Monday, 28 August 2017

A Paucity of Cucamelons

I have to concede that my experimental growing of cucamelons has not been a wholehearted success. They proved to be quite easy to germinate and after transplanting the seedlings into three inch pots and growing them on for about three weeks I was able to plant the small vines into twelve inch rings which I had sunk in the greenhouse border. I planted a total of twelve vines - two per pot and erected a bamboo wigwam in each pot for the vines to climb up.

All the literature which I had read told me that if you can grow cucumbers then you can grow cucamelons. Both thrive in the same conditions and require the same husbandry. Taking this advice to heart I planted the cucamelon vines next to my six cucumber plants. The latter have done well. To date I have pulled an average of seven cucumbers from each of my plants and by the end of the season I would expect to have had in excess of fifty cucumbers. 

The cucamelon vines have been very vigorous in their growth and there have been hundreds of little flowers with embryonic fruit behind them. The problem is that the vast majority of these have failed to swell and have fallen off the vines. I am coming to the conclusion that the flowers have not been fertilised. My cucumber plants are self fertile. I have noticed that there are just not as many bees and other pollinating insects in the garden this year. 

So far I have pulled the grand total of seven cucamelons so definitely not a productive use of greenhouse space. I will have to decide if it is worth continuing the experiment next year.

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