Vines and Other Climbing Plants


Cucamelon - Melothria Scabra.

The Cucamelon is a name given as a marketing ploy to the Melothria Scabra that has been grown and harvested for hundreds of years in Central America where it goes under the names of “Mouse Melon” and “Mexican Sour Gherkin,” amongst others. The names give a clue to the appearance and flavour of the fruits that are indeed like grape-sized watermelons with a taste of cucumber and tang of Citrus. The Cucamelon is a member of the Curcurbitacaea family along with Cucumbers, Melons, Courgettes and Gourds, and like these it is a vigorous grower. However, unlike most of these it is both pest and drought resistant.

The Cucamelon can easily be grown as a climber that will reach 6-10 feet in height, although sometimes the plants are left to trail along the ground. Plants will do well indoors in a greenhouse, but will grow happily in a sunny and sheltered site outside, in England.

Melothria Scabra is a rampant vine that will produce a constant supply of its miniature, melon like fruit throughout the Summer until the frosts come. Most people will grow it as an annual, but it is possible to treat it as a Perennial if you lift its thick root in late Autumn and store it in frost free conditions in much the same way that you might store Dahlia Tubers and the like. It can then be replanted outside, after the Spring frosts have finished, to give an extra early crop the following year.

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