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Benincasa, Wax Pumpkin
Benincasa, Wax Pumpkin

Video: Benincasa, Wax Pumpkin

Video: Benincasa, Wax Pumpkin

An outlandish culture that yields a large yield of nutritious fruits with medicinal properties

Benincasa, wax pumpkin
Benincasa, wax pumpkin

Benincasa variety Oblong

I want to tell you about an amazing and interesting plant from the pumpkin family - beninkase. Benincasa is a waxy gourd. It is also called winter wax pumpkin, white Indian pumpkin, Chinese oscillus. There are two types of this pumpkin: benincasa hispid and bristly hairy.

Features of culture

Southeast Asia is considered the homeland of Benincasa, although it has not been found in the wild. This culture is especially popular in China, Vietnam, India and Pakistan. In Russia, it is a rare exotic vegetable.

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Benincasa Hispida is a fast-growing annual, creeping plant with cucumber-like leaves. The flowers are large, yellow, fragrant, up to 8 cm in diameter with a five-petal flat corolla. It blooms in July, and by autumn it forms oval, velvety to the touch, light green or white pumpkins 25-30 cm long with a bluish waxy bloom.

Young fruits are pubescent; with age, the pubescence disappears and a waxy coating appears. Soon it becomes so much that it can be easily removed from the pumpkin with a spoon. The wax is used in the homeland of beninkase for technical purposes, in medicine and for the manufacture of candles. Thanks to this protection, the skin of the pumpkin does not harden, the fruits are well preserved for a year, and according to some sources, even up to three years.

The pulp of ripe fruits is white, firm, juicy, sweetish and very nutritious, as it contains many pectin substances. Unripe fruits are eaten in the same way as zucchini - they are fried, stewed with other vegetables, and pickled. Ripe fruits are used in the confectionery industry, for example, for the production of candied fruits.

At the moment, two varieties of beninkase hispid are known in Russia: Oblong and Round.

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Benincasa, wax pumpkin
Benincasa, wax pumpkin

Benincasa bristly-hairy varieties Pekinskaya

The fruits of beninkase bristly are called in China a cushion pumpkin for its similarity to the traditional Chinese headrest, as well as a winter pumpkin because of its snow-white pulp, or simply a white pumpkin. Benincasa wax gourd can still be found on sale only in Chinese markets. It looks a lot like a vegetable marrow, only very large and very thick. In addition to its outstanding size, it differs from the zucchini in its deep green skin.

There is information that it can be successfully grown in the middle lane, especially in protected ground. This type of pumpkin is not yet very common in Russia. She came to us from Southeast Asia. The assortment includes both varieties of foreign selection: Peking, Beijing-Tong-Ngua-I-Chuar-Lin, and domestic - Akulina.

This plant looks quite decorative - heart-shaped leaves with a corrugated plate and a serrated edge look great on their own. But the fruits of benincase are especially interesting. The ovary is pubescent, with a waxy coating, and when the fruit ripens, the surface becomes smooth, a mealy effect arises on it, which makes the fruits become white. The flesh of beninkase is white, in young fruits it is bland, then aroma and slightly sour taste arises. Their quality is significantly higher than that of traditional pumpkin - the pulp is almost devoid of fibers, the bark is corked much less.

In shape, the fruits of the wax pumpkin are round, oblong and spherical, their weight can reach 10-15 kg. Fruit color is green in different shades or bluish-gray. Unripe fruits are used in cooking as zucchini - they are stewed and fried, canned, stews and soups are prepared, and candied fruits are made.

Growing beninkase pumpkin

Benincasa, wax pumpkin
Benincasa, wax pumpkin

Benincasa Hispide Round

Benincasa is quite easy to grow - this plant is unpretentious. If you fertilize the soil well with humus before planting, you will get a higher yield. You can add it directly to the planting holes, it is advisable to pour a handful of ash there as well. But it will require more space for growing. Plant it in a row every 40 cm, and the row spacing should be left about one and a half meters. Only for small areas, it can be left at least 70 cm wide.

In addition, there is another plus of this culture - beninkase does not need to look for a corner away from its congeners, since this type of pumpkin is not cross-pollinated with them. Seeds can be sown directly into the ground after the ground warms up to + 10oС. Since almost all seeds germinate, you can put two seeds in one hole, dropping them to a depth of four centimeters. Benincasa is considered a frost-resistant plant and is able to withstand temperatures down to -4 oС.

When growing a wax pumpkin, remember that it will be most comfortable on the trellis, in extreme cases, put pegs next to it. To accelerate fruiting, it is better to pinch the top over 15 leaves and remove excess shoots. This is where all the worries basically end, because pests and diseases are not affected when growing beninkase. And by winter you get fruits that can be stored for a long time. A dry room with a constant temperature is suitable for this. We put them on the floor, or you can hang them. The only requirement is to try not to erase when transferring the wax film to the surface of the fruit. It has a protective function.

The best way to grow is seedling. In mid-April, 2 seeds are sown in large peat cups. When shoots appear, the weaker seedling is removed.

Benincasa can be planted in open ground on May 20-25. However, the best results can be achieved by using cover films. In this case, the conditions will be more favorable, since the temperature optimum for this culture is + 25 … + 30 ° С, and the summer in recent years is absolutely unpredictable.

Benincasa, wax pumpkin
Benincasa, wax pumpkin

Benincasa bristly-hairy cultivar Beijing-tong-Ngua-I-Chuar-Lin

A distance of 50-60 cm should be maintained between the plants. After planting the seedlings, it should be watered daily for some time. Thickening should be avoided. To do this, a trellis is equipped near the bushes and shaping is carried out, leaving the central shoot and breaking out the side ones.

During the growing season, 2-3 liquid fertilizing with mineral and organic fertilizers should be carried out. This pumpkin loves sunny places, the best fruits are obtained from the upper lashes, which are illuminated by the sun all day.

In order for the ovaries to form earlier, you can additionally pollinate the flowers with a brush. This is especially useful in greenhouses. The main shoot is pinched after the formation of 10-12 fruits.

It is necessary to harvest the fruits of beninkase before the onset of autumn frosts. They are cut together with the stalk, store them at room temperature. Unripe fruits, formed last, are best consumed immediately, since they are unsuitable for storage. Ripe benincase fruits, thanks to the wax bloom, can be stored for up to 1 year.

Read part 2. Healing properties of beninkase →

Valery Brizhan, experienced gardener

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