Wild cucumber or prickly fruit popularly considered a weed: the vine does not require special care and knows how to sow itself. Long weaving stalks of annuals are outwardly similar to the aerial part of an ordinary cucumber and are endowed with the ability to quickly creep along the ground and trail along nearby supports. Due to active weaving and the ability to grow shoots up to 6 m, wild cucumber is often used in landscaping to create a hedge.
Wild cucumber - annual plant, belonging to the genus of lianas and the pumpkin family. It can be distinguished by the following features:
The stem is covered with stiff short hairs. In one season, the creeping stems of the prickly carp can grow in length from 50 cm to 6 m.
Along the entire length, vines are evenly distributed on long petioles leaves similar to leafy plates of edible cucumber: They are strongly dissected into several blades.
The lower part of the light green leaf plates is covered with short white hairs. Antennae are located near the leaf plates, with which it clings to the supports.
Enters the flowering phase in June and blooms until the beginning of autumn... White-green female liana flowers grow singly or in pairs, male flowers are collected in small inflorescences.
Regardless of gender flowers consist of 6 petals and are located in the leaf axil... During flowering, a pleasant sweet aroma emanates from the inflorescences.
After the end of flowering, fruits are tied on the liana, from a distance resembling an ordinary cucumber, only their shape is more round, and the thorns are much longer than that of the fruit of a cultivated plant.
The set fruits are painted in a muted green color, and turn brown upon reaching maturity... The skin of the fruit changes closer to ripening, changes its delicate structure to a tough one.
Inside the prickly fruit, in two compartments, there are 4 brown or black seeds, shaped like pumpkin seeds. As soon as the fruit ripens, it explodes and scatters seeds around it.
If a lot of precipitation fell during the growing season, water is sprayed out of the fruit, which carries the seeds several meters away from the mother plant.
To avoid uncontrolled self seeding fruits must be torn off before they crack.
From dried stems, fruits and rhizomes prepare medicinal decoctions, tinctures, powders.
Before using drugs, you should consult your doctor.
Despite its use for many medicinal purposes, the plant is very poisonous... The skin that comes into contact with the juice of the creeper is covered with burns and wounds.
Eating fresh fruit or the aerial green portion will cause severe poisoningmanifested by vomiting, headaches, bloody diarrhea, drowsiness.
Curious gardeners brought the exotic liana from North America just a century ago.
In this short time, the wild cucumber moved from European botanical gardens to the open spaces of all of Europe, and quickly spread throughout the continent. Now it can be found in Siberia, the Caucasus, China and even Japan..
Due to the peculiarity of the vines, quickly grow stems and braid the space around them, it is often used for landscaping summer cottages, as well as for obtaining honey.
In the last century, the creeping plant was often used to decorate public places. Now they create a hedge from the plant, decorate them with balconies and terraces, as well as the walls of high rooms.
Liana is planted near a special trellis, the purpose of which is to hide boxes, utility rooms, inventory from guests. It looks especially beautiful during the period of flowering and ripening of fruits that change color.
Vine flowers give off a pleasant aroma that attracts bees, so the plant can often be found near hives.
About the use of wild cucumber at their summer cottage:
Every plant in the garden requires care from the owner. In order for the cultivation of a wild cucumber to bring benefit and joy to the gardener, the plant needs to be looked after.
Since the vine is very unpretentious to care for and does not require the creation of special conditions, the main thing in care is to control its spread.
Among the usual manipulations, experts recommend periodically watering the vine during a severe drought. In order for the stems to grow in the right direction, you need to coordinate their movement.
The fact is that the plant is capable of self-sowing in the surrounding area. Therefore, it is recommended to sow a plant near fences that are located far from their own and neighboring gardens.
If you do not look after the wild cucumber, it is able to capture most of the site.
To prevent abundant self-seeding, it is recommended to pick the fruits before they ripen or to weed the emerged seedlings in the spring, which are very similar in appearance to the pumpkin seedlings.
To clear the area of adult vines, just cut off the stem before winter. It is not necessary to dig out the rhizome - it itself dies before the onset of spring.
Wild cucumber - an amazing combination of beauty, healing substances and dangerous poison... An annual creeping plant is used to decorate summer cottages and eliminate health problems.
Growing a plant is practically devoid of any difficulties, except for self-seeding control and giving the desired shape.
