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Monday, May 11, 2009

Xiang Gua

The xiang gua vine came to me as little 1" tall seedlings from Herb Lover, my GCS Santa Claus. They've now grown taller than I, creeping up the fishing line that I tied to the stainless steel pole I put in to support such creeper plants. None of us know much about the conditions this plant likes so I just put it in a random corner where I had space. This turned out really great for the 3 vines. Many other seedlings in other gardens have died of heat. Yet others have been munched up by snails so resourceful that they stretch their soft bodies from the sides of pots protected by egg shell barriers JUST to eat the soft tender leaves.

Hmmmmm... it makes me feel like giving those leaves a nibble myself!

Mine has had no snail attacks, and it has enjoyed the relatively shady and well ventilated corner so much that it has now grown taller than I and 4 xiang gua melons are already developing. The challenging thing about getting this plant to fruit is the pollination bit. The vine functions like a harem. There are countless female flowers and perhaps 1 or 2 male flowers in 2 days... Not only that, the flowers wilt after one day, so you can't get the male flowers to do double duty with new female flowers the next day. As a result, the greedy gourmet in me looks with sad regret upon the spinster flowers which will wilt, and the baby melons they now carry will shrivel away. That means one less melon for me to eat.



Anonymous said...

I know of people who actually snip off the male flowers while they're in bloom, ziplock them and keep them in the fridge. When they see female flowers, they're then able to use the frozen pollen for (I believe successful) pollination.

This method has been used on tomatoes, cucumbers and zuchinis so I think it'd work on the xiang gua too.


petunialee said...

Oi! THAT is a GREAT idea! Cryogenics on my plants!

Anonymous said...

Hope it helps. =)

Hope it's successful too. =D

Blur Ting said...

Hey, I blogged about the same problem today! What a coincidence!!