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Long melon, also known as kakdi or snake melon, is a vining vegetable that is commonly grown for its long and slender fruits. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is known for its mild and refreshing taste. Long melon is a popular ingredient in salads, stir-fries, and pickles.
Botanical name: Trichosanthes cucumerina
Plant morphology: Long melon plants have long, trailing vines that can reach lengths of up to 3 meters. The leaves are large, lobed, and dark green in color. The fruits are elongated and can grow up to 60-90 centimeters in length. They have a light green or pale yellow skin and a white, crisp, and juicy flesh.
Soil and climatic requirements: Long melon thrives in well-drained sandy loam or loamy soil. It prefers a warm and tropical climate with temperatures between 20-30°C. It requires full sun exposure for optimal growth.
Crop duration: 60-90 days
Cropping season: Long melon is typically grown during the summer season.
Planting type: Direct sowing or transplanting.
Spacing: The plants should be spaced about 20-22" apart to allow for proper growth and vine spread.
Depth of sowing: 2-3 cm
Germination period: 6-8 days
Hours of sunlight required: Long melon plants require full sun exposure, preferably 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Watering: Regular watering is essential for long melon plants, especially during dry periods. The soil should be kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged.
Companion crops: Long melon grows well with other vining plants such as cucumbers, squash, and melons.
Harvesting: The fruits can be harvested when they reach their desired size, usually around 30-40 centimeters in length. They should be harvested before they become overripe, as overripe fruits tend to lose their flavor and become mushy.
Problems of long melon cultivation:
Pests: Common pests that can affect long melon plants include aphids, spider mites, fruit flies, and cucumber beetles.
Diseases: Long melon plants are susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew, downy mildew, and bacterial wilt. Proper plant hygiene and preventive measures are necessary to minimize the risk of diseases.