Shark Fin Melon Patch (cucurbita ficifolia)

winane(z9 CA)July 12, 2005

This is absolutely an amazing melon plant!! I have never seen anything so hardy! I think maybe it should be classified as a weed sometimes. Hehehehe. As in my member page we grew Cucurbita Ficifolia aka "shark fin melon" per my mom's request. We have grown them probably 3 years straight then we had one summer off and grew winter squashes in the same area. Well after the winter squashes were all finished and pick this plant pops up in several different spots in the same patch. I had originally thought 'Oh the winter squashes are coming again' since we picked all the mature squash. Nopes...it's the Shark Fin Melon popping up all by itself. Seems the bits of vine or roots that were tilled over decided to regenerate. This started last December. The vines are so dense that they are reaching toward the sky!! They are also impinging on my bf's dahlia garden. Needless to say he and the dahlia's are not happy. The edges of this patch are trimmed every 3-4 days. The vines must grow at least a foot every 3-4 days. Last year we tried them in a shaded area. We had pulled them all out, so I thought. This year I also found them growing up to the top of the 20 plus foot oleander bush that was next to it!

Take a look at the link.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Violet_Z6(6a)

Quite an entertaining post winane. Thanks for sharing.
It seems it is more than happy in your location! If you really wanted to, you could prune the vines to only three melons per vine or per plant. This might help you keep them under control and allow for larger melons.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 3:42AM
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winane(z9 CA)

Hi Violet,
Ohhh I so wished it was that easy. The patch you see there the tallest point on it is about almost 5 feet tall...It's a monster!!! So who knows what fruit we will have in there...I just hope we will have storage space for all of it. Thanks for the note :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 1:41AM
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Eggo(z10soCal LBC)

WOW Winane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Its a jungle. I don't think they grow from left over roots. Maybe you had some seeds that never sprouted last year? But boy that looks amazing. Great job! I wonder if the tender shoots are any tasty?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 2:27AM
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winane(z9 CA)

Thanks Eggo. The plant itself has alot of prickly hairs so unfortunately they aren't edible...believe me if they didn't they would have been on mom's dinner table with some fermented bean curd!!!

It definitely is not from left over seed. We didn't plant this for a year. I'm just worried about next year...I can't deal with this monster anymore. Though our composter is quite content with it's trimmings!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 2:41AM
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brooklyn_gardener(z6 NY)

Wow!
That patch looks just like ours--on a bigger scale of course. Except we don't have any shark fin melons though. Ours is mostly fuzzy and winter.

Will you be save some extra seeds this year to share with us?

BTW: anyone compare the texture of say these with a spaghetti squash? are they about the same?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 5:12PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Brooklyn Gardener,

I do save seeds with each melon that we open. So if you like we can either trade or do a SASE.

The texture is very much like spaghetti squash when it's cooked.

Win

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 9:28PM
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Rizz(NC)

Hi winane:
Has your patch flowered or fruit-ed yet? I've been growing mine for the past 5 months and still nothing. The patch is running wild...still there are no flowers or fruits. I planted them way before my winter melon and watermelon, which have baby melons already. However, nothing has blossom from my shark fin melon patch yet. Wondering if I should thin the patch since it's invading my neighbor's lawn right nnow. It's so out of control right now, I'm too afraid to even get near it. : ) thanks

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 9:09AM
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brooklyn_gardener(z6 NY)

Hi Winane,

Sounds good. Can you fire off a message when you have seeds ready for exchange?
Don't suppose you need any fuzzy or winter melon seeds since thats the only thing that seems to be coming out. However, I do have something that you might be interested in. It's called "mouse melon" in chinese (literal translation). Cantonese it's "lo shee gwa". You can search for it on the web by searching for "snake gourd". It's the India Short version. I don't like it that much, but supposively if you like bitter melon, you'll like this...minus the bitterness. thanks

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 9:24AM
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winane(z9 CA)

Rizzz....I've forgotten where you live but sometimes places like the eastcoast don't have a long enough summer for them to mature...but yes...we have picked 5 matured melons already. Don't worried...they are in there...I would say use a stick to look under there...they are hiding...Looking at my patch I couldn't tell either...but when I parted some of the growth there were melons under there.
I clipped some of the growth cause it would have crossed a parking lot and reached into and through the house by now if I didn't!!! I am so glad you have attempted the sharkfin melon!!! We are just getting our watermelons in...hence you must have some sf melons in there ...they do like to hide!!
keep me posted please
win

Brooklyn G...sure I would love some "mouse melon" seeds..sounds interesting! I searched for the "snake gourd" and only came up with what mom calls "xie gwa" is that the same? Are they vining like the bitter melon?
I am looking for some winter melon seeds but I am looking for some which the melon can be stored through several months for the seeds mom acquired do not store well after maturity. They tend to start rotting only after 2 months or so.

