Benincasa, wax pumpkin
An outlandish culture that yields a large yield of nutritious fruits with medicinal properties
Benincasa variety Oblong
I want to tell you about an amazing and interesting plant from the pumpkin family - beninkase. Benincasa is a waxy gourd. It is also called winter wax pumpkin, white Indian pumpkin, Chinese oscillus... There are two types of this pumpkin: benincasa hispid and bristly hairy.
Features of culture
Southeast Asia is considered the homeland of Benincasa, although it has not been found in the wild. This culture is especially popular in China, Vietnam, India and Pakistan. In Russia, it is a rare exotic vegetable.
Benincasa hispida is a fast-growing annual, creeping plant with cucumber-like leaves. The flowers are large, yellow, fragrant, up to 8 cm in diameter with a five-petal flat corolla. It blooms in July, and by autumn it forms velvety to the touch oval, light green or white pumpkins 25-30 cm long with a bluish waxy bloom.
Young fruits are pubescent, with age, the pubescence disappears and a waxy coating appears. Soon it becomes so much that it can be easily removed from the pumpkin with a spoon. The wax is used in the homeland of beninkase for technical purposes, in medicine and for the manufacture of candles. Thanks to this protection, the skin of the pumpkin does not harden, the fruits are well preserved for a year, and according to some sources, even up to three years.
The pulp of ripe fruits is white, firm, juicy, sweetish and very nutritious, as it contains many pectin substances. Unripe fruits are eaten in the same way as zucchini - their fried, stewed with other vegetables, pickled... Ripe fruits are used in the confectionery industry, for example, for the production of candied fruits.
At the moment, two varieties of hispid beninkase are known in Russia: Oblong and Round.
Benincasa bristly-hairy varieties Peking
The fruits of beninkase bristly are called in China a pumpkin-pillow for its similarity to the traditional Chinese headrest, as well as a winter pumpkin because of its snow-white pulp, or simply white pumpkin... Benincasa wax gourd can still be found on sale only in Chinese markets. It looks a lot like zucchini, only very large and very thick. In addition to its outstanding size, it differs from the zucchini in its deep green skin.
There is information that it can be successfully grown in the middle lane, especially in protected ground. This type of pumpkin is not yet very common in Russia. She came to us from Southeast Asia. The assortment includes both varieties of foreign selection: Beijing, Beijing-Tong-Ngua-I-Chuar-Lin, and domestic - Akulina.
The look of this plant is quite decorative - heart-shaped leaves with a corrugated plate and a serrated edge look great on their own. But the fruits of benincase are especially interesting. The ovary is pubescent, with a waxy bloom, and when the fruit ripens, the surface becomes smooth, a mealy effect arises on it, which makes the fruits become white. The flesh of beninkase is white, in young fruits it is bland, then aroma and slightly sour taste arises. Their quality is significantly higher than that of traditional pumpkin - the pulp is almost devoid of fibers, the bark is corked much less.
In shape, the fruits of the wax pumpkin are round, oblong and spherical, their weight can reach 10-15 kg. Fruit color is green in different shades or bluish-gray. Unripe fruits are used in cooking as zucchini - they are stewed and fried, canned, stews and soups are prepared, and candied fruits are made.
Growing beninkase pumpkin
Benincasa Hispida round
Benincasa is quite easy to grow - this plant is unpretentious. If you fertilize the soil well with humus before planting, then the yield will be higher. You can add it directly to the planting holes, it is advisable to pour a handful there too. ash... But it will require more space for growing. Plant it in a row every 40 cm, and the row spacing should be left about one and a half meters. Only for small areas, it can be left at least 70 cm wide.
In addition, there is another plus of this culture - beninkase does not need to look for a corner away from its congeners, since this type of pumpkin is not cross-pollinated with them. Seeds can be sown directly into the ground after the ground warms up to + 10oС. Since almost all seeds sprout, you can put two seeds in one hole, dropping them to a depth of four centimeters. Benincasa is considered a frost-resistant plant and can withstand temperatures down to -4 oС.
When growing a wax pumpkin, remember that it will be most comfortable on a trellis, in extreme cases, put pegs next to it. To speed up fruiting, it is better to pinch the top over the 15th leaf and remove excess shoots. This is where all the worries basically end, because pests and diseases are not affected by pests and diseases when growing beninkase. And by winter you get fruits that can be stored for a long time. A dry room with a constant temperature is suitable for this. We put them on the floor, or you can hang them. The only requirement is to try not to erase when transferring the wax coating on the surface of the fruit. It has a protective function.
