KIWANO – AFRICAN JELLY MELON – SEEDS
We absolutely love these interesting melons. With an exterior that looks like a puffer-fish and an interior that reminds me of a passionfruit, these are sure to draw attention. We’ve grown them for three seasons now, and they’ve become a stable in our garden. 35 seeds per order. 95% germination rate during our testing with heating pad.
I had never met this edible until late in 2015, when I found some at a local health food store in Arkansas. Always being up for a new adventure in food, I bought a few and decided to try them. They were interesting, but certainly delicious.
The outward appearance is very strange. It looks something like a fat, elongated yellow cucumber when it’s ripe, except that it is covered in spikes. That’s why another common name for it is the African Horned Melon. My wife says that it looks like a cross between a cucumber and a pufferfish. She even calls it the “pufferfish fruit”, and I guess “blowfish fruit” is a common nick-name in the south, so she’s not alone.
Inside, it has a beautiful pattern, and is full of seeds. FULL. (That’s good news.) This characteristics has lead me to compare it to the inside of a passion fruit. Both fruits have tasty little gel packets surrounding the seeds. Though the seeds of the Kiwano are easy to swallow, we chose to save some too. That was a good idea.
In researching the plant, some claim that one vine can grow 100 feet and produce up to 100 fruit. Now that was interesting news. I was paying about $2.00 per Kiwano at the natural food store (they run about $5 each at grocery stores back in Wisconsin), and I found out that just one seed could potentially produce a hundred more fruit, not to mention thousands of more seeds. The value of the fruit from just one plant could effectively save me hundreds of dollars, if a penny saved is a penny earned…
After saving seeds from the fruit that we originally bought, we’ve successfully grown our own for three years already, so you should be able to do the same. The flowers are delicate and small, and the fruit tiny when it first appears. When full-grown, however, these are some solid, heavy fruit. We like to use cattle panel arches to support the plants, especially since each plant can produce such a large number of Kiwanos. These plants can get long and fruit can be heavy, plus the vines can be a little itchy, so make sure you give them plenty of room to grow.
Nutritionally each fruit is around 90 calories, and is a good source of Magnesium, Vitamin C, Iron, and Potassium. We find them to be a delicious food that is newer to us, and are excited to be growing our own. If you run a CSA or particiapte in a Farmers Market, I think that plants like the Kiwano and the Chinese Red Noodle Bean are ones that will set growers apart in a world full of people with squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, and green beans. I’d grow those as well, but if someone stops by your table because of the weird produce they see, maybe they’ll buy the more common ones from you too. So, if you sell your homegrown produce at a Farmers Market or are thinking about that option, or if you just want to broaden your gardening horizon or start gardening, this is one interesting food to grow for sure.
So far our seeds have reached an 95% germination rate, but we did need to use a heating pad. We usually direct sow in the garden once the frost is gone and things start to heat up.
We offer 35 seeds per order. 95% germination during our tests.
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Shipping To These Countries
At the moment, we will be focusing on shipments within the continental United States only. There are many customs and import laws for many things, and seed shipments are some of the ones that can be tricky to navigate at times.
We will do our best to get all orders processed and shipped within a week from the order date, especially since we know how it is to eagerly wait for a package.
Returns & Exchanges
In the event of a unsatisfactory or damaged shipment, we will work with our customers to achieve the best outcome possible. While we do not accept cancellations or returns, we do want you to be happy with your purchase.
We strive to produce only the highest quality of items and expect them to meet or exceed your expectations. If, however, for some reason our item falls short, we will consider replacing the item free of charge and reshipping the item to you.
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