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Video: Plant Lagenaria
Outlandish tropical pumpkin plant leganaria can be successfully grown in a greenhouse
For many years I have tried to find the seeds of Lagenaria, but all my attempts have ended in failure. And finally, last year I was lucky, four seeds of this exotic plant were in my hands. Two of them rose, and I could not get enough of an extraordinary miracle that literally grew before our eyes.
Now many gardeners will think about what new items will appear on their site next season. I recommend everyone to plant this fabulous plant, probably the only one of its kind, since the fruit of the lagenaria can safely grow back after a piece of it is suddenly cut off for kitchen needs. Two or three plants will be enough for you. In addition, watching them, you will give yourself extraordinary joy. All summer long you will not leave the feeling that the tropics have descended on your summer cottage. Moreover, this plant is suitable for both food and beauty.
A bit of history
Lagenaria, an annual climbing plant from the pumpkin family, came to Europe from India and Vietnam in 1971. Therefore, it is sometimes called Indian cucumber or Vietnamese zucchini.… But this zucchini is not simple. Lagenaria, pumpkin, zucchini, squash are in a sense related. But if pumpkins, zucchini and squash form fruits on lashes creeping along the ground (although not necessarily, for example, my pumpkins grow on a vertical trellis). Lagenaria, in any case, needs a trellis. Since its fruits can reach a length of more than one and a half meters, the upper tier of wire or rope must be fixed at a height of over two meters. This plant is very decorative: its numerous shoots twine around fences, outbuildings, gazebos. Lagenaria can be grown in the room, on the balcony, in the loggia.
This plant was immediately appreciated by vegetable growers. Its fruits are similar in color to zucchini, and in shape they are a giant cucumber up to 2 meters long and weighing from 3 to 7 kilograms. You can cut off the desired piece of the fruit, and the lagenaria continues to grow further. It is edible only unripe, just like cucumbers. Fruit shapes are very different: bottle-shaped, serpentine, simply elongated, pitcher-shaped, similar to a pod. The same dishes are prepared from it as from zucchini or pumpkin.
Lagenaria fruits taste good and have high dietary qualities. They make excellent caviar. Lagenaria can be stuffed with meat and rice, cut into salads, fry pancakes from it, add to omelets, and also salt and pickle. Small green "jugs" and "bottles", salted like cucumbers, are very tasty and can be a decoration on a festive table. All this applies only to young ovaries that have reached a length of 30-60 cm.
Lagenaria is also called a pot pumpkin or a gourd for the fact that amazing vases can be made from it, which they even manage to paint with oil paints or varnish, although, as they write, they are so good. These beautiful vases are used for dried flowers. They write about another interesting property of these vases: milk does not turn sour for a long time, and the water stays cold for a long time. True, I never got around to making vases. Accordingly, I also did not have a chance to pour milk or water into them, but this year I will definitely try.
Two main features of Lagenaria
First, this exotic plant has a very interesting property. If you suddenly want to fry lagenaria for lunch, but the whole fruit is, of course, too much, you can cut off only a third or a quarter, the rest will not dry out, only the cut will be covered with a dense crust. In other words, in this place, the cut "corks", and the fruit continues to grow as if nothing had happened. But it is better to do this in dry weather, otherwise the wound will not heal, and a fungal infection can get into it.
Secondly, lagenaria has a fantastic yield. The set fruits grow very quickly: in two to three weeks they reach a length of 1.5-1.8 meters. Hanging like giant candles, they represent a kind of fabulous picture.
The basic principles of Lagenaria agricultural technology:
- it can be grown only through seedlings, sowing seeds a month before planting in the ground;
- the plant is very thermophilic, therefore it is recommended to grow it on a vertical trellis in a greenhouse (although I quite successfully grew it in the open field last year);
- extremely photophilous, therefore, it is necessary to plant lagenaria in a sunny place;
- the presence of a trellis (fence, gazebo) or something similar is one of the most important conditions for the normal development of a plant;
- Lagenaria is extremely partial to very fertile soil.
I placed the lagenaria in the greenhouse along with the pumpkins. To grow these plants, we built a kind of house. It resembles an ordinary greenhouse, but in a slightly modified version. The base of the greenhouse is made of boards and is a box 1.5 meters wide, 2.5 meters long and 45 cm high. A crossbar is made in the middle of the greenhouse at a height of 70 cm so that it is possible to throw film on the greenhouse in spring. Along the entire contour of the greenhouse, two-meter beams are made, which are similar to a vertical trellis. The height of the vertical risers of the trellis is 2 m.
Two words about soil
Already in the fall, you need to think about what to use as a warm bedding. Naturally, the basis of biomass is formed by the remains of tops, leaves, brooms, sawdust, bark, kitchen waste, etc. All this mass should fill the greenhouse by about 2/3. From above, all this is sprinkled with lime and hibernates in this form.
In the spring, as usual, at the first opportunity, on top of all this composition, it is necessary to add a decent amount of fresh manure, sprinkling it with sawdust. As a result, the ground level should rise almost to the top. Then you need to dig holes for future plants. I make 12 such holes. In other words, I plant 12 plants, of which there were 10 pumpkins and 2 lagenarii. The holes in diameter take about 50 cm. In each hole, I pour 1.5 buckets of humus transferred from the tomato greenhouse since autumn.
Now it remains to do the last operation: cover the entire surface of the earth with an old film and very carefully press it down not only along the edges, but also in the middle, and not with anything, but necessarily with stones. As a result, we use two types of mulching at the same time: film mulching and stone mulching. Both of them will help to increase the temperature in the area of the plant root system, which is extremely important for all melons. Otherwise, without heated biofuel, films and stones, the lagenarii probably would not have survived, and would have had to, as recommended, plant them in a greenhouse.
