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PEPINO MELON (95 days)

Germ 4-10 days
This close relative of the tomato is native to the Andes Mountain region in South America. Purple and white flowers will grow into 2-5” oval fruits with cream colored skin and purple streaks. Inside is a pale yellow-green, juicy flesh with a pear-like, melony taste. Growth habits and soil conditions are similar to a tomato, so they need water regularly and will do best on trellises once the fruits set. Also do well in containers and can be moved into a greenhouse in areas below zone 9. Harvest just before being fully ripe and will store in refrigerator for a few weeks. Start indoors like you would a pepper in northern climates. 5 seeds

PLANTING:

Indoors- Individual biodegradable peat/cowpots 1/2” deep, 3-4 weeks before last frost with soil temperature 70 degrees. Transplant 36” apart after last frost without disturbing the roots.

Outdoors- 1/2” deep after last frost in warm soil at least 70 degrees.

Harvest- Look for the following signs as it does take some practice on telling when they are ready to harvest. The skin tone changes and netting becomes heavy, the ends soften, they will slip from the vines or a gentle tug will pull it away from the vine, a crack develops around the stem, the closet tendril to the stem dries, and the aroma increases when ripening.

Tips- Plant in fertile soil amended with compost or well rotted manure and keep well watered. They benefit from growing on black plastic and by using row covers for weed, insect control, and more rapid growth.

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