|ISHS Acta Horticulturae 731: III International Symposium on Cucurbits
A NEW CROP FOR NORTH AMERICAN GREENHOUSE GROWERS: BEIT ALPHA CUCUMBER - PROGRESS OF PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY THROUGH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH TRIALS
| Nicole L. Shaw, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Peter J. Stoffella
|Cucumis sativus L., soilless media, protected agriculture, powdery mildew
Starting in 1999, Beit Alpha (BA) cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L.) were introduced to greenhouse growers in the Southeastern U.S. through research trials at the University of Florida.
Since then, growers in Florida, North Carolina, Canada, and Baja California, Mexico have successfully begun producing and marketing this cucumber which is historically grown in Mediterranean countries.
BA cucumber types are parthenocarpic (seedless) and thus do not require bumble bees for pollination; they are one-half the length of European-type cucumbers and do not require to be individually shrink-wrapped to avoid water loss once harvested.
Repeated trials have provided information on BA cucumber cultivars that can be grown in a passive-ventilated structure using hydroponic soilless culture.
Cultivar selections can be based on fruit quality characteristics, plant yield, seasonal production, and powdery mildew resistance.
The cultivar ‘Sarig’ has uniform fruit set and fruit size, with multiple fruit developing at every node throughout the season; yields equal 70 fruit (25 kg/m2) per plant.
However, ‘Sarig’ is highly susceptible to powdery mildew.
The cultivars ‘Figaro’ and ‘Manar’ show similar high quality and yield performance, as well as resistance to powdery mildew.
BA cucumbers can be grown in a variety of media such as perlite and pine bark and produced year-round using integrated pest management methods and no insecticides.
Also, new types of BA cucumbers are targeting niche markets as ‘snack-size’ cucumbers. ‘Snack-size’ cultivars yield nearly 40% more fruit per plant and can be produced with the same production techniques used for standard BA-types as they are only 45 g per fruit compared to 70 to 100 g per fruit for the standard types at harvest maturity.
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