Coloquinte is pretty but is not edible, it's called a decorative vegetable.
In summary, what you need to know:
Last name : Citrullus colocynthis
Family : Cucurbits
Type : Decorative vegetable
Height : 20 to 50 cm
Exposure : Sunny
Ground : Rich and well drained
Harvest : Fall
The fruits are used for their very original shapes and colors, from autumn and winter, after drying them.
Sowing and planting colocynth
Coloquinte is cultivated like pumpkin of which she is part of the same family.
Grown as an annual, sowing is done from March under shelter with a transplanting at May, or directly in place from the month of May.
- Coloquinte can be sown at the foot of a fence, trellis or pergola because it tends to climb and its fruits will amaze more than one.
When planting or sowing, leave a sufficient space of 1 m on all sides to leave room for the colocynth to develop.
- The colocynth likes sunny situations
- It thrives in hot weather and does not tolerate frost
- The richer and more well-drained your soil, the better your production will be.
- So don't hesitate to bring in decomposed manure or fertilizer as soon as it is placed in the ground.
Maintenance of colocynth
You can pinch the stems above the 3rd or 4th leaf to stimulate plant development.
- You will thus have a better production and a better harvest.
For'prevent colococcus from coming into contact with moist soil and that it ends up rotting, it is better to put a mulch or film between the fruit and the ground.
- Mulching also prevents the growth of weeds which is detrimental to the culture of colocynths
Harvesting of colocynths
Unlike the pumpkin that is consumed, the harvest period of the colocynth is less important, in the end all that matters is the size and color you want.
- You can pick the colocynths as soon as the leaves wither.
- The colocynths must be very hard for better preservation.
Conservation of colocynths
Colocynths are harvested in the fall and can then be stored several months away from humidity and in a rather cool place.
- It is important to harvest the coloquintess before the first big frosts.
- It is best to store them in a cool, dry and ventilated place.
- We can then use them as a decoration, especially at Christmas time when they will adorn the table but also suspended Christmas tree
Good to know about coloquinte
Coloquinte is a very decorative squash, which is only grown for its shapes and colors. It ranges from cream to orange to yellow.
Dried and placed in a basket, they are ideal for decorating a kitchen without having to change the fruit as soon as it rots.
You can also surprise your friends and / or your children by using the colocynths as Christmas balls hanging from the tree, it is beautiful and original.
Be careful not to let too much fruit develop on each plant (maximum 5 or 6) as you risk altering the general quality of the harvest.
(Image top right © Lapichon)