Kiwano (horned melon)

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby Primrose » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:03 am

Wise, I think, to consider moving your plant indoors fairly soon. Tempting g to take advantage of the daytime sunshine and temperatures but just one night of low temperatures can put the plant into shock which may mean you risk losing all the remaining fruit on it which would be a great shame.

I moved my outdoor pepper pots inside last week. I think the lower night time temperatures were starting to impact on them, even though I covered them overnight with some fleece. Now they are on an indoor window sill, the remaining peppers are growing larger and turning red. They're not getting so much direct sunshine but I can't work out whether it's sunlight or temperature which is the factor most influencing continued growth.
Last edited by Primrose on Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby Primrose » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:05 am

Wise, I think, to consider moving your plant indoors fairly soon. Tempting g to take advantage of the daytime sunshine and temperatures but just one night of low temperatures can put the plant into shock which may mean you risk losing all the remaining fruit on it which would be a great shame.

I moved my outdoor pepper pots inside last week. I think the lower night time temperatures were starting to impact on them, even though I covered them overnight with some fleece. Now they are on an indoor window sill, the remaining peppers are growing larger and turning red. They're not getting so much direct sunshine but I can't work out whether it's sunlight or temperature which is the factor most influencing continued growth.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby giaur500 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:57 am

Primrose wrote:I moved my outdoor pepper pots inside last week. I think the lower night time temperatures were starting to impact on them, even though I covered them overnight with some fleece. Now they are on an indoor window sill, the remaining peppers are growing larger and turning red. They're not getting so much direct sunshine but I can't work out whether it's sunlight or temperature which is the factor most influencing continued growth.


Kiwano should survive +5 or higher at hight without any damage. But yes, if you are able to do that, that may be wise to move them indoor. I can't do the same, because I have planted my kiwano directly in garden and it currently takes approx 10x8 meters area. I also got fruits much larger than I can see at posted pictures.

Wel, I guess summer is never too hot in UK, in my country I had +35 C in June, July was colder than usual, the same as August. Depsite cold summer, I still got fruits 15-20 cm long. Kiwano grew incredibly fast in my case.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby Elmigo » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:58 pm

giaur500 wrote:You got very small fruits. Mine are even bigger than I can buy in supermarket (I planted seeds taken from one of them), 15-20 cm:

Image

(picture taken 10 days ago, now they are a bit more yellow and they seems to be bigger).


Are you really growing them in a temperate maritime climate too? Full sunlight all day? I'm really surprised by those large fruits and never thought that was even possible in our climate zone. They really look larger than any store kiwano I've seen!
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby giaur500 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:14 am

Elmigo wrote:
giaur500 wrote:You got very small fruits. Mine are even bigger than I can buy in supermarket (I planted seeds taken from one of them), 15-20 cm:

Image

(picture taken 10 days ago, now they are a bit more yellow and they seems to be bigger).


Are you really growing them in a temperate maritime climate too? Full sunlight all day? I'm really surprised by those large fruits and never thought that was even possible in our climate zone. They really look larger than any store kiwano I've seen!


I live in central Europe. I'm not very familiar with climate zones terminology, but I think that's called temperate warm transitional - quite short, but warm or very hot summer and cold winter. But we can't be sure anything, that's completly random - sometimes we have 1, sometimes 2 or 3 months of tropical conditions (+35 day / +20 night). This year, we got only June hot (very hot), July and August full of sun, but cold nights (even +10 or lower) and you can see the result. I used to plant watermelons and hot pepper (habanero, carolina reaper), this year completly failed, due to cold nights, but kiwano still gives quite large crop (it's my first attempt with kiwano). It seems low night temperatures does not matter too much, most important is big amount of sunlight all day.

Afaik temperate maritime climate, in opposite means longer, but also more cold summer with much less amount of sun. And warmer winters without much frost.

Now summer is definitely end, I have +12 to +15 day and +3 to +5 night temperatures with high frost risk, so I'm going to harvest fruits soon
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby Elmigo » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:39 am

I saw videos from people harvesting kiwanos in this stage, still green with tiny yellow spots. Don't they have to ripen a bit more first? We have another week of day 25° / 15° night temperatures. I think after that it starts really cooling down for autumn to show its face. For now I'm keeping them on the plant. Definitely trying kiwano again next year, but with less fruits. Maybe mine are a bit smaller because I kept a lot of fruits on it. Did you cut away some of your fruits and kept the two best?
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby Primrose » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:13 pm

Not having grown them I'm obviously unsure whether removing some fruits leads to bigger ones which remain on the plants but this rule seems to apply with other species so probably a good general rule to follow to prevent the plant exhausting itself and trying to spread its energy too widely. There is probably a time too to recognise when shoots need to be pruned back or cut off.

