How to Boost Mexican Miniature Watermelon
The Mexican miniature watermelon (Melothria scabra) goes by many common names, including mouse melon and cucumelon. With their oval contour, green speckled skin and petite, 1- year to 2-inch span, their fruit appear to be miniature watermelons, hence their common name. Mexican miniature watermelons are carefree plants which will thrive despite negligence, drought and cool temperatures. However, the right growing conditions along with a little routine maintenance will help them achieve their full potential.
Mexican miniature watermelons are grown as annual vegetables in most areas, although they are officially tender perennials like strawberries (Solanum lycopersicum). They take a long growing season with at least 65 to 75 days of warm, frost-free weather and soil temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit to bear fruit. Gardeners in cooler areas may develop Mexican miniature watermelons in pots and move them indoors to a warm, bright room when night temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Full sun and wealthy, fast-draining soil supply the best conditions for growing Mexican miniature watermelons. Choose a developing website with full southern exposure and at least 12 square-inches of space for each plant. As vining plants, Mexican miniature watermelons need a support structure to keep their stems and fruit off the ground, so install a little trellis or tomato cage for them to develop on. Start the seeds indoors three to six weeks before the last spring frost, sowing them in starter pots at a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch. Transplant the seedlings 12 inches apart after all frost danger has passed and the soil has warmed to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mexican miniature watermelons are mild to medium feeders, based on their soil. Those grown in rich soil require no chemical fertilizers. Amend thin or porous ground using a 2-inch layer of compost worked into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil prior to planting. Additionally, add 1 tbsp of 6-10-10 analysis fertilizer to each planting hole to enhance the soil’s nutrient content. Once shown, Mexican miniature watermelons need no supplemental feeding apart from a mild, 3-inch side-dressing of compost each month beginning roughly fourteen days after planting.
A constant supply of moisture is needed for good fruiting in Mexican miniature watermelons. Supply 1 inch of water every five to seven days throughout the summertime, wetting the top 6 to 15 inches of dirt each time. During very hot, dry weather, enhance water to twice weekly. Monitor the dirt during prolonged periods of foggy, cool water and weather only as long as the soil dries out in the top 1 inch. In warm inland areas, spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of flexible mulch around each plant, then keeping it from the base of the stems. Mulch can help regulate moisture loss while keeping weeds at bay.
Mexican miniature watermelons are resilient, appealing and productive plants, but there are drawbacks to take into consideration when growing them. They self-seed easily in warm, frost-free locations, which can make a forest of unwanted seedlings. Selecting the fruit before it fully ripens and drops will help eliminate unwanted seedlings, as will raking up any fallen fruit until it breaks the seeds disseminate.