Cucumber (Cucumbis sativus), a member, of cucurbitaceous family, is native of Asia, and Africa, where it has been consumed for 3,000 years, may be one of our oldest crop .Cucumber was being grown in North Africa, Italy, Greece, Asia minor and other areas at the beginning of the Christian era USDA (1999).Today Cucumber is grown all over the world for pickling, (pickles) and fresh market (slicers)
Cucumber is a creeping tender warm season vegetable plant that produces well when grown under proper management. It is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grown up trellising on other supporting frames, wrapping around ribbing with thin, spiraling tendrils widders and price, (1985) the plant has large leaves that forms canopy over the fruit. The fruit roughly cylindrical elongated with tapered ends legard (2000) and may be as large as 60cm long and 10cm diameter. Fruits are rich in vitamin A and calcium, calories, small amount of beta carotene which is found in the green peel, dietary fiber carbohydrate, some trace of iron and 95% water which call for its lowest nutritional content in the cucurbit family Firbank, (1990).
Cucumber grown to be eating fresh (Slickers) and those intended for pickling (pickers) are similar Cucumber are mainly eaten in the unripe green form. The ripe yellow form normally becomes too bitter and sours Schapendonk and Brower, (1994)
Cucumber is a thermophillic horticultural crop usually cultivated in field during the late rainy season USDA ( 2005).In tropical regions however, yields of monoecious hybrids increase in the hamattan season when favorable condition such as photo-period, higher light energy and lower night temperature enhance the production of female flowers Filgneria, (2000).Having enclosed seeds and developing from a flower, Cucumber are scientifically classified as fruit much like tomatoes and squash, however, their sour bitter flavor contribute to it being perceived prepared and eaten as vegetables JU (1997).It does well in a loose sandy-loam soil but can also strive in any well drained soil USDA,( 2005)
Cucumber belongs to the kingdom plantae, division magnoliophyta, class magnoliopsida; order cubitales family curcubitacea, genius cucumis and species cucumis sativus.
Cucumber are available in dozens of varieties which includes for slicing straight and Poinsett, Dasher 11, salad, country fair, pioneer while that of slicing cucumber includes Dasher 11, Bush crop, cobra, Indio Pamela, Benett, (2001).The use of resistant varieties can be used to avoid or prevent disease in cucumber plant .The flesh of cucumber is primary composed of water but also contains ascorbic acid and caffeic Appel,(1997).Both of which helps in smoothing skin irritation and reduce swelling. Cucumber hard skin is also rich in fibre and contains a variety of beneficial mineral like silica potassium and magnesium silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissue which includes muscle, tendons, ligaments cartilage and bone. Cucumber juice is a source of silica which improves complexion and health of the skin; it also reduces high blood pressure to normal in human system Urbanext (2006).
More so, cucumber have moderately deep root like many of the other cucurbits, the cucumber has a long taproot as well as a shallow fibrous root system, but it does not seem to be as extensive as others in this family Wood, Rebecca (1988).The deep taproot will grown 36-48 inches (3-4feet) but will not branch out much below 2 feet deep. Most of the fibrous feeders are in the top 2 feet and the active roots are concentrated between 8-12 inches Levin (1999). Most of the absorption of minerals lakes place in the 6-12 inches range. The taproot produces many rootlets that branch off about 1-13 inches from it. As the cucumber slows down in producing fruit, the deeper root being to senesce cucumber have vinning stems which can be trained on trellises to save space and improve yield and fruit quality Sea borna (2002).the leave of cucumber produces bristly hairs on them. They are simple, alternate and lobed the leaves are triangular, palmate and located at the base of the mains exits. The petioles are long (5-4inch) and leavesss
Are usually, 4-8 inch long Firbank, and Air (1990). Perfect flowers are rare in cucumber, many old cultivars are monoecious that is produce separate male and female flower on the same plant. Most of the current cultivars are gynoecious which have mostly female flowers (only about 5% are male). The production of male flowers in these plants is promoted by long days and high temperatures. Male flowering can be stimulated by the application of gibberellins’, which alters the plant auxin level. Cucumber produces female flowers during short days with cool temperatures and low light Ngouajio and Mennaily (2005).Cucumber seeds do not germinate in soil where directly temperature are below 52%. The seeds are directly plant into the field. Seeds of slicing cucumber are drilled in row the optimum daily temperature ranges from 65-75%. Cooler temperatures slow down growth and slow growing seeding are susceptible to flea beetles which chew on the leaf and reduce leaf area mass. Young plants are susceptible to cool weather, cold soil and wind after germination for maximum production of cucumber. Warm temperatures, irrigation weed control, and disease and insect management are required. Cucumber is a quick growing crop that produces a lot of succulent growth. The crop must be supplied with plenty of moisture for it vigorous growth, cucumber plant especially need water during blossoming and fruiting any stress during blossoming could cause the blossoming to abort. The major problem cucumber face in the field includes problem of water irrigation, problem of pest and disease which hinder growing of cucumber in Nigeria. Many of the cucumber grown are limited to the Northern part of the country due to the warm and dry weather.
1 To evaluate the effect of cattle dung on the physical and chemical properties of the soil.
2 To evaluate the effect of different rate of cattle dung on the growth and yield of cucumber (Cucumis satisvus).