Can cucumber plants be boosted?

Cucumber boost challenge

In the world of cucumber plants, there’s never a quiet season, as students Pascal and Michelle discovered during their cultivation project. They studied the limits of cultivation systems and came up with an innovative plan.  

Chock-a-block

“We examined whether a higher density of cucumber plants would produce a higher yield,” Pascal summarises their plan. “Normally, the density is 2.4 plants per square metre, but this time we selected three plants per square metre.” “We succeeded by making use of wire,” Michelle explains. “This enabled us to keep the cucumber vines closer together, creating space for more plants per square metre.”

In a pickle

“It was very cool to experiment with a new cultivation system,” says Michelle. Yet the project was not as successful as they expected. “It was a lot of work to keep up with the cucumber plants,” Pascal admits. “You need to remove vines and cut away leaves all the time, so that they won’t be in each other’s way.” “Our main goal was to produce a higher yield without a correspondingly heavier work load, but the yield didn’t justify this,” says Michelle. “The quality of the cucumbers also deteriorated.” “You could say we were in a pickle,” Pascal jokes.

Quiet season

All the same, the duo are not for quitting. What’s more, they’ve got plenty of ideas for the future. “We worried that a higher density would result in more diseased cucumbers, but this turned out not to be the case,” Michelle explains, enthusiastically. So, they don’t view their project as a failure. “We’re extremely interested in experimenting with innovative cultivation systems,” Pascal says. “In the near future, we’ll be experimenting with cultivation using LED lighting. So there really isn’t a quiet season for us.”