Barbie Doll Watermelons, that’s what I call them, because, well… that’s what they look like. Their real name is Mexican Sour Gherkin (Melothria scabra), but they also popularly go by mouse melon, cucamelon, and sandíita (meaning little melon in Spanish).
Whoops. I try to stay on top of rogue fruit by checking all around leafy plants, but alas, occasionally one gets away. I found this monstrous cucumber yesterday. It was hidden deeply, camouflaged by the foliage. For comparison, this is a pickling variety that is supposed to be harvested at a fraction of this size.
I’ve been thinking a lot about diversity in the garden. As I wander around, observing everything that is growing, the beautiful diversity within each family and genus, and even within the same plant amazes me. I don’t have anything super profound to say about this right now, it’s just something that I am appreciating in new ways and I think that my understanding of diversity within plants is maturing with time.
I will say this: lately, the diversity I observe on even a superficial level (I am after-all merely a gardener and an observer and not a botanist) leaves me wondering whether a photo of one flower, leaf, etc from one plant growing within a single garden can represent a specific variety.
Over the last few years I haven’t been growing enough cucurbits (namely squashes and cucumbers) to meet our eating demands, so last winter I resolved to dedicate more garden space to a range of types in the 2013 growing season. This meant cutting back a bit on my beloved tomatoes, but alas… While I was at it, I decided to expand my horizons with a few varieties that I have never grown before. The above photo represents a few of the most productive varieties of the many that are currently growing in either raised beds or large containers.
It’s become a tradition and now that I live in an Italian neighbourhood it’s pretty much a requirement. When my local Italian greengrocer set out the seed rack I did a little happy dance, and it was then that I knew I was doomed to buy more seed than I will ever have room to grow.
Cucumber ‘Spuredda Leccese’ – While not technically a cucumber (Cucumis sativa), this Italian melon (Cucumis melo) from the Puglia region (Southern Italy) is eaten like one. I have seed for several Italian cucumber/melon varieties and am quite taken with them. The poorly translated product description was also a selling point. “It has to be harveste the unripe fruit and consumpted in salad.” It’s either going to be awesome in a salad or bring about the consumption — I like the promise of a little risk.
Arugula ‘Selvetica’ aka rucola selvatica (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) – This is my favourite arugula, hands down, and even though I have several packets from other companies, I can’t seem to stop buying it. Just in case! If The Apocalypse comes in 2012 I will not be without.
Onion ‘Tropea Rossa Tonda’ – I am partial to red onion varieties and am more likely to plant them than white. It’s the colour! This one has an interesting shape and matures to red. I’ve long since started my onion seed — these will go in the second sowing. I believe these may be a short day variety so I don’t know what kind of luck I will have with them; however, we have no shortage for scallion usage so I’d be okay if they never reach bulb size.