You have probably never heard of these, but trust me, the world is going to know about these. Cucamelons are also known as “Mexican sour gherkin” or “sandiita” (little melon).
Cucamelons can be consumed raw, and have a fresh taste. Feel free to add them to your fresh salads, salsas or stir-fries. Add some dried herbs, olive oil, and you are ready to go! Cucamelons can be pickled like cucumbers, and that’s what makes them incredibly versatile.
Try them, and you will never change your opinion. You will grow cucamelons every year. This is a nice way to add more nutrients to your dishes.
The grape-size fruit looks like tiny watermelons and its flavor is a unique combination of those of cucumbers and lime. Cucamelons grow on thine vines. You may find their appearance bizarre, but cucamelons are not genetically modified. Moreover, they have been consumed since pre-Columbian times and are commonly used in Mexican cuisine.
Cucamelons are on a good way to become superfood. They pack tons of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, and yes, contain very few calories. The tiny fruits lower the risk of suffering heart disease, stroke and cancer. They also prevent premature aging and rejuvenate your body.
Lycopene in cucamelons improves cardiac function. Beta-carotene is an excellent antioxidant with great anti-aging effect. Vitamin C, potassium and carotenoids work in a perfect synergy.
11 steps to grow perfect cucamelons
It’s hard to find seeds, and you can get them online. Once you grow your cucamelons, you will have seeds in abundance. Try to find organic seeds that haven’t been treated chemically.
Cucamelons grow like annual veggies, but are perennials like tomatoes. They need about 65-75 days of warm weather and the soil temperature should go somewhere between 75 and 85 degrees. Once it gets cold, bring the plant indoors in a bright, warm room.
3. Start cucamelons indoors
Do this in May or April. You can plant them into the ground, but it’s always better if you start them indoors. Plant one seed in a pot, about half an inch deep. Keep them in greenhouses at 72 degrees. Cucamelons need more time to germinate, and will do that in 3-4 weeks.
4. Planting spot
Cucamelons like sun and good drainage. Plant the cucamelons with 12-square-inches of free space. They need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
5. Wire cage or trellis
Cucamelons go as high as 10 feet, so they need some support. Trellis or tomato cages work well.
Well-draining soil and lots of nutrition are important for your soil. Use compost or aged manure. Add a tablespoon of 6-10-10 analysis fertilizer in the holes and use porous lava rocks or perlite to provide great soil drainage.
Use 3-inch side dressing of compost every month, and start doing so two months after the planting.
Cucamelons need an inch of water every 5-7 days in summer. If it’s too hot, water them twice a week. If it’s cold, add water only when the soil is dry.
8. Pest issues and re-seeding
Cucamelons tolerate rough conditions, and pests ignore them. They are also resistant to diseases. Cucamelons reseed on their own.
9. Train the vines
Carefully wrap the vines throughout the trellis to fill it up.
Ripe cucamelons have a nice plump size, pretty much like the one in grapes. They are nice and firm, and grow one to one and half inches in length. Pick a few in the early stage to encourage the fruit production.
The fruits will grow 2-3 weeks after the pollination.
Prune the vines once they create a thick mass of foliage on your trellis. Remove yellow leaves, too.