What Are Cucamelons?
The Cucamelon: The cute, tiny and tangy fruit that looks like a mini watermelon is about to take off in the UK.
Tasty and easy to grow, they are something a bit different to add to your normal allotment crop.
- 1 Discovering Cucamelons
Are they GMO?
These days you never know.
The first thing I did was do an internet search asking if Cucamelons are GMO or not. I came up with a Daily Mail article that quite clearly says that they are not some GMO weird hybrid. Thank goodness.
They come from central America and they are a delicacy there. They taste like a lime and a cucumber combined. Cucamelons are also so tiny only about the size of your average grape or the end of your finger. Believe it or not, they have also been popular since pre-Columbian times.
The Nine Great Things About Cucamelons
- They are very easy to grow.
- They will grow in the UK.
- They do not need to be put in a greenhouse.
- They are fairly fast growing (2-3 months).
- They don’t need a lot of space and can be grown in grow bags or pots as well as your allotment. (I have seen one suggestion, that they would be great in a hanging basket)
- They are easy to harvest as you just wait off them to fall off the vine.
- They can be grown in soil, grow bags or tubs.
- Butterflies love the little bright yellow flowers.
- They are not invasive or aggressive.
Things Not So Great About Them
- They may be a bit sour for most UK palates.
- They don’t like being planted in damp, wet conditions.
- They are an exotic fruit, so (at the moment) cannot be bought everywhere.
- Most seed packets do not seem to put on the growing instructions.
What do they Taste Like?
These little cucumber melons actually taste of cucumber with a hint of lime.
How to Grow These Tiny Treasures
They are easy to grow outdoors in the UK. Although Some people like to grow them in a greenhouse.
Cucamelons, although easier to grow are grown in a similar way to your normal cucumber. Although they are much, much smaller, about a teaspoon size or the thumbnail size. They are pruning free and you do not need to know any special way to train them. They do, however, need support as they are a vine plant.
Sowing: Sow your Cucamelon seeds in either April or May. Either protect them or sow in a greenhouse (or mini greenhouse) or propagator until about the end of May when the danger of frost has passed.
When the seedlings are about 2.5 inches (7cm) high
Like the cucumber, they need plenty of water.
Pests and Diseases
They are mostly ignored by pests and are also resistant to drought.
They prefer a sheltered and sunny location.
Watering and Feeding
Water and feed well. They need a liquid fertiliser with potash in.
The main growing shoot will need to be pinched out when your precious plants reach 8 feet or 2 and a half meters in height. (If you are short like me you may want to do this sooner!)
Then all you have to do is continue to water, feed and cut out the side shoots to keep your plant in check.
Although the flowers are not self-fertile, a plant will have both male and female small yellow flowers on it.
Harvesting is in about 2.5 to 3 months.
You can find more on Chameleons and other exciting things to grow in the Homegrown Revolution Book