You can't do without seedlings
Naturally, in our non-southern conditions, this miracle can only be grown through seedlings. I sowed seeds for seedlings in mid-April (in fact, it is recommended to do this 30-35 days before planting in the ground). The seed coat is very strong, therefore it is recommended to carefully cut off the top of the seed opposite the tip with the embryo with a sharp blade. True, I did not dare to undertake this operation. I just soaked them at first in the usual way in a solution of biological products (Rizoplan - 1 tablespoon per 1 liter of water and black yeast - 2 tablespoons per 1 liter of water) for four hours, and then, as always, put them in flat containers on a layer of moistened sawdust. Then she covered it with a thin layer of sawdust and put it in a warm place (on the battery). In principle, it is recommended to maintain a temperature of 25 ° C for normal seedlings. After germination, if necessary,watered and sprayed once a week with Epin growth stimulant. A week after the emergence of seedlings, I sprinkled sawdust around them with a thin layer of vermicompost. After the appearance of the third true leaf, she transplanted the plants into milk bags, cut in half. Naturally, she kept the seedlings at maximum illumination.
Lagenaria landing in the ground
Around the middle of May, I cut out large enough holes in the greenhouse film lying on the ground for my two lagenarii, naturally, in those places where holes were previously made and fertile soil was poured. The diameter of the holes is about 25 cm. Into the holes I applied 1 handful of complex fertilizer such as nitrophoska, 2 handfuls of ash, 2 handfuls of sawdust, 2 tbsp. tablespoons of superphosphate and a handful of Giant fertilizer. Then she carefully planted the plants and poured 2 cups of a solution of trichodermin, rhizoplan and black yeast under each. Then she mulched the ground in the hole with leaf litter.
After all these operations, you need to carefully cover the plants with a double layer. The first layer is a regular covering material, thrown directly onto the plants and pressed down by the stones we used earlier to press down on the film lying on the ground. The second layer is an old film thrown over a crossbar located in the middle of the greenhouse at a height of 70 cm. The edges of the film should go beyond the greenhouse and should be pressed down with stones outside the greenhouse. As a result, you will get something like a triangular house. In warm weather, one of the edges of the film should be lifted. The greenhouse remains in this form until the onset of stable warm weather, which usually coincides with the beginning of flowering.
As the weather improves, the cover is first removed from the film, and only after the appearance of female flowers is the covering material. Usually at this time, the lashes already reach a decent size, and they must be lifted onto the trellis.
Above the fifth leaf, I did, as recommended, a pinch so that the side branches appeared faster. Otherwise, the main stem can stretch up to 12-15 meters.
Since even the side lashes of the lagenari reach a length of 10 meters, and the height of the house is only 2 meters, it was necessary to repeatedly direct the lashes alternately up and down, each time, naturally, tying them up. In doing so, I adhered to the same rule as when working with a pumpkin: "The top of the shoot should always be in the sun."
When the plants are completely covered with trellises - at the same time they are decorated with spectacular white lagenaria flowers and yellow velvety pumpkin flowers, and here and there you can see yellow pumpkins and green lagenaria bottles - the view turns out to be truly fantastic. It seems that some tropical paradise has opened up to your eyes.
For the fruits to set
I did not entrust the process of pollination to a few flying insects. In fact, I always manually pollinate pumpkins with zucchini. So, you know, more reliable. Pollination of lagenaria is no different from pollination of other cucurbits.
Her flowers are quite large, almost white, very delicate. Male and female flowers are on the same plant. Moreover, they bloom at sunset and close by noon the next day. If during this time the flower is not pollinated, then, of course, there will be no fruit.
Regular (once every 2-3 weeks) spraying with "Gibbersib" or "Ovary" preparations, which, in fact, is the same, does not hurt either. For pollination, you need to take male flowers from well-lit whips, because poorly lit flowers contain sterile pollen. In addition, it is completely useless to pollinate flowers with water in their corollas: pollination will not happen anyway.
Feeding lagenarii was no different from feeding pumpkins. Last summer I fed them with mullein twice, three times with "potassium sulfate" (1 tablespoon for 1 bucket of water), once to improve the taste of the fruit - with fertilizer "Magbor" (1 tablespoon for 1 bucket of water).
At the moment of intensive pouring of fruits, I poured two small handfuls of nitrophoska and two handfuls of ash under each plant.
I watered lagenarii, as well as pumpkins, extremely rarely, only if necessary. Excess watering for this plant is useless. Firstly, lagenarii can get sick, and secondly, they will have a worse taste. When watering, you need to protect the root collar zone and in no case do not allow water to get on it. In case of water ingress, sprinkle ash on the root collar area. Watering, of course, is allowed only with warm water.
It's no secret that foliar dressing has a very beneficial effect on any plant, and lagenaria was no exception.
- During the entire vegetation period, the plants were fed once a week with the preparation "New Ideal" (1 cap per 1 liter of water).
- In order to stimulate the development of plants about 2-3 times per season, I sprayed them with growth stimulants "Epin" or "Silk" (I usually use these preparations alternately).
- At the beginning of fruiting, and then at the time of the main harvest, additional foliar dressing should be given with the drug "Two Harvests" (diluted measuring bucket into a bucket of water).
About the technology of making vases
If there is a desire to get seeds and a wall vase, then the first fruit should not be picked until the end of summer, it can grow up to two meters. In this state, it is already inedible - bitter. The shell of the fruit stiffens, you can't cut off a piece with a knife. The removed fruit lies at home until it dries up and the seeds begin to ripen in it when swaying. This will happen around late November - early December. Now you have to use a saw and saw off the end of the lagenaria to the height of the future vase. Then you should pour out the seeds, and drill a small hole for the clove closer to the cut. That's it, your vase is ready. Although you can additionally embellish it by painting or varnishing.
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