Well email me...I do have some SF seeds from recent available.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 3:07AM
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brooklyn_gardener(z6 NY)

Winane,

Here's a link: http://www.evergreenseeds.com/evergreenseeds/sngoinsh.html

Yes it a vining plant.

Our winter melons this year isn't doing so well. Apparently in our area most people are not have much luck with the melons this year (fuzzy and winter).

For us the fuzzy melons and winter melons are a hit and miss with storage. We had some that stored from Sept to May of this year and some that didn't last for a few weeks. I can't quite figure it out. Especially for the fuzzy melons. Some that stored well has the white wax on them, some didn't and some are pale green while others are dark green. If anyone knows how to tell them apart I would definitely like to know.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 12:40PM
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jimboyce(France)

Probably no one is monitoring this conversation any longer, but ... take a look at that "melon" patch. This is why Cucurbita ficifolia is used as rootstock for grafting cucumbers, melons and watermelons! I'd love to get my hands on some of those seeds!!! They cost a fortune in France, but the grafted plants are worth the cost and trouble

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 7:27PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Have you ever purchased any grafted plants jimboyce?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 7:37PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

What are the benefits of grafting cucumbers and melons?

Jim

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 9:29PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Jimboyce,

I read your post again and understand that the benefit of grafting is plant vigor. Right?

Jim

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 9:32PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Yes...i want to know if jimboyce ever grafted plants with these stocks...be interesting..let me know please.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 3:14AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"I'd love to get my hands on some of those seeds!!!"

While searching for a source of seed I came across this German one which seems reasonably priced. Now I need to find an American source.

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Shark Fin Melon Seeds

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 2:34PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

To maybe answer a few of the questions already raised... Cucurbita ficifolia (a.k.a. Malabar gourd) is a warm-season _perennial_ squash. Much like chayote squash (which can be grown in the same climate) it comes up each year from tuberous roots. So provided that the ground does not freeze & is not allowed to dry out excessively, it will return each year. My greatest regret is that when I lived in SoCal, I never tried it.

The plants are also daylength-sensitive, and will not blossom until the days approach 12 hours in length. Since that is in September, that means not enough time before frost for most of the U.S. They may get male flowers before that, but the females will be late in coming.

The fruits, when fully mature, are supposed to store for as long as one year, and be good for making candy.

Thanks for the photo, Winane. I have read much about this squash, but never seen it in person. It really is as rampant as my references said that it was! I hope for your sake that there are not many plants in there... and that they don't multiply. You would need to get all of the root to kill it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 11:53PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

My interest in this plant is for rootstock in grafting cucurbitas. Can anyone add to what jimboyce has said?

Jim

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 12:33AM
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craiggt4

hi new to this site can you help me how to prune a shark's fin melon (cucurbita ficifolia) to get the best crop from it thanks for help

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 12:27PM
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april9(3a)

I got some seeds from Winane. I just want everyone know, I can grow it in zone3a. Last year my biggest shark fin melon was 12 pounds. Thank you Winane.

april9

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 10:18PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Hey April9,

I'm glad you had success!! I'm curious to know how many plants you started with and how was your harvest? Are you planning on growing them again? And of course how did you prepare the melons?

Thanks,
Win

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 10:52PM
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april9(3a)

Hi Win,

Last year I started with 2 hills and each hill had 2 seeds in it. Shark fin melon was the first squash to germinate. At the end I got two mature squashes and the large one was 12 pounds. The other one was about 5 pounds. Our weather was hot and dry last year and one of the longest summer since I started gardening. Here in Alberta was always cold at night. I started some seeds two weeks ago and hopefully I will have some squash this September.

I usually cubed the squash then add some finely chopped shallot braised with chicken stock or oyster sauce. Don't overcook the squash or it will tasted mushy. It is very simply. You can add some chicken or pork. I cook my pumpkin or any yellow squash this way too but with a touch of brown sugar.

