Cucamelons: Grow Cute “Mouse Melons”

Ed Wike
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Quick Care

To harvest, cut into the melon at the narrow end and pull away the peel. The fruit will be about one inch in diameter and filled with juice.

Choose a warm, sunny spot with well-drained, slightly alkaline soil. Fertilize every two weeks with a soluble cuke plant food.

These cantaloupes are consummate sprinters, so watch the cukes every day and don’t let them get too hot or too dry.

Place a lightweight barrier around the melon to protect it from pests and keep it well-watered.

Once the fruit is mature, harvest daily so the fruit doesn’t overripen.

If you harvest more than you can eat at one time, store the cukelets in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.

The first step is to determine if you have a male or female cucamelon. They are self-pollinating, but planting more than one cucamelon can speed harvest.

Female cucamelons grow a small gourd (cucumber shaped, one inch in diameter) with a dry, bumpy peel on the outside. The inside will be filled with cucumber juice (also known as aqua-melons).

Planting

Cucamelons are easy to grow green fruit is known for its tender skin and small cucumber-like shape. Also known as a mouse melon or Mexican sour gherkin, they’re a cross between a cucumber and a melon.

Cucamelons thrive in hot conditions and have small, crisp, cucumber-like fruit that are tangy-sweet and packed with vitamins C and A.

Sow cucamelons in early spring to have them ready for harvesting in the summer.

Plant in full sun in areas that receive only some water.

The plants grow well in just about any type of soil, it is not uncommon for them to root where the vine touches the ground.

You will know the plants are ready when the flowers start to die and change into the pods.

The vines will be thin and the fruit will look like tiny cucumbers.

If you want to give the plants a big growing season, plant again in midsummer for a second crop in the fall.

Sow twice as many seeds as you want plants, as the vines will not only bloom but bear fruit.

When to Plant

Cucamelon plants are warm-season vegetables that require little care to produce large crops of the so-called “mouse melon.” Able to grow in areas with short growing seasons, its potential for occurrence throughout the entire United States is still largely untapped.

One of the big benefits of growing this unique plant is that it requires very little weeding and care. It thrives in both sandy and rocky soils, and once it is established, it sends down deep roots that help prevent erosion as well as drought and poor drainage. If grown during the hottest part of summer, the cucamelon plant will produce fruit at the end of the growing season and continue into fall.

This colorful vine-like plant originated in South America and can be found in backyards throughout Mexico as well. There are some great reasons why you would want to grow cucamelons. Not only do they look great, but they taste great, too.

There are many different planting recommendations out there for this plant, but it is most widely suggested and ideal to plant cucamelon when temperatures rise to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The best time to plant cucamelon is in spring – once the sun has come out and the threat of frost has passed.

Where to Plant

Cucamelons are the cutest little fruits and are just as easy to grow. They are also sometimes called Mouse Melons, Ice Cream Melon, and Mexican Sour Gherkin.

The spotted cucamelon is scientifically known as Melothria scabra. It originated in South America and was introduced to the United States as an exotic and unusual ornamental plant due to it’s intriguing appearance.

The cucamelon fruit is about the size of a grape and resembles a watermelon except that it’s covered in a bumpy green and white skin. The skin is easy to remove, and the inside is slightly green in color. Some varietals are purple colored with a white stripe running through the middle. There is also a miniature cucamelon that is half the size of its normal counterpart.

Inside the cucamelon flesh there are black seeds that are similar to the size of a grape seed. When you crack the seeds open, they taste like a combination of cucumber and lime. The flavor is highly concentrated and the juice will squirt in all directions when you bite into this little green fruit.

Planting instructions: When you plant your cucamelon seeds, you have a choice of either direct-sowing the seeds or transplanting them outside after the danger of frost has passed.

How to Plant

Cucamelons, also known as mouse melons, are part of the cucumber and melon family. They are about the size of a pearl onion and taste like a tangy mix of cucumber, muskmelon, and a hint of lime.

They are fresh eating melons, but are often used in the same ways that you might use other small melons in salads, salsas, dips, and desserts.

Cucamelons grow well in grow boxes or in your backyard garden, and are best when planted in the spring.

Cucamelons are a mini version of a watermelon. They have a thin, hard outer shell that you can see through, and a green flesh that is also translucent.

