Cucamelons – Melothria scabra
Also known as the Mexican Gerkin, Cucamelons are little like a small spicy cucumber. They grow on a vine and look like miniature watermelons.
They have been around for many years, however have only just started to receive publicity, you may like them, or might not, however they are worth a try.
You might call them a designer, or trendy vegetable, however they are tasty, easy to grow and very useful. They do need to picked while they are small, once they get big enough to sett seeds, they become a bit more like a mouthful of seeds than a crunchy treat.
Being a trailing or climbing plant, you can grow them on a trellis and train them upwards, or grow them in a tall container and let them trail down.
These are a perennial plant, and can be cut back to the ground after it dies back. It will we reshoot in sporing as the weather warms up.
They can be a little slow and less prolific, to fruit from seed, you will get better results if you can store the tuber, or root ball until the net year.
How to grow Cucamelons
Seeds are available online and from some nurseries. From planting to harvest will take around 10 – 12 weeks.
The time to plant the seeds is in spring as the weather warms up. Sow the seeds directly into a container, or germinate the seeds if ‘Jiffy Pots’ and plant them out once they have reach around 10 cm in height .
Plant the seeds on their side, they seem to germinate more reliably like this. Keep the seeds warm and moist until they germinate, however not wet and soggy. You can use a propagation tray for this.
Do not plant them into the garden until the danger of frosts is over.
You can plant them along with other climbing plants in the vegetable garden as a space saving method.
As the plant grows, prune back the long shoots once they reach 1.5 to 2 meters.
When to harvest
They need to be picked while they are small and can be eaten fresh. Add them to your salads.
You can leave a few fruits to fully ripen if you wish to collect the seeds.
Where Can you grow them ? What do you do with the tubers over winter ?
You can grow Cucamelons in Melbourne, through to Sydney and Brisbane right through to the tropics. In warmer climates, in a well drained soil, you can leave them in the ground until the next year. As they grow, Cucamelons form a strong root system, if you dig it up it looks like a tuber. You can store these over winter and replant the next season. store the tubers in a dark, cool place in
You can buy seeds online from Fair Dinkum Seeds