April

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 12:19AM
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winane(z9 CA)

Congrads! Sounds very yummy.

We still have about 20 shark fin melons from 2 years ago or was it 3 years ago. They are marvelous keepers!

Good luck with them this year!

Win

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 12:33AM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Wow this is an amazing veggie....Does anyone have any seed to share?......I live in the country and have plenty of room....

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 9:30PM
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laksam

Recently, Scientists have tested and found the pumpkin extract can lower or lessen the need for insulin in type 1 diabetes.
The technical name for this extract is "Cucurbita ficifolia".

Is this the same plant as the shark fin melon?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 9:46PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

Is this the same plant as the shark fin melon?

Yes, Cucurbita ficifolia is the scientific name for the melon that has the English common names which include chilacayote, fig-leaved gourd, malabar gourd, Thai marrow, shark fin melon, chiverre, or pie melon.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 10:30PM
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fk176

I need help with the following:

I want a source to get shark fin melon extract. Is this the same melon sold in chinese grocery stores as Chinese Melon.
How do I make my own extract from Shark Fin melon. Thanks

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 12:35PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

April9, I am truly astonished at your success that far North. I have heard of a non-daylength sensitive Cucurbita ficifolia, and have been searching for it for several years... it sounds like you may have found it. Did you start your seed early indoors? Were you able to get mature seed from the larger squash?

Winane, if you are still out there, I might wish to discuss a trade... I'll contact you via your Member Page.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 5:18PM
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Violet_Z6(6a)

fk176,

I want a source to get shark fin melon extract.
I don't think it's on the market. The study was released only this month.

Is this the same melon sold in chinese grocery stores as Chinese Melon.

"Chinese Melon" can be a common name for any number of melons. Depends on which grocery you go to in which city or what part of the country.

How do I make my own extract from Shark Fin melon(?)
They are extracting a particular compound.

What you should do is just incorporate the melon as well as regular pumpkin into your dishes. You'll be getting many more vitamins and essential nutrients the extract would not have.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 9:30PM
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winane(z9 CA)

fk176 - I have only seen this melon sold on a street corner in chinatown only once and that was maybe 5 years ago. They do not sell this in the local stores. As for the extract, as violet mentioned it was only done for the purpose of the study. I suppose you can make a concentrated form of it by boiling down the melon in water.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 12:29PM
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winane(z9 CA)

This is a sharkfin melon I cut open this morning. I think this melon was harvested about 2 years ago. It is less hydrated than the freshly picked melons but they are still very edible. My mom tells me that the strands are much more pronounced and make a better soup if kept longer than the freshly harvested melons.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 1:16AM
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winane(z9 CA)

Oops...that previous pic was the uncut sharkfin melon in the sink....this is the cut open one. Notice the fiberous strands that resemble sharkfin when cooked. They become quite tender and have an interesting texture, sort of like spaghetti squash.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 1:19AM
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april9(3a)

Hi,I'm April9. Sadly those two hills of Shark fin squash I grown this year are both crossed. Both hills are produced spaghetti like melon. All my seeds are from Winane. I do my vegetable patch in a community garden. I really don't have the time to save seeds especially squash because it's easily cross with other squash. The other factor is it a shame producer, I only have a few squash every year except this year. So, this afternoon I harvested seven squashes. I remember I saw a Shark Fin melon at a Chinese lady's house and the squash was from her garden and it is a size of a football. A co-worker got some seeds from China, and she had good harvest but by the time i got the seed from her they were already crossed with zucchini. I really don't have the luck. One thing i can tell you is that we have no problem growing spaghetti squash. I'm also looking for some more Shark fin melon squash seeds.

- April9

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 12:00AM
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winane(z9 CA)

April9,

Check your email.

Win :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 1:22AM
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organic_francis

You can get them in the US here (under chilacayote)
http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/VegetablesO-Z.htm

or on ebay (search Chilacayote or Lacayote)

or in Europe from here
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/rickstevens/ohmygourd/Freeseedhome.html

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 4:04PM
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eric_grower

Help!

