Melons and Gourds
Melons and Gourds
a group of cultivable plants of the family Cucurbitaceae, such as watermelons, cantaloupes, and squash. Trailing or clinging plants, melons and gourds originated in the tropical and subtropical countries of Asia, Africa, and America. Heat-loving and quite droughtresistant, they have a prolonged growing period and grow best in virgin or long-fallow and light soils. They are cultivated mainly in regions between 50° N lat. and 35° S lat. The USSR is the world’s leader in areas planted, total yield, and fruit quality; 600,000 hectares were planted in 1967 as opposed to 300,000 in 1913. The cultivation of melons and gourds abroad is most highly developed in the USA. In the USSR the principal zones of cultivation are the Lower Volga Region (in the Astrakhan, Volgograd, and Saratov oblasts), the Northern Caucasus, the Ukrainian steppes, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, Transcaucasus, and Moldavia. Melons and gourds are also grown in the northern part of the Ukrainian SSR, the Central Chernozem Zone, the Middle Volga Region, the Urals, and Southern Siberia. Small quantities are grown in the Far East. Melons and gourds are a valuable nutritional and dietetic food; they are eaten fresh (watermelons and cantaloupes) or in baked, roasted, or marinated form (squash). They are used as the raw material in brewing mead and making candied fruit and purées (watermelons, cantaloupes, and squash); in feeding farm animals (squash, fodder watermelons, and cantaloupes), both fresh and ensiled with straw, corn, and other fodders; and as sources of oil (watermelon, cantaloupe, and squash seeds).
REFERENCESBelik, V. F. Bakhchevye kul’tury. Moscow, 1957.
Bakhchevodstvo. Editor in chief, A. I. Filov. Moscow, 1959.
Bakhchevye kul’tury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1965.