The result of some interesting cross-pollination found at one of the farm stands at the Farmers Market this afternoon. I’ve seen some strange mixes in the past but let’s just say I don’t see anyone using this miracle of nature as the basis for a new-fangled variety.
I can just see the catalogue description now: “Long, striped green fruit with golden, disease-like pustules splashed across the surface.”
It’s actually kind of disturbing. In a fascinating way.
Adorably teeny tiny Mexican Sour Gherkins (Melothria scabra) are starting to pop up all over the vines I’ve got growing at my community garden plot. The fruit in the picture is about half and inch or so and should be approximately 1-2″ when fully ripe however I am extremely impatient and picked a few for tasting. They taste very much like tiny, juicy cucumbers. Every description I have read says they have a surprisingly sour skin that makes them taste almost pre-pickled straight off the vine. Mine were very fresh flavored so I can only guess that the sourness will develop as the fruit matures.
The plant is a very ornamental and prolific vine with lots of pretty little leaves dotted by miniature yellow flowers. The tiny, ridiculously cute fruit are like Lilliputian watermelons, accounting for nicknames like “mouse melon” and Ã¢â‚¬Å“sandÃƒÂitaÃ¢â‚¬Â (Spanish for little watermelon).
I started mine this past spring from seeds purchased online via Seed Savers. I was a little bit concerned by the small size of the plants in comparison to other cucumbers at planting time but they took off immediately and quickly climbed up the trellis I made for my cucumbers using bamboo stakes and a plastic “chicken wire” leftover from another project. So far the plants are living up to their reputation as a pest and disease-resistant species — while some of the other curcubits are starting to show signs of powdery mildew the Mexican Sour Gherkins are entirely blemish and pest free. The plants are also much more drought tolerant than other cucumber-related plants making them a welcome addition to gardens like mine that can’t be tended to on a daily basis. I am not growing any on my rooftop garden this year but I would imagine that unlike many cucumber varieties that can be tricky in containers, their drought tolerant nature and small size would make this a good option in a medium-large sized container.
I know. I don’t post anything for ages and then I give you this. I received a simple little pocket-sized point-and-shoot digital camera for my birthday and have been excitedly testing out the video feature. The following are two short videos from day one with the camera.
I call this first one, “Tomatillo in the Wind.” A longer, contemplative shot might have imparted a more existential flavour but I’ve suffered through enough art school endurance tests to last a lifetime.
This next video was actually the very first one I shot with the camera only minutes after busting open the box. Can you feel the excitement?
I made a quick trip to my community garden plot yesterday where several large zucchinis and cucumbers were quickly expanding into over-sized monster vegetables. I had been gone for 6 days and Davin was unable to get into the garden with a poorly copied key. There are more cucumbers on the way and little scalloped patty pan zucchinis are forming. It’s gonna be a good harvest year.
…Because I had to post something a little more optimistic. Both of these Polaroids were taken this morning on my rooftop. The ‘Miniature White‘ cucumber variety is a lot less yellow then as seen in this photo as the Polaroid film has a yellow cast. It is the largest of a bunch of cucumbers that are soon to be harvested from the rooftop garden. The plant is growing in a garbage bin and the zinnias are growing in an old flour canister.