Cucamelons are native to Mexico and Central America. They also go by the following names: mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, Mexican miniature watermelon and Mexican sour cucumber.
These climbing plants produce masses of grape size fruit that resemble tiny watermelons and have a fresh flavour, like cucumber with a twist of citrus. They can be quite addictive!
Cucamelons require similar growing conditions to regular cucumbers: choose a sunny position, with well-drained soil and provide them with a trellis for support. We’ve heard that part-shade for these guys in Melbourne translates into poor yields, so make sure they’re basking in the sunlight!
The seeds can either be directly sown into the soil, or started early in pots. Sow seeds about 5mm deep and space the plants about 30 to 60cm apart. Sow seeds in groups of 3 or 4 and then thin out the stragglers – let the strongest seedlings take over.They are drought tolerant plants, but they will produce more fruit if you keep them well watered. And let’s be honest – more fruit is the point here!
To harvest, simply pick the fruit when they get to the size of a grape and eat. They are known as a ‘savory fruit’, possibly making them the best oxymoron ever.