Its the Year of the Cucamelon!

I know what you are thinking, what’s a cucamelon? I asked the same question last year as I watched and read posts of this unique and tasty fruit. I saw colleagues of mine growing it in the mid west and in eastern Canada. Could this cute plant grow here on the west coast of BC? I had to try. It’s known under many names from mexican sour gherkin to mouse melon and now cucamelon. This plant originates from Mexico and Central America and has been grown for years.  How could we not have known about it?

Its the Year of the Cucamelon!

As you can see above, its tiny and harvested when its the size of a grape. It’s a cucumber that has hint of lime to it. The seeds are easy to start but start slow so be patient. I started mine in the greenhouse but I will start them outside in the raised beds next year. What I noticed is that the transplants tended to sit and sulk and send out new growth from the base. The weather was warm so maybe they are better direct sown like regular cucumbers.

Its the Year of the Cucamelon!

The cucamelon vine is quite light and easy to train up a support system. I used a post at each side of the bed with 1/2″ plastic netting  as high as 4′ attached from post to post. Next year I will use 6′ high posts and add a center post for support. This vine is now growing up a sunflower so it can easily get to 8′ high. The weight of the vine is now placing some pressure on the netting but its holding fine.  A center post would help this next year. The plant produces tiny yellow flowers followed by its fruit. It’s easy to pick but wait until they are the size of a grape. Smaller fruits are a bit sour to taste but edible.

Its the Year of the Cucamelon!

This is one days harvest. We tend to eat them in salads or straight from the bowl or garden. I have pickled them as well.  As a friend said, they look like someone used a shrink ray gun on a watermelon. I had someone else say that if I was trying to grow watermelons, I wasn’t very successful. These are definitely the hottest plant on the garden scene right now so I promise I will be growing them next year. Its said the plant is perennial and will come back next year so I will mulch my plants to see if they return.

Its the Year of the Cucamelon!

You can be sure I am saving seeds from the cucamelons. I have hundreds of seeds so far and that means I will have plants ready in the spring. Like tomatoes, their seeds are best fermented to remove the gelatinous coating around them. Although they are a member of the cucumber family their plants do not cross with regular cucumber plants. That means the seeds I collect will produce the same plant next year. Have you grown cucamelons this year? If so I would love to hear your thoughts.

10 thoughts on “Its the Year of the Cucamelon!

  1. I love to grow them and have for the last few years. I keep a pot on the patio just for them and then pick them as treats for my dogs. All three of them sit and wait by the pot!

  2. We tried them this year as well, though we have not gotten a great yield yet and I hoping they do better before the frost comes in a month because the kids think they are the best thing!!! How do you ferment the seeds – I would love to save some, they were very expensive! I guess I could google it…thanks for giving me the idea, I save lots of seeds, but I have not yet tried tomatoes and cuts yet…

  3. My first year I read your seed prep sounds good and defiantly will try although never knew it was a perennial so I will bring mine in doors and see what happens next year

    1. Good idea! I tried potting one up and wintering it in the greenhouse but it was too cold for it. My greenhouse stays just above freezing.

  4. I would like to try to grow them in. Central/west Florida. Since they are grown in Central America and Mexico it might work.

  5. I had great success with cucamelons this year. I live in central Saskatchewan Canada. I needed to do something with my ample crop. So I dill pickled them. It’s been about 3 weeks since I pickled the first batch and they are a big hit. Still a bit early to tell but I think they are gonna make awesome pickles. I also am gonna try saving seeds and roots. This will be the first year doing that too.

    1. I am happy to meet another cucamelon lover. The seeds are easy to save but should be fermented first like you do with tomato seeds. Thanks for dropping by.

  6. Wow I had no idea these were in fashion, my husbands gramma gave me some of these seeds 25 years ago. She called it a cucumber vine, they reseeded themselves every year. We moved from the house and I never thought to take any with me. I have been searching for these little buggers for the last 20 years or so…… westcoast seeds carries them and they are super popular…I guess gramma’s do know best!!

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