Plants already in the greenhouse, which will hopefully produce fruit next year are the Pepino, Ivy Gourd and Cassabanana. They didn’t produce anything this year but it may have been my own fault. I didn’t know what to expect with them. Ivy Gourd and Cassabanana are vigorous climbers but I kept them in small pots in a small greenhouse.
In the hope of saving them until next year, I will also find out how the plants survive our winters in the greenhouse. If they do survive but don’t fully recover, I have more seeds I can sow, to try again.
The Pepino (Solanum muricatum) is a quite bushy evergreen, although it likes warm weather, it may not survive outdoors. It does take a long time to produce fruit, 9-12 months, so I haven’t given up on it.
The Ivy Gourd (Coccinia grandis) is perhaps better grown as an annual crop. The stems and young shoots are edible, if it doesn’t get as far as producing fruit. The fruit can also be eaten green and unripe, even if it doesn’t reach the red stage. The plant below, is the smallest of two I have and it’s already losing its colour.
Cassabanana, (Sicana odorifera) is another tropical plant I am growing but is yet to fruit. Again from the cucumber family and can be grown as a fast-growing vine. I did not give this plant attention either so it didn’t reward me with any fruit. It is a perennial however, so perhaps I can persuade it to give me another chance of looking after it.
I have repotted these plants and moved them into a more spacious greenhouse, or it will be when the last of the tomatoes are removed.
The Kiwano (Cucumis metuliferus), has several names but none of them prepare you for handling this fruit. It is rock-hard, with spikes. Very much like the ‘flail’, a medieval weapon of a steel ball with spikes. I believe the Kiwano would be every bit as dangerous. Death by jelly melon does not sound an honourable way to lose a battle! It’s difficult to cut into but once you do, you open up chambers of gooey, green jelly and seeds. Normally restaurants would serve them as an accompaniment to other food but if you wanted to eat it, one way is to grip the seed with your teeth and suck the green jelly, otherwise just use a spoon.
Depending on when you use it, will depend on what it tastes like, it can be eaten at almost any stage. The seed suppliers say it tastes of slightly bitter papaya and watermelon. Others say it is more like a combination of banana and passion fruit, or a combination of banana, cucumber and lime. The peel is also rich in vitamin C and dietary fibre, if you are brave enough to try it. Try it in a smoothie or cocktail. The perfect fruit to be a conversation piece.
(Photos of Pepino, Ivy Gourd and Cassabanana are photos from the seed suppliers.)