One thing that makes gardening exciting for me is trying new plants every year. This goes for ornamentals in addition to edibles.
I'm not just talking about different tomato varieties either -- I do that too -- but trying completely new types of plants. Last year it was Malabar spinach (beautiful but nothing I'd eat unless I had no choice). This year it's garlic, rat-tail radish, and today's subject: Mexican sour gherkins, also known as "mouse melons".
I have to say that this is probably the edible that I'm most excited about this year. Something about growing tiny food makes me smile. The red currant tomatoes I tried last year were okay but didn't live up to expectations, but these little guys, well...
They're just too cute not to love!
The flowers are so tiny, what could possibly be pollinating them?
The fruits look like grape-sized watermelons but taste sour, as if they've already been pickled.
The seeds are huge compared to the fruit (if these were watermelons the seeds would be the size of baseballs or bigger!)
I've only eaten a couple so far, as the vines are not large enough yet to produce enough for a salad, but apparently they're quite vigorous plants and prolific producers so I'll get my chance soon.
I'm not sure yet on the disease resistance or heat tolerance of this plant, but from what I've read in Marie Iannotti's book "The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables" they're quite hardy.
I'm really looking forward to finding out for myself, and hope to be snacking on handfuls of the little cuties soon!