Home > Growing and Seed Saving: Mouse Melons
- Growing Mouse Melons in the Maritimes -

Mouse Melons are pretty similar to cucumbers in terms of growing. We started our seeds in trays in our greenhouse mid-April and transplanted them about six weeks later in early June. Like cukes, mouse melon vines will spread about 8-10 feet and they love climbing up supports or trellises if they get the chance. Coming from Mexico, they love the heat, so we grew ours in a bed in our unheated greenhouse for some extra warmth and an extended frost-free season. I've heard positive reports from people growing them outdoors though, they just produce a bit later. We'll be doing an official greenhouse vs. outdoors mouse melon experiment in 2015!

We set up mesh trellis for the vines, and they quickly covered the 7 foot frame. By early July we were seeing lots of little yellow flowers (like miniature squash flowers), and the first flush of fruit were at their peak around August 1, with more continually coming on up until frost. Pick fruit while they're young and most tender, older fruit are good too, but they get noticeably thicker skinned and tart as they get older. Having the vines trellised made picking them a lot easier, although they seem to do just as well and produce just as many fruit on the ground without support.

(Vines beginning to take off up mesh, mid July) - (Young fruit, ready to pick)

- Saving Mouse Melon Seeds -

When fruit are fully ripe for seed they fall off the vine to the ground. After I gathered the fallen fruit I let them age a bit more still, I left them in a bucket for a week or two until they were all fairly soft and easy to squeeze.

Just like tomatoes and cucumbers, mouse melons have a jelly layer coating each seed, so on a small farm scale it's best to ferment them. I squished the soft fruit into a pulp, covered them with a layer of water and then let them ferment for 3 days.

After it was finished I added lots of water to the mix, and let the fertile seeds sink to the bottom. The skins float away and with a few rinses of water you'll be left with nothing but clean seeds.