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Original price was: £2.99.Current price is: £2.79.

It is also a vigorous climber. It is traditionally grown on a wooden frame with the fruits hanging down and straight, but it can trail along the ground where the fruits may curl.

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GOURD – LUNGA SERPENTE DI SICILIA PICTORIAL PACKET has fruits that can grow up to 2m long. It is also a vigorous climber. It is traditionally grown on a wooden frame with the fruits hanging down and straight, but it can trail along the ground where the fruits may curl. The young lateral growing shoots, ‘tenerumi’, can be boiled / steamed and eaten with pasta. The fruits are eaten roasted, mashed or in soups, and to make Sicilian jam, marmellata di zucca with lemon rind and 50% sugar.

Cultivation For
  • Plant gourd seeds in a warm, sunny location after the last frost date when the soil temperature is consistently above 65°F (18°C). These warm temperatures encourage germination and growth.
  • Choose a spot with well-draining soil and ample space for the gourds to spread and grow.
  • Prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of around 12 inches and enriching it with compost or well-rotted manure. Gourds prefer fertile, nutrient-rich soil.
  • Sow gourd seeds directly into the ground, planting them about 1 inch deep. Space the seeds or seedlings approximately 4-6 feet apart to allow for their sprawling growth.
  • Consider providing a trellis or support structure if you prefer to train the vines vertically.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, especially during the germination and early growth stages. Water at the base of the plant to prevent moisture-related diseases.
  • Apply mulch around the base of the plants to retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Incorporate a balanced fertilizer into the soil before planting. Additionally, side-dress the plants with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer during the growing season to support vigorous vine growth.
  • Long Serpent of Sicily gourds can be trained to grow vertically by providing a sturdy trellis or support structure. Guiding the vines upwards can save space and facilitate better air circulation, reducing the risk of diseases.
  • Regularly prune the vines to control their growth and encourage fruit production. Remove any dead or diseased leaves to maintain plant health.
  • Harvest Long Serpent of Sicily gourds when they reach their mature size, usually around 18-24 inches in length. Use a sharp knife or pruners to cut the gourds from the vine, leaving a short stem attached.
  • Harvest before the skin hardens excessively, making it easier to cut.
  • Monitor for common pests such as cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and powdery mildew. Apply organic pest control methods if needed, and promptly remove and destroy any diseased plants to prevent spread.
  • Protect young seedlings from late frosts and cold temperatures, as they are sensitive to cold.
  • Provide adequate space for the vines to grow and spread, ensuring they don’t overcrowd neighboring plants.
  • Allow a few gourds to mature fully on the vine. Harvest the gourds once the skin changes to a brownish-yellow color and the seeds rattle inside. Extract and dry the seeds for future planting.
  • Ensure the gourd plants receive ample sunlight, ideally 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, for optimal growth and fruit development.
  • In hotter regions, partial shade during the hottest parts of the day can help prevent stress on the plants.
  • Training the vines vertically not only saves space but also reduces the risk of rotting or damage to the fruits from ground contact.
  • Construct sturdy trellises or supports to bear the weight of the growing gourds.
  • Gourd plants, including the Long Serpent of Sicily variety, typically rely on pollinators like bees for fruit set.
  • Encourage pollinators by planting nectar-rich flowers nearby or manually pollinate by transferring pollen between flowers using a small brush or cotton swab.
  • Maintain consistent moisture in the soil, especially during flowering and fruit development. Avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal issues.
  • Water deeply and infrequently to encourage strong root growth.
  • Check the gourds regularly, as they can grow rapidly. Harvest them when they reach the desired length, are still tender, and the skin is easily punctured with a fingernail.
  • Leave a short stem attached to the gourd when cutting it from the vine to prevent moisture loss and prolong its shelf life.
  • Long Serpent of Sicily gourds have tender flesh and a mild, slightly sweet taste. They’re suitable for various culinary applications.
  • Enjoy them in dishes like soups, stir-fries, or stuffed recipes. They can also be pickled or used in baking.
  • Store harvested gourds in a cool, dry place with good ventilation to prolong their shelf life.
  • Consider organic practices to cultivate gourds. Organic mulches, compost, and natural pest control methods can contribute to healthier plants and safer produce.
  • Regularly monitor the soil moisture and fertility. Conduct soil tests periodically to assess nutrient levels and adjust fertilization accordingly.

Additional information

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