Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Don't judge a Cucumber by its Appearance

Though the Carosello Spuredda Tarantino was and continues to be an incredibly beautiful and productive cucumber-melon variety, over the course of my last grow out I found some things to not be up to standard.

Though bitterness is not too common in melons, it can – and sometimes does – occur. Because this is a trait that can be inherited, it is not something that can be remedied by just adding water. Instead, all affected plants need to be culled, or removed from the population in order to not pass on the undesirable trait.

By the time I discovered the bitterness in a few of the Spuredda Tarantino, the bees had pollinated all around. Tasting bitter melon fruit is not too enjoyable and, because I don’t want others to have to go through the same process, I decided that the majority of my Spuredda Tarantino crop would need to be composted.

In order to preserve the fruit that was worth saving, I found one plant that had only all sweeter (non bitter) fruit. The other plants around this one also had mostly non-bitter fruit, but I needed a plant that exhibited all non-bitter fruit to be able to pass down the trait. If I cannot find any better carosello cucumber-melon varieties to work with by spring of 2021, I’ll presprout a large quantity of these carosello (around 3 times what I am wanting) and cull the plants for bitterness prior to planting out transplants, then prior to fruiting as outlined in this article about bitterness in snake melon (C. melo).

Hopefully, by utilizing multiple techniques for selection of desirable traits I will be able to continue offering both beautiful and delicious cucumber-melon cultivars to people throughout the world for many years to come.

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