Pepino – melon pear

pepino melon pear Blog

Overseas guest in our beds

Pepino – melon pear – a close relative of eggplant, tomato and potato, a new culture for Russia. Pepino comes from Latin America, we have appeared in Russia in the last decade.

At home, it is a perennial bushy plant about a meter high; in culture, it is grown as an annual. Pepino leaves are whole, oblong, spear-shaped, many blue-violet flowers, similar to potato flowers. The fruits are round, oval, with a tip extended to the top, which resembles a pear. Fruit length 6-8 cm, color – different: yellow-green at technical ripeness, yellowish-cream, cream and red-violet at full ripeness. Fruit weight 250-300 gand more. The pulp is juicy, sweet, fragrant, tastes and smells like melon or nutmeg pumpkin, and excellent jam is obtained from the fruits, since the pulp practically does not boil soft.

Growing pepino from seeds

A few years ago, the Gavrish company bred two varieties of pepino RAMZES and CONSUELO, which are successfully grown by some lovers of garden exotics. By the way, pepino fruits are sold in Moscow, which are imported from Central America. They are harvested there green, and by the time they arrive, the taste that should be lost when the fruits ripen on the plant is already gone.

There are very few seeds in the fruits of this plant, or there are none at all, and germination leaves much to be desired – only 30-50%. However, the agricultural technique of growing pepino from seeds exists.

To get the first crop of pepino at the end of July, the seeds are sown no later than mid-late February, and even better – in mid-January (always with additional lighting) in order to get 90-120-day seedlings by May. First, the seeds should be germinated on filter paper. Close them up in a steamed light, loose and moist soil mixture to a depth of 3-5 cm. The optimum temperature for germination is 28 degrees.

When growing from seeds, it is convenient to use plastic packaging from the cake – a transparent and airtight mini-greenhouse. Her seeds germinating on wet toilet paper are hung at a distance of 7-9 cm from two horizontal fluorescent lamps or at a distance 25 cmfrom incandescent lamps (at 100 W). Lighting is recommended around the clock. It is best to use a solution of complex mineral fertilizer for germination – Kemira, Kristallin, Mortar (0.3-0.4%). The above methods allow you to achieve the desired germination, since from the first days the seeds will receive light and mineral nutrition, good aeration and sufficient moisture. In addition, seedlings are free from most soil pathogens.

Taking care of seedlings

In a mini-greenhouse, the soil mixture should not dry out, otherwise the seedlings will inevitably die. Do not allow the concentration of the fertilizer solution to be exceeded – they will die from salinization. You should not help the young plant to get rid of the seed coat – it may break. In the presence of light and sufficient moisture, the plant itself will throw off this peel.

As soon as seedlings with two cotyledon leaves turn green in the greenhouse, they dive into small (100-200 ml) pots filled with loose fertile soil, previously spilled with a hot solution of potassium permanganate. When picking, the seedlings are deepened to the cotyledons. If the seeds were sown not in a mini-greenhouse, but immediately in the soil, then the picking is done in the phase of 2-3 true leaves. Illumination is also used after picking. Distance to fluorescent lamps20 cm, the duration of supplementary lighting – 16 hours a day. When the roots are braided with an earthen ball, the plants are transplanted into larger containers – for example, into liter juice bags.

In the future, pepino seedlings are looked after like seedlings of tomatoes: they are fed, watered, shaped (for growing in greenhouses – in 1-3 stems, for open ground – in 1 stem), stepchildren at least once a week, fight pests (primarily spider mites and aphids).

Growing seedlings requires knowledge that pepino plants do not tolerate stagnant water, do not tolerate strong temperature changes (20-24 degrees are optimal for it during the day and about 18 degrees at night), that the melon pear loves the sun very much, do not be afraid that it grows slowly – she will still catch up with pepper and eggplant.

Already at the seedling stage during numerous stepsoning, pepino can be propagated vegetatively, because. stepchildren are well rooted. They are carefully broken out and rooted under a film (jar) in peat soil, in a well-lit place. Rooting takes place quickly – in 7-10 days.

Ready pepino seedlings (at 90 days of age) can be planted in glazed heated greenhouses in mid-April, in heated film greenhouses – from mid-May, in unheated film greenhouses – at the end of May. If plants cannot be protected from recurrent cold weather, then seedlings should be planted only after they have ended. In open ground in the middle lane, in areas of risky farming, growing pepino is very problematic, so it’s better to grow pepino in a greenhouse – high, better glazed and – along with tomatoes.

Landing in the ground

Since pepino-melon pear plants are very photophilous, then in a greenhouse located from west to east, seedlings should be planted in a garden bed at the southern end, if from north to south, then at the ends of the beds adjacent to the southern end. These are the brightest places. On the1 sq. metershave 5-6 plants with formation in 1 stem, 3 plants with formation in 2 stems and 2 plants – in 3 stems. But the most precocious plants are those that are formed into a stem, so it is better to give preference to just such a formation.

Before and after planting, you need to carefully examine the undersides of large leaves, as whiteflies, a greenhouse pest, can settle on them. Both the butterfly and the larvae should be removed by hand, since chemicals have almost no effect on them.

Since pepino has a lot in common with tomatoes, pre-planting soil preparation is like that of a tomato. Just like a tomato, when planting, plants are buried to the first bottom leaf to form a more powerful root system. If flowering seedlings are planted, then it makes sense, having planted them deep, not to immediately cover part of the stem from the root neck to the bottom leaf with earth until the end. This part of the stem can be covered with earth in two weeks, then, perhaps, at the same time as the seedlings take root, fruits will start to set on the first brush. Otherwise, with simultaneous engraftment, growth of the adnexal root system and flowering, overload may occur, and there will be no fruits on the first brush.

However, the melon pear generally has a problem with fruit set. It is likely that not a single fruit will be tied up over the summer, but at the end of August-September, if the weather was quite warm, ovaries appeared. In this case, the plants can be carefully dug up and transferred in pots or tubs with a volume of 3-5 l. 3-4 plants can be planted in one 10-liter container. With a careful transplant, the plants will take root well. When planting, they are buried like overgrown tomatoes – with the inclination of bare stems and their deepening with soil. Under the plants you need to put pegs. Only fruit-bearing stems are left, all barren stepchildren are plucked out. The container is placed on a bright window, where they will continue to grow, and it will be possible to wait for the harvest in late autumn.

You don’t have to dig up the entire bush, it’s enough to save the rooted stepson and plant it as seedlings next spring, since growing pepino from seeds is much more difficult.

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