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Video: Growing Japanese Trichozant - Snake Cucumber
How I grow a snake cucumber in the Moscow region
In the plant world, the pumpkin family is perhaps the most diverse in the form of fruits and their originality. Among other things, there is a large group of thin-stemmed pumpkins, which are quite rare in Russia. All the most interesting variety of fruits falls on this group.
For example, loofah-washcloth, anguria - cucumber-hedgehog, melotria rough - African cucumber, momordica-dragon, cyclantera, echinocystis, cucumber-profelarum - thorny watermelons, trichozant - serpentine cucumber.
Perhaps a few words should be said about each plant. Luffa - fruits of cylindrical and sharply ribbed luffa are used for food at a young age as zucchini. It is easier to grow cylindrical loofah in the central region, because luffa acutely ribbed has a long growing season. The flowers of the cylindrical luffa are large and very decorative. Its ripe fruits are used to make loofahs.
Anguria (Syrian and Antillean) and rough melotria are lianas, their fruits taste like ordinary cucumbers.
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Momordica and cyclantera, in my opinion, have dubious taste qualities of fruits, and it is difficult to imagine that one of our gardeners will eat them. Soak these small bitter fruits? The Papuans did and are doing this, but why do we need it? Although, I must say that the revealed fruits of Momordica are very decorative and resemble some kind of "dragons".
Echinocystis and cucumber profelarum - their fruits are inedible, they are used for vertical gardening, they quickly build up dense, extensive greenery. Echinocystis blooms profusely and itself scatters seeds from fruits.
I would like to tell you more about the snake cucumber or Japanese trichozanth. It is cultivated in China, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, America and Australia. However, in Europe, it is quite rare. The Japanese variety of trichozant is one of the most decorative, as at the stage of ripening the fruits acquire bright orange-red tones.
Trichozant is an annual climbing plant with a thin stem 3-4 meters long and 3-7 lobed leaves, flowers are unisexual. The males are gathered in a brush and bloom one by one, and the females are single.
Trichozant flowers are a phenomenon worthy of the artist's attention. Imagine not very large, about 4 cm in diameter, snowflakes with bizarre thread ends, which in the evening begin to emit an unusually delicate aroma. Only a woman experienced in expensive perfume can find an analogy for this wonderful smell. These flowers are a real find for those who like to get some air in the evening.
The fruits of the trichozant are no less exotic. They resemble a kite and are up to 1 meter long. Therefore, it is preferable to grow trichozant on trellises. In a greenhouse, plants must be grown in one stem strictly according to the technology of cucumbers, leaving one or two ovaries on the lateral shoots after the second leaf. Lateral shoots that did not form ovaries after the second leaf, in the climatic conditions of the Moscow region and more northern regions, it is better to pluck out, because this leads to the onset of fruit formation faster and helps to avoid thickening.
It is necessary to plant seedlings in open ground after the end of the frost, in this case it is necessary to provide wind barriers, but it is possible to grow in a creeping culture in any form without pinching. Free-form cultivation of Japanese trichozant in a good warm summer with warm nights can also be effective because the growing season from the moment of sowing the seeds (in late April - early May) until the beginning of fruiting is about 80-90 days, and when pinching and growing on a trellis - two weeks less.
Of the factors hampering the spread of this interesting culture, the first place is the small number of seeds in the fruits of the trichozant. For example, a dozen rather large (slightly more watermelon) seeds in one fruit is already good. If three fruits ripen into seeds on one plant, this is also good. The number of young fruits for food purposes can be up to 25 pieces per plant per season, the order of removal is the same as when picking cucumbers. The cultivation is also complicated by the fact that the soil temperature for seed germination must be at least + 20 ° C and even more, because they vanish quickly in cold soil (even faster than Lagenaria and Momordica).
However, young trichozant plants, very whimsical to a cold snap, become quite resistant during the fruiting period and, for example, peppers bear fruit before frost.
The harvest obtained from the trichozant is used for food in an unripe form: young fruits weighing 150-200 g, as a rule, twisted in rings, are boiled, canned, fried, eaten raw (it tastes like a crispy cucumber with a sweet radish flavor). The fruits are rich in vitamins, carotene, iron and other minerals.
Once, when growing a trichozant, I, passing by the garden, touched one of its fruit. It was already 30 cm long, and since the ends of the fruitlets usually stick out in different directions, I broke off one tip. Then there was this: the broken fruit "cried". Without thinking twice, I put the broken off tip (2 cm long) in its original place. The tip stuck and the next day, as if nothing had happened, it grew further. So unusually trichozant plants fight for life.
This plant succeeds well on fertilized soils with abundant occasional watering. When grown in a greenhouse, the distance between plants in a line ranges from 1 meter when grown in one stem to 2 meters when grown without pinching.
Each new interesting plant is a small holiday for our gardeners. In the new plant one can find joy, tranquility and rest from worldly worries, which is why many people strive to grow something unknown in order to better understand this world, to be closer to nature and, probably, to God.
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