Cucamelon is a unique kind of fruit that is very interesting. It looks like a miniature watermelon but its taste if somehow like a cucumber, only sour. Cucamelons, although rare, offer some great nutritional and health benefits to a person. It is said that they are great during the summer season.
What are Cucamelons and how do you grow and eat this rare fruit? This article will explain to you the ways on how to grow Cucamelons. Furthermore, you will learn the different health benefits it brings to a person. Do you enjoy farming? Are you a homesteading? If the answer to both questions is a yes. Keep reading!
How to Grow a Cucamelon?
If you have been gardening or farming for a long time now, you may have already tried planting a variation of plants. It is always interesting and fun to keep learning something new, right? So, if ever you are thinking of a new plant to grow, the Cucamelon might just be the answer.
Cucamelons are a unique rare fruit that are seldom planted. This kind of fruit is fairly easy to produce. Why is called Cucamelon? Basically, the name came from the combination of a cucumber and watermelon. It tastes and belongs somehow to the cucumber family, but its physical features resembles the early planting stage of a watermelon. The size is as small as a human pinky.
First thing is First, Seeds!
The only thing that sets apart Cucamelons from the other plants are the seeds. With any other regular fruits, you can just purchase the seeds at any Home Depot or your local plant stores. But, with the Cucamelons, the seeds are difficult to find in stores. The way to get yourself some Cucamelon seeds is through online stores. Commonly, each packet contains about 15 to 30 seeds. It should already be just enough if you are only trying it out for the first time.
The average selling price of Cucamelon seeds are revolving around $1.99 to $2.99 for 30 seeds. But, then again, since your best bet of finding these kind of seeds are online, prices could vary. Also, the price may change from time to time depending on the season. The sites that offer Cucamelon seeds may also come and go. So, just have that extra patience to do a simple Google search. It is not impossible to look for Cucamelon seeds when you have the internet.
Cucamelons have the ability to grow fast. Upon planting the seeds, you could already crop them out after 80 days. So, it is not a problem even if you plant them in cool climates. There are variations as to how you could grow your Cucamelons. Basically, Cucamelons allow you to have options as to how to plant them. You can choose which one would work best and convenient for you. Furthermore, what is great about Cucamelons is that they do not tend to scatter as compared to any other vines.
Using a Trellis
A Trellis is a structurized construction of light wooden or metal bars. It is mainly used to support climbing plants or vines. In the case of a Cucamelon, you will need a trellis. This is to provide the support the plant needs as it grows. On the other hand, Cucamelons do not really require a large amount of space for it to successfully grow. As a matter of fact, a container could already be enough. But, we only want to make sure that our first try would be successful. So, a trellis would be most recommended.
To start with, you could just directly plant the seeds. It is as simple as that! The only thing that you need to make sure is the space between seeds. You could plant the seeds side by side for them to share a trellis together. Ideally, the measurement in between planting seeds should be 6 inches. From there, the plants will grow at approximately about 3 to 5 feet high. Therefore, the is a need to build your trellis higher than the Cucamelon’s average height.
As for building the trellis, you could just use bamboo poles to begin with.
The Climate Condition and Location
Technically, Cucamelons are perrenials like potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries. According to Wikipedia, a perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials.
However, Cucamelons are required to be plants in a warm climatic season with a lasting of 65 to 80 days. Furthermore, the climate condition should be free from frost. Also, soil temperature should be between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This is in order for the Cucamelons to bear fruit successfully.
In cases wherein you live in a much cooler are, it is recommended to plant indoors. You can place the seeds in a pot and position them in a room where it is warm. Especially, when night time temperature falls below 50 degrees.
Cucamelons like full sun and rich, fast-draining soil. An exposure to direct sunlight of at least six hours a day is required. The sun will ensure that your Cucamelons are healthy and are continuously growing. The more sunlight they get, the better their fruits will become.
The Right Soil and Water
As like the majority of other fruit gardens, Cucamelons require just as the same soil. The soil needs to have effective soil drainage for them to produce at their maximum capabilities. Cucamelons need the right amount of nutrition from the condition of the soil and the water it gets.
The soil that you should use for planting your Cucamelons should composed of compost or aged manure. With this, it will provide your Cucamelons with the right nutrition it needs. It will also protect the plants and keep them productive for the whole season. Furthermore, you can also use lean or porous soil. Make sure to top the soil you are using with a 2-inch thick layer of compost. Another helpful trick is to mix in a 6-10-10 analysis fertilizer. This particular fertilizer should be place on each hole that you place the seeds. This will further the nutrients in your soil which will then be absorbed by your Cucamelon plant.
How to Correctly Water your Cucamelons?
The Cucamelons needs a steady amount of moisture to achieve wonderful results in the end. Every five to seven days, an inch of water should be added, wetting the top 6 to 15 inches of soil every time. This is to keep your Cucamelon plants moisturized. During summer season, or when the climate is just simply very hot and dry, increase the inch of water to twice as much.
