Friday, May 10, 2019

Carosello Barese

After clearing out some Carosello in the fertile garden last summer, I decided to grow a cucumber-melon variety called Carosello Barese.

The Carosello Barese

Carosello Barese Sprouting - July 16th

Carosello Barese, July 30th

Full disclosure - what I was trying to grow was a variety that a friend had grown the year before that had dark flecking on a light skin. The idea was that I was going to grow out the same seed and find the same kind of Carosello. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way.

Carosello Barese, August 1st

My Carosello Barese vines grew incredibly quickly. The female flowers began growing out around 3 weeks after germination.

Carosello Barese, August 7th

First Female Flower Setting, August 10th

More fruit set, August 14th

Carosello Barese, August 23rd

There was a small amount of overlap between the male flowers of another Carosello and these, so I made sure to harvest the first fruit of this variety to ensure pure seed.

How many female Carosello Barese fruit can you count?

Though I didn’t take any pictures of the fruit cut open, it was quite delicious. The Carosello Barese has a thin crisp slightly crunchy skin on the outside that gives way to a cool juicy flesh on the inside.

Along with my first harvest came the cooler nights. As the soil was watered daily, it was nearly always moist. Older plants + declining sunlight + excessive moisture + cool nights is the perfect combination for powdery mildew. I removed as much of the vines with the powdery mildew but, as many gardeners know, once it is established, it can be very difficult to control.

Composting Vines with Powdery Mildew

When confronted with this kind of situation, I assess my best options. Powdery Mildew is not something that travels through seed (as long as the outside of the fruit is cleaned properly). The next step was to ensure healthy seed could be retrieved was to remove all the smaller and unhealthy fruit. This will enable the vines to distribute the majority of their strength into the remaining fruit. 

Carosello Barese, September 3rd

Powdery Mildew, September 15th

In the end, all the good fruit was gathered while the less desirable fruit and vines were composted. I usually would not compost diseased vines, but this compost is made primarily of grass clippings, which heat up so much that it kills the disease.

Composting the remainder of the affected vines

Fruit for Seed

Carosello Barese pear and oval fruit

Leaving on the counter for seed

Another trick to maturing carosello fruit for seed, is to leave it in a cool dark place. By doing this, it allows the fruit to feed the seed as much as possible before it begins to decay. Once the fruit turns white and feels soft to the touch it is wise to harvest the seed. Checking the fruit every day is best practice, for if the seed saver waits too long, it can lead to very messy results.

Mature fruit

The innards of a mature fruit

Carosello Barese Sementi (Seeds)

So there you have it – the Carosello Barese from Cucumber Shop!

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