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Did You Fertilize Your Mouse Melons Today?

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

a.k.a. Mexican Sour Gherkins, (Melothria scabra). How about your West Indian Burr Gherkins (Cucumis anguria)? No? I didn't think so. :>)

Besides those two I'm growing the 'real' cucumbers Japanese Long, Levina F1, Beit Alpha, and Miniature White. The sweet pepper varieties I'm growing are Carmen, Jimmy Nardello, Yummy Orange, Slonovo Uho, and Ljubov Dlan. Mild hot peppers are TAM Jalapeno and Pepperoncini, and my hot one of course is Maui Purple Pepper.

I'm looking forward to making some real interesting PICKLES later this season!

Thumbnail by Ozark
Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

ive always thought those are the neatest things.

I myself am growing lemon cucumber and a short green pickling cucumber whos name escapes my recollection right now, lol.

and my peppers consist of 4 banana pepper plants, one of which is starting to fruit. Photos tomorrow, as it is too dark outside right now ;)

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

It's a little hard to see that this is a 16-foot wire cattle panel, bent into an arch. West Indian Burr Gherkins are growing up the near leg, and Mexican Sour Gherkins (aka Mouse Melons) are growing up the far side. They're in a race to the top with the Mouse Melons ahead at this point.

I think I'll soon have some shade to take breaks under, and the fruits of those two are going to be spending a lot of time together - in pickle jars!

Thumbnail by Ozark
Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Ozark, my Burr Gherkins are not as far along as yours as I planted late due to vacation. But my growing season lasts longer than yours so I think it will work out! I just side dressed them last night. I couldn't make up my mind what to use so I just went with a 10 10 10. Very light side dressing. It is raining today so for once I fertilized in a timely fashion!

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

The Mouse Melons have climbed to the top of the arch from their side, but the Burr Gherkins aren't climbing so well. I tied them up, trying to get the vines pointed in the right direction.

My Burr Gherkins are doing fine, growing lush and thick, but they're a lot like watermelon vines - they like to spread more than climb.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

The Burr Gherkins and Mouse Melons have met at the top of the arch now, so I've got a shady spot in which to take a break in the garden. I'm starting to harvest some of both, and I can tell that production is just getting started. They're shown in the center of this picture, surrounded by Miniature White and some other cucumber varieties. Canning lots of mixed-variety pickles these days.

Thumbnail by Ozark
Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

you will have to show us the photos after they are all pickled together, looks like it would be fun and colorful, i imagine that those mouse melons could be pickled whole?

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

"i imagine that those mouse melons could be pickled whole?"

Yes, they're less than 1" long so there's no need to slice them. They have a very thin skin, so they don't need to be peeled either. Eaten raw off the vines, they have a pleasant crunchy texture and a sort-of (but not quite) cucumber flavor. I haven't tasted any pickled ones yet, but I think they'll pickle well.

Neither West Indian Burr Gherkins nor Mexican Sour Gherkins (mouse melons) are actually cucumbers, and they're not bothered by the fungus diseases that are attacking the foliage of my cucumber vines now. I like that.

Thumbnail by Ozark
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Those are absolutely adorbs!!!!

I especially like the little ones that look like miniature watermelons! Let us know how they pickle. My 7-yr-old niece may need to be exposed to these next season!

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

My West Indian Burr Gherkins turned out well and I will grow them again next year. They pickles (refrigerator method) well and DH like them. They are still going and I have stopped watering them as we've gotten some rain lately.

So thank you all for turning me on to those little devils. Even the Japanese Beetles don't bother them (so far ☺).

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Where'd ya'll get the seeds for the West Indian Burr Gherkins (the ones that look like little miniature watermelons)?

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Linda, it's the other way around - "Mexican Sour Gherkins" (TERRIBLE marketing name, huh?) are the ones that look like little watermelons and are a.k.a. "Mouse Melons".

I got the seeds from Baker Creek here in Mansfield, Mo.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Sam!
I just read up on them, and they look like what I want. I want pickles, and I want the 7-yr old involved in gardening. These look to satisfy both the requirements, LOL!

Terry & Sam,
I'm going to be using an old-fashioned? pickling recipe that is more of a "brine" and less the vinegary pickle juice in a supermarket jar.

Will this sort of brine work ok with the flavor of these cukes?

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Great minds think alike - I've been cutting the vinegar content of my pickle brine all season, more so with each batch. I think I'm pretty close to the old-fashioned brine flavor of homemade pickles now, much different from supermarket jars.

Here's the latest brine I mixed up to can 4 quarts of mixed pickles:

4 1/2 cups filtered water
2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
5 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt

I ladle the boiling brine into the jars on top of tightly-packed 'cukes, peppers, green tomatoes, okra, whatever. Then I attach sterilized lids and bands finger-tight and give the jars a 3-minute boil only in a hot-water canner that's already boiling hard. The pickles stay nice and crunchy that way.

Linda, I just thought - I've got your address and beaucoup Mouse Melons are dropping on the ground out there. I'll send you some. They're full of seeds, and I bet if we just set them aside to dry ....... :>)

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

You won't believe this, but great minds DO think alike!

I was thinking to myself, "hmmmm, I bet Sam's got lots of seeds." "Maybe he'll send me some," LOL!!!

Way to read great minds, Sam!


Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Sorry to get back to you so late. Work has been crazy....

Since it is just DH and me, I just did refrigerator Gherkins. So I don't really have a recipe for the Burr Gherkins for "puttin' up". I do add a clove or two of garlic and a dill weed blossom to mine as that is the way my aunt always did it (nod to Aunt Pat). But my refrigerator pickle recipe is straight from the 4-H pamphlet. I use that one every time so I don't have to look for it, just find it online or go to the co-operative extension office.

I've grown Parisian gherkins before and had some problems with the cuq beetles. But these Burr Gherkins had no problems with anything (so far and this season only as this is my first year with them). I will definitely be growing them again. They were a bit slow to take off, but now that I know I'm not even worried about that!

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