Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is an important and valuable greenhouse vegetable crop belonging to family Cucurbitaceae and has tremendous economic and dietary importance. Protected cultivation is a new age production technology, which integrates market driven quality parameters with higher production resultantly high monetary returns.
Scientific understanding of water productivity can help address water scarcity concerns through more productive use of scarce water resources and higher socio‐economic benefits from available water. Mulching is considered as the backbone between components of the complete package for intensive production system of vegetable crops. In view of making more favourable conditions moisture conservation, reduction in soil compaction and increase of CO2 level around the plants for growth, development and efficient crop production. Mulching governs microclimate around plant depending on the thermal properties like reflectivity and absorption or transmittance of the incoming solar radiation of the particular mulch material.
Cucumber is sensitive to deficit irrigation due to its shallow fibrous root system and water stress may cause heavy yield losses in cucumber, so it becomes imperative to optimize the water requirements of cucumber in its different phenophases. The greenhouse cucumber grows very slowly at the early growth stages, so the requirement for water is also low and the capacity of water uptake by roots is limited. Therefore, reducing water supply at seedling stage, controlling water supply at flowering stage and increasing water supply at fruiting stage of cucumber can increase yield and water use efficiency. Irrigation scheduling is very crucial water management strategy as both the extremes of irrigation water (excess or deficit) in any phenophase of a crop may reduce yield drastically .
Thus, application of water in presence of mulch improves distribution of soil moisture in crop root zone which results in sufficient moisture conservation and proper temperature control, better utilization of nutrients and negligible infestation of weeds. Regulated irrigation is an effective tool for efficient water use in open field as well as in protected cultivation when combined with mulching practices, improves crop water productivity and production by reducing supplemental water needs up to 29 to 36%.
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Rathod, Hetal & Kumar, Sanjeev. (2021). Response of greehouse cucumber to regulated irrigation and mulching