I have a friend who has a medical condition that can be helped by eating the Shark Fin melon. Can anyone direct me to a grower (commercial or otherwise) who has some to sell?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 9:50AM
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internet_forums_suck

Hey dudes,
I'm knew to the world of plants, and i don't know much about their history or background or anything. Could someone please tell me where the Shark Fin Melon plant originated?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 7:08AM
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rawr

Hi Internet_forums_suck,

I think the Shark Fin Melon originated in FINland

Seriously though, I am no real expert in Asian vegetables, the Eastern Mexican vegetable types are more my area of expertise.

hahahaha

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 7:15AM
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galina

zeedman,
you wrote:
The plants are also daylength-sensitive, and will not blossom until the days approach 12 hours in length. Since that is in September, that means not enough time before frost for most of the U.S. They may get male flowers before that, but the females will be late in coming.

The fruits, when fully mature, are supposed to store for as long as one year, and be good for making candy.

(snip)

The fruits store for at least two years (amazing) and they are not unduly daylength sensitive. Here in Britain (with more extreme daylength fluctuations than where you are) we can grow them like any other squash. I know you have it on good authority, but this is one of the very few occasions where my own experience proves Suzanne Ashworth wrong. A garden friend in Maine took my word for it (and got some seeds) and grew very nice squashes a few years ago. Needless to say they are not perennial in Britain or in Maine, but they grow just fine.
Maybe there are some varieties that are more daylength sensitive, but the ordinary c. ficifolia is not.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 6:20AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Galina, I hope that you are right, because I am growing a supposedly day-neutral variety this year obtained from one of the members in this thread. I had heard that there was one out there, and had even located a source several years ago... but they never held up their end of the swap, even after repeated attempts. I was beginning to wonder if their "Italian frying squash" was fictitious.

I admit that my info is second-hand, through references... which included more than just Seed to Seed. ;-) I didn't learn of C. ficifolia until after I had left California. With the exception of one person in New England (the swap that fell through), all of the growers I met online were in California. It may be that there are both day-sensitive and day-neutral cultivars in circulation, just as there are for winged beans and asparagus beans.

For me, it may be less a matter of daylength, and more a matter of DTM, since my seasons are so short. I'm starting them early in pots, and trying to be optimistic. That, and wondering if I have assigned it enough space!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 5:09PM
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galina

zeedman

Best of luck.

FWIW, our last frost date is (nominally) 1 June (I have lost plants to frost on 6 June) and the first frost is October (usually we are still ok the first half of October). We don't have your warm summer weather, which means plants grow/develop slower. How short is your season?

It is not difficult to grow SFMelons here. I doubt you will have problems with days to maturity. Space, well that is another matter altogether - you can watch the vines growing and if you stand still, they might ensnare you ;-)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 6:11PM
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francis_marie_videotron_ca

Hi Galina,

Can you send me some of the shark fine melon seeds you grow? The variety you grow in the UK must not be daylenght sensitive and should produce mature fruit in my region of Canada 45° 22' N and Longitude 75° 43' W. We get 12 hours days by the end of September and first frost sometime in late November . . . our summers are usually hot - air conditioning required !

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 9:42PM
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winane(z9 CA)

I haven't been on here in a long while. But I just wanted to post these new pics of the Sharkfin Melons. They are back. We planted 3 seeds on my mom's request.

In this pic the plant has successfully climbed up a 10 plus feet tall Oleander bush.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sharkfin Melon

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 9:45PM
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winane(z9 CA)

After all these years I just figured out how to paste pics in here.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 9:53PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

An update of my own... The Shark Fin Melon seeds I obtained through a swap were planted indoors in May, as transplants. Spring here was uncooperative, so they didn't get into the ground until mid-June. I covered the plants initially with floating row cover, to protect them from bugs & borers.

The vines root at the nodes where they tough the ground, and spread rampantly. I put 8 vines in a 30-foot square; they have covered it completely, gone through my fence, and encroached 10 feet into my surrounding plots.

However, the variety that I was sent does indeed appear to be daylength sensitive - no flowers yet. There are a few buds beginning to appear on new growth, so they should bloom in September at just about the equinox. Unfortunately, that is generally when my first light frosts can appear, so the chances of harvesting fruit of any size are remote.

"...I wonder if the tender shoots are any tasty?" (Eggo)

Fortunately, the answer is "yes". The wife often cooks large squash blossoms, and we enjoy harvesting the young squash vine tips at the end of the season. The tips of the Shark Fin Melon vines are much tastier than any other squash vines I've tried, and have a firm yet tender texture, similar to water spinach. Not at all hairy or spiny, and because of their rapid growth, they are tender for about the last 6 inches. We are harvesting enough tips to give some away to our Filipino friends.

