Aquaponic Cucumber 101 - Your Complete Growing Guide
Growing aquaponic cucumbers can yield more efficient and quicker results without the use of soil. Cucumbers do great in aquaponics due to the abundance of nitrogen found in aquaponic systems. This begs the question, should cucumber farmers abandon other farming methods in favor of aquaponics?
But I digress. If you’re reading this, you are probably more curious about finding the right method for growing cucumbers in aquaponics and the steps you should take to get tasty green cucumbers. In this aquaponics cucumber growing guide, we will take you through all you need to know about growing cucumbers in aquaponics.
Can Cucumbers Grow In Aquaponics?
Cucumbers thrive in aquaponics because they are water-loving plants that are leafy and green. Nitrogen is an essential component of chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Aquaponics is an excellent way to provide tasty cucumbers with nitrates.
However, it’s important to note that cucumbers can fail in aquaponics without the right conditions. An aquaponic cucumber may not thrive if you remove nitrogen from the equation or if it’s not sufficient. There is a direct correlation between nitrates and plant yields. A drop in nitrates would result in a corresponding reduction in plant yields. An aquaponic cucumber will not thrive without the correct pH, sunlight, and temperature conditions.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Cucumbers In Aquaponics?
It takes six to eight weeks to grow cucumbers in aquaponics from the time of planting. Your tasty green cucumbers should be ready for harvest in about two weeks after transplanting. Cucumbers can lose flavor when they absorb more water than necessary. Because of this, you shouldn’t allow your aquaponic cucumber to grow too large.
What Are The Best Aquaponic Cucumbers?
The best aquaponic cucumbers are Burpless cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, Spacemaster cucumbers, English cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, and Lebanese cucumbers. These varieties will do exceptionally well in aquaponics since they rely heavily on an abundant water supply. They are also some of the most marketable cucumber varieties available.
Steps For Growing An Aquaponic Cucumber
Generally, there are two ways to grow cucumbers – transplanting and direct seeding. Transplanting is the best method for growing cucumbers in aquaponics. Below are the steps to grow tasty green cucumbers through transplanting:
- Step 1: Prepare the plug trays where you sow the cucumber seeds.
- Step 2: For every cell in the plug tray, plant 1 to 2 seeds
- Step 3: Keep the temperature over 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) during the night and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) during the day.
- Step 4: Allow the seedlings to grow for 3 to 4 weeks before transplanting them. Ideally, it should have 2 to 4 genuine leaves. True leaves will appear after the initial 2 seed leaves.
- Step 5: Transplant the seedlings 12 inches apart in 5 to 6 rows, taking care not to harm the roots.
What Are The Best Aquaponics Systems For Growing Cucumbers?
The best aquaponics systems for growing cucumbers are the deep water culture (DWC) and the media bed system. The deep water culture method involves suspending the cucumber’s roots in a water and fertilizer solution while holding the solution using a reservoir. The media bed system is a more versatile approach that provides more room for the extensive root system of cucumbers.
What Should I Consider When Growing Cucumbers in Aquaponics?
When growing cucumbers in aquaponics, you should consider temperature, light, pH, and support. Below, we break down these factors to give you a better idea of what to strive for for optimal results.
For optimal growth of your tasty green cucumbers, maintain an ambient temperature of 18 to 24 degrees Celsius (65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) after germination. In addition, keep the temperature above 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) and above 16 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night.
Light is crucial for photosynthesis when growing cucumbers in aquaponics. Plant each aquaponic cucumber as close to natural sunlight as possible for the best results and yields. If you choose artificial light in place of the sun, maintain the exposure for 18 hours or more.
Your aquaponic system’s pH level influences how nutrients interact with each other and their availability. Aquaponic cucumbers thrive in a slightly acidic to neutral range. So, strive to keep the Ph level between 6.0 and 7.0.
Cucumbers grow on vines, so it’s essential to establish a solid support system for the vines to climb and grow on. Some excellent ideas to support your cucumbers include stakes and trellis, which can also fasten their growth in an aquaponics system. By allowing your aquaponic cucumber to spread its vines, it will be able to stretch and receive some sunlight.
Supporting cucumber vines enhances the circulation of nutrients and is also an excellent solution to keep insects and bugs at bay. Screening and netting can also help with pest control. It can also act as a bug repellent and shield the cucumbers from extreme exposure to sunlight.
Growing cucumbers in aquaponics is an excellent alternative to traditional farming. It can help scale up the supply of cucumbers in a faster and more sustainable way. Cucumbers grown in aquaponics systems are larger and healthier because they have easier access to nutrients and other factors such as optimum light, pH, light, and temperature.
By following this guide and growing the right varieties of cucumbers in the manner stipulated above, you will be setting yourself up for success in enjoying tasty green cucumbers. Your knowledge will also be helpful to anyone around you interested in growing cucumbers in aquaponics. All the best in growing your first or next aquaponic cucumber!