Mouse Melon

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".

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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!

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danger garden  – (June 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM)  

They are so cute! But your description of the flavor, hard to tell if they really are delicious? Reading something like this makes me wish I had a much larger space given over to veggies.

Gerhard Bock  – (June 14, 2012 at 11:44 AM)  

I've never seen these before. How do you use them?

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (June 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM)  

danger: If you like slightly sour, tangy pickles then they're delicious.
Gerhard: Same way you use cherry tomatoes.

Mary Pellerito  – (June 14, 2012 at 5:11 PM)  

What a great find. I may need to try to plant it as well

Hoover Boo  – (June 14, 2012 at 5:33 PM)  

I don't know if I'd eat one, but they are beautiful in plant, flower, and fruit.

Ben J  – (June 14, 2012 at 9:29 PM)  

I saw those in a catalog but thought they were inedible. I am definitely growing those next year.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (June 14, 2012 at 9:44 PM)  

Ben: It's not too late for this year! Order some seeds (I got mine from Baker Creek) and get them started for a late summer crop! If you can't find seeds anywhere email me and I'll send you some. :-)

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (June 15, 2012 at 1:40 PM)  

Oh wow, those are interesting. I bet they will give great flavour to salads. Hnmmmmm, I think I need to experiment with more unusual veggie types. This looks fun.

Barbie  – (June 15, 2012 at 3:16 PM)  

Now this is an interesting heirloom. Really cute and I love that they are actually edible. I am also experimenting this year with different plants. I am sowing yellow strawberries and lemon cucumbers!!

Ben J  – (June 16, 2012 at 7:33 AM)  

There may be enough time here for a harvest, but I am just a little overcrowded right now. I will keep these in mind for next year though!

How high have yours climbed so far?

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (June 16, 2012 at 7:58 AM)  

Ben: to the top of the 7' trellis so far. They're vigorous!

lamogia stop  – (September 8, 2013 at 2:18 AM)  

Hi,
Am Giannis Doskaris, from Poros isl., Greece.
Αμ αν Αgriculturist, and I want to cultivate mouse mellon. I need at least 2000 seeds and I want to know what is the harvest per plant (in kilos).
Thanks
Giannis

Alan  – (September 8, 2013 at 7:57 AM)  

Giannis: sorry, I don't have that information. You may want to contact Baker Creek seeds and ask them, as I know they grow these in larger quantities and collect the seed of course. :)

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