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It’s important to get the timing right for post-planting nitrogen, cultivation and irrigation if you want to optimise Cucurbit production.
Cucurbits are a group of plants belonging to the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). They include pumpkins and squashes (Cucurbita spp), melons (Cucumis melo)
As with any crop, there’s a risk to planting cucurbits and then doing ‘bakkie’ farming – skirting the land with your head half-way out of the driver’s side wind
Before planting a land to any of the cucurbits, you should kill off all broad-leaved weeds nearby, preferably well beforehand.
You don’t fertilise cucurbits solely according to the plant’s requirements – you also have to take into account the soil’s fertility.
Apart from powdery mildew (discussed in last week’s column), viruses are the next challenge that almost every cucurbit grower will face at some stage.
Viruses infecting the pumpkin family have always been a major problem. Susceptible crops become almost completely infected late in the season
It is also important to control aphids as these are the primary vectors of viruses. Apart from spreading viruses, they are up to no good anyway!
There are two species of leaf miner that can cause a problem – Liriomyza huidobrensis and L. trifolii. The former prefers temperate climates, the latter warmer
Including: marrows, courgettes, cucumbers, squashes and pumpkins