Kiwano in summary :
Latin name : Cucumis metuliferus
Common names : Kiwano, metulon, Kenyan cucumber
Family : Cucurbits
Type : Fruit vegetable
Height : 1.50 m
Planting distance : 80 cm
Exposure : Sunny
Ground : Loosened and rich in humus
Planting : March April
Harvest : September October
Make no mistake about it! Under its aggressive air with its quills, the kiwano actually hides a delicious flesh and very surprisingly tasty; which can evoke that of the banana. Also called metulon or Kenyan cucumber, these fruits are mottled green in color when young and turn yellow when ripe.
To grow properly, the kiwano needs Sun. It should also be planted in a loose earth and rich in humus. If your garden or vegetable patch does not meet this last condition, you will have to carry out a few amendments the fall before planting.
In order for your garden soil to be sufficiently enriched for the cultivation of kiwano, you must bring it a lot of organic materials in the form of manure or from compost well decomposed. To help lighten the ground and loosen it up, you can also incorporate wood ash which also has the advantage of being rich in potash.
When all these contributions are made, spade the earth with a fork and spade. Avoid using a spade to do this. Our earthworm friends will thank you.
In March April, sow your kiwano seeds in small pots or cups. The advantage of using a small container at this stage is that it warms the soil easily, which will make it easier to germination seeds. Once your seedlings are done, place them in the light and at hot.
At the end of May, when the seedlings have at least three leaves, select the vigorous ones in order to transplant in the ground. As metulon is a plant that particularly appreciates heat, growing in a greenhouse can give good results.
Smart tip : when planting, do not forget to install a tutor or a trellis at the foot of your young plants. They can then climb on these supports in order to seek the sun necessary for their growth.
Cultivation and maintenance of Kiwano
Once installed, the Kenyan cucumber does not require special maintenance. It is simply necessary to ensure that there is sufficient water, by carrying out regular waterings.
Diseases and pests:
Easy to maintain and resistant, the kiwano is not particularly attacked by pests or parasites. It may nevertheless be sensitive to powdery mildew. However, the latter does not represent any risk for the development of the fruits.
Harvesting and storing kiwano
In end of summer, when the fruits take on a pretty yellow-orange hue, they are ripe and it is time to to harvest. If you don’t want to be bothered by thorns, don’t hesitate to bring leather gloves.
The picking can last until autumn. However, if there are some fruits that are still green at the end of the season, you can still pick them and store them at home. They will then continue their maturation. Once harvested, the kiwano can be keep for a long time (more than 6 months).
Kiwano in the kitchen
That you are rather sugar or dirty, kiwano is suitable for all kinds of recipes. You can thus accommodate the metulon in sorbet, sauce, smoothie, soup or cake.