Cucamelon (Mouse Melon)
Words about cucamelons from friend and grower Michaela Hayes of Rise & Root Farm:
"My happy place. These tiny cucamelons are one of my favorites. Crunchy, tangy and so cute. Originally from Mexico and Central America where they are called Sandita (little watermelon), Melothria scabra aren’t actually cucumbers though they taste like they are."
With an occasional hint of sourness, you can eat them like cucumbers: in salads, as garnishes, and as pickles.
Days to maturity: 70
Seeds per pack: 25
Germination rate: 86% on 02/07/2023
Planting / harvesting notes
Seed indoors 2-4 weeks beforehand and transplant into warm soil (above 70 degrees at night). If sowing outside, wait until at least 2 weeks after the last frost and plant 2-3 seeds per hill. Space plants or hills at 12" apart, in rows 4' apart. Vines grow up to 10', so allow them space and trellising to sprawl. Harvest at 1" before the fruit gets too seedy, unless you hope to save the seeds!
Seed keeping notes
Allow the fruits to get at least 1" long, and look for signs of maturity and ripeness. Cut open the fruits and separate the seeds from the flesh. Consider using a fermentation method to clean the seeds. In a cup or bucket, add a little water (1/2" is probably more than plenty) to your seeds and pulp to keep them from drying out, and allow them to ferment away from direct sunlight. Ideally, you will stir the concoction every day for 3-5 days. In the end, add more water to fill the vessel, stir one final time, and allow to settle. Pour off the floating material and then strain the seeds through a strainer. Sometimes, you will need to add more water and pour off the floating material several times until the water is clear and you can see the seeds sunken at the bottom. Squeeze dry the strained seeds in a towel, and then lay out to dry on a labeled screen or paper product in a ventilated place away from direct sunlight for a week or two. The plumpest and hardest seeds will be most viable.