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Growing Mexican Sour Gherkin Also Known as Mouse Melon, Sandíta, Cucamelon and Melothria scabra

Whether you call it a Mexican sour gherkin, mouse melon, Sandíta or Cucamelon, this unique vegetable is worth growing in the garden.

The small fruit looks like a miniature watermelon on the outside but the insides and flavor more closely resemble a cucumber.

This rampant grower can reach 10 feet and is drought and pest tolerant and produces an abundant crop of fruit. Handle the vines carefully as they are easily damaged by mishandling and frost.

It takes about 70 to 75 days from planting to the start of harvesting. Wait for the soil to warm before planting seeds directly in the garden. Or start seeds indoors then move the transplants to the garden once the danger of frost has passed.

The cucamelons fall off the plant when ripe. Save a few of the larger fruit to collect and preserve the seeds for next year’s garden.

A bit more information: This plant has been an important ingredient in Mexican and Central American cuisine since pre-Columbian times. Consider growing a few and using them in this Cucamelon Bloody Mary Salad recipe provided by Garden America. 

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