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Cucamelon mystery perhaps solved

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Selleri, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Selleri

    Selleri Koala

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    My Cucamelon plants are growing nicely, flowering, setting fruit but then the fruits disappear. After watching them all summer, I have been puzzled with the lack of swelling fruit. The tiny fruitlets just disappear, nothing is on the soil under the plants so they haven't just fallen off.

    Then I went out at sunrise and disturbed a flock of sparrows in my Cucamelons. :ideaIPB: It must be these little fellows taking a liking on my fruit. The baby toms around the Cuca plants are untouched, but the Cuca has had some splashes of bird droppings on the foliage all summer that I put down to well aimed overfly accidents.

    It would make sense, the sparrows have a selective interest in some plants such as early Buddleya buds, but turn their attention elsewhere when other food sources appear.

    I like sparrows very much, but next summer I will have to build a sparrow proof cage for the Cucas.

    Has anyone seen any interest of garden birds in Cucamelon fruitlets? @Aldo ?
     
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    • Aldo

      Aldo Super Gardener

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      @Selleri No really, cucamelons are one variety which wildlife in my garden seems to leave alone.
      However mine suffered a pretty ill fate at the end of either some disease or perhaps some beetle larvae, I am not quite sure.
      One went all wrinkly and shrunked a few months ago and the other followed 4 weeks after or so.
      They grew to a few meters, trained on canes, and made for a pretty nice sight for a while though. Also plenty of fruits, most of which are still there.

      I am glad yours are doing fine still.
      I was thinking of saving the bulbs like some suggest, digging them up and keeping them above freezing temperature during the winter.
      However, if they were hit by some disease I should probably start them from seed again next year.

      To be honest, they were not a huge hit with the family but hopefully next Summer we will have left behind lockdowns and covid, and my brother might finally visit with his kids. They are very young and I think the cucamelons would be a big hit with them..
       
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      • Selleri

        Selleri Koala

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        Yes they are nice looking plants and fun fruits (judging by the picture on the pack of seeds :mad: ). I will definitely try them again next summer, this time giving them more sheltered time early on and sparrow- proofing the lot.

        The fruit might be great for pickling. At least they would probably look fun in jars :) I'm tempted to boast to my in-laws (in a country where Cucas are unknown) that I'm pickling home grown watermelons in giant jars :heehee:
         
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        • Perki

          Perki Total Gardener

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          I grow Cucamelons last year , I found them to be awful very very bitter.
           
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          • Aldo

            Aldo Super Gardener

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            Having grown them in different positions this year, I found quite alot of variability in taste.
            I think the more they stay on the vine, the bitter they become, but in general they were pleasant..
            Not incredibly good though, I think they are cute for kids to pick.
             
          • Aldo

            Aldo Super Gardener

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            Some of mine were doing fine for a while, also considered that by mistake I planted a Marina di Chioggia pumpkin in the same pot (I thought it was another smaler sqash).
            Climbed a few meters but then something happened to them..

            IMG_20200825_173703.jpg

            IMG_20200925_180045.jpg

            IMG_20200825_174209.jpg
             
          • pete

            pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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            I tried them a few years ago and only the ones in the greenhouse fruited, I think they like it warm or at least on a warm sunny wall.
             
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            • Purple Streaks

              Purple Streaks Gardener

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              I grew these a few years ago ,had absolutely loads they filled a Kilner jar .
              Poured boiling water to almost the brim.
              With the top screwed tight they made a lovely addition to my kitchen display.
               
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              • Mike Allen

                Mike Allen Total Gardener

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                Totally out of my depth here, so excuse my ignorance. Are these fruits akin to cucumbers, but obviously much smaller and melon shaped. I enjoy a good mixed salad and even the odd cheese sandwich with a few slices of cucumber. Problem, being on my own, a shop bought cue usually goes rotten before long. Plus some of the imported cues, the taste, make you wonder how the plants are watered. NOTICE. All Watering is. PASSED by the managent.
                 
              • Purple Streaks

                Purple Streaks Gardener

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                Cucamelons Mike to look at are miniature water melons ,delicate netted markings in green ,very effective actually.
                They are at the biggest an inch long and about half inch wide.quite thick skinned and all is eaten.
                I find them ok with salads but not a fruity type. I find the taste bland.
                More of a novelty for the grandkid in my mind. husband wasn't thrilled ......having false noshers he couldn't note into them!!!!!
                :lolpt::gaah::mad:
                 
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