As much as I enjoy it, though, I would not grow Shark Fin Melon for the shoots alone. It just takes up too much space. For those who have longer seasons, though, the harvest of vine tips could be significant... they are produced abundantly.

Galina, if the variety you grow flowers earlier than September, would you consider a swap? I'd like to give this squash one more try.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 5:17PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Yup... the vines flowered on September 20th, right on the equinox. Fortunately, we have had more than a week of unseasonably warm weather here, many days in the 80's. The vines have set numerous squash, which are growing quickly... but with frost due in a week or so, there is no chance that they will mature. Has anyone cooked the young squash?

By the way, I've been enjoying the young vine tips immensely. The vines re-sprout very quickly, so I have been able to harvest every 10 days or so. Boy, do those vines grow fast! Anyone who needs to trim their vines should try the tips. I season them with vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic powder.

Oh, it's also worth noting:
When the nights begin to cool here, mildew begins to appear on my squash leaves. The squash are mostly mature now, so there is no harm done. But the SFM has no sign of mildew at all. If it is as mildew resistant as it appears to be, that would be a good trait to breed into other squashes.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 2:22AM
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winane(z9 CA)

zeedman...wow you were able to harvest shoots. maybe we have a different variety but all our shoots are all hairy. i wonder if you do have a different variety. did your plants look like the ones i posted?

thanks win.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 3:21AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Yes, Winane, my patch looks very similar to your photo in the opening post. I'll try to post a photo before frost kills the vines (which could happen this week). The shoots are a little hairy, but most of that disappears when cooked. I really like the texture of the shoots, they are much firmer & more succulent than other squash vines I've tried.

The vines have set a large number of squash, perhaps 20 or so... it's hard to count them through the dense growth. Most are just around baseball size, with only a few larger than that. If frost kills the vines Thursday, I'll be harvesting all of those young squashes; hopefully they will be good for something. Hate to waste them after all that work! If anyone has any tips on their use, they would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 6:28PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Zeedman thank you for replying. The first squash we harvested that was ripe as when the stem turned semi woody, was about size of a big canteloupe. The ones we have left on the vine are a bit bigger than a basketball. We did cut a large amount of the vines because they were climbing up the trees.

We have harvested very young squashes and cooked them as if like opo or zucchini. We have stir-fried it with garlic and dried baby shrimps. My mom has made it in chicken broth with carrots. They are very tender and the meat hasn't turned into "shark fin" as of yet.

Good luck with your squashes.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 11:09PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Well, with frost on its way Friday night, I harvested all the young squashes. There were 3 the size of large cantaloupes, and many softball size. The wife peeled the small ones & cooked them; the texture is softer than zucchini, and very sweet. It reminds me of Italian cucuzza (edible gourd, Lagenaria siceraria). We'll use the larger ones for soup.

So it's not a complete loss... and it has been an interesting plant to grow. Still, I wish there had been time for them to mature. I probably won't grow it again, unless I can find one that is truly day-neutral.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 6:30PM
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wooogie

Hi everyone! I love shark fin melon and just thought of growing it myself. It's pretty expensive at the supermarket so I figured maybe I could try growing some. I just opened one today and the seeds inside this one are black (sometimes theres only white seeds). Can I use these seeds to grow them? Should I plant them indoors now or wait to plant it outside in the spring? Also, I live in NYC. Thanks for the info =)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 5:14PM
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hwlee(South NY)

This is my first reply in to this post and here is my experience of the shark's fin squash:
I've been growing them for the last 4 years in a backyard space of about 5 feet by 20 feet that's between my garage and next door neighbor's hedges. In early-mid April I start my seeds (4-6) by sodding them in separate small foam cups with a drain hole. They stay indoor till the seedlings got to be 3 feet or so I transplant them to the outside. From there on I just keep watering them. In early June I'd fertilize them with 1/2 pound of finely grind yellow bean around the base of the plants.
Over the next 3 months they'd just grow all over the place and climb and clink to anything they can get their little curly green whiskers on...including small trees. As a matter of fact, my biggest squash was hung 10 feet from the top of a tree. They would flower in mid-late August and the first fruit would show up a few days before Labor day. I usually let them grow till the day before the weather forecast of the first frost. I had 3 melons my 1st year, 13 the 2nd year 23 last year and 28 this year. The biggest one is 13.8 pounds.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 1:21AM
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wooogie

wow that is huge! does it grow back every year on its own or do i have to plant new seeds every year?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 11:15PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Hi hwlee,

I'm really curious if your melons ever get to full maturity. My mom lives in NYC and she has never had any success in getting them past canteloupe size. I also have a cousin who grows them in New Jersey on a commercial field and she has yet to get one to maturity. Due to the short months and frost.