On the other hand, if the area you are living in is prone to fog or cool weather, you need to monitor your soil extra carefully. Basically, your main indicator when knowing whether to water your Cucamelons or not is your soil condition. If your soil dries up at about one inch from the top, you can lightly water your soil. Other planters of Cucamelons makes use of Mulch. The Mulch helps by regulating the loss of moisture. It also keeps the weeds from taking over the plant.
The Helpful Trick in Planting Cucamelons
Fortunately, Cucamelons are incredibly easy to plant. They do not require that much of an attention and maintenance as compare to other plants. They are not as sensitive to plant as Cucumbers does. Cucamelons can be directly planted outdoors, only if the winter frosts are gone. Moreover, Cucamelons do not require an exact amount of water. There is not any special technique as to how to process everything with Cucamelons. You could just ignore them most of the time and wait until they are ready for picking.
Save the seeds when the Cucamelons are still ripe. It is understandable that ordering for the seeds online and waiting for its delivery date can be somehow an inconvenience. So, the best way to avoid yourself with all this fuss is to save the seeds.
The way to go about this is to pick up a ripe fruit from the ground. Set it aside for about 12 to 14 days. After that period of time, you can now slice the fruit open and take out the seeds. Afterwards, submerge the seeds in a jar of water and set it aside for another week. Then, take out the seeds from the jar and allow it to dry on paper towels. Once they are all dry, you can now plant them again. Some people even stores them in paper envelopes and wait for them to grow from there. Either ways, you can try it out and see what is best for you.
In order to know if the Cucamelons are ready for harvesting, you have to be mindful of its size. The Cucamelons should still be firm and have the size of grape to know that they are ready for harvesting. The size and the firmness of the Cucamelons will be your indication to know that it is time. Commonly, Cucamelons come in volumes. They tend to produce much fruit and become plentiful. In that note, you need to start off with just a few seeds. In order for you to have an estimate as to how many Cucamelons you can get with one seed alone. You would not want to end up with a room full of Cucamelons.
Everything you Need to Know About Cucamelons
Americans are mostly not familiar with Cucamelons. This fruit is definitely something you want to experience and know about. It is recognized as the most exciting fruit you could possibly grow.
Cucamelons are also called as the ‘Mexican Sour Gherkin”. In Spanish, it is most commonly known as “Sandiita” or little watermelon. Cucamelons have other terms to which it is also referred of. It all depends on the local dialects different Native American languages. Mostly, it all boils down to Cucamelons being known as “mouse melon”. This is due to its size that is as tiny as a grape.
Cucamelons are somewhat a mixture of Cucumbers and watermelons. Hence, the term Cuca and melon. But, Cucamelons are not some genetically-modified fruit. Coincidentally, it just looks like a tiny Watermelon and its taste is the same as a Cucumber. Only when the Cucumber is dipped in a lemon or lime juice. Cucamelons are a staple delicacy incorporated in Mexican Diets.
How Does it Taste Like?
You may think it may be just the same as a watermelon because of how it looks. But, it does not come close to tasting like a watermelon. Yet, it tastes like a cucumber but only a little bit sour. As if the cucumber was dipped in a lemon or lime juice.
The Cucamelon has this strong, piquant flavor that is surprisingly refreshing. Like the Cucumber, Cucamelons can be pickled too. The way to best do it is through adding dill and mint on the process. The aftermath of it is just superb.
Cucamelons are ready for consumption right off its vine. What is amazing about the Cucamelon is, you need not to peel its skin for you to eat it. As oppose to the Cucumber wherein there is a need to get rid of the skin. With Cucamelons, it is the whole opposite thing. You may also add them in a salad. Whole or sliced will work and blend just fine.
Another way to prepare Cucamelons is by drizzling it with some olive oil and sliced peppers. The final result is a very tasty treat. Also, if you want to have a night of pure relaxation, a Martini with a Cucamelon can do the trick. Apparently, instead of the olive, you can substitute it with a Cucamelon. It will work just as tasty as the olive does.
If you will get used to the taste of Cucamelons, you will come up with amazing more ideas as to how to eat or use them. The flow of recipes will just come dodging in as soon as you already familiarize yourself with its taste.
The Health Benefits you can get from Cucamelons
Irregardless of the miniature size of the Cucamelon, it contains a large amount of nutritional value. As a matter of fact, Cucamelons are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidant and fiber which highly benefits the human health. Furthermore, Cucamelons are said to be low in calories which are great fruit picks when you are on a diet.
The Cucamelon’s richness in nutrients prevents a lot of health problems. This includes lowering the risk of heart diseases, stroke and even cancer. In addition, Cucamelons have also anti-aging substances that prevents premature aging. This is through its ability to rejuvenate the bodily tissues, cells and organs.
Cucamelons are also rich in Lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that helps the heart to achieve optimum performance. Moreover, the Cucamelon also consists of vitamin C and potassium. So, the combination of these three nutrients, Carotenoid, Vitamin C and Potassium, is immensely beneficial to a human’s health. It allows the body to fight off heart diseases. Cucamelons have the power to lower down bad cholesterol levels. Most importantly, Cucamelons are also proven to be good for the eyes and every internal organ of the body.