Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

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Melotria (lat. Melothria) – Mexican mini-cucumber, mouse watermelon or African cucumber spread from equatorial Africa. The plant is decorative, it can be grown in the garden and on the balcony. Melotria is fertile, in summer it is sprinkled with fruits of piquant taste, with sourness. Has a secret – tubers are edible too.

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Growing melotria

Melotria is grown in a balcony box or in the garden near the fence. The plant blooms and bears fruit from June to the very frost. Melotria is a perennial vine, but grows like an annual in cold winter conditions. Melotria looks like a miniature cucumber: the leaves, flowers and fruits are all small.

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Melotria is actively growing, so it is sometimes planted as a decoration for unsightly planes in the garden. The plant is light-loving and will easily take the sunniest places in the beds, where any other local plants quickly turn yellow and dry. Liana is grown through seedlings, which, when transplanted, take root well.

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Planting seeds

At the end of April, the seeds of melotria rough are planted in a prepared mixture of soil and peat, or in a universal soil. The optimum temperature for seed germination is 25 ° C. Seeds sprout quickly, about 4-6 days, if they are not deeply buried in the ground. It is best to sow 1-2 pieces at once in a separate container. After 20 days, seedlings can be planted in a garden-vegetable garden.

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Seedling

After the spring weather settles and frosts are not expected, the plant is planted in open ground. The air temperature must be at least 10-12 ° С.

Melotria does not require a large amount of land to grow, so some amateur gardeners plant the plant in large flowerpots. The vine looks very aesthetically pleasing, it grows quickly, clinging to the bumps with its antennae and braiding them. For the same reason, it is ideal for planting on balconies in pots or shallow boxes..

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Care

Caring for melotria does not require much labor, the soil is regularly loosened, compost and fertilizers are applied in the form of a solution twice a season: during planting and fruit ovary.

Melotria preferences

Melotria rough loves a sunny place, light fertile soil and abundant watering. Even in hot dry weather, the leaves of the plant are elastic and dense, while those of a cucumber wither and sag.

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Fertilizers

If the plant is grown to obtain green leaves, then after planting in open ground, at the beginning of growth, fertilizing with a nitrogen-containing fertilizer is needed. Then green leaves on melotria will grow until autumn.

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

If the gardener prefers to get exotic fruits of the liana in large quantities, then it is necessary to fertilize the plant with potash and phosphorus-containing fertilizer..

Mini cucumbers

A lot of fruits are formed on the plant: melotria bears fruit for a long time and actively. During this period, the plant seems to be covered with miniature cucumbers, similar in shape and size to olives..

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Fruits are best eaten small, without seeds. They are sharp in taste and slightly sour, suitable for canning and for salads.

Secrets of melotria

Melotria has its own secret: tubers are formed on the roots in the ground, similar to slightly elongated potatoes. The tubers accumulate moisture, which is necessary for the life of the plant in drought. In their slightly sweet taste, the tubers resemble something between daikon and kohlrabi cabbage. They can also be eaten, but cannot be stored, the tubers quickly deteriorate.

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Melotria rough or watermelon cucumber: growing and care

Someone cans fruits, someone cooks jam, some eat melotria in the form of a salad, in any case, it is original and exotic, and all gardeners love to surprise each other with something interesting, and melotria is the best for this.

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