Giant Winter Melon

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Winter Melon is a white-fleshed melon that is covered in a fuzzy coating of fine hairs when young and a waxy coating when mature. White Skin Giant Winter Melon can grow up to 30 lbs at maturity. This versatile melon originated in South Asia and is popular in Eastern continents where it recognized for its medicinal properties. It is often cooked in soups and stews, stir-fried, and can also be candied or made in to sweet tea. It is one of the few vegetables available during winter in areas of deciduous vegetation in the East and has a long shelf life.

In traditional Eastern and Ayurveda medicine, winter melon has been used to improve digestive function, help reduce symptoms of asthma and other lung problems, and is also used as a diuretic to aid in flushing toxins from the body naturally.

Also Known As: "Pink or White Indian Ash Gourd," "Wax Gourd," "Chinese Dong Gua," "Tallow Pumpkin," and "Fuzzy Hair Melon" and "Alu Puhul"

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Plant Name:
Winter Melon, White Skin Giant
Latin Name:
Benincasa hispida
Days to Germinate: 7-14
Days to Harvest: 95
Germination Rate: 85%
Test Date: 12/21
Growth Habit: Vining
USDA Zones: 3-11
Lifespan: Annual
Country of Origin: United States
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Shade
GMO: No
Pollination:
Heirloom, Open-Pollinated
Fungicide-Treated Seeds:*: No
Seeds Packed For**: 2022

*Fungicide-treated seeds protect the seedlings from diseases until they are up and growing. Do not eat treated seeds.
**Seeds are freshly packed for the growing season of the year listed. Seeds are still viable beyond pack date. Store in a cool and dry location such as the refrigerator or basement to best preserve germination rates.


Planting Instructions:

 

Soil Preparation:

To prepare soil, remove weeds, large rocks, and litter from the planting area. Leave small weeds and dead grass, they will enrich the soil when turned under. Spade the soil 8-12 inches deep and turn each shovel of soil over completely to cover the plant materials with soil. You may add fertilizer (see "Fertilizing" below) or 2-3 inches of organic material such as compost, leaves, or rotted hay over the planting area at this point. Till to mix this organic material into the top 8-10 inches of soil. For wax gourd, make rows of soil beds 4-6 inches high and at least 3 feet apart. This formation of ridges will help with drainage.
 

Planting:

Since wax gourd does not grow well in cool weather, plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm. To plant, make 1 inch deep holes spaced 4 feet apart in raised beds down the rows, then plant 5-6 seeds in each hole. Cover thinly with soil and water after planting. After the seeds come up and plants are 3-4 inches tall, thin to 3 wax gourd plants per hill. Wax gourds will grow on vines which can then be trained over a trellis or sprawl on the ground. Wax gourds are sensitive to frost. Keep growing temperatures between 70-95F for productive growth.
 

Planting Depth: 1 inch
Within-Row Spacing:
4 feet
Between-Row Spacing:
3-8 feet (can trellis or sprawl)

 

Care During the Season:

Watering: Water the plants enough to keep them from wilting. If the weather is really dry, squash plants should be watered at least once a week. Sandy soils need to be watered more often than heavy clay soils.

Weeding: Keep wax gourd plants as weed-free as possible. When plowing or hoeing do not dig deeper than 1 inch to prevent from cutting the feeder rooters which may slow the plant's growth.

Fertilizing: You may optionally add scatter 2-3 pounds of a complete fertilizer for each 100 square feet of garden area. Work into the soil and leave the surface smooth. For small gardens, use 2-3 tablespoons of fertilizer for each hill. Scatter the fertilizer evenly over a 2 foot by 2 foot area. work it into the top 2-3 inches of soil. When blooms first appear, you may optionally apply 2 tablespoons of fertilizer around each hill. Do not let fertilizer touch the plants. Water the plants after fertilizing.

Insecticides: Insecticides may be used to protect plants. Bt-based insecticides and sulfur are organic options that can be used for prevention. Sulfur also has fungicidal properties and helps in controlling many diseases. Larvae of the Squash vine borer are usually found inside the stem and cannot be controlled once they are inside the stem. Sevin® and Thiodan® can control for squash bugs. Pyrethrin and rotenone can control for the cucumber beetle. Before using a pesticide, read the label and always follow cautions, warnings and directions.

Diseases: Wax gourd can get many diseases, especially when harvesting begins. Check the plants daily and if spots or mold appear, treat the plant with an approved fungicide. Neem oil, sulfur, and other fungicides may be used. Please always follow label directions.
 

Harvesting:

Within 30-40 days of planting, trailing vines will develop large yellow flowers. Between 5-8 weeks later, the fruit will develop. Immature wax gourds will be darker in color and have white fuzz all over their skin. As the fruit reaches ripeness, the fuzz will lighten and become like ash, indicating the gourd is ready for harvest. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life. Wax gourd is best when cut, not pulled, from the vine. Old squash vines can be composted or worked in the soil well before the Spring planting season. Wax gourd can be stored for several months and is best stored in 50F-70F temperatures rather than inside the fridge and can stay firm for several weeks under these conditions.
 

Nutrition Facts:


Calories 17
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.3 g 0%
Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 147 mg 6%
Potassium 8 mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 4 g 1%
Dietary fiber 3.8 g 15%
Protein 0.5 g 1%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 28%
Calcium 2% Iron 2%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 0%
Cobalamin 0% Magnesium 3%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Sources include: USDA