Friday, June 19, 2020

Carosello Massafrese Part 2

This part of my Carosello Massafrese post is directed towards the end of the time I grew out this variety, from June 29th to August 10th. This carosello cucumber-melon is a splotched striped variety from southern Italy. It originates from the area around Massafra, in the Province of Taranto, Italy. I grew this variety in a small plot in a friend's backyard that I refer to as "The Fertile Garden".

The Carosello Massafrese

My plot in the "fertile garden" on June 29th

4th of July

Occasionally, along with productive growth comes over-productivity. It seems that most carosello varieties that I grow in highly fertile soil sometimes overproduce in some way. Here is one example, with a bunch of female flowers all setting fruit in the same area.

Four female flowers off of one stem.

July 12th

There are about 8-9 Carosello Massafrese cucumbers that are in the picture below - just lurking in the shadows.

Kind of scary.

July 19th

Another look at the bunch of carosello. This picture doesn't do the reality any justice.

Even though some of the reason for the lighter color of this season’s Carosello Massafrese fruit can be blamed on overwatering, there is a portion of the coloring that is definitely related with genetics. Just as some tomato varieties are more prone to exhibit blossom-end-rot because of genetics (instead of uneven watering or lack of calcium) there is something I may have done to cause the lighter color. Though I kept my Carosello Massafrese isolated from other carosello and melons, some genetic drift took place. 

When I grew this variety last time, did I select my “ideal seeds” for a lighter color? It is hard to say. I believe last time I was more concerned about the oval shape, so I selected for fruit that was more rounded. Whatever the case may be, I selected for darker fruit this time around, so hopefully next time I grow my Carosello Massafrese, the fruit will end up darker.

As stated in my last post, the Carosello Massafrese fruit suffered from being overwatered, which may have brought about some of the light color of the fruit. Another evidence that many of the Carosello Massafrese had been overwatered came when I began seeing them split open. Instead of splitting the way that tomatoes do, at the bottom of the fruit, the carosello fruit would grow so fast that they would split the fruit at the stem. Though there were not a lot of split fruit, it did concern me.

Notice the fruit in the foreground - it has split at the stem

I have never observed this happening before, but given that the native range for this variety is an arid, the fruit splitting is most likely something that is not a substantial issue as much as it is that the gardener should be advised not to overwater this cucumber variety.

Over-watering these carosello can cause fruit to split at the stem

One thing I can say about this variety is that it is productive. Perhaps it was the fertile soil I was growing in or the abundant water supply, but there was a lot of fruit. I grew over 63 fruit. If I had picked the first generation of the fruit, I could have easily grown over 100 Carosello Massafrese in the roughly 3’x 8’ (24 square feet) space I was growing on. As with most summer fruit, the main key to productivity is light. The plot I was growing these in received full sun for the majority of the day during the summertime. Without this long light exposure, my harvest would have been substantially less.

July 31st

August 1st

Another thing that is vitally important to most of the C. Melo species is heat. Summers in Fairfield get pretty warm. I cannot emphasize how important this is. The nutrients that melons need seem to be more available to their roots when the soil is adequately warm. So, if a person ever has problems with growing melons, one of the first possible causes to rule out is adequate soil temperature. In Tucson my carosello plants would grow much faster than they do here in California. Given adequate temperatures, fertility, sun and moisture carosello cucumbers can produce very well.

August 10th

With this many carosello melons, you find the ripe ones from the aroma.

August 13th, Ready to harvest.

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