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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Cucamelon, Mexican Miniature Watermelon, Mexican Sour Cucumber, Mexican Sour Gherkin, Sandia de Raton, Sandiita

Latin Name: Melothria scabra (Zehneria scabra)

Plant Family: Cucurbitaceae

Close Relatives: Cucumber, melon and squash

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. Mexican and Central American cuisine): tastes like a sour cucumber, used in stir fries, pickled, eaten raw in salads and salsas.

Mousemelon plant Mousemelon flower Mousemelon fruit
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Some cucurbit crops respond well to season extension techniques including plastic mulch. For more information on season extension, refer to the General Agronomics section.

Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seeds, less commonly by direct seeding.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

Late April or early May.

Field Seeding Date:

After last frost.

Field Transplanting Dates

After last frost, 3-5 weeks after greenhouse seeding.

In-row spacing

40-60 cm

Between row spacing

1.2-2.0 m

Optimal Soil temperature at planting

Delay planting until the soil temperature is 15°C or higher.  The optimum soil temperature range at planting is 25°C-30°C.


Apply up to 110 kg/ha N. Broadcast 65 kg/ha N and all the phosphate and potash required prior to planting. Sidedress the remainder of the nitrogen before the vines start to run. On sandy soils, a second application may be necessary after the vines begin to run. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

All soil types. Well-drained soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

Cucurbit crops may benefit from staking or trellising to reduce fruit damage on the ground, keep fruit clean and increase harvest ease.

Optimal Temperature Range

Prefers a temperate, warm climate.

Temperature sensitivity

Frost sensitive

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation is required under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

70-90 days

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Use harvest guidelines for cucumber as a guide. For more information, refer to the cucurbits section of the OMAFRA Crops website.    Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Use storage guidelines for cucumber as a guide, click here for more information.

Relative humidity (RH): 95%

Temperature: 7-13°C 

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 10-14 weeks

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids (e.g. Aphis gossypii)

Diseases : Powdery mildew

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Two-spotted spider mites, leafhoppers, squash bugs

Diseases: Downy mildew, damping off and root rots, bacterial wilt, angular leaf spot, scab, anthracnose, gummy stem blight (also known as black rot or alligator skin), fusarium wilt, phytophthora blight, septoria leaf spot, cucumber mosaic virus.

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: powdery mildew.  Mousemelon appears to be quite resistant to pests, however it may be susceptible to some of the same pests as cucumber and squash.  Downy mildew is a serious disease of cucurbit crops.  Cucumbers are the most susceptible to infection, however melons and other cucurbit crops can be affected by certain pathotypes of this disease.  Downy mildew is wind borne and highly infectious. In susceptible cucurbits, it can destroy on unprotected crop in less than 1 week.   

This crop is not in a crop group. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section. It is important to note that pest control products registered on cucumber are not registered on mousemelon.  There are no pest control products registered on this crop in Ontario.    For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist. For more information on pests of cucurbits in Ontario, refer to OMAFRA’s Ontario CropIPM tool or vegetable production and protection publications.

Additional Notes

This crop can also be grown in the greenhouse.  Hydroponic greenhouse production gives optimal yields. Check for pollinator activity at early bloom. Introduce honeybees if necessary.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA Herb Demonstration Garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  2010.  Publication 363 Vegetable Production Recommendations 2010-2011.  Queen’s Printer for Ontario, Toronto.