Praise the Gourd

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Cucurbitaceae or the gourd family of flowering plants, are native to tropical or temperate area that are annuals or perennials. Most of the species are extremely sensitive to temperature near freezing that’s why it limits its area distribution and cultivation.

These crops are commonly known as vine crops. They grow with a very long stem that requires support. Vine crops grow by using tendrils and helping the vine climb on supports. In early stage of development, plant tends to spread quickly and far but with a trellis their growth can be controlled and thus these crops will grow productively. Without trellis, they grow but may encounter problems like soil-Bourne disease and fruit deformation so it is advisable to grow with the support of trellis, fence or other vertical structures. The tendrils can grow branched or simple and generated at the petiole base.

Vine crops should be grown in warm soil that is well fertile and irrigated. They also benefit from higher level of organic matter. Organic compost may be used as organic fertilizer and may be applied twice, basal or before planting and after emergence. It needs full sun so it is best grown in summer weather when days and nights are consistently warm. Crops from this family need a great deal of space to spread.

Cucurbitaceae family is the specie with the most food used for human consumption. The most common types are cucumber, bitter gourd, cucumbers and squash which are included in the production plan in Center for Bayanihan Economics. Using these crops in their cropping system, inter-cropped with other as companion crop to reduce pest infestation. But when pest can no longer be controlled, application of organic concoction is a better option.


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