They are a tender crop long popular in warmer climes such as the Med where over the centuries many regions have bred their own distinctive varieties. As a result there are hundreds available, many very old with great names such as ‘Uchiki Kuri’, ‘Crown Prince’, ‘Turk’s Turban’ and ‘Hungarian Blue’.
Although some varieties produce enormous fruit with plants to match, others are more refined with finer growth and smaller fruit that lend themselves to growing up an arbour, pergola or arch.
Thankfully they all need similar conditions and care and couldn’t be easier to grow.
SITE AND SOIL
These are fast-growing, hungry plants that need lots of water and food to help develop and pump up those heavy, meaty fruit. So choose your sunniest spot, preferably with some shelter from strong winds, and prepare the soil by adding as much well-rotted manure or garden compost as you can. If you don’t have much available, then concentrate instead on digging it into the planting holes rather than the whole plot.
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