Cucumber family provides many favorite vegetables

By Dan Gill

LSU AgCenter Horticulturist
The cucumber family, properly known as the Cucurbitaceae, provides a wide variety of vegetables popular for the bounce, summer and fall base vegetable garden. Members of the cucumber syndicate, known as cucurbits, can be planted now. They include summer squash, zucchini, winter squash, mirliton, pumpkin, gourd, cucuzzi, watermelon, cantaloup, cushaw, loofa and, of course, cucumber.

All of these vegetables produce vines that run along the ground or climb. Summer squash and zucchini vines are rather short and slurred, and so are more bush-like than early normally originate members of the syndicate. Some dwarf or “ shrub ” types of cucumbers and other cucurbits besides may be available .
Members of the cucumber family produce separate male and female flowers, but they both occur on the same plant. Pollen must be transferred from the male flowers to the female flowers to obtain fruit. Pollen transportation is done by bees and early insects, so it is highly important not to spray insecticides in the morning when bees are most active. Wait until late good afternoon or early flush if insecticides must be used .
male flowers produce the pollen that fertilizes the eggs in the ovary of the female flowers, which leads to fruit constitution. ( It is the fruit of these vegetables that we harvest to eat. ) It is important to understand that lone the female flowers actually develop into fruit .
Cucumbers, for exemplify, produce enormous numbers of male flowers compared to female flowers. I have talked to many gardeners who thought they were about to see a bumper cultivate of cucumbers, only to watch in stun disappointment as many of the flowers fell off without producing cucumbers .
To distinguish the male flowers from the female flowers in cucurbits, expect at the flowers closely. The flashy partially of the flower is frequently very similar ; it is behind the flower where the differences between male and female flowers can be observed. The female flower possesses an ovary that looks like a miniature version of the fruit that will finally form. The female flower of a cucumber, for example, is connected to the vine by what looks like a bantam cucumber. The ovary of a female squash flower looks like a bantam squash.

Cucurbits to grow
Squash are among the most popular and productive of the warm-season vegetables. Most families need to establish only a few plants to supply themselves with an abundance of squash, and now is an excellent time to plants seeds or transplants into the garden .
Short-vine, bushy summer squash plants are rather boastfully – 24 to 36 inches across – sol make indisputable you distance them by rights in the garden. The fruit is harvested young while it is young and tender – your thumbnail should easily penetrate the rind. normally originate summer squashes are jaundiced crookneck, yellow straightneck, zucchini, scallop and cocozelle .
Winter squash normally have a more vining increase substance abuse and need more board than summer squash to grow. Allow the yield to remain on the vine until in full matured when the rind is hard and you can not penetrate it with your thumbnail. The term winter squash does not refer to when they are grown but preferably to the fact that the fruit store well into winter. Examples of locally grown winter squash are pumpkin, butternut, acorn, Turk ‘s turban and Hubbard .
Cucumbers are broadly an easy vegetable to grow. Transplants are normally available. But as with most cucurbits, they are easily grown by planting seeds immediately into the soil. Most gardeners allow cucumber vines to grow along the grind, but it is highly recommend that you trellis them. Provide a hardy trellis 3 to 4 feet improbable and outer space plants along the floor about 6 inches apart. Tests conducted at LSU AgCenter inquiry stations show substantial give increases for trellis cucumbers equally well as fewer disease problems and better quality fruits.

One of my darling members of this family is the luffa gourd. very easy to grow, luffa seeds may be planted immediately into the garden nowadays at the base of a 6-foot trellis, thinning the plants to 1 to 2 feet apart when they come up .
This vine does triple duty in the garden. With attractive green leaves that bide healthy all summer and large, bright yellow male flowers, it is fine-looking enough to be used as an ornamental annual vine. In accession, the yield is edible when 6 to 8 inches long and can be sliced, breaded and fried like okra. indeed, two honest-to-god common names for this gourd, climbing okra and chinese okra, refer to its similarity to okra in spirit when fried .
When the gourd is mature and turns brown, the skin can be peeled away to reveal the most remarkable aspect of this plant – a baffling network of fibers that make an excellent sponge. When a plant will provide beautiful flowers, edible fruit and a sponge to clean up with, well, you can ’ t ask much more than that .

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Category : Health

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