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General information and discussion about cultivating melons, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and gourds.

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Old March 2, 2018   #1
tarpalsfan
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Default Are you growing gourds this season?

My list:
Thai Extra Long Sponge Gourd (edible)
Bitter Melon (edible)
Snake (edible)
Small Spoon (for fun)


maybes:

Sub Mini's, even though I had bad luck with Jewelry Gourds. (to craft)

Mini Warties (for fun)

Bottle (craft)

or Martin House (craft)

We all love tomatoes and peppers. But I love pumpkin's and gourds the most...To much fun!


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Old March 2, 2018   #2
Ann123
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I grew bottle gourds last year for the first time. I don't have a greenhouse (live in a cool climate) and had little hopes. But they did very well.
I will grow loofah this year. I hope it will set some fruit. I've heard of others that they did not harvest a single loofah, but I'll try anyway.
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Old March 2, 2018   #3
linzelu100
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I'm trying for my first time with birdhouse.
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Old March 2, 2018   #4
tarpalsfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann123 View Post
I grew bottle gourds last year for the first time. I don't have a greenhouse (live in a cool climate) and had little hopes. But they did very well.
I will grow loofah this year. I hope it will set some fruit. I've heard of others that they did not harvest a single loofah, but I'll try anyway.
I like Bottle Gourds, they are easy to grow and dry nicely.

Start your luffa inside. It is pretty easy, just soak your seed in a cup until they sprout, then carefully transfer them to a large peat pot. Keep the seed and transplants warm, don't let them dry out. Plant them when you plant your Bottle Gourds. I hope that you get some Luffa. Don't be afraid to eat them while the gourd is still small and tender. It is wonderful. One of my favorite vegetables. Thanks for the reply!

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Old March 3, 2018   #5
Zeedman
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Weather permitting, I hope to grow cucuzza (opo). It did incredibly well last year, in spite of a relatively cool summer... but it needs to be planted early to succeed here.

Two varieties of bitter melon. One is the Japanese variety Abashi, the other will be one of the two Chinese varieties I have been trying to de-hybridize. Both of the Chinese varieties have undergone several generations of selection, and are nearly stable.

Will probably grow Cyclanthera explodens this year, a close relative of Achocha. The small immature fruits are "edible", but rather tasteless. The main reason I grow it is as a novelty; the ripe fruits explode with the slightest touch, expelling the seeds violently. I have to wear goggles when harvesting seed.
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Old March 3, 2018   #6
Ann123
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I'll start them inside, just as the birdhouse bottle gourds.
My gourds from last year are almost dry. The kids are excited to turn them into birdhouses.
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Old March 3, 2018   #7
tarpalsfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeedman View Post
Weather permitting, I hope to grow cucuzza (opo). It did incredibly well last year, in spite of a relatively cool summer... but it needs to be planted early to succeed here.

Two varieties of bitter melon. One is the Japanese variety Abashi, the other will be one of the two Chinese varieties I have been trying to de-hybridize. Both of the Chinese varieties have undergone several generations of selection, and are nearly stable.

Will probably grow Cyclanthera explodens this year, a close relative of Achocha. The small immature fruits are "edible", but rather tasteless. The main reason I grow it is as a novelty; the ripe fruits explode with the slightest touch, expelling the seeds violently. I have to wear goggles when harvesting seed.
I don't know why, as I can grow other gourds just fine, but Cucuzzi doesn't well here. Edible Snake does great here. I also like Tambuli gourds.
.
Spitting cucumbers! How cool! I saw them on t.v. before.
.
I saw Fig Leaved gourd seed in the Sand Hill Preservation Center. My mind is saying maybe...then where are you gonna put it!
.
I am also thinking about try Jewelry gourd seed again. But man, I tried that before. I found Q.F.G at Silver Dollar City during the craft show. Bought 2 or 3 pack of seed. Not 1 germinated. I craft the "spinners:
.
About your bitter melon. I am trying the Abashi because it is supposed to be a 'mild' bitter melon. My favorite was Green Skin though. I grow it every other year, even if I didn't eat the gourds, I'd for the vine and lovely little yellow flowers!
.
I read that you aren't supposed to eat it raw, do you know why not? (I do, cooked too)
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Old March 3, 2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann123 View Post
I'll start them inside, just as the birdhouse bottle gourds.
My gourds from last year are almost dry. The kids are excited to turn them into birdhouses.
I start the slower maturing gourds inside too.
.
A question, I hope you don't think I am silly, but you know to scrape the skin off your dried gourds before you craft them? I wouldn't want your children to create masterpieces and have the paint peel off.
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Old March 3, 2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linzelu100 View Post
I'm trying for my first time with birdhouse.
Cool! I bet they do great Let me know how they do for you
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Old March 3, 2018   #10
Ann123
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Maybe it will get more beautiful when the paint peels of, like a more abstract work.
But I don't want paint in my garden. I prefer neutral colors in a garden. We will drill a hole and attach a little stick.
Maybe we'll paint one or two for indoors but the others will be birdhouses hung in a tree.
Thanks for your advice :-)
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Old March 3, 2018   #11
Zeedman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarpalsfan View Post
I don't know why, as I can grow other gourds just fine, but Cucuzzi doesn't well here. Edible Snake does great here. I also like Tambuli gourds.

