A native heirloom vegetable with lemony goodness
Days to Maturity: 75 from transplant
You’ve simply got to try this new little cucamelon in the garden, planter, or even hanging basket. Native to Mexico and Central America, it has been used for centuries by the Aztecs and other native peoples. Now, at last, it makes its way to our table, looking like a miniature watermelon and tasting like a cucumber infused with lemon.
Mexican Sour Gherkin, which goes under many names, from the Spanish Sandiita (“little watermelon”) to Cucamelon or Cukette, is actually not a cucumber or melon at all. The botanical name is Melothria scabra, and this native treasure is easier to grow than a cucumber and super-productive. The 1-inch-diameter fruits are simply delicious, either fresh or pickled. You can’t go wrong adding this to the vegetable garden or patio.
These little fruits are oval and pale green with darker green stripes. They have a thin rind and a very small seed cavity, with a few seeds that don’t develop until late. Ah, the pleasure of a cucumber without the seeds. But the bite of Mexican Sour Gherkin is definitely more tart than that of a cuke. That makes it a great candidate for sour pickles, but it also can be turned into sweet gherkins. Use it as you would a cucumber, right down to salsas, sandwiches, and spreads.
Prepare to be overwhelmed by the bounty of this plant. Although it reaches only about 4 feet long and scarcely 6 inches wide, it bears heavily all season, the small fruits forming among large, handsome 3-lobed leaves. Given sunshine and a good start, Mexican Sour Gherkin is prepared to take off, tolerating drought more effectively than many other vegetables, and free of pests.
Grow this vining plant in a hanging basket or train it up a pea fence or small trellis. It does not like to spread along the ground; snails and slugs do too much damage. But given a vertical setting, there’s no stopping it.
Sow these seeds indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last anticipated spring frost in your area. Be patient with the germination; it can take up to a month, though one to two weeks is much more common. The secret is a bit of heat: the seeds like temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Get out the heat mat or elevate the Bio Dome or seed tray to a high spot in a warm room to take advantage of maximum heat. Then grow the seedlings on a bit cooler (65 to 70 degrees is fine), and transplant them anytime they have 2 sets of true leaves or more.
Once transplanted outdoors, Mexican Sour Gherkin really takes off. You will love the ornamental foliage, small gold blooms, and masses of charming fruit on this veggie. Have fun sharing it with friends.
(P)Pkt of 30 seeds
Item Form:(P)?Pkt of 30 seeds
Days to Maturity:75
Seeds Per Pack:30
Plant Height:3 ft 4 in – 4 ft 2 in
Plant Width:4 in – 6 in
Additional Characteristics:Bloom First Year,?Easy Care Plants,?Edible,?Heirloom,?Trellises
Foliage Color:Medium Green
Harvest Season:Early Fall,?Late Summer,?Mid Summer
Light Requirements:Full Sun
Moisture Requirements:Dry,?Moist,? well-drained
Resistance:Pest Resistant,?Disease Resistant,?Drought Tolerant,?Heat Tolerant,?Humidity Tolerant
Soil Tolerance:Normal,? loamy,?Sandy,?Poor,?Clay