Saturday, December 8, 2018

2018 Greenhouse Carosello Tondo Manduria

The second half of the summer, I decided to try growing the Carosello Tondo Manduria or (as I like to call it) the Mandurian Round. It is a pretty easy carosello to grow.

The seed from my own source grew well, while the home-grown seed from a friend was pretty weak. One really good way to ensure that you continue to preserve seed is to grow your favorite varieties often.

Like many other carosello varieties, the Mandurian Round starts out small and just gets larger throughout its lifetime. This variety is best when between the size of a baseball and softball.

The coloring of this and other carosello varieties becomes lighter as the seed inside matures. At the larger stage (especially with the round carosello) the faded fruit is not as good for salads. Though the Mandurian Round is a C. melo (like cantaloupe) this carosello variety exhibits minimal sweetness and a more grainy texture then a cantaloupe. They can still be eaten when mature, but are so incredibly tasty when eaten immature that unless you are trying to save seed you will probably not grow them to maturity.

The temperature in the greenhouse was perfect for the plants. I am still working to find a better way to water the plants so that they do not wilt. At the time I was growing this variety, I decided to take the time to make a short video about this variety. Hopefully, you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

First successful cross of pear with cucumber!

Alas - scientists have finally discovered a way to cross a cucumber and a pear!

Carosello Barese

Honestly, this post is just to make fun of those who propose huge exaggerate tales of crosses in the animal kingdom (such as C. sativus and C. melo) that would never naturally occur in a home garden. 

"It must be true because I read it on the internet!"

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Tondo Tarantino Melone

Just as each child is different, so are the carosello varieties that I grow out in my garden trials. For the second half of this summer, I decided to try growing some seed that originated with Angelo of Amici dell'orto. The seed was a bit darker than some other varieties, but sprouted up alright and began growing some healthy melon plants.

Once the plants began to flower, I started to notice something peculiar. The female flowers would often have one petal that was slightly less developed and smaller than the others. This was not too much of a concern until the flowers began to turn into fruit. At this point, on the side that had the smaller petal, that side of the fruit grew to become more flat, or even concave in comparison with the rest of the fruit. The fruits generally did look more round over time, but the shape of the fruit was often an oblong curve, rather than the preferred sphere shape.

Often times, when gardeners main focus on growing is to increase good taste, texture and productivity - important qualities such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and storage life are overlooked. The Tondo Tarantino excels in powdery mildew resistance, ability to grow with minimal water and the ability to retain eatable quality at room temperature for over a week at a time. These qualities may not seem important right now, but may come in handy in dry gardening or when people need to transport their fruit over long distances.

The texture of the Tondo Tarantino is quite crunchy. As the fruit grows to full size, it becomes quite stiff – enabling it to handle some rough handling without too much damage. The flavor of the immature fruit is pretty similar to an Armenian cucumber. One way in which this variety does not follow the pattern of other carosello varieties that I have grown is that it does not grow bigger after it grows to picking size and it never really develops a tender, yet crisp skin or flesh until the fruit turns a yellow color and begins to slowly deteriorate.

The Carosello Tondo Tarantino Melone

Once the fruit is ready to harvest for seed, the light green flesh of the fruit is only slightly sweet near the center. The seeds are an orange color that is much less like the beige tan color of some other carosello varieties. Overall, I would say that the Carosello Tondo Tarantino Melone is one of the most unique carosello that I have grown. Though It may not make it to my grow-next-year list, it will continue to hold a strong place in the area of genetic diversity for increasing the vigor of other carosello varieties. As I plan out next years’ gardens I will definitely plan to grow powdery-mildew resistant varieties near the end of the summer.

After Harvest (Tondo Tarantino is on the left)

 And last, but not least, here is a little video I made about the Tondo Tarantino.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

School Gardens

As I travel around for my job, I often encounter school and neighborhood gardens along the way. I hope you enjoy a few of the pictures from my travels. The first pictures are ones I took of a wall that is right along where I park next to a school.


Luffas are quite interesting. I have never eaten them personally, but I have heard that they are best eaten immature.

Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is another Asian favorite for what reason I am not sure. They are apparently very helpful in controlling blood sugar, but as I am generally adverse to anything bitter, I have yet to try them.

Hyacinth Beans

I used to grow Purple Hyacinth Bean in Tucson. It was quite good, but a lot of work to prepare.

At another school, I was able to enjoy looking at some light Armenian Cucumbers.

This next garden is pretty fun. The school actually has two garden areas. This is just one of them.


Now that autumn has progressed, the vines of a lot of plants are done growing. I hope you enjoyed a few of the gardens I see as I travel around.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Just as spring initiates a period of life and renewal, the coming of autumn signals the demise of summer and its attendant vegetable garden.

In this case, the premature decline of my Carosello Barese vines came about because of an unchecked case of powdery mildew. Whilst various remedies for powdery mildew exist, once the symptoms have completely spread over mature plants (especially when nights are cool and humid) it can be difficult to combat – especially if the gardener is unable to visit the garden on a regular basis. Another issue that often occurs with spraying for powdery mildew is that many remedies decrease transpiration on the top of the leaves, leading to greater transpiration below the leaves – which can often attract parasitic insects, such as aphids. 

Given the autumn weather, my attempt to coax just a few more fruits from another nearby carosello variety and a desire to keep cleanup easy, I felt it best to cut my losses. I made a clean sweep by harvesting all of my Carosello Barese before the vines died (and dried) out. We’ll see how much of the fruit produces viable seed.

In reflecting over this experience, I am more determined to sow the more hardy varieties of carosello and other cucumber-melon varieties in the late summer - so that my plants survive the cool autumn. As is often the case, plants with a drawback in one area often have incredible benefits in another area. The fastest growing varieties are always the first to succumb to the fungal or bacterial pressures, while those that take their time are often immune to such concerns. 

Unlike fast maturing varieties, the Painted Serpent, or striped Armenian cucumber is highly resistant to powdery mildew, as is the Tondo Tarantino I have been growing. Their end does come, but often after the plant has expended its energy instead of environmental pressures hastening their demise.