the Americas by Christopher Columbus.
Cucumber is a low calorie, low carb food with a good amount of fiber, as well as vitamins A, B, C and E. It is also rich in potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Cucumbers are an excellent source of water and a unit of one hundred grams has only 13 calories, as 97% of the cucumber is liquid.
Besides being great for the digestive system, the cucumber also strengthens liver and kidneys, hair and nails, all thanks to the presence of silica and fluoride. Cucumber is a constant component of cosmetic formulas and homemade preparations for treating the skin, especially the face.
Cucumbers are widely used raw in salads or pickles, but also can be sautéed or cooked in soups.
After harvesting, the cucumber deteriorates quickly at room temperature. Cucumbers should be kept in the refrigerator inside perforated plastic bags. Cucumbers can last up to a week without much change in color, taste and appearance.
When and where to sow?
The cucumber is an annual plant. Cucumber seeds do not germinate well at temperatures below 20° C. Plant directly in the garden if possible, as the seedlings do not support transplanting well. However, if you wish to transplant, seeds can be planted in pots, plastic sacks for seedlings or flakes made of newsprint, kept in warm places, and then carefully transplanted to the final location.
How to sow?
The seeds should be planted at a depth of 2 or 3 cm, with germination taking from 5 days to up to two weeks.
The indicated spacing for the cucumber can vary greatly with the method of cultivation. In tufted cultivation, the spacing can generally be 60 cm to 1 m between the crop lines and 45 to 50 cm between the plants. For cultivation with creeping plants, the spacing can be 2 m between rows and 75 cm to 1 m between plants. For the production of cucumber destined for canning, the spacing can be from 1 m to 1.2 m between the crop lines and 20 cm between the plants. It is possible to grow cucumber in pots that are at least 30 cm in diameter and deep.
How to care?
Most cucumber crops require the presence of bees for pollination and fruit formation. These crops usually produce only female flowers, but occasionally they can produce some male flowers, which should be removed. In these crops, pollination should be avoided, as the fruits lose quality if they produce seeds. To do this, either prevent the bees from reaching the flowers, for example by growing them inside an enclosed greenhouse, or do not plant other cucumber cultivars nearby.
When to harvest?
Cucumber harvesting usually begins 30 to 70 days after planting, depending on the crop, the purpose (pickles are harvested earlier) and the growing conditions. The harvest of the fruits should be done when the fruits are well developed, but before they begin to ripen. The cucumber destined for canning is harvested still young, when it is from 3 cm to 9 cm in length.
Cucumbers grow best in warm weather with temperatures between 18° C to 30° C. In regions subject to frosts and low temperatures, the cucumber can be grown inside greenhouses. The plant should not be exposed to the wind.
The cucumber is a fruit and not a vegetable.
The cucumber is composed of about 95% water.
Applying cucumber slices on burned skin by the sun will bring relief to the burning.