Friday, February 21, 2020

2018 Dark Armenian Cucumber

Many gardeners do all they can to maximize their crop production over the summer. In order to do this, they will often begin early with transplants, utilize vertical space, make succession planting and end as late as possible. With each of these techniques, I am as guilty as any gardener in wanting to squeeze as much out of my summer garden as possible. In mid July of 2018 my Carosello Tondo Tarantino was still on the vine, but all the male flowers were withering away. I made quick work to plant out a few transplants of the Long Dark Armenian cucumber-melon.

One of the little harvests from my late Dark Armenian Cucumber crop.

Seeds from this cucumber-melon came from my 2016 grow-out. Although I have yet to produce a consistently long growout of this cucumber, I will continue my breeding work.

The plants grew pretty well, but by the time September came around, so did the cool humid nights. Along with the cool humid nights comes one thing every cucumber-melon grower dreads. Yep – powdery mildew. Though my theory is that the long dark Armenian came into existance as a cross between the striped Armenian and the long dark Armenian cucumbers, it seems that any of the powdery mildew resistence of the striped Armenian variety remained with its cultivar. During the majority of my growing season I am able to stay clear of this menace. However, I am beginning to feel that if I want to ever grow another cucumber-melon variety after Labor Day (near the beginning of September in the United States) then I’ll have to grow the Striped Armenian (AKA: Painted Serpent).

 Unlike most other cucumber-melon varieties that I produce, the Painted Serpent grows excruciatingly slow in its development. However, its cold-tolerance and disease resistance is unmatched by other cucumber-melons – so it may be a very good variety to try as a end-of-season transplanted crop.

 So – the harvest from this last attempt at cucumbers was pretty meager. Even with a meager harvest, its nothing to complain about. Though my final crop did not produce in the way I wanted, this was a long shot. Additionally, this dark Armenian cucumber was the third cucumber-melon variety I had grown in my garden during that summer.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Random Light Carosello in the Chicken Garden

Occasionally I find something in my garden, such as an off-type plant or something less desirable and I decide I don't really want to grow it out to seed.

This was definitely the case of this carosello. It grew as one of the Carosello Spuredda Leccese from an unnamed seed retailer. Let's just say - it didn't match the description nor did it remain in the garden for long.

Unwanted cucumber-melon = Snack time.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Spotted or Splotched Dark Leccese

Another really great find from growing out carosello varieties in the chicken garden was a dark Leccese variety that I got from my Italian friend Angelo. I talked about Angelo and other Italian friends in my article on Amici dell'orto back in 2014. It was not until 2018 that I finally got to growing out this and another carosello variety he had sent to me.

July 18th, 2018

July 11th

July 14th

The seeds were planted around July 11th and grown out to fruit until September 29th. At first I didn’t think much of this variety. It is dark and has splotching. But then, I began to notice that the blotching has a pattern. There are underlying stripes in the light spot/splotches. If anyone else can come up with a better name than splotches, please let me know! (=

August 23rd

August 30th

Though many of the fruit did not turn out cylindrical like I would have preferred, I did notice one plant growing more fruit more cylindrical than the rest. Although there must have been some cross-pollination between it and other fruit, I decided to save this particular fruit to see what it might become next year. For one thing: it definitely has potential.

September 8th

September 29th

The fruit itself is slightly firm, but not too dry. It is definitely worth trying out.

Opening the fruit for seed in late October, 2018.

One interesting thing about this variety is that the seeds are quite thin – so I have to be quite careful when using the colander so that the seeds do not fall through.

Friday, January 31, 2020

The Scopattizo Barese

When growing out the a seed packet Carosello Spuredda Leccese cucumber-melon what I expected was something that was either dark or something with stripes. What I did not expect was to grow something that was between light and dark. The Carosello Scopattizo Barese is the equivalent of a middle-of-the-road carosello – at least in color. This carosello has some light with little dark spots at every pore, making the whole fruit (or at least everywhere but the furrows) appear an emerald green color.

The Scopattizo Barese

July 26th, 2018 Scopattizo vine is near the top left.

August 23rd

August 30th

 The flavor of this variety is much like other carosello. The water content is a little lower than some, but higher than something like a Medium Long of Polignano or Medium Long of Barese. There is definitely some sweetness to it. However, what I really like about many of the carosello is the color. I know that the color does not dramatically change what the flavor is, but to me it makes a difference.

September 8th

October 22nd, 2018

One of the interesting things about growing carosello is to see the difference in the mature fruit color seed color from one variety to another. Some seeds and fruit are light inside and some, like the Carosello Scapattizo Barese have orange color in them as well as darker seeds. Though I previously found that many off-type carosello that I grew in the past would produce lighter fruit, it seems that – as of late – I have been coming across the Scopattizo Barese much more often. Sadly, it seems that many seed retailers put whatever carosello seed they find into seed packets without regard to what the seed will really grow.

Carosello Scopatizzo Sementi (or seed)

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Unknown Splotched Carosello Leccese

Of all the varieties that I enjoyed growing out in 2018, the Splotched Carosello Leccese was my favorite. This is a completely unknown variety that I just named, but it definitely looks like a mixed-up variety that I can continue to work to isolate until I get a stable seed line. I started somewhere around July 11th and ended around September 8th.

The Unknown Splotched Leccese, September 8th, 2018.

The plant was grown on the back left

August 8th

August 11th

The three things about this variety that seem the most promising are the fruit texture, the lightly colored furrows, and the splotching. It seems peculiar that the one carosello that I grow that is unknown looks just like many of the seed packets that are sold online. However, I would definitely bet that if you grew most of those seed, you would harvest fruit that look nothing remotely close to the color of this.The texture of this fruit remained quite juicy the whole time it grew.

August 14th

August 23rd

August 30th

Unfortunately, due to poor soil and overwatering, I was not able to grow more than one fruit from the to be able to taste it. However, it does look like a very likely candidate for growing out in my greenhouse (to isolate it) before doing a full growout in 2020 or beyond.