Cucumber and Corn Families

 Cucumbers—Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons Winter squash—Photo credit: Linda Shepherd Corn—Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons

Photo credits: MG Linda Shepherd (squash); MG Gia Parsons (cucs & corn)

May 8, 2019 — Cucumber and Corn Families

Can you tell the difference between male and female zucchini flowers? Do you want to participate in squash sex—or leave it all to the bees? What is a cucamelon?

Cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and melons are members of the Cucumber Family (Cucurbaceae) — all of which are warm season crops. Cucurbits are heavy feeders that sprawl 3 to 5 feet in all directions. Learn how to use vertical space to enhance productivity in small spaces. While cucumbers and squash are easy to grow in our maritime northwest climate, melons prefer more heat than we usually have. However, it’s possible to succeed with melons by selecting the right cultivars and using heat-enhancing growing techniques.

Have you ever grown corn with more missing kernals than sweet kernals? As a member of the Grass Family (or Gramineae), corn—even baby corn—needs space for growing enough of these wind-pollinated plants to achieve full pollination.

Topics include variety selection, cultural requirements, fertilizer needs, major diseases and pests, and pest management techniques for each crop. Below are resources to enhance your learning.

Cucurbits

  • Growing Cucumbers in Home Gardens — WSU Extension Publication FS096E,a free 3-page online publication, gives guidelines for planting, maintenance, and pest management, with color photos to aid in diagnosis of common problems.
  • Growing Squash in Home Gardens — WSU Extension Publication FS087Ea free 4-page online publication, gives guidelines for planting, maintenance, and pest management, with color photos to aid in diagnosis of common problems.
  • Harvesting and Storing Winter Squash and Curing Gourds — A 1-page WSU Snohomish County Extension online publication that includes a spaghetti squash recipe.
  • Picking Fruits and Vegetables — WSU Snohomish County Extension, Community Horticulture Fact Sheet #26, a 4-page online publication, gives guidelines for harvesting popular vegetables and fruits.

Corn

  • Growing Sweet Corn in Home Gardens — WSU Extension Publication FS104Ea free 4-page online publication, gives guidelines for planting, maintenance, and pest management, with color photos to aid in diagnosis of common problems.
  • Corn Seed Germination — WSU Extension Publication FS104Ea free 1-page online publication, gives a method for testing seed germination rates before planting. While seed packages state that the seed was “packaged” for this year, they do not state when the seed was collected and packages usually contain a blend of old and new seeds.
  • Corn: Sweet v Field (Dent) —This 1-page WSU Snohomish County Extension online publication links to a video explaining the difference between sweet corn intended for humans and field corn intended for livestock, ethanol for fuel, or other products.
  • Baby Corn — PNW 532, a free 8-page download PDF publication by Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and Washington State University. Baby Corn is eaten in its entirety and has a crisp texture and is seen in salad bars and Asian restaurants. Specilty cultivers of corn, such as Baby Corn have been developed for baby corn production. This publication describes cultivars, cultural requirements, and harvesting.

 


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