Back in the Spring I ordered a dump truck full of garden soil so I could begin building my raised bed garden. I had far more than I needed though so about half the pile remained. I had it covered for a while, but the tarp kept blowing away in the thunderstorms so eventually weeds began to creep up the soil pile.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed one weed that looked very strange. From a distance it looked unusually tropical, and I rolled my eyes contemplating what new invasive horror could be growing around here. I went out last Saturday morning and began yanking the weeds only to discover that it was a vine.
As I threw them over my shoulder small fruits dropped on my head. I picked one up and it looked just like a watermelon – a teeny tiny itsy bitsy watermelon.
I’m talking itty bitty. And kinda fuzzy like a peach. And cuuuuuuute.
At first I thought it was just a baby watermelon, but a quick google search proved that it was definitely not. When I sliced it open it smelled like a cucumber so I looked up small cucumber varieties and found Melothria scabra, aka: Mexican Sour Gherkin/Cucumber, Cucamelon. The description of it is very consistent with what I’ve found, but I’m obviously guessing. There’s another one that fits the description too. Melothria pendula, aka: Creeping Cucumber or Guadeloupe Cucumber looks almost exactly like the M. scabra. It’s said to be a mild laxative so I’d really like to know for sure before I consider eating it!
Anyway, I’m really curious how its seeds got into local soil. This is not a common garden plant in Louisiana, and most people I showed the sample to have neither seen nor heard of it before. Now it’s growing wild near my garden. Heh! Trying to decide if I should let it live or go dig it up and cleanse the soil. I really don’t want cucamelons growing in between my landscaping plants next year, but if they turn out to be yummy (and non-toxic to humans) I might keep the seeds and grow them in a location I approve of next time.