The Gourd Family

These are squashes, melons, and cukes. Botanically, the gourds' closest relatives are the brassicas, that other great cluster of related food plants. Along with bean and cereal crops, edible gourds were humankind's first cultivated crops. Squashes, pumpkins, and chayote, developed by the civilizations of the ancient Americas, are now grown worldwide. Watermelon and muskmelon originated in Eurasia and Africa. They're all part of what's variously called the gourd family, "gourds" (but the gourds technically are an ornamental kind of squash), cucurbits (Latin for the squash portion of the family), or "melons" (another subdivision of the family). (Are you confused yet?) Most cucurbits are tropical perennials grown as annuals, so they generally won't germinate if your soil is cold and wet, although squashes are more tolerant of cold than the others.

Continue reading here: Botanical Groups and Seed Saving

Was this article helpful?

0 0