Instructor: Stephen L. Love Aberdeen R & E Center 1693 S 2700 W Aberdeen, ID Phone: Fax:

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1 Vegetable Crops PLSC 451/551 Lesson 18,, Squash Instructor: Stephen L. Love Aberdeen R & E Center 1693 S 2700 W Aberdeen, ID Phone: Fax: Cucurbits -General Information Taxanomically diverse group Family consists of 96 genera, 750 species Widely divergent regions of origin, mostly tropical Most have vining or climbing growth habit Crop species are grown for fruits Cucurbits -General Information Most are insect pollinated Flowering habit unique, with most Monoecious unisex flowers on same plant Andromonoecious perfect and staminate flowers on same plant Deep rooted, withstand drought but not moisture stress Most are day-neutral, fruiting response associated with vine mass 1

2 Cucurbits - General Information Harvested immature or mature Short-term storage except for some squashes Most fruits subject to cold injury in storage Mostly marketed fresh Cucurbits - General Information Common Diseases Mosaic viruses Fungal fruit rots Common Insect Pests Aphids Squash bugs Taxonomy Dicotyledon y Family: Cucurbitaceae Genus and species: Cucumis sativa or anguira Related species: watermelon, luffa, gourds, chayote 2

3 Domestication Originated in India Cultivated there for over 3,000 years Grown by ancient Greeks and Romans Brought to North America by Columbus Cultivated by native Americans in 1500s Gherkin (C. anguira) introduced from Africa Botany Domesticated types are monoecious or gynoecious Male flowers outnumber female flowers Flower type influenced by photoperiod - long days promote staminate flowering Pollination by bees necessary for fruit set Ethephon promotes pistillate flowers and Gherkin production China Iran Turkey Russia United States Egypt Ukraine Spain Japan Indonesia 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 1,000 metric tons 3

4 Cultivars Two major types in the US Slicers White-spined, long, slow seed maturation, dark green Varieties Two major types in the US Picklers Black-spined, short, rapid seed maturation, light green or whitish Varieties Middle Eastern Type Beit Alpha 4

5 Varieties Chinese Types Varieties Japanese and Korean Types Varieties Indian Types (Sikkim) 5

6 Armenian cucumber same species as cantaloupe Consumer use Versatile Consumed fresh in salads, cooked dishes Processed into pickles, relishes Important source of vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium Production/Harvest Principles Needs consistent harvest to maintain production Harvest Every other day Early in the morning when turgid Prior to seed development Size specification for picklers 6

7 Harvest and handling Critically important to avoid harvest injury Remove field heat, cool to 50 degrees (hydro or room cooling) Storage Store at degrees, 95% RH Susceptible to chilling injury - <50 Susceptible to yellowing - >65 Maximum storage period 1-2 weeks Susceptible to ethylene injury Sophisticated Production Systems Open field for machine harvest Bd d ti f f h kt Bed production for fresh market Trellis systems Tunnels Greenhouse and controlled environment Hydroponic systems 7

8 Open field, large-scale, machine harvest Intensive traditional or organic Restricted to picklers Gynoecious varieties Reduced labor Reduced yield Flat, smooth field Beds, medium to large-scale, hand harvest Intensive modern production Slicers and picklers Machine-assist harvest Raised beds for drainage Trellised, small scale, hand harvest Intensive-modern, garden market, or subsistence Slicers/fresh market Labor intensive Reduced land needs 8

9 Tunnels (modified trellis) Common in Asia Intensive small-scale l Fresh market types Labor intensive Reduced land needs Greenhouse (controlled) Common worldwide Often for export Needs high price return Parthenocarpic varieties Diligent pest control Hydroponic Controlled environment V i t i / i Very intensive/expensive Amenable to organic systems Extended production Requires diligence Requires unique knowledge 9

10 Squash and Pumpkin Botany Cultivated species: C. pepo summer and winter, pumpkins C. maxima winter squash, pumpkins C. moschata winter squash C. argyrosperma (mixta) winter squash Summer squash/pumpkins -Zucchini -Jack o lantern pumpkins C. pepo Winter squash -Butternut -Cushaw C. moschata 10

11 Winter squash/pumpkins -Hubbard -Buttercup -Turban -Giant pumpkins C. maxima Winter squash/pumpkins -Jack-be-Little White pumpkins Blue pumpkins Seed pumpkins C. mixta Squash and Pumpkin Genetics and breeding Insect pollinated (cross), bred as selfed crop Domesticated species closely related Can be crossed: C. pepo x C. maxima C. moschata x C. maxima Cannot be crossed: C. pepo x C. moschata (C. mixta rarely used in breeding, difficult) 11

12 Squash and Pumpkin Origin and Domestication Nti Native of fnorth, thcentral, and dsouth thamerica C. pepo cultivated in Mexico 8000 BC Evidence of cultivation of other species throughout Central and South America back to 3000 BC Distributed throughout the world by European explorers Squash and Pumpkin Use and importance Fresh use: Boiled or baked Seeds used for consumption or oil Processed: Canned for use in pies Important source of carbohydrates, vitamin C, vitamin A, and certain minerals Pumpkin and Squash World production systems Large-scale production (limited) Pumpkins for processing Pumpkins for processing Pumpkins for seed (oil, consumption) Market garden production (very common) Organic production (especially summer squash) Subsistence production (Meso-America) 12

13 Other Squash-like Crops FigLeaf Gourd Cucurbita ficifolia Short-lived perennial, cold tolerant Fruit 6-20 in long, green with white stripes Dry fibrous flesh converted to alcohol or sugar added to make a dessert food Stores for up to a year without refrigeration Cultivated in Mexico and SA highlands Other Squash-like Crops Chayote Sechium edule Short-day perennial vine Native to Central America Used by the Aztec culture Fruit eaten boiled or pickled Secondary use of roots as a source of starch Propagated using cuttings or planting of whole fruit Grown in Meso-America, exported to US, Europe Other Squash-like Crops Loofah Gourd (Luffa) Luffa aegyptiaca (smooth) Luffa acutangula (angular) Annual climbing vine Indigenous to tropical Asia Angular used as a vegetable, mostly boiled Smooth dried and used as vegetable sponge Market garden and subsistence production worldwide 13

14 Other -Crops Bitter gourd Momordica charantia Indigenous to tropical India Perennial grown as annual Ridged, warty fruit, 3-10 inches long Immature fruit eaten, extremely bitter when mature Eaten fresh, more commonly cooked with other foods Market garden production in India, Nepal, Aisa Other Squash-like Crops Chinese Winter Melon Benincasa hispida Native to the Indo-Malayan region Vining annual plant Large, inch long, light green fruit Fruit used in soups or candied Surface wax used to make candles Mature fruits store for up to a year Widely grown in east and south Asia Other Squash-like Crops Bottle Gourd Lagenaria siceraria Annual plant tropical adaptation Annual plant, tropical adaptation Thought to have originated in Africa Ancient and common use in tropics (inc. Am.) Variable in shape, size, color Immature fruit used like summer squash Dried, mature fruit used as containers, ornaments Grown worldwide, important in the tropics 14

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