Well, here it is summer and it’s a joy to see our gardening efforts paying off with loads of produce, particularly in the squash, cucumber and tomato departments. Earlier this year, we published an article on a rather unusual and diminutive member of the cucurbitaceae tribe, the cucamelon. Also known as the Mexican Sour Gherkin, these little gems are prolific and delicious.

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Tiny cucamelon sprouting

As perennials grown in Central and South America, cucamelons flourish in Zone 9 and higher. But, given care, they can thrive as an annual in more temperate climes. We direct seeded ours in May and it took over a week before we spotted tiny little leaves. It seemed a heavy rain could obliterate them. We planted a few more seeds just in case….maybe a bit too hastily.

The little seedlings are right next to our leaf compost and get a little wash of nutrients with every rain. So, in two months, the vines are climbing over 8 feet and were it not for our guidance up a trellis would spread in all directions.

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Cucamelon, (aka Mexican Gherkin) vines imitating kudzu

And now we have confirmation, that these little “fruits” are as cute as their picture. So cute, we almost hesitate to pick them…almost.

cucamelon, miniature watermelon, cucurbitaceae, Mexican Gherkin
Cucamelon: Such a cutie!

We’d like to hear from our fellow garden enthusiasts who have experience with cucamelons. Please comment here or over on our Facebook page and share your exotic vegetable gardening adventures.

 

Ever Grown a Cucamelon?

Planting and growing unusual fruits and veggies is exciting! That first harvest is like awaiting an eagerly anticipated event, and watching the new plants grow is part of the fun. There are so many more fruits and vegetables than most of us grew up with. And gardeners tend to be the testers and tweakers of sometimes exotic foods.

The Cucamelon, which is new to me, looks like a mini-watermelon and the inside looks like a mix of a green grape and cucumber.

According to several articles and videos I saw online, it tastes like a cucumber but the skin which is also edible gives it a citrus flavor as well.

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They’ve been called miniature watermelons, but these are actually Mexican Gherkins, Cucamelons, cucurbitaceae.

Cucamelons are a native Mexican and South American vegetable. They do best in warmer zones (US zones 9 and up), but on the next page Emily Murphy shares how you can grow and care for the plant if you live in cooler zones. See page 3 for a video series on growing cucamelons!