Name: Melothria scabra aka Mexican sour gherkins, miniature watermelons, or cucamelons.
Type of Plant: A delicate vine that’s grown for the tiny, cucumber-like fruits that resemble miniature watermelons.
Why I Love/Hate this plant First of all, let me make this clear. These are not cucumbers nor are they watermelons. This is a sweet, small vine that produces tiny fruits that are ready when they are an inch tall and a half-inch wide. In fact, the vines are perfect for growing on wire fences or up small trellises. The small fruits are crunchy and taste a bit lemony. They are perfect for salads, snacks, a cocktail garnish on a toothpick, or for making pickles.
In addition to the great taste, this plant doesn’t get the viruses spread by the cucumber beetle. A long period of harvest!
A Word to the Wise: Plan on buying seeds for these, not plants. Since the vines are wispy and grow about five feet tall, you’ll need to plant many of them in order to grow any amount of cucamelons.
Don’t sow these seeds too early when the ground is still cold…being a plant from Mexico, these won’t sprout in cool soil. On Cape Cod, where I garden, these do best when planted in mid-June. In other words, wait until the soil is warm!
Pick these when they are young. If you let them get too large they are tough and have larger seeds.