One of the main qualities of a green cucumber is its taste. And it depends on heredity and growing conditions. Hereditary (congenital) factors include the ability to synthesize bitter substances - cucurbitacins, which protect plants from all kinds of stress.
Crazy cucumber is grown not only by gardeners, but also grows in its natural environment. Eastern Europe and Asia Minor are considered its homeland. There is culture in the Caucasus and Crimea. It spreads by self-sowing, shooting with seeds after they have ripened.
The plant can adapt to any soil - clay, stony, waterlogged. It responds very gratefully to fertilization - after that, the mad cucumber retains its decorative effect throughout the season.
As for agricultural technology, in general it differs little from the method of growing ordinary cucumbers. The main features of the Chinese cucumber include a more dense planting - due to the fact that it stretches in height, and gives few side shoots, and they are short. It is best to grow by the trellis method - this way the plants are more beautiful, good and even ventilation is provided.
Attention! When building a support, choose strong materials - weak and lightweight structures, Chinese cucumbers can knock down due to their weight.
The fruit is exotic and how to grow Kiwano, the Russian resident knows little about it. But there are no special problems when growing horned melon. After Russian breeders received their cucumber variety Kiwano-Green Dragon (entered in the State Register in 2013), it turned out that Kiwano in central Russia would feel "at home." Already 2 months after planting, the prickly cucumber enters the fruiting phase, which is suitable for our latitudes.
Kiwano cucumber is grown outdoors in seedlings. The growing season for horned melon is long and the fruit takes time to ripen. Kiwano seeds are sown in early April. When sowing, follow the sequence:
There is no need to rush to planting Kiwano cucumber in open ground. Recurrent frosts can kill the African melon. The plant, like its Russian relatives from the Pumpkin family, has an extremely negative attitude to transplants, they take root for a long time and the growth phase is delayed.
For growing horned melon, select a site with good drainage and moderate soil nutritional value. African cucumber loves warmth and light. For normal growth and development of Kiwano, a temperature regime is required within + 21- + 26C. Shaded growing areas are not suitable. Acidic soils are not recommended.
Horned melon is a large plant, therefore 1 sq. M. no more than 2 Kiwano plants are planted. Scourges reach 3-4 m, so it is more convenient to plant a vine along the support. A fence, a pergola, special supports, trees are the master's business. When massively grown, Antillean cucumber is placed at a distance of 40-45 cm in 3 rows.
The African liana is planted at the age of 30 days. Planting times will differ in different growing regions. If the probability of recurrent frosts is possible, then it is worthwhile to postpone the planting or prepare a covering material.
It is not advisable to grow Kiwano cucumber in a greenhouse. Flowers are pollinated by bees, which is not possible indoors. In the middle lane, if the summer is warm, fruits ripen in the open field. If other pumpkin plants grow nearby, then during cultivation, cross-pollination is possible with the receipt of interspecific hybrids.
Caring for an African fruit includes activities traditional for any agricultural culture: watering, loosening, weeding, feeding and forming a bush. Do not forget about possible pests and diseases that can "attack" the African exotic during cultivation.
Antilles cucumber is a moisture-loving plant that, during cultivation, does not tolerate even short-term drying out of the soil. Water the prickly cucumber 2-3 times a week, and in dry summer - every day. Watering is carried out with warm water in the morning or evening.
The African fruit is loosened carefully, since the root system is located close to the soil surface. Weeds are removed at the same time. The soil is mulched to retain moisture. For these purposes, humus, peat, wood chips are used.
Experienced gardeners recommend the hilling procedure when growing horned melon. It is not required, but useful for the prickly cucumber, as it retains moisture in the soil and forms an additional root system.
For the cultivation of horned melon, additional feeding is necessary. Kiwano responds well to organic compounds from grass, bird droppings, and mullein. The introduction of complex mineral components is useful. Fertilizers are applied every 2 weeks, alternating organic and mineral compositions with microelements. It is quite problematic to get a harvest of Kiwano cucumber without top dressing.
To obtain Kiwano fruits at home, a pinching procedure is carried out. The lashes are tied to a net or support and the side shoots are removed. Their abundance leads to a reduction in fruit during cultivation and a strong proliferation of vines. The thorny stems form in a single line or create a bushy shape. Pinching of a kiwano is carried out to the point of the ovary (removed under the ovary), the whips with male flowers are removed completely.
