Last year I grew cucamelons from seed and planted them in our new kitchen garden. I had done research on how to grow them and how to save the seeds. They were easy to grow but sulked for about a week after planting while the plants put on roots. After the first week in the ground, the cucamelon plants sent out more growth from the base of the plant almost as if it didn’t need the tiny tendrils I had nurtured in the greenhouse. This plant literally grows like crazy once established. I made the mistake of using a four-foot high support of wire for them to grow on. I should have used about six feet of wire as they tumbled up and over my short support system. I will know better this year.
I grew six plants and had a hard time keeping up with the harvest. This year I promised myself I would only grow two plants. Well, the plants proved to be a hit this year and out of 120 plants that I grew, I only have one left for myself. Yes all of my plants were pre-booked last fall and the last go to their new homes today.
I wanted more than one plant so thought I would plant seed directly in the garden. Was I in for a surprise! You see, I went out to water the bed of garlic today and noticed something new growing. I had seen that the Alyssum had reseeded. It’s a great plant to attract pollinators to the garden so I left it. Today I saw new plants. Tiny, tiny leaves about 1/4″ long popping out of the soil. One plant had a second leaf and I knew immediately what it was. The cucamelons had come back! Now I don’t think the plants overwintered as the new shoots are about 6″ away from where the plants were last year. I think that overripe fruit dropped and got buried and now the seeds have germinated. It does say online that cucamelon plants can overwinter but I had one in the greenhouse and it didn’t return. Okay, I wrote this yesterday and today the cucamelon is showing signs of green in the greenhouse. It was almost as if it knew I was ready to toss it in the compost. So maybe the roots overwintered and they spread in the raised bed. I will have to keep an eye on the plants as they grow. Will they be larger plants this year? I am not sure.
Either way, I am happy to see that they can self sow in our zone 8 climate in the first week of May. I would have thought to treat them like most cucumbers and plant the seeds nearer to the end of May or early June. It just shows us that the new climate is be noted. To follow my posts on how to grow cucamelon, here are a few worth reading.