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Gardening Tips for Cucamelons That Really Work

Gardening Tips for Cucamelons That Really Work

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Have you ever heard of cucamelon? While these delicious fruits aren’t very widely known, they’re gaining popularity as a part of home gardens. Why? Among other things, they’re resilient and easy to grow. Looking for something fun and new to add to your garden? Here are a few things you should know about cucamelons.

Gardening Tips for Cucamelons That Really Work

Cucamelons are a fun and interesting plant to grow. They produce these amazing fruit that looks like cucumbers but tastes more like watermelon! If you’re interested in growing cucamelons, this blog post will provide some helpful tips for success. Gardening can be hard at times, but with the following tips it’s easy peasy to get started on your cucamelon garden today!

Gardening Tips for Cucamelons That Really Work

Cucamelons are easy to grow in a home garden. They’re resistant to pests and tolerant of low humidity, which can be really helpful for those who live in dryer climates (or just want an easier time with watering).

History of the Cucamelon

The cucamelon is a hybrid of the West Indian gherkin and Mexican Sour Cucumber, which was discovered in 1976 by horticulturalist Tom Wagner at his family farm in Southern California. Cucamelons are native to Mexico and Central America, where they’re known as sandita or “little watermelon.” They’re also called mouse melons or Mexican sour gherkins. Though they seem like a cross between a watermelon and a cucumber, they’re not actually a version of either plant but their own species entirely.

Benefits of Cucamelons

Being a blend of both watermelon and cucumbers, it should come as no surprise to you! Cucamelons have numerous health benefits! They are rich in Lycopene, beta carotene, minerals, vitamins K, E, C, and fiber. That means they have a heart-improving antioxidant, help to maintain eye health, and maintain younger-looking skin.

Cucamelons are small but pack a healthful punch. They are full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and fiber, and are also low in calories. The nutrients they provide can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Cucamelon, also known as a ‘mouse melon’ or ‘Mexican sour gherkin’, can be eaten on its own, pickled or used in salsa.

Basic Cucamelon Facts

What is the germination time?

They take about 7 to 14 days to germinate, depending on temperature.

What is the growing season?

While cucamelons grow best in areas with hot, relatively dry summers, they’re adaptable.

What is the best growing temperature?

Cucumelons are a warm-season crop; they are harmed or killed by frost and grow and produce best at daytime temperatures of about 65° to about 75°F

What is the yield per plant?

This is a tough one to answer as it depends on the time of year you plant them, the water they get, and the temperatures.

How do you eat it?

Cucamelons taste very similar to a regular cucumber: mild, crisp, and refreshing. They also have a slightly sour taste similar to a lemon or lime. The fruits grow to a size similar to a grape or cherry tomato, which makes them a perfect addition to a fresh salad.

Gardening Tips for Cucamelons

Gardening Tips for Cucamelons: Soil

Rich soil is the key to growing success with these plants, so pick a site with full sun and amend the soil with aged manure or compost.

Planting

Cucamelons are fairly fast growers, with plants reaching full maturity in about 80 days. This means they’re well-suited for cooler climates where the growing season isn’t as long.

Cucamelon plants are vigorous vines that are best grown up trellises, tunnels, or other supports. Seriously consider trellising the plants.

Gardening Tips for Cucamelons: Plant Care

Cucamelon plants are fairly low maintenance and don’t require much special care as they grow. They do require a lot of water, so make sure you don’t miss out on regular watering sessions. You’ll know that the fruit is ready to harvest when it reaches the size of a grape and are still firm. Leaving them on the plant longer can result in a slightly bitter flavor and a soggy texture.

Harvesting Cucamelons

Cucamelons are ripe when they start to yellow and develop a waxy sheen.

Pick cucamelon fruits before this occurs – as once they ripen, the seeds will have fully developed within the fruit’s flesh; which is not an enjoyable experience for most people!

Enjoying Cucamelons

Gardening Tips for Cucamelons

With no hard rind to deal with, you can eat them straight from the vine. Cucamelons are best eaten raw or blended into a juice. They can also be used as an ingredient in various recipes – the possibilities are endless!

The cucamelon’s thin skin doesn’t need to be peeled before eating- just rinse them with water and enjoy! We like to eat them like grapes or slice them and add them to salads. They are even good pickled! I heard that some people are even using them to garnish cocktails…what fun with that pop of bright green color!

Easy Cucamelon Recipe

Any bread and butter pickle recipe should work well – and any salad recipe that calls for grapes? Switch them out! I make a curried chicken salad recipe and like to switch out the grapes for these little gems.

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