Growing Cucumbers, Melons, Squash, Pumpkins and Gourds

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Cucurbits, which include cucumbers, muskmelons, watermelons, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash, and gourds, are some of the most popular garden vegetables planted today. Cucurbit crops are similar in their appearance and requirements for growth. They are prostrate, sprawling vines, usually with tendrils. Each vine bears many large, lobed leaves. On all cucurbits, except for the bottle gourd, the flowers are bright yellow. Each vine bears two kinds of flowers: pistillate (female) and staminate (male).
Cucurbits are warm season crops which grow best during periods of warm nights and warm days. New dwarf and/ or bush types enable gardeners with limited space to enjoy the fresh home grown taste of cucumbers, water­ melons, and squash. Although traditional cucurbit types require substantial growing space, they can still be grown in small gardens by training vines onto vertical structures that conserve garden space.

B. Rosie Lerner
Michael N. Dana
Juliann Chamberlain
Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service