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Cucurbits that don’t climb  RSS feed

 
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Hi all,

I’m looking for good ground cover plants that come in bulk seed. I like cucurbits, but I’m not sure if there are any that are non-climbing.

I’m just looking for something with big leaves to serve as a spreading ground cover to be inter planted with young saplings in a large scale orchard. I will probably neglect the orchard a lot since it is zone 4, so I don’t want to have to worry about the saplings getting smothered.

I like sweet potato, but I’m not sure you can buy bulk seeds. This is in the jungle region of Peru, and I’m talking about interplanting with thousands of tree saplings. I need something cheap, easy to plant  and effective
 
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Posts: 4864
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Cucurbita (Latin for gourd) also known as Cucurbitaceae are for the most part vining plants that have tendrils (the part that allows them to climb up).

You would probably have better results with the squash family over the gourd family.
Squash varieties should be available in bulk seed.
 
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I've planted pumpkins, butternut and acorn squash.  Pumpkins and butternut would climb a bit but it wasn't their goal in life.  I couldn't get the acorns to climb at all.  So that's what I'd start with.  My bush zucchini also don't climb but they don't cover too much ground.  Although I have a monster plant this year that is 3' high and has a vine about 6' long with enormous leaves.
 
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I know that you have asked for seeds, but those squash plants are all annuals. You'll be out having to harrow and resow the area the following year if you want to keep ahead of grass getting established. Two thoughts.

Look for the video on the "Permaculture Orchard". It sounds counter intuitive, but they use black plastic on their orchard plantings. They plant shrubs and other ground and mid-level plants directly through slits in it. The video explains their logic, which includes its effectiveness and its longevity.

The other thing is you might find perennials are more effective - specifically I'd be looking at comfrey. Comfrey is planted as root slips, and the broad leaves do an excellent job of shading the soil. My personal experience is that they suppress grass very well if planted sufficiently densely, and really come into their own in about year 3. Comfrey feeds the soil directly in the root zone where you fruit trees roots will be gathering nutrients.
 
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Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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I've been planting Straight Eight cucumbers for many years, decades. Lately I've notice that they won't climb the fence I grow them against. They won't climb the 1" dia stick I leaned against the fence. They did grow up a peach tree (cuke tree ?) last year, but this year the vine there went right past the tree continued along the ground, it actually touched the trunk and ignored it. In the past I used to grow them on a piece of 39"inch high stock fence and they loved it.

Out of a pack of seeds you'll get a lot of plants, planting them in trays and or planting them in the ground. But if you save one 12" long yellowed cuke you'll have a real load of seeds next year.

 
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