They are pretty unusual and exciting. The only difficult thing about growing them is that you are likely to be the only one who wants to eat them. There aren’t many people who are as adventurous as you are, so you will probably end up eating them all.

Cucamelon Care

Cucamelons originated in Mexico and South America but are now grown around the world as they are famous for their unique flavor and small size. Cucamelons are also commonly known as “mouse melons” due to their round shape.

Cucamelons are small, round, and vaguely resemble cucumbers. Both of these veggies taste great, but cucamelons are the best for eating fresh as they don’t travel well.

Cucamelons are actually fruit, and unlike cucumbers, the seeds are edible.

These fruits grow best in warm, dry, and sunny locations that are well drained. Cucamelons are easily affected by their environment and if the soil or weather conditions are not just right, they have trouble growing.

Cucamelons Are Fuzzy

Although the word “cucumber” suggests a smooth, green, and rather uniform vegetable, cucamelons are covered in fuzzy, soft white hairs.

Just as caterpillars grow into butterflies or tarantulas grow into spiders, cucamelons turn into regular cucumbers when it comes time to harvest them. The small, green, bumpy cucumbers that you find in a grocery store are just regular cucumbers that have been picked when they were too small and immature to taste very good.

Water

Cucamelons are a cross between a cucumber and the Mexican sour gherkin.

The plant has an extremely fast growth rate and will produce fruit in as little as 36 days.

It may have an unusual appearance, but the fruit tastes just like a standard cucumber.

Because of its thin rind, the fruit can be eaten raw, but it also will peel easily and tastes great in a salad or sautéed.

The cuke and melon varieties produce abundant amounts of fruit if grown in containers.

There are a wide range of varieties of these adorable little melons: bush, dwarf, tall and even a trailing variety.

The plants have lots of compound leaves, and there are male and female plants.

The male cucamelon is a little smaller than the female and is a darker green.

It has a little puff at the top and is the one that has the large amount of seeds.

The female cucamelon is much larger and a lighter shade of green than the male.

It will also produce melons, but they are much smaller than the male and won’t have as many seeds. Both varieties can be grown for mere pennies a pound.

The vines do not need a trellis, but they will grow longer if this is provided.

Soil

Cucamelons (also known as Mouse Melons) are a mild, sweet, chipotle-flavored fruit with the appearance of a miniature watermelon growing on a vine. The vines grow up to 2 feet long and bear flowers resembling a mouse's face at the base of their leaves. After the flowers wilt, the fruit takes 30-40 days to grow.

As cucamelons are relatively rare, they can be difficult to find, and most home gardeners choose to grow them vertically. Cucamelons can be grown in large pots or troughs and their flowers can be eaten. Unfortunately, the plants are not self-pollinating, so it's recommended to plant at least one male vine next to every female vine.

Be sure to choose a sunny area to plant your cucamelons so they can receive full sunlight. Succulent plants, such as squash, melons, and pumpkins, also prefer full sun. They need at least 8-10 hours a day, so be sure to select a sunny location.

Because they have shallow roots, cucamelon plants are great candidates for containers. Select a container that has a diameter that is at least one and a half times as long as the width, as cucamelons vines grow quickly. A pot with depth of at least seven inches is recommended.

Fertilizer

You Can Grow Them Without It

Cucamelons (sometimes known as mouse melons or Mexican sour gherkins) are the cutest little melons in the world. These brightly colored little balls are about the size of a large marble and have a sweet, light cucumber flavor. They look like little pickles and have a texture to match.

Cucamelons need warm (but not hot!) weather to grow well. They require large amounts of sunlight. If you live in an area with long summer days, like the Pacific Northwest or Southern California, you can have a bountiful harvest of these cute little melons. However, if you live someplace where summers are shorter or not as hot, it might be more difficult to grow them well.

If you’re in a cooler summer area, your best chance for success is to have a greenhouse or other structure where the vines can be sprawled out and get lots of sunlight. If that’s not possible, you may need to fertilize them heavily. Even in an unheated greenhouse, cukes will be more likely to do well with a good dose of fertilizer.

Harvesting

Cucamelons are “mouse melons” (also called “Mexican mini-watermelons”) that look like tiny, green cucumbers. They are usually five to eight inches long and less than an inch wide. They have a small, lumpy stem growing out of one end and the other end tapers to a very small tip. The peel has an intense, slightly lemony flavor. The texture is spongy and crunchy, and the pulp is very sweet, but with a lemony snap. The flavor reminds me of a sweet, slightly tart version of fresh chives. The skin is very tender and easy to eat. (The tools listed in the instructions below will make this process fast and easy.)

