Leaves - cooked. Seed - raw or cooked. They can be roasted or ground into a powder and used with cereal flours when making bread, cakes etc, or added to soups and stews. The seed contains about 30% protein, 20 - 40% oil.An edible oil is obtained from the seed.
The fruit, eaten when fully ripe or even when almost putrid, is used as a febrifuge The fruit is also diuretic, being effective in the treatment of dropsy and renal stones. The fruit contains the substance lycopine (which is also found in the skins of tomatoes). This substance has been shown to protect the body from heart attacks and, in the case of the tomato at least, is more effective when it is cooked. The rind of the fruit is prescribed in cases of alcoholic poisoning and diabetes.The root is purgative and in large dose is said to be a certain emetic.
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The water melon is frequently grown for its edible fruit in warm temperate and tropical areas, there are many named varieties. It is not frost hardy and requires a long hot summer if it is to fruit well. It is not really a suitable crop for growing outdoors in Britain at the present time, though it is possible that new faster maturing cultivars will be developed. It is best grown in greenhouse conditions in Britain[K]. The cultivars 'Fordbrook hybrid', New Hampshire midget' and 'Sugar baby' mature in 80 - 85 days in Long Island, New York.A good companion plant for potatoes.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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