Research Article

Varietal Productivity and Planting date effect on the Growth and Yield of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) in Owo, South Western Nigeria  

J.M. Adesina , A.T.  Benjamin
Department of Crop, Soil and Pest Management Technology, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, P. M. B. 1019, Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Horticulture, 2016, Vol. 6, No. 23   doi: 10.5376/ijh.2016.06.0023
Received: 15 Apr., 2016    Accepted: 25 May, 2016    Published: 22 Sep., 2016
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Preferred citation for this article:

Aderibigbe, and Benjamin A.T., 2016, Variation productivity and planting date effect on the growth and yield of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) in Owo, South Western Nigeria, International Journal of Horticulture, 6(23): 1-9 (doi: 10.5376/ijh.2016.06.0023)


A field experiment was conducted during the wet season of 2014 at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo to evaluate the performance of four varieties of cucumber (Ashley, Nonadini, Murano and Ande) at different planting dates in order to determine the appropriate date during the wet season to achieve optimum yield. The experiment was a 4 x 4factorial laid out in a Randomized Completely Block Design (RCBD). Planting was done on the 19th and 26th of April and 3rd and 10th of May, 2014. The results of the study indicates significant differences (P< 0.05) among the varieties in terms of vine length, number of branches, leaf area, number of fruit per plant and total fruit weight per hectare. The highest fruit yield per hectare was obtained in the April 26th and May 3rd planting dates. Nonadini and Ashley varieties consistently had significant higher yields than the other two varieties. There was interaction between varieties of cucumber and planting dates. The highest yields were obtained from Nonadini and Ashley varieties during April 26th and May 10th planting dates.

Cucumber; Variety; Productivity; Planting date; Interactions; Growth and yield

1 Introduction
The origin of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is traced to India or possibly Burma, where the plant is extremely variable both vegetative and fruit characters. It has been in cultivation for at least 3000 years and was probably introduced to other parts of the world from either of these sources. It is a major vegetable crop worldwide (Wehner, 2007; Phu, 1998; Tatlioglu, 1993). It is a popular fresh market vegetable in salads and also is confirmed to have health benefits among which are vitamin sources, anti-inflammations, fight cancer, cure diabetes, relieves bad breath and aid weight loss among others (Hedrick, 1997).
Cucumber is a dioecious, entomopholous annual crop that belongs to the family Curcubitaceae. It develops rapidly, within a shorter time from planting to harvest than for most crops (Wehner and Guner, 2004). Cucumber is grown widely in different parts of the world. It is an all year round out door vegetable in the tropics and an important greenhouse vegetable especially in Northern Europe and North America (Mingbao, 1991). Phu (1998) stated that cucumber could be cultivated in the field during the summer and winter in greenhouses using artificial heating while Jizhe (1993) observed that cucumber is a typical vegetable of warm temperate and cool tropical areas that can be cultivated at any time of the year. These observations position cucumber as crop that can grow successfully in Nigeria ecosystem and presently, the crop has not been ranked because of limited use which is confined to the tables of the elites in the cities.
At present, cucumber is cultivated as a field crop in some parts of the country under rainfall and irrigated conditions. It can also be grown under controlled environments (Jizhe, 1993; George, 1990; Thompson and Kelly, 1957). As a result, the crop can be seen in most vegetable markets in Nigeria throughout the year. However, productivity is decreasing as a result of various ecological variations resulting from climate change which is currently influencing planting dates in different locations in Nigeria. Minimizing this problem is a major concern that must be investigated in order to keep pace with market demand that is envisaged for cucumber in Nigerian markets. Many varieties of cucumber exist with varying shapes, skin colour, carotene content and level of ascorbic acid (Simon, 1992). Also, variation in the growth and yield performance of cucumber varieties have been widely documented by many scholars (Ekwu et al., 2012; Eifediyi and Remion, 2009; Wehner and Guner, 2004; Manyvong, 1997), which could be as a result of environmental factors or genetic composition. However, varietal productivity and planting date effects on cucumber have not received expected publication, in the study area, in recent time. This study is therefore fashioned to evaluate the performance of four varieties of cucumber and determine the appropriate date during the wet season for planting in order to attain maximum yield of the crop.
2 Results
2.1 Meteorological data and edaphic characteristics of experimental site
Meteorological data and edaphic characteristics of the study area are shown in Tables 1 and 2. Rainfall distribution was characterized in ascending trend in number of rain-days and volume of rain­water per day until it attains peak in July, later followed a reducing pattern, starting from August. It also featured a moderate relative humidity at the onset of the season to high relative humidity and low vapour density around late April to late August. The pattern of variation of climatic data showed that planted crops were subjected to varying degree of temperature, vapour pressure and open/free water evaporation until they attain the first modal peak in July (Table 1). The soil of the study area is sandy clay loam in texture, slightly acidic with high organic carbon, moderately low in total nitrogen, high in available phosphorous and potassium (Table 2).



