CUCUMBER African Horned (KIWANO) - 15+ Heirloom Seeds (NOT to WA)
African Horned Cucumber (Jelly Melon, Kiwano) is an annual vining vegetable native to NW Zambia where it is cultivated by indigenous farmers. The young fruits are mottled green and are wholly edible, tasting like cucumber. The mature fruits are hard of shell, green and yellow striped, a scoopable source of nutritious seeds and life-giving water.
Some of the most impressive health benefits of Kiwano include its ability to improve cognitive ability, prevent certain types of chronic diseases, aid in weight loss, protect the skin, boost the metabolism, increase eye health, strengthen bones, optimize digestion, and speed up wound healing!!!
It is primarily used as a fruit-snack or salad. It is eaten young, mature green or when ripe - bright yellow/orange (i.e eaten at any stage of its development) and it grows naturally in the fields and also in the bush.
Care and Growing Instructions
Cucumber requires warm, well-drained soil high in fertility, with a pH of 6–6.8. Consistent, adequate irrigation is needed to produce an abundant crop. Cucumbers are very sensitive to cold. Make sure both soil and air temperatures have warmed prior to planting. Using plastic mulch and row covers will greatly enhance the vigor and potential yields of cucumbers by providing warmth and insect protection.
In frost areas, sow under cover in seed trays in early spring. Plant out after last frosts. Sow indoors in 16-cell plug trays about 5-6mm deep, 1–2 seeds/cell, 3–4 weeks before transplanting. Keep temperature above 21°C day and 16°C night with heat pad underneath plug trays. Transplant 30cm apart. Do not disturb roots when transplanting.
In frost free areas sow directly into the soil in early spring. However, wait until soil is warm, at least 21°C. Cucumber seeds will not germinate at a soil temperature below 14°C. Sow 2 seeds per 30cm.
Single Plants: 60cm each way (minimum)
Rows: 60cm with 60cm row gap (minimum)
Support plants well so they can climb upwards, even when the cucumbers get large. This also protects the cucumbers from slugs. Occasionally a plant can produce very bitter cucumbers so always test a bit before serving to others!
When flowers start forming, feed with slow release potassium-rich organic fertilizer. Fortnightly liquid feed from mid-summer.
Once fruit bearing begins, pick daily. Cut the cucumbers off the plant when they are still quite young, otherwise the skin becomes hard and will need peeling. More cucumbers will then be produced.
Propagation notes will be supplied with seed packet.
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