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Mexican Sour Gherkin

Mexican Sour Gherkin Pickling Cucumber

(65 days) Melothria scabra Open-pollinated. Also known as Cucamelon or Sandía de ratón (‘Mouse Watermelon’ in Spanish), and Preserving Cucumber in France. Native to Mexico and Central America and a staple in diets there since pre-Columbian times. We love the unusual, so when we saw these darlings on exhibit at Common Ground Fair in 2004, we found them irresistible. So did the judges who gave them a coveted Judges’ Award. Janet Winslow calls them a “gateway” crop, meaning they inspire fairgoers to explore the diversity of available food crops. Wimpy seedlings grow into rampant yet delicate scrambling vines covered with dozens of 1" green and white fruit that look like miniature watermelons but taste more like cucumbers, with a crunchy texture and a slight sour zing as if they already had been pickled. Botanically, they are neither cucumber nor watermelon and won’t cross with either. They don’t bruise and they keep for a long time. Try them in stir fries, pickle them as gherkins, or add to salsas. Also popular among trendy bartenders. Easy to grow, and fun! Slightly more tolerant of cold than cukes, and more drought-resistant. Benefits from a fence or trellis so vines can climb 10'. About 350 seeds/g.
Item Discounted
Price
1243A: 0.2g for $2.40  
1243B: 1g for $5.00  
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Additional Information

Cucumbers

Cucumis sativus 116 oz packet sows 11 ft; 1 oz, about 180 ft. About 35 seeds/g; 116 oz packet avg 65 seeds, 1,000 seeds/oz.

Days to maturity are from direct seeding, except where noted.

Culture: May be started indoors for early production, or direct-seeded. Very tender, will not survive frost. Direct seed 3" apart thinning to 1' apart in rows 4-6' apart or 6 per mound in hills 4' apart thinning to 3 best plants. Transplant 1' apart in rows 4-6' apart. Cucumbers require good fertility and regular rain or irrigation for abundant yields. Without adequate water, fruits will be misshapen and bitter.

Combat striped cucumber beetles by handpicking early AM when the dew makes them sluggish, or use floating row covers, removing when cukes flower. Cucumber beetles are the vector for BW. Pick cukes frequently for best production, or else the plants shut down. Make sure to remove blimps to the compost pile.

Using compost in conjunction with row covers (rather than either alone) increased cucumber yields at the University of Michigan.

Parthenocarpic varieties (1214, 1239, 1380, 1392) can set fruit without being pollinated, an advantage in cold cloudy summers. Gynoecious varieties (1214, 1232, 1328) produce almost exclusively female flowers for uniformity and high yields.

Do not sow in cold soil. Minimum germination temperature 60°, optimal range 65–95°, optimal temperature 90°. Emergence takes 13 days at 59°, 6 days at 68°, 4 days at 77°.

Diseases:

  • ALS: Alternaria Leaf Spot
  • ANTH: Anthracnose
  • BW: Bacterial Wilt
  • CMV: Cucumber Mosaic Virus
  • CVYV: Cucumber Vein Yellow Virus
  • DM: Downy Mildew
  • PM: Powdery Mildew
  • PRSV: Papaya Ring Spot Virus
  • R: Rust
  • WMV: Watermelon Mosaic Virus
  • ZYMV: Zucchini Yellows Mosaic Virus

Pest: Striped Cucumber Beetle
Cultural controls: use tolerant or resistant varieties, rotate crops, till under crop debris soon after harvest, use floating row covers until flowers appear, use plastic mulch, perimeter trap cropping (Black Zucchini and Blue Hubbard make particularly good trap crops), use yellow sticky strips, hand-pick early morning when beetles are very sluggish.
Materials: Surround, Pyrethrum (PyGanic), Mycotrol.