Friday, December 29, 2023

Greenhouse Ogurdynya Tohum Russian Cucumbermelon in the Spring

For quite a while I had heard that there was a cucumber-melon that was being grown in Russia. As far as I could tell, it was something that was specific to the region and could be found no where else. Then by happen-chance, around the same time that the threat of war was mounting along the Ukrainian border in February of 2022 – I found the variety for sale on Etsy. I ordered the cucumber-melon cultivar from Oreshka seed, then I crossed my fingers and waited.







Eventually the seed packets arrived, and I grew it once in 2022. And it was a good thing that I did. The initial seed that I received hardly germinated in the spring of 2023. So I sowed my seed fresh seed early in 2023 and watched the plants grow. 









Just as I had noticed previously, the vines were somewhat spiky – much like a Cucumis sativus. However, unlike the C. sativus, the flowers were much more like a Cucumis melo in that the flowers were much more fuzzy than spiky. While I am not specifically sure what variety it is, I believe that it is either an Asian pickling melon (C. melo var conomon) or a snapmelon (C. melo var momordica). 





This “Russian cucumbermelon” is somewhat fun to grow in that the vines are very weedy and tend to sprawl from the center. Each plant has thin-stemmed vines that frequently branch off from the primary stem with their own side stems.

















The light fruit with mottled bands has a somewhat hard crunchy outer layer and a more tender slightly sweet inner flesh when young. As they mature they possess a sweet crisp outer layer with a softer sweet juicy center. The mature fruit eventually end up splitting open as they mature – much more like a snapmelon than an Asian pickling melon. 








All-in-all I really enjoyed growing the Ogurdynya Tohum Russian Cucumbermelon. They are simple, easy and somewhat tasty. As a whole, they are a lot of fun to grow in a small space, such as a greenhouse.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Growing the Goldini 2 Zucchini

Since reading the The Resilient Gardener, I have been looking forward to growing more of Carol Deppe’s vegetable varieties. One of the more recent varieties, called Goldini zucchini, was released in 2016. I had heard of it previously, but had never had a chance to grow it until this last year. However, it was not Goldini I purchased, but an improved line of Goldini, called Goldini 2, which was just recently released.









The most important thing for me about zucchini is texture and flavor. Remaining tender until very large is highly important, as is having a pleasing flavor too. Those of us who home garden are not as concerned about ability to ship the product as we are in having strong healthy plants that produce tender delicious fruit.





Goldini was a result of crossing an F2 Gold Rush Hybrid with Costata Romanesco, with the Romanesco as the pollen receiver and female parent for Goldini. Goldini has the flavor reminissent of a Costata Romanesco with the easy-to-find yellow color of the Gold Rush.









Another aspect of this variety that makes it really worth growing is its adaptability to be consumed raw, cooked, or dried to later provide an ingredient in soups and stews






My experience with the Goldini 2 was very positive. In relation to other open-pollinated varieties, it was highly productive and very good. I would definitely recommend this variety to anyone else who would like to produce a heavy crop of delicious yellow summer squash.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Fall 2022 Ogurdynya Tohum Russian Cucumbermelon

In February of 2022, I ordered the Ogurdynya Tohum Russian Cucumbermelon from Oreshka seed. I had seen the Ogurdynya online many times before, but I never had the opportunity to order it before this time. This variety is some kind of Cucumis melo variety momordica or conomon. The seeds were a bit difficult to germinate, but once they got going, they became a little weedy.

With the end of the 2022 season approaching, I planted the seedlings in the greenhouse. One of the first things to interest me about this variety was its thin, yet spikey vines. Cucumis melo generally has fuzzy – not spiky vines. The fruit are still more fuzzy than spiky. Over time, the fruit grow from having small hairs to being nearly hairless and smooth.

Being that I grew this variety in the greenhouse, I had to self-pollinate them in order for the fruit to set properly. Most of the fruit that formed looked pretty similar to each other. They began somewhat light, but developed a darker blotchy striped pattern as they matured. The fruit were okay, but definitely not bad and definitely not bitter – an attribute that can sometimes express itself in the C. melo variety conomon. But as a crisp young fruit, it was alright.

Of all the attributes I appreciated most in this variety was how well it performed in the greenhouse. Given the minimal time and space I had to grow them in last fall, they did fantastic and produced enough seed to ensure that they are not forever lost.