Table 1 Meteorological condition at the site of the experiment (2014)



Table 2 Physical and chemical soil properties of the site of the experiment


2.2 Vegetative response of cucumber varieties to different planting dates
The mean vegetative growth of the four varieties of cucumber at 4 WAP and 50% flowering stage are presented in Tables 3 and 4. The mean numbers of lateral branches of the four cucumber varieties are not significantly different at 5% probability level in 4 WAP and 50% flowering stage of plant growth. Ashley and Kande are not significantly different from each other. They exhibited superior adaptation with high mean number of leaves, vine length and leaf area. Nonadini variety is significantly different from Murano in mean number of leaves, vine length and leaf area at 4 WAP for crops planted in April 19th, 2014. At 50% flowering stage of growth the four varieties are not significantly different in mean number of leaves per plant. Ashley, Kande and Nonadini varieties are not significantly different in mean vine length, but are significantly different from Murano at 5% probability level (April 19th, 2014). Also, mean leaf area per plant of Kande and Murano differs from Nonadini which is also significantly different from Ashley.



Table 3 Effect of planting date on vegetative growth of four varieties of cucumber at 4 weeks after planting



Table 4 Mean vegetative growth of four varieties of cucumber at 50% flowering stage


In April 26th planting date, the mean number of leaves ranged from 32.50 - 36.75 per plant. Ashley and Kande are significantly different from Murano which produced the least mean number of leaf at 5% probability level. The mean vine length of the varieties ranged from 68.45 - 77.80 cm. Ashley and Kande varieties are not significantly different from each other, but are different from Murano and Nonadini which do not show distinct variation in their vine length. The mean leaf areas of the varieties are significantly different at 50% flowering dates for April 26th planting date. Kande variety has 861.70 cm2, Nonadini and Murano have 859.75 and 860.45 cm2, though not significantly different at 5% probability level. The least was obtained from Ashley with 851.91 cm2. In May 3rd planting, the varieties have mean number of leaves ranging from 33.20 - 35.44. Kande had the highest and Nonadini had the leasts. The mean leaf area ranged from 854.54-856.51 cm2. Contrastingly, Nonadini had the highest mean leaf area while Kande had the least.
The vegetative growth of cucumber varieties planted in May 10th showed that Ashley, Kande and Nonadini are not significantly different in mean number of leaves and vine length. They are significantly different from values obtained in Murano variety. The varieties are similar in the mean leaf area and number of lateral branches per plant at 5% probability level.
2.3 Effect of planting dates on the vegetative growth of cucumber varieties
Tables 5 and 6 showed the result of planting dates on the vegetative growth of cucumber at 4 WAP and 50% flowering dates respectively. Planting dates have significant effects on the mean vine length, number of leaves and leaf area at 4 WAP. The highest mean number of leaves was recorded in May 3rd planting date, followed by April 26th and May 10th, in that order, while the least value (6.87) was obtained in April 19th planting. Mean number of lateral branches per plant are not significantly different across the planting dates.