When Antillean cucumber is grown in the middle lane, the harvest takes place in August. In warmer regions of the country, young gherkins are harvested in July. The fruits of horned melon are picked at the age of 4-7 days to create winter preparations: they are used for pickling and salting. Collection during cultivation of Kiwano is carried out every 1-2 days.
The fruits of the African cucumber are fully ripe 2 months after the start of cultivation. They turn yellow and are covered with a dense orange peel. Only the jelly pulp of ripe Kiwano melons has a characteristic fruity taste and melon-banana aroma.
Ripe fruits are stored for up to six months. Kiwano are covered with a wax-like film that prevents rotting and evaporation of moisture from the surface of the fruit.
If you pick gherkins of Kiwano cucumbers as they grow, then the yield will increase significantly and will amount to 200 fruits per plant. Ripe fruits will wait a long time and their quantity will be small, but this pays off with the excellent taste of ripe fruits.
The cucumber appeared in culture more than 6 thousand years ago. The homeland of this species is the tropical and subtropical regions of India   , the foothills of the Himalayas, where it still grows in natural conditions. Mentioned in the Bible as the vegetable of Egypt (Num. 11: 5). In the Egyptian temple of Dahir el-Bars, green-colored cucumbers are depicted along with grapes .
This culture was already known to the Greeks, from whom it passed to the Romans, and in the era of Charlemagne it was already spread throughout Central Europe. In Greece, at the time of Homer, there was a city of Sikion, that is, the city of cucumbers .
The first mention of cucumbers in the Moscow state was made by the German ambassador Herberstein in 1528 in his notes on a trip to Muscovy.
One of the most widespread dishes in Russia in the 16th century was the so-called black soup, a soup where meat was cooked in cucumber brine, mixed with various spices and herbs .
Nowadays, the cucumber culture is widespread and has many varieties and varieties. The fruits of wild cucumbers are small, and some are inedible due to the high content of bitter substances - cucurbitacins.
There are more and more varieties and hybrids of cucumbers every year. At the same time, their composition is significantly updated annually - preference is given to the earliest, well-fertile, relatively resistant to various diseases.
Outdoor cucumber hybrids
Remember that all F1 hybrids do not retain their unique properties in the second generation, that is, there is no point in collecting seeds.
A mid-season fruitful bee-pollinated hybrid with a predominantly female type of flowering, relatively cold-resistant, extremely resistant to powdery and downy mildew and olive spot.Cucumbers 'Farmer F1' are grown in protected and open ground. The green fruit reaches 12 cm. The peculiarity of this hybrid is the intensive growth of the main lash and the rapid appearance of lateral shoots, it is with the regrowth of which that the peak of mass fruiting occurs.
A uniquely early ripening hybrid: the ripening of small tuberous fruits begins already 45 days after the shoots have appeared.
Cucumbers without bitterness are ideal for fresh consumption
Crispy cucumbers 'Othello F1' have a pleasant taste (even overripe fruits remain sweetish), genetically devoid of bitterness. Fruits can keep excellent taste and presentation for a long time. Resistant to powdery mildew, cucumber mosaic virus, downy mildew and cladosporiosis. The hybrid is cultivated not only in the open field, but also in greenhouses, as well as using temporary film shelters.
Mid-early hybrid. It is used for growing under temporary film shelters and in the open field. It is prone to parthenocarpia, quite resistant to viruses of cucumber mosaic, root rot, pathogens of powdery (real) mildew and cladosporiosis. The graceful fruits are also devoid of bitterness and are distinguished by excellent taste, ripening already 50-55 days after germination.
A fairly early and high-yielding hybrid, resistant to stressful conditions and various diseases. It is distinguished by the female type of flowering, due to which it bears fruit well. Cucumbers with large pimples are great for pickling.
An early ripe hybrid. Due to the predominantly female type of flowering, it has high yields. Equally super-resistant to stressful conditions and disease. Recommended for cultivation in tunnels and open field. Fruits - dense pimpled cucumbers are characterized by high pickling qualities: they are devoid of bitterness, with small seed chambers. Many growers consider it to be the best hybrid for canning.
Dense pimpled cucumbers are good for pickles
In addition to the above, such varieties of cucumbers as are good for growing in the open field: