Cucamelons are a joy to have in the edible garden. Here’s how to overwinter cucamelon tubers and get a head start on the next growing season.
Cucamelons, also known as Mexican sour gherkins or mouse melons are a joy to have in the garden and are prolific producers of the tiny sour fruits. They add crunch to salads, can be pickled and used in cocktails. The creeping vine is an annual plant that grows tubers where it stores its energy. When the fruiting season is over, you can dig the tubers out, overwinter them and save them for the following season instead of starting again from seed.
How to Overwinter Cucamelon Tubers
I’ve covered how to grow cucamelon from seed in a previous article. To overwinter cucamelon tubers, first you need to carefully dig them out. Use a garden fork or a shovel placed about 30 to 40 cm away from the stem and gently dig them out. You can even use your hands by feeling around the soil. There may be a few tubers per plant so it pays to take your time. Don’t pull them out by force as they may get damaged and not grow again the following season.
Once you have retrieved the tubers, store them layered in a container filled with slightly moist potting mix and place the container in a cool spot that doesn’t get frost. If you have more than one tuber, top each one with a few cm of soil without allowing them to touch and store in the same container. The following spring, you can plant them again and get head start on the growth cycle.
As you can see from the photo above, my cucamelon tuber was very small. You can do a search on instagram to see how large they can get. Regardless of size, I’m overwintering my cucamelon tuber as an experiment, and will also be growing cucamelons from seed. I don’t get frost where I live in Sydney and, I’ll be keeping the container safely in a protected area against a wall that gets a moderate degree of warmth.
Want to Know More?
You’ll find more information on how to grow cucamelon, how to pair it with food and spirits, and how to use it in cocktails including a full recipe in my 260+ page digital book GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN available now.