I suspect the chemistry of the fruit changes once it's removed from the plant and it effectively starts to "die" very slowly, so perhaps another reason to keep it on the plant as long as possible.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby giaur500 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:31 pm

Elmigo wrote: Did you cut away some of your fruits and kept the two best?


No. I kept all fruits. There are many, I think several dozen from one plant. There may be various reasons why fruits are small: too dry or too cold (especially, at the first stage) or soil is not rich enough. High day temperature (high I mean > 30 C measured in the shadow), full sunlight all day and every evening watering (not recommended watering on full sunlight) after sunlight makes soil dry are mandatory to get big fruits. There is no need to cut away fruits, I,'m not even sure if it helps anything. In optimal conditions (full sunlight, hot and moistly enough) kiwano grows even 20 cm shoots with leafs daily, creating big amount of blossoms and fruits that plant is able to handle. If you use any kind of plant pot, expect worse results too.

BTW all of above is from my climate zone perspective, recommendations may be different in your country or it may be even not possible to get big fruits.

Elmigo wrote:I saw videos from people harvesting kiwanos in this stage, still green with tiny yellow spots. Don't they have to ripen a bit more first?

More ripen on the plant is always better. But fruits should also mature harvested, indoor. It takes long time though (that can be considered as good thing - long keep time, even months, recommended temperature is 15-20 C). That's similar to tomato - you can harvest completly young and if you wait, you get it fully ripen. In my climate zone summer is too short to get fruits ripen fully on plant, but still long enough to get big amomunt of large fruits.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby Primrose » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:48 pm

Always interesting to learn how growing and harvesting conditions vary in different climatic zones. Makes you realise how hard and uncertain it might have been for our ancestors who emigrated elsewhere to grow the crops they were used to growing here in the UK.

I think gardeners are always eager to try and push the climatic boundaries but I suspect crops like citrus fruits , mangoes and avocados are still out of our reach, despite global warming, because of our cold winters.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby giaur500 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:58 pm

As I am sometimes succeding with watermelon and sweet potato (not impressive, but not so bad), I'm sure avocado (there must be always summer), citrus fruits, mangoes or even rosmarinus are definitely not possible in my climate zone. Avocado or mango needs no winter and summer all the time, citrus fruits need long summer and no frost at winter time, rosmarinus tolerates only small frost (no more than -1 to -2 rarely) on winter. I tried rosmarinus with plant pot, moving it indoor when winter comes, but result is alwyas poor and plant finally dies. However, I heard mango is now possible even in south Italy, due to global warming (avocado not yet)
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby retropants » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:50 pm

this is fascinationg reading giaur500. Where are you on the planet? Maybe you could update your profile with your location? :)
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby giaur500 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:22 pm

That's how only 4 plants grow:
Image

Final crop:
Image

Fruits are really large, I don't think they are larger in Africa:
Image

Too bad they have been harvested wet, I hope they are not going to decay because of that. Unfortunately, weather is rather cloudy and rainy now.
Last edited by giaur500 on Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby Primrose » Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:23 pm

Oh my goodness! You need a really large growing area! And we have Elmigo in The Netherlands growing this plant in a pot on his balcony! No wonder he's having to move into a bigger property ! :lol:

That looks a generous crop. If they have been harvested wet would blowing a hairdryer over them with cool air help to dry the fruit out and help prevent them rotting? They look a little too prickly to be comfortably dried by hand.

I must see if they're ever on sale in a supermarket near us so I can sample one.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby Elmigo » Sat Sep 21, 2019 6:22 pm

And I thought mine went out of control but this is a whole new level, giaur500! Do you sell them to stores? This looks... well... very professional.
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Re: Kiwano (horned melon)

Postby giaur500 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:46 pm

Well, that's much more generous crop than I've expected. Nothing professional here. It seems kiwano has no any specific requirements to grow. It only needs direct, hot sun all day and reasonable watering. In low temperatures, it stops growing, but it survive (unlike most other tropical plants). Very easy to plant and grow. At the top of my picture, you can also see sweet potato, due to relatively cold summer this year, there will be probably almost no crop - in optimal conditions, sweet potato takes similar area as kiwano.

I dread to think how kiwano would grow when summer is really hot (as in 2018 in my country), probably 2 times bigger crop and 3 times larger area. As it's so easy to grow and also easy to long keep, I wonder why kiwano fruits are so expensive.

I somehow dried fruits by hand, we'll see what happens, I hope it will be fine. The fruits have thick rind, so I hope it will dry off before it starts rotting.
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