If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may recognize that photo up there from my month-long RAW trial back in March. I picked up that strange fruit, labeled as ‘Spiny Melon’ from New Zealand, when I was making some tropical fruit sushi. I just couldn’t resist the way it looked, and I figured it would be sweet inside, like other melons I love.
But cutting it open, this barbed little beast was nothing like what I expected. The inside was very seedy, with a watery flesh that was certainly not sugary. It reminded me of something but I just couldn’t place it, until Damian took one bite and said, “Oh, it’s a cucumber.” Yes! That’s exactly it! The spiny melon is an exotic, wild cucumber.
So just for fun, and because it was March and I was eager for planting season, I decided to take a gamble. I rinsed off a bunch of the seeds, and spread them out on a paper towel (this was back before I stopped using paper towels) to dry. A few weeks later I remembered about them, fashioned some newspaper seed pots, and plunked them into potting soil.
They actually sprouted! So I put them into the ground, right amongst my corn stalks, and they took off. They grew! And grew . . . and grew . . . and overtook the corn, and the butternuts I’d planted alongside, and anything else nearby. They were these creeping curly prickly vines that just covered everything!
But I never saw them flower – all I ever saw was leaves and vines and curly-q crawlers. So in early fall I finally gave up on them. It was winter prep-time anyways. I put on my gloves (the vines were so thorny!) and began pulling up the vines. I’d gotten maybe 3/4 of the way through the bed, when suddenly something caught my eye. This stalk I’d just cut . . . bore a teeny tiny yellow flower!
I dug a little deeper, and lo and behold, what did I find underneath? . . .
Spiny cucumber! I did it!!!
Excitedly, I dug into the remaining vines. To my delight and surprise, I uncovered an entire crop of those funny foreign fruits, imported from the land of the Tuatara and the Kiwi bird.
You can try this too, with anything you bring home from the grocery store! Some of them will be viable, some of them will be sterile. You’ll never know until you plant ‘em. But, you may just end up with your own peculiar little garden, too!
Check out the adorable wee baby spiny! BONZAI!