Table 5 Effects of different planting dates on the vegetative growth of cucumber at 4 weeks after planting (WAP)



Table 6 Effects of different planting dates on the vegetative growth of cucumber at 50%floweringstage


At 50% flowering date, the numbers of leaves are significantly different at 5% probability levels. For instance, cucumber varieties planted in April 26th had mean number of leaves of 34.95, May 3rd had 33.44, May 10th had 29.72 and April 19th had 26.00. Vine length per plant ranged from 65.55cm in April 19th planted crops to 73.63cm in May 3rd planted crops. Planting dates have significant effect on leaf area of cucumber varieties. Mean leaf area for April 19th planting was 790.00cm2, April 26th had 858.45cm2, May 3rd had 855.36 cm2 and May 10th had 827.66 cm2. The number of lateral branches of April 26th planting date is significantly different (4.19) from April 19th, May 3rd and May 10th planting dates (2.96, 3.18 and 2.95) respectively.
2.4 Effects of Variety on yield and yield components of cucumber at four different planting dates
The mean yields and yields’ components of the four varieties of cucumber are shown in Table 7. The ranking of the varieties in attaining 50% flowering date showed that Kande variety was earliest, followed by Ashley, then Murano while Nonadini attained 50% flowering date at much later period in the four planting dates investigated. Variety also showed superior performance in number of fruits per plant. The highest number of fruits per plant was recorded by Nonadini (4.45a, 5.72a, 5.66a and 5.05a) at significant level. The numbers of fruits per plant of Ashley (4.21ab, 5.55ab, 5.42ab and 4.51ab), Kande (3.75ab, 4.81ab and 4.06ab) and Murano (4.25ab, 5.36ab, 5.35ab and 4.65ab) are not significantly different at 5% probability levels. However, the consistency of number of fruits produced by Ashley at different planting dates makes it superior to Murano and Kande varieties, in that order. Also, there is significant difference in the overall yield per hectare of the four varieties. Nonadini variety produced highest number of fruits per hectare in all the planting dates and is significantly different from Murano and Ashley varieties which are similar in fruits yield per hectare by ranking. Kande variety produced the least number of fruits in all the planting dates investigated.



Table 7 Mean yield of cucumber varieties at four different planting dates


2.5 Effects of planting dates on the yield and yield components of four varieties of cucumber
Table 8 showed the effect of different planting dates on the yield of cucumber. The four varieties attained their potential yield during second and third planting dates (April 26th and May 3rd).Mean number of male flowers per plant, female flowers, fruit length, fruit diameter, fruit weight and total number of fruits per hectare are not significantly different from each other in April 26th and May 3rd plantings, but are significantly different from April 19th and May 10th plantings. Also, the yield and yield components obtained from the four varieties in May 10th planting are significantly different from April 19th planting. The number of fruits per plant is significantly different with the planting dates. The highest number of fruits per plant was obtained in April 26th, followed by May 3rd, April 19th and the least in May 10th. There was interaction between planting date and variety. The overall performance of Nonadini and Ashley varieties in April 26th and May 3rd were significantly different from the Kande and Murano varieties in April 19th and May 10th.



Table 8 Effect of different planting dates on mean yield and yield components of cucumber