I'm surprised cucuzzi does poorly there, especially if you grow other hard-shelled gourds.

Spitting cucumbers! How cool! I saw them on t.v. before.

There are spitting cucumbers, and there are exploding cucumbers... mine are the ones that look like a fat question mark with soft spines. It is important not to confuse C. explodens (which is edible) with
Ecballium elaterium (which is poisonous). C. explodens has vigorous, ivy-like climbing vines.

I saw Fig Leaved gourd seed in the Sand Hill Preservation Center. My mind is saying maybe...then where are you gonna put it!

You are fortunate to have a climate to its liking, since it is a perennial where the ground does not freeze. MONSTROUS vines, though... easily 20-25' long, and they will climb over anything that they encounter. I grew it here, but the vines are photo-period sensitive, and will not bloom until days approach 12 hours in length; so no ripe squash here.

Chayote squash is another perennial that would probably do well in your climate. I grew it when I lived in California, it was probably the most interesting & rewarding vegetable I ever grew.

About your bitter melon. I am trying the Abashi because it is supposed to be a 'mild' bitter melon. My favorite was Green Skin though. I grow it every other year, even if I didn't eat the gourds, I'd for the vine and lovely little yellow flowers!


I mainly grow trellises of BM & other gourds between rows of different beans (as part of my isolation strategy) and as wind breaks. I do like the sweet scent of the flowers, though... and the local bees really love them. DW eats some of the melons to help with diabetes. We like the milder ones also, although I grow a small, very bitter variety that some of our Filipino friends like to pickle.

I had to look several times to find Baker Creek's bitter melon listings... didn't expect to find them listed under "melons". Big Top looks like one of the Chinese varieties I've been trying to de-hybridize - if similar, it is one of the mildest that I've tried. Some of mine reached 2 pounds last year. Taiwan White looks interesting, I'll probably order some before it runs out, and may even grow it this year. Been looking for a white variety for some time, and have only found hybrids... if it is as mild & as large as they say, it could become one of my regulars.

I read that you aren't supposed to eat it raw, do you know why not? (I do, cooked too)

There is a lot of conflicting information out there concerning raw BM. Some claim it is poisonous raw, other claim to juice it raw. One of our friends told us that
the top-shaped BM was so mild, she enjoyed eating raw. We only eat it cooked or pickled. There is just as much conflicting info about the sweet red gel that surrounds the ripe seeds.

Last edited by Zeedman; March 3, 2018 at 07:35 PM. Reason: typos
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Old March 5, 2018   #12
tarpalsfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann123 View Post
Maybe it will get more beautiful when the paint peels of, like a more abstract work.
But I don't want paint in my garden. I prefer neutral colors in a garden. We will drill a hole and attach a little stick.
Maybe we'll paint one or two for indoors but the others will be birdhouses hung in a tree.
Thanks for your advice :-)
I always use craft acrylics when I paint my gourds. But my husband grew Bottle Gourds many years ago, before he knew to scrape the dried gourds. He painted and decoupaged the gourds. And the artwork did peel, it is still pretty, and we still have those gourds.
.
A few years ago, I bought a gourd seed mix from The Sand Hill Preservation Center, and some of the seeds where Chinese Bottles, when I scraped the dried gourds, the mold that grew on the skin made some beautiful mottled patterns on the gourds. They were mostly visible on the damp gourds. However, a clear protective coating would bring out that fantastic pattern.
.
I hope you don't think I am being nosy, but have to crafted gourds before?
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Old March 5, 2018   #13
Ann123
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No, not nosy :-)
I haven't. Gourds aren't 'usual' here. I have seen them in ethnic shops or museums but that is about it.
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Old March 5, 2018   #14
Ann123
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Can I be nosy too ;-)?
The mini gourds you mention, are they the cute miniature gourds that are sold on the not trustable Chinese shops (https://goo.gl/images/Htc4CW)?
I always assumed they were fake. I've seen them on Pinterest too.
Are they really that small?
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Old March 6, 2018   #15
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Re figleaf gourd, C. ficifolia: I grew it for a couple years at a community garden, and it was quite vigorous. The fruits have a thin, hard shell and last a couple years. I still have one that's 2.5 years old. I enjoyed baking slices of the immature fruit (they are still quite large, 2-6 pounds) like a summer squash, but no one else in my household liked them. The mature ones look like white spaghetti squash inside, with black seeds, and are bland enough that you could cook anything with them.

A funny story: A few years ago, a neighbor at the community garden gave me a squash plant. She did not know the name in English. The fruits never seemed quite right; when they looked big enough, they felt like styrofoam, and I thought I'd waited too long to pick them, so I put them in the compost. Since they looked distinctive, however, I looked around at the farmers' market to try to ID the variety. It turned out it was a luffa/loofah!! So I retrieved the one in the compost, which by then had started to decay, washed away the seeds and minimal pulp, and voila! A homegrown luffa sponge.

Zeedman, I'm curious why chayote was the most interesting and rewarding vegetable you've ever grown.
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