Serious gardeners are always on the lookout for better, easier vegetables to plant and the caihua, also known as the stuffing cucumber is one of them. Caihua, as you can tell, are similar to cucumbers but much easier to take care of more trouble free. The caihua is a climbing vine that can grow up to 40 feet long with edible pods 4-6 inches long and up to 3 inches wide. The pods are hollow with black seeds, and the entire vegetable is edible. They taste like cucumbers and are a great substitute because they can stuffed with a slew of different ingredients such as cheeses, meats, and other vegetables. Today we’ll show you how to grow caihua, also known as stuffing cucumber, and also how to care and harvest them!
How to Grow Caihua
- Choose a site with good quality, well draining soil and lots of sun.
- In most of North America, it’s best to start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before moving outside.
- Growing instructions are about the same as growing cucumbers.
- Keep the caihua plant evenly moist and apply a tomato fertilizer just before it blooms.
- Caihua is not susceptible to the same diseases and mildew that cucumbers are – that’s why so many gardeners prefer them!
- It may help to set up a trellis so the plant can climb.
- Harvest caihua once ripe.
- The vegetable will look yellowish green when ripe, but unripe ones are also edible, they just won’t be as sweet and juicy.
Uses for Caihua:
- Seeds can be used to make tea which helps with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity.
- Juice the plants to help with diabetes, circulation problems, hypertension, tonsillitis, and as a diuretic.
- The roots can also be used to clean teeth.
- The pods can be eaten raw, pickled, cooked, and stuffed.
Now that you know how to grow caihua, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!