Keralites have been in a world of challenges recently. They have taken up a number of challenges ranging from the bucket challenge to salary challenge in the recent past. With the season of Vishu festival approaching, there is one more super challenge worth trying. Malayalis can attempt Vishukkani Challenge which lures the minds of those who are passionate about farming.
In olden days, people here used the vegetables and fruits collected from their garden for preparing Vishukkani (the first sight in the morning on the day of Vishu which invites prosperity for the rest of the year according to mythology), whereas they buy these from market nowadays.
Vishukkani Challenge proposes that people should cultivate the cucumber for preparing Vishukkani and those who could harvest cucumber by the time of Vishu will win the challenge.
Inorder to take up the challenge, sow the seeds by February first week.
Mudikkod Local variety cucumber is used for Vishukkani.
Collect seeds from Agriculture University and seed selling points of Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Kerala (VFPCK).
Cucumber for Vishukkani has a life of 80 days. First fruit can be harvested within 55-60 days from the day of planting.
Soak 5-6 seeds overnight and sow them in grow bags or holes that have 60 cm circumference and 30 cm depth.
Sow the seeds 1-2 cm deep in soil. Within 4-5 days, seeds sprout and saplings emerge.
One week before replanting, add one coconut shell full of lime in the soil and mix thoroughly.
Apply organic manures two days afterwards. Keep only healthy saplings among the sprouts.
Fertilisation can be scheduled according to planting, vine growing and blooming.
Cow dung powder and bone manure can be applied at the time of planting.
Only limited amount of ash and cow dung powder can be added during vine growth and blooming.
Bio pesticides such as pseudomonas solution (10 grams in one litre water) can be sprinkled once in every 15 days to ensure steady growth.
Normally, cucumber is not affected by many insects. Use neem-based pesticides, if necessary.
Cucumbers are pollinated by honeybees. If there are any wild plants, bitter gourd or snake gourd that is grown on the premises, honeybees are likely to do cross-pollination which may produce bitter tasting cucumbers.
Many cucumbers can be harvested from one grow bag. So, the excess cucumbers can be gifted to friends and family as well.