Sunday, October 3, 2010

mouse melons

A couple of years ago, I was looking through a seed catalogue and saw this interesting little cucumber. The Mexican Sour Gherkin. Or "Mouse Melon" because it looks like a tiny little mouse-sized watermelon. They sounded interesting so I tried it and turns out, I love growing them.

The vines are very decorative, delicate yet strong and the plants are beautiful in containers. They seem to grow happily in their containers probably partly because they like heat....they're tough and drought tolerant and don't seem to mind when I miss a watering....

Next year I'll have to give them some prettier trellises to climb so I can take advantage of the beautiful vines....this is a stellar ornamental edible and ideal for urban gardens...or small rural ones....

Abundant harvests every other day from just a few plants....they're still going strong in October....these all got cut in half and tossed into our salad.

Hey! There's a tree frog in my mouse melons!! He doesn't look very happy to see me.

I start the seeds in my greenhouse in early May...they don't like to go out too early here, they need the heat. Three to a pot.
I'll be starting many more of these next spring for sale to Mayne Island gardeners so if you're interested in trying this plant, let me know.

Here they are waiting to get planted into their big pots where they'll grow all summer long. See that little plant growing in the container already? That's a self-sown mouse melon plant. I was growing them in this pot last year and looks like one of the fruit that fell off the vine last fall seeded a new plant for me this spring. Usually I change the soil in the container from year to year but I decided to keep this one so this self-determined little plant could grow on...this is an heirloom plant so seeds are good to save because plants will reproduce true to their origins.

Here's a baby cuke with it's flower just beginning to open.

All grown up and ready to harvest!...almost...the fruit is at it's best to eat when it falls off the vine, but I often can't wait....I've now got a feel for when they're almost ready to fall so most of them that I pick are very loose on the vine....

I found this article on Mouse Melons....some good info.

On the left, a bin full of Mouse Melons that I saw for sale at the Windfall Farms stand at Union Square Greenmarket last fall. First time I've seen these at a market! Here's a quick link little read from their blog regarding "the curious case of the tiny cucumber".


  1. yum yum... the farm has been growing these for several years and i LOVE them. they have the yummiest taste!! Ive always wanted to make up pretty little jars of pickled ones... but im not sure if they would keep there pretty color in the canner?


    2. Quick pickles keep a nice color, but they'll only last a few months in the fridge.

    3. Quick pickles keep a nice color, but they'll only last a few months in the fridge.

  2. so then some folks in vancouver who go to the farmer's markets have been enjoying them too! yay! they taste sorta like lemon juice on cucumber.....I think the lovely darker green colour may get a little washed out with canning?...don't know for're just going to have to try it out heehee!

  3. Christina.. I found an article online that mentioned Mexican Sour Gherkins as the next "it" food. I absolutely LOVE pickles & cucumbers especially any variety of dill cukes (to eat raw not necessarily to pickle). Been my fav ever since I was asked to help my mom when I was a little girl when she did her pickling in the late summer/fall.. Do you know where I can get the Mexican sour gherkins on the mainland (Vancouver) or seeds? I would love to try them & if they are as tasty as I have read in many blogs, websites, articles, etc. I would venture to grow them next year on my balcony (it faces south/east so I hope it is enough sun.

    Thank you for reading my comment and thank you for your blogs.. they are very entertaining & informative. Carol (

  4. Hi Christina

    I want to grow these this summer, do you have seeds from last year or will you have any starts?
    Mike on Mayne

  5. HI Christina
    I too would love to buy some seeds from you for the mouse melons you describe. I live in the sunny Okanagan, and have been looking for some seeds here but haven't found any. If you have some, could you reply to my email? Thanks

  6. I'm sorry, I don't have any seeds available this year but this is where I got mine a couple years ago:
    happy mouse melon growing!

  7. Hi, Christina, Could you pls share your experience how to plan mouse melon? I want to grow it,but no idea how to grow it. Thanks for your reading my comment, and thanks for your blogs, I will visit your blogs offen.

  8. Hi,
    Am Giannis Doskaris, from Poros isl., Greece.
    Αμ αν Αgriculturist, and I want to cultivate mouse mellon. I need at least 2000 seeds and I want to know what is the harvest per plant (in kilos).

  9. Hi! What is the size of the large pot your using in the photo? What is a good size and how many plants per pot? First time grower, thanks!