These tiny cutie-pies are flavoursome, not complicated to grow and rich in vitamins. There are several reasons why to grow them in your garden:
Cucamelons are appealing small cucumbers, which look like minute watermelons and taste like lime.
It is worth to be mentioned that they are not genetically modified nor hybrids. They come from Central America and for thousands of years have been used in the Mexican diet.
Their other name is Mexican sour gherkins, Sandinistas (little watermelons), and “mouse melons” in many Native American languages.
Sadly, they cannot be found in the grocery store or farmers’ markets.
Luckily, if you have a sunny place in your garden that stays above 50 degrees, you have a perfect spot where you can grow them. They can also be grown indoors or in a greenhouse.
Due to their pleasant taste, you can eat them as cherry tomatoes; you can use them in salads, fruit salads and salsas.
The outside layer is mushy and edible, and their inside is full of juice, tastes like lemon and is revitalizing.
You can find some delicious summer recipes at our Better Homes and Homes.
Besides their delightful taste, cucamelons are also rich in vitamins.
They are packed with lycopene, beta carotene and antioxidants — all of these help in preventing cancer and heart disease.
Containing a lot of minerals and vitamins, easy to digest and calorie-free are some of the characteristics which make them the next favourite super food.
How to Grow Cucamelons
- In April or May, you can start growing cucamelons in pots indoors. When it gets hot and warm outside you can transplant them in the ground.
To grow, they need at least 65 to 75 consecutive days of warm weather and soil temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit to bear fruit.
If the climate in your place is colder, keep them in pots and have them indoors.
One seed per pot or 6 inches apart in the ground so they have at least 12 square inches of space per plant.
- Full sun. You need a location that gets much sunlight. Cucamelons need 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- The soil has to be nutrient-rich and fast draining. Before planting, work compost or aged manure into the topsoil and organic fertilizer.
Every month, you should add compost around the plant.
Perlite or lava rocks improve the soil drainage.
- During the summer months, every 5 to 7 days, they need an inch of water. You should wet the top 6 to 15 inches of soil every time. If the weather gets scorching and dry, do this twice a week and add mulch.
- You are training the vines. It would be best if you guided the grapes around a bamboo or trellis to give them support and keep the fruit off the ground.
- Pest and disease resistant. These little fruits are tolerant to drought, extreme weather, pests, diseases and birds.
- When cucamelons reach the size of a plump grape harvest the fruit. They will be firm and sweet. If you collect the first fruits early, you will force more fruit production.