Friday, July 3, 2020

Of hermaphrodite and other strange flowers of the Spuredda Tarantino

As those who know me would probably already know, I am always looking for new information and research in the area of cucumber-melons. Of particular interest to me was an article about the crossing of a Mediterranean snake melon with an Indian hermaphrodite melon. The article is entitled, “Impact of Breeding Hermaphroditic Melon on Early Production and Yield: Case of Snake Melon (Cucumismelo var. flexuosus) and Tibish (C. melo var. tibish)”  Though I know this is not the most thrilling thing to all of you, I found it pretty interesting and wondered what it would be like to grow some hermaphrodite carosello fruit. Shortly thereafter, I discovered some strange-looking female flowers growing on one of my Spuredda Tarantino. Could it be? If not a hermaphrodite flower, it is at least a complete or perfect flower (having both male and female parts on the same flower). I was able to self-pollinate each flower, which would lead me to believe that it was capable of self-pollinating if there was ample wind, but I’m not sure if they would have self-pollinated in a greenhouse (without insect pollinators).

A "perfect" melon flower with both male and female parts.

The first time I identified the strange female melon flowers

A closeup of the half-female flowers

The female flower getting ready to set fruit

The perfect melon flower with both anthers and stigma

Despite growing the fruit out and collecting the seed, I’m not exactly sure what to do with the seed now. I’m at a point of thinking “Now what?” Will another generation of this seed produce weird-looking fruit or will it produce something that looks different from the parent fruit? I’m not exactly sure. If someone more knowledgeable than myself knows, please leave a comment below.

Along with the hermaphrodite flowers there were a couple of double flowers. I find it interesting that both the hermaphrodite and double flowers appeared around the same time, early in the season – though not on the same plant. I knew that the double flower may have aborted or not grown fully, so instead of chancing something it, I intervened and pulled it early. Though still – double flowers are kind of interesting to see.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Spuredda Tarantino Part 2

As mentioned before, the Spuredda Tarantino is one of the most colorful and most prolific carosello varieties that I have ever grown. Though in areas where there was minimal water, the plants produced moderate crops – the areas with plentiful water produced very abundantly.

The Carosello Spuredda Tarantino

September 5th, 2019

September 10th

Something I did forget to mention – which was a little funny. Because I was able to finish off the Carosello Massafrese soon after starting the Spuredda Tarantino, I was able to utilize the fertile garden owner’s square PVC pipe and wire mesh trellis for both crops.


How many do you think are in this picture? (Hint: More than 6) (=

September 12th

Plants are beginning to contract powdery mildew

Out of the many plants that I grew, there were two that produced cucumbers with broken bands of dark. One of the plants did this consistently, while the other only had half of the fruit exhibited irregular bands while the other half of the fruit exhibited solid bands.

September 16th

Near the end of the season, I did notice something interesting. Some of the Spuredda Tarantino began producing initially lighter striping patterns very similar to my Striped Carosello Leccese.

September 17th

By September 25th, all of my plants had succumbed to powdery mildew. I’m afraid that there is a triple combination of preliminary factors that weaken plants and strengthen the fungus. Once the night temperatures drop, the humidity rises and the daylight hours decrease it seems there is little a gardener can do to fight the inevitable.

September 25th - the end is near!

The sad state of plants that have succumb to powdery mildew

Finally, if you haven't already seen this, you can join me as I do a video walk & talk about the Spuredda Tarantino.