The best way to grow is seedling. In mid-April, 2 seeds are sown in large peat cups. When shoots appear, the weaker seedling is removed.
Benincasa can be planted in open ground on May 20-25. However, the best results can be achieved by using cover films. In this case, the conditions will be more favorable, since the temperature optimum for this culture is + 25 ... + 30 ° С, and the summer in recent years is absolutely unpredictable.
Benincasa bristly-hairy variety Peking-tong-Ngua-I-Chuar-Lin
A distance of 50-60 cm should be maintained between the plants. After planting the seedlings, it should be watered daily for some time. Thickening should be avoided. To do this, a trellis is equipped near the bushes and shaping is carried out, leaving the central shoot and breaking out the side ones.
During the growing season, 2-3 liquid fertilizing should be carried out with mineral and organic fertilizers... This pumpkin loves sunny places, the best fruits are obtained from the upper lashes, which are illuminated by the sun all day.
In order for the ovaries to form earlier, you can additionally pollinate the flowers with a brush. This is especially useful in greenhouses. The main shoot is pinched after the formation of 10-12 fruits.
It is necessary to harvest the fruits of beninkase before the onset of autumn frosts. They are cut along with the stalk, store them at room temperature. Unripe fruits, formed last, are best consumed immediately, since they are unsuitable for storage. Ripe benincase fruits, thanks to the wax bloom, can be stored for up to 1 year.
Read part 2.The healing properties of benincase →
Anyone who wants to grow the above-mentioned species and varieties of beninkase, visit our online store http://www.semenabrizhan.ru/shop, +7 (861) 646-28-76, Valery Ivanovich Brizhan, (from 16:00 to 18:00 and from 08:00 to 09:00 Moscow time)
Valery Brizhan, experienced gardener
Photo by the author
Cleaning: before the onset of autumn frosts. Cut the fruits together with the stalk and store in an apartment at room temperature. Unripe fruits are not stored, it is better to use them immediately. Fruit weight - 3-5 kg. Thanks to the wax bloom, they can be stored for up to one year.
The fruits contain up to 35% vitamin C, a large amount of carbohydrates, alkaline salts. Fruit juice is used to treat dermatological diseases and fever. Fruits can be stewed, fried, canned, pickled, used in soups and even candied fruits. How pleasant it is in April-May to taste fried snow-white and juicy pieces of benincasa, reminiscent of fish delicacies!
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5 exotic decorative pumpkins for your garden: chayote, trichozant, momordica, benincasa and cyclantera
Beauty or utility? This is the choice most of us make when planting pumpkin crops. Indeed, the well-known decorative pumpkins are bitter and are not used for food. But some exotic ones can decorate both the garden and the plate.
Chayote, trichozant, momordica, beninkaza and ciclantherwhile we have a rarity. Mostly they are grown by amateur gardeners in their experimental plots or in greenhouses, exchanging seeds. All crops are very interesting, with nutritious fruits, and some have edible shoots, leaves and even roots.
Wax gourd from the pumpkin family belongs to the genus Benincasa, therefore it is also called Benincasa waxy, Benincasa bristly-hairy or bristly-hairy pumpkin.
Benincasa is a fast-growing creeping annual plant with kidney-shaped, rounded cucumber-like leaves. The flowers are yellow, up to 8 cm in diameter, with a five-petalled flat corolla. Large oblong or spherical fruits, shaped like a melon or pumpkin, can reach a length of 0.5 m and a weight of 10 kg. Bluish gray in color, they are very decorative.
The winter wax gourd (Dongua) grows especially large, cylindrical fruits weighing 50 kg or more. They are covered with a thin waxy shell, which contributes to their long-term storage. The wax is easily removed from the fruit; in many tropical countries it is used in medicine and for making candles.
Ripe fruits have white firm juicy sweetish pulp, very nutritious, containing many pectin substances. Unripe fruits are used as zucchini, they are fried, stewed with other vegetables, pickled, ripe fruits are used in the confectionery industry, candied fruits are prepared from them. Pectin substances are very useful, as they remove toxins and heavy metals from the body. The fatty oil obtained from the seeds is edible and also used in medicine.
Growing conditions, caring for this plant are the same as for all pumpkin crops. It is sown, as a rule, with sprouted seeds in the ground, but to accelerate fruiting, it is better to plant seedlings at the end of May. A lot of organic matter is introduced into the soil, watering and feeding with bird droppings and ash are used. The feeding area of one plant is 1-1.5 m2. After the formation of 5-6 leaves, the tops of the shoots are pinched. It is advisable to mulch the soil around the plant, and spread fresh manure on cold and dense soils.
