Vines and Other Climbing Plants


Achocha - Exploding Cucumbers.

The common name for Achocha, of Exploding Cucumbers, comes from the fact that if left to over mature the “Cucumbers,” will simply explode as a means of seed dispersal in a similar way to a few other plants such as Pansy’s and Impatience.

Achochas are, as their common name suggests, a member of the Cucurbit, or Cucumber/Melon family, but are more reminiscent of the recently popularised Cucamelon with its small fruits and vigorous climbing habit. However, like their cousins, Courgettes, they are only an annual and are greedy plants that prefer fertile, well manured ground. Seed sowing should be made in preparation for a late Spring planting as they are tough enough to grow outside after all chance of a late spring frost is over and they should be started off generally in much the same way as Courgettes. Unlike Courgettes though, when the Achocha are planted out, they should be planted only about 18 inches apart and unlike Courgettes, these spirited climbers require a 5 ft trellis, or supporting framework that they can grow up.

Fruits of the Achocha can be eaten raw in salads when they are small and are best picked at 1 to 1.5 inches in length. The fruits can also be fried like baby Sweet Peppers after they have been de-seeded and although, they are covered with spines, the spines are extremely soft and can be ignored.

Not freely available, there are only one, or two specialist seed companies selling Achocha seeds. However, as the seeds have not yet been hybridised it should then be possible to save your own seed for the following year after initially growing some plants.

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