3 Discussions
Significant differences were detected among cucumber varieties in their response to different planting dates in vegetative and yield traits. These results were due to the genetic variation among the varieties and their ability for exploiting the environmental factors under field conditions (Awole, 2011; Eifediyi and Remison, 2009). In all parameters considered in this study Nonadini and Ashley varieties performed better than Kande and Murano varieties. The superior performance established by Nonadini is attributed to the inherent genetic ability to attain both morphological and physiological maturity by having delayed days to anthesis (Agele et al., 2015; Craufurd and Wheeler, 2009). Also, a significantly different vegetative growth habit of Ashley variety at 4WAP and at 50%flowering stage must have facilitated judicious use of environmental factors in all the planting dates investigated. This finding agrees with the findings of Awole et al., (2011); Eifediyi and Remison (2009).There were significant differences observed in growth and yield parameters among planting dates of cucumber varieties. The performance of cucumber varieties planted in April 19th were significantly low due to low moisture content, high evaporative demand and long duration of thermal time that reduces mobilization of source to sink (Anjum et al., 2011). Cucumber varieties planted in April 26th and May 3rd recorded higher vegetative growth and fruit yield. These performances are primarily influenced by available moisture, resulting from higher number of rain days, that can compensate for evaporative demand as well as providing force to drive source to sink (Anjum et al., 2011; Staub and Bacher, 2004; Yadav et al., 2004). Also the interval between rainfall episodes which was moderately spaced facilitated pollinating insects visits to the flowering cucumber plants. This enhanced adequate pollination that influenced high fruiting in April 26th and May 3rd planting dates.
There was high vegetative growth and low fruit yield in cucumber varieties planted in May 10th. The conversion of assimilates to vegetative growth at the expense of flowering and fruiting was enhanced by excess rainfall and nutrient potential of the soil. High rainfall intensity and duration during anthesis could also have led to the Bees, a major insect pollinating cucumber, inactiveness and subsequently leading to flower abortion (Eifediyi and Remison, 2009; Papadopoules, 1994). Also, cucumber is a dioecious plant, male flowers formed few days ahead of the female flowers therefore, the direct impact of frequent rain-splash on flowers may lead to pollen damage and flowers abortion, leading to low fruit formation and yield reduction, as observed in this study.
4 Conclusions
Moisture content, soil factors and genetic affinities of crops are the main influencing factors that boost growth and yield of crops in a given environment. This study showed that cucumber varieties are sensitive to extreme condition of rainfall, but moderate rainfall intensity in time and volume as observed in April 26th and May 3rd of 2014 planting season is best for planting cucumber in the study area. The varieties best suited for the study area are Nonadini and Ashley due to their ability to utilize and convert growth factors of the environment to maximize fruit yield.
5 Materials and Methods
The experiment was conducted at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (Lat. 5° 12' N and Long. 5° 35'E ) and 330 meters above sea in a forest - savanna transition zone of Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria. The area is characterized by a bimodal rainfall pattern which starts in late March and ends in July and August while the short rainy season extends from September to late October, sometimes extending to early November with erratic distribution. The variation primarily is due to climate change which has been manifesting in recent years. The rainfall data is presented in Table 1. The soil order is an alfisol and the site is classified as Oxic Tropuldalf (USDA) derived from quartz, gnesis and schist (Senjobi et al., 2013). The site was heavily manured with pig dung after it was cropped to eggplant in the previous year prior to the establishment of the experiment. A composite soil sample was collected from 0-30cm depth before planting to determine the physicochemical properties of the soil following the procedure of Ibitoye (2008).
The experimental site was mechanically ploughed. Two weeks before harrowing and packing of the debris, pig dung was applied at the rate of 15 tons per hectare. Site orientation and blocks were marked into plots using line and pegs (Akindele, 1996). There were four plots per block in the experiment and each plot was replicated four times. Treatments (cucumber varieties) were randomly allocated by balloting method at each planting date. The varieties of cucumber planted (Ashley V1, Kande V2, Murano V3, and Nonadini V4) are early maturing plants obtained from Jos, Nigeria. Planting was done on 19th (D1) and 26th (D2) of April, 3rd (D3) and 10th (D4) of May, 2014 at a spacing of 75cm x 75cm (Eifediyi and Remison, 2009). Two seeds were sown per stand which was later thinned down to one vigorous plant per stand two weeks after planting giving a plant population of 17,778 plants per hectare.
The field was weeded manually using hoe. A total of two weedings were carried out before flower initiation. The crops were sprayed three weeks after planting with insecticide and fungicide at the rates of 2 litres and 1.5kg/ha respectively to protect the plants against insect pests infestation and fungal diseases infection. Harvesting of the cucumber fruits commenced at five weeks after planting when the fruits had turned deep green in colour. Harvesting was done by handpicking the matured fruits weekly. Five plants from the net plot were sampled and tagged. Growth and yield parameters were recorded from the tagged plants during data collection.
The vegetative parameters recorded were vine length, number of leaves, number of lateral branches, leaf area and yield while yield components were number of female flower, number of male flower, number of fruit per plant, fruit weight per plant, fruit girth, fruit length and yield per hectare. Cucumber vine length was measured by using a flexible tape rule. Number of leaves and number of branches were assessed by visual count of the green leaves and branches and the leaf area was assessed by the dry weight method of Rhoads and Blood worth (1964). At every harvest, the fruit diameter was assessed by using a vernier caliper, the fruit length was measured by using a flexible tailoring tape before the fruits were weighed using a 10kg scale. A total of three harvests was pooled for data analysis.
The author sincerely appreciate Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), Abuja, Nigeriaand Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Research and Development Centre for providing the fund to carryout this research.
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