Benincasa [Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.] Varieties Akulina in Siberia
By the nature of growth and shape of the fruit, it resembles an ordinary pumpkin, but differs from it in a lower intensity of growth processes. Fruit weight 6-8 kg, individual fruits reach 13-18 kg. The fruits are distinguished by the formation of a pronounced waxy coating on the skin of the fruit, which intensifies as the seeds ripen. Thanks to this bloom, the fruits are distinguished by a significant keeping quality - up to 2-3 years, which is especially valuable for the conditions of the Siberian climate. The fruits are eaten as zucchini (unripe) and similar to pumpkin fruits - they can be stewed, fried, used in soups and even candied fruits. When cut, fresh fruits are used as food as cucumbers. Young shoots, leaves and flowers of beninkase are also used for food. Their quality is higher than that of pumpkin fruits - beninkase has no fibrous pulp, in addition, the corking of the fruit bark is not as pronounced as that of pumpkin.
Fruit juice is used to treat dermatological diseases and febrile conditions in various diseases. The fruits are used for the treatment of epilepsy, nervous diseases, gastrointestinal ulcers in traditional medicine in Asian countries. Extracts of fresh beninkase leaves show significant anthelmintic activity. In China, the fruit is also used as an anthelmintic agent, preventing helminthic relapses, to reduce sugar content, and as an aphrodisiac. In India, wax from the fruit is used to make candles.
The study of benincase was started for the first time in Russia in the Central Siberian Botanical Garden of the SB RAS (CSBS SB RAS), Novosibirsk in 2001.
Bred in the Central Siberian Branch of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and included in the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation in 2008, the first Russian variety Akulina is recommended for growing in unheated film greenhouses and in the open ground of the Novosibirsk region using temporary film shelters (VPU).
The duration of the period from germination to flowering is 52 - 56 days, from germination to technical ripeness 75 - 80 days, to biological - 98 - 109 days. The yield is 7-9 kg / m2, the weight of the fruit in the biological plant is 6-8 kg (the maximum weight is up to 18 kg), when the fruit is used in technical ripeness - 1.6-3.5 kg.
According to the laboratory of biochemistry of the Central Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, fruits contain 5 - 6% of dry matter, 32 - 34 mg% of vitamin C, 2.55% of pectin substances (for absolutely dry weight).
Plants are sensitive to a drop in daytime temperature to 10 - 15 ° C, suspending the processes of flowering and fruit formation. The optimum night temperature is 14-16 ° C, daytime 25 - 32 ° C.
Therefore, for reliability, it is recommended to grow it in greenhouses. Some, however, try to plant it in open ground, but it all depends on the weather, and the harvest is a matter of chance. And the greenhouse maintains an annual stable yield, which can reach 13 kg per m2.
On individual garden plots, it is possible to plant seedlings under a temporary film shelter in the third decade of May, with the removal of the film at the end of June and tying the stems vertically to the wire or wooden frames of the VPU.
Plants of beninkase of the Akulina variety are distinguished by a lower growth rate of lateral shoots compared to common pumpkin. When forming a variety up to a height of 0.5-0.7 m, all lateral shoots are removed. Above 1 m, lateral shoots are pinched on 1 fruit. It is recommended to leave no more than 2-4 fruits on the plant if they are supposed to be harvested fully formed and used during subsequent long-term storage. Usually strong stalks of beninkase can withstand the weight of the developing fruit quite well, but it is recommended to place large fruits in nets and tie them to a trellis. Unripe fruits of light green color weighing from 1.6 to 3.5 kg in the absence of forming wax deposits can be used as zucchini fruits. Collect them every 12-14 days. Ripe fruits of the variety, with a pronounced waxy bloom, are distinguished by high keeping quality and methods of their use similar to those of pumpkin. Having cut them into cubes, they are added to soups, broths, fried in vegetable oil, and also by boiling with sugar, they make candied fruits. Unripe benincase fruits ripen well (ripen) when stored in a temperature range from 16 - 18 to 20 - 25 ° C.
Supports are placed over the beds, as for cucumbers. As they grow, the shoots are wrapped around ropes or twigs. All lateral shoots are removed to a height of 1 m. And above, the side lashes are pinched, leaving 1 fruit on each. It is better to leave no more than 4 pumpkins on one plant, otherwise they may not fully ripen. As soon as they begin to pour, they must be tied and tied to a horizontal bar, otherwise, under the weight of their own weight, they may come off.
Well, if you are too lazy to bother and the area of the site allows, you can grow benincasse in the spread. In this case, the distance between plants should be 2 m.