The name “squash” comes from the Latin word “cubus”, which means female. The plant is native to Central America and was introduced into Europe in the 1600’s. Today it grows wild throughout most of North America, but it has been cultivated since ancient times. Some varieties are edible while others have very little nutritional value or no nutritional value at all.
The variety called “Italian” is one of the best tasting varieties.
Cucumbers are the fruit of the cucurbits family, which includes pumpkins, squashes and eggplants. They grow underground like other members of their genus and produce a soft fleshy pod with seeds inside. When ripe they fall off the vine and are eaten raw or cooked. A few types such as those grown in California are used as food additives.
Cucumber plants are prolific growers and can reach heights of up to 10 feet. Their large fruits contain high levels of water and sugar, making them ideal for human consumption. They do not require much space and can easily be planted in small spaces. However, they prefer full sun so they need well drained soil.
They will tolerate some shade provided it does not get too hot during the day or cold at night.
The different varieties of Cucurbita pepo can grown in containers but they need larger pots to accommodate their long roots. They are susceptible to many diseases that affect other plants, so it is best to use sterile potting soil and keep them free from contact with contaminated objects. In areas where the soil is not ideal, containers are a good idea because they can be easily moved around.
Cucurbita pepo plants are vines and will need a trellis or other support to grow on. They will need to be pruned from time to time and trained to grow in a certain direction. Growing healthy plants is important because their large leaves and fruit can block sunlight from smaller plants growing nearby.
Cucumbers have low nutrient requirements and do not need additional fertilizer. They are adversely affected by too much nitrogen so it is best to use a fertilizer that has less of this element in it. A slow release fertilizer can be applied before planting to provide nutrients over a period of time.
Seedlings should be kept in a location that is safe from frost, wind and extreme temperatures until they are strong enough to be planted outside. They can be planted directly into the ground once the weather is warm enough or started off in seedling trays until they are big enough to be transplanted.
Cucurbita pepo plants are susceptible to several pests including aphids, spider mites, vine borers and root knot nematodes. These can spread disease and damage the plant severely, causing premature death. Some can be controlled using organic pesticides while others will need to be isolated and destroyed by hand.
People planting cucurbita pepo seeds should expect a wait of at least sixteen weeks before the first fruits are ready for harvest. However, once you have the plants growing the fruits are fairly easy to grow. They will continue to produce more until the plant is killed by a frost or other natural disaster. It is best to mark each plant so you know where they came from in case their size or taste varies.
The Cucurbita pepo plants are part of the genus that also includes pumpkins and squashes. They are related to the Cucurbita moschata and Cucurbita mixta species. The fruit is eaten cooked, pickled or raw in salads. It can also be made into preserves, baked in cakes and breads or added to other dishes for flavor.
A popular type of cucumber is the slicing variety. These have a uniform shape and size with non-forked and smooth skin. The skin is dark green and free of blemishes. They have a delicate flavor and are the most popular cucumber for use in pickles.
Sources & references used in this article:
Italian horticultural and culinary records of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae) and emergence of the zucchini in 19th-century Milan by TA Lust, HS Paris – Annals of botany, 2016 – academic.oup.com
Indigenous Asian specialty vegetables in the central valley of California by RH Molinar – HortScience, 2012 – journals.ashs.org
BiodiverSO: A case study of integrated project to preserve the biodiversity of vegetable crops in Puglia (Southern Italy) by M Renna, FF Montesano, A Signore, M Gonnella… – Agriculture, 2018 – mdpi.com
Plant Growth and Developmental Characteristics of Danae 741667710” C. Cervelli, E. Scordo, PG Fadelli, A. Tatiana and S. Costello Advanced Production … by M Palagi, R Mafnca, B Di Mauro, FDAG Iapichina… – researchgate.net
What Will It Happen to Earth if Seeds go Crazy? A Conversation About the’Bank of the Migrating Germplasm’ by L Contini, C Guida – Visual Ethnography, 2017 – vejournal.org
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Microbiology (Endobacteriology) of Fruit and Vegetable Crops: An Expanded and Continuing Study by JR Edelman, YJ Lin – Int’l. J. Nutr. And Food Sci, 2016 – article.sciencepublishinggroup.org