Cucumber Family

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

Photo credits: MGs Gia Parsons (cucs) & Linda Shepherd (squash)

Cucumber Family

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 Western Washington, 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.

Topics include variety selection, what “open pollinated” means, cultural requirements, container growing, fertilizer needs, seed saving and the consequences of saving seed from hybrid varieties, major diseases and pests, and pest management techniques for each crop. Below are resources to enhance your learning.

Cucurbits PPT Notes

  • Vegetables: 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.
  • Vegetables: Growing Squash in Home Gardens — WSU Extension Publication FS087E, a 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.
  • Preserving Pumpkin and Winter Squash  — WSU Extension Publication FS303E, a free 9-page online publication, outlines how to preserve pumpkins and winter squash, from harvesting and storing, to canning, freezing, and dehydrating for long-term storage.
  • 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.



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