The skin is where your cucamelon is most likely to be damaged. If they develop a few bruises or blemishes on the skin, it is not a problem, but if too many of the seeds are damaged, you will wind up eating the seeds. In some applications where the seeds are used as the feature of the dish, the damage won’t be an issue. In recipes calling for a certain amount of seeds, use some of the tips below to reduce the number of seeds you wind up with.

Problems

Cucamelon plants sometimes produce abnormally small fruit.

It's unusual for cucamelon plants to produce fruit the first year, and the fruit usually does not produce well the first few years.

They can be susceptible to spider mites.

They can suffer from a disease called cucumber mosaic virus (CMV).

Cucamelon plants are susceptible to the same diseases cucumbers and melons are.

They need well-draining soil and lots of sun.

They must have adequate humidity to prevent the fruits from splitting and to keep them from drying out.

The vines can be weak; providing a little support can help.

Growing Problems

Planning to grow your own cucamelons but have a problem? Whether you're a first-time grower or an experienced one planting cucamelons, you are bound to have questions. Harsh weather conditions, insects, or diseases all have the potential to ruin your harvest. At the same time, your efforts to lessen the risk can be complicated.

You can prevent some common cucamelon growing problems by using proper seed-starting techniques and picking up a reliable vegetable growing guide. But if you're still having trouble with your cucamelon plants or you want to learn more about the plants, the problem may be bigger than you thought. The most common cucamelon growing problems and reliable solutions are discussed below.

Difficulty Growing Cucamelon Seeds: Despite its popularity on YouTube and Instagram, growing cucamelon seeds isn't easy. The seeds must be planted within four hours of being removed from the fruit. This means the seeds aren't viable for long. Therefore, cucamelon seeds are often difficult to plant.

Fortunately, though, there are many ways to preserve cucamelon seeds beforehand. When preparing them for storage, keep seeds dry, cool, and dark. You can also clean, soak, and dry cucamelon seeds before storing them.

Pests

When most people think of melons, they tend to imagine the large, watery, sugary melons of the summer. In reality, cucamelons come from the same family, but they are a far cry from the giant heirloom watermelons you may be used to. Almost a hybrid between a cucumber and a melon, cucamelons are tiny fruit that, despite their size, pack a pleasant punch of flavor.

Cultivation of Cucamelons

One of the first things you’ll notice about growing cucamelons is how similar they are to cucumbers. Just like cucumbers, cucamelons do well in raised beds, especially if there is abundant space for them to climb. Cucamelons are also highly sensitive to the moon, unlike most other plants, so it’s best to plant during an all-female moon, or after sundown on a waxing moon.

Transplants are the best way to grow cucamelons, although they can be direct seeded if you live in a warm climate. If you are starting from seed direct, keep the soil loose and well-watered.

Diseases

Cucamelons need lots of water throughout the season, but drying out the soil is not normally a risk. Cucamelons are not typically a direct target for pests and diseases, but the plant is susceptible to some common issues.

One such risk is the development of powdery mildew on the plant's leaves. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that causes a powdery white substance to form on the plant. There are a few things you can do to prevent and to cure powdery mildew.

One way to treat an infected plant is to remove and destroy any affected leaves. You should check cucamelons, and other plants, for signs of powdery mildew regularly. If the disease is caught early, you can prevent it from spreading by spraying the plant with water.

One of the best defenses against powdery mildew is using sterile plants. Make sure you buy your cucamelons from a reliable and reputable source. Also, it is a good idea to buy propagated plants from the farmer's market or from someone you know if you can.

Another way you can protect your cucamelons from powdery mildew is by applying a fungicide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cucamelon, sometimes called mouse melon, is a variety of the Mexican Sour Gherkin and belongs to the family of cucurbits. It is a small, round fruit that has a mild refreshing cucumber taste.

In fact, this fruit is widely used in Mexico to create an alternative to water if you are feeling a bit curious. How can you tell if it is ripe? The skin on these little guys is so thin that you can tell if they are ready to be eaten by gently squeezing the fruit in your hand.

So, if you are looking to try something new, give Cucamelon a try.