Currently from the 3 seeds we planted I think we have harvested about 40 melons. And we definitely have more out there.

Thanks for sharing!

Woogie,

Yes you can start plants with the mature black seeds. Hopefully your melons are mature melons with mature seeds.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 3:27AM
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hwlee(South NY)

Woogie, you do need to plant new seeds every year. You must air dry the seeds for a few months. Start the seedling in late March/early April in a foam cup(hole in bottom for drainage) and cover them with peat moss and a little top soil. Let the seedlings grow to about 2 feet long and the weather gets a little warmer. Make sure no more frost. Plant them out in the garden. I usually plant 4 or 5 seedlings 1-1/2 feet apart.

Winane, you still have them out in the garden? That's amazing even with the warm weather in northern CA. So you can probably grow them year round. Out of the harvested squashes this year, I would say 3 of them are fully matured. You can tell if they are mature by pressing on the body and stem. If its firm and hard then most likely. I usually leave the oldest one alone till February to let it get ripen and "mature" further.

I am not surprise your mom's melons being that size. The ones I found in Chinatown are all smaller than cantaloupe and weigh about 5-6 pounds. Where in NY does she live? When does she start the seedling and when does she plant them? What kind of fertilizer does she used? Try using the grind yellow bean. It works for me. My smallest edible squash was 5 lb. I think the average was 9 lb.

Last year was a terribly slow growing year. The flowers didn't come till late August. Thought I was not going to get much fruit. I gave some seed to friend in Queens, NY but all he saw was flowers and not a single fruit. Later on he told me that he think the reason was that he accidentally used snow melt(salt) instead of fertilized and killed them. I also send some seeds to a friend in Oakland CA. She then gave some to her friends. She had 3 fruits and her friends had little bit of success. I told them they can start seedling earlier since CA weather is much warmer than NY.

I am going to start a bit early this year and see if they get any bigger than my 13.8 king. Good luck to you both.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 12:09AM
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reeselayne(8 North Texas)

Anyone happen to have some seeds of these babies? I would love to try some. I know this isnt the trade page, but if anyone has any spare seeds I would love to swap for them. Please see my swap page :)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 10:10PM
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hwlee(South NY)

I have some seeds. Email me hwlee888@gmail.com.

Henry

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 12:35AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Hello everyone

After reading this thread last night and finding some recepies to make soup with SFM(shark fin melon). Today I went to Asian market . I found something that looked just like SFM.
But they called it small CHILACAYOTE.
I bought one weighing little over a pound. Brought home , cut it in half but the seeds were soft and tender. I wonder if this is same as SFM.

Anyway, the soup is cooking now (with pork neck bone and carrots. If it turns out like spagetti then I will know that I got the right stuff. I will find out in about an hour. I am hungr already.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:30PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Follow up on previous post:

YES! it is the real mcCoy. CHILACAYOYE IS SHARK FIN MELLON.
The one that I bougt must have been a young fruit , not fully ripen.
I think it taste good. I cooked it with rind and seeds all.
Very tender and tasy. Of course , I don't know how a ripened one would taste. But like they say "Tinier is tastier"

Final note:
I noticed that this thread has been going since 2005. That is amazing.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 11:31PM
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hwlee(South NY)

Yes cyrus,

It is the same thing with a different name. But yours is way too small and too young. Did you notice the fins are a little too soft? The matured ones are still firm and not mushy at all. Try to get a bigger one next time and save the seeds for planting if they are black and firm. I am starting my seeds in a week.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 10:55AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Thanks Lee

At my Asina market they did not have mature ones.
Actually I went in there to get a mature one, both for cooking and seeds. Oh, well. I enjoyed the soup.
I will be on the look out to find matured SFM and use seeds for planting. The one that I bout was very young and the seeds were soft like cucumber seeds. That is why I cooked it with skin and seeds , which were soft and tender.

I have to have this melon. I have already planted birdhous, ornamental and lufa gourds. The lufas seed I got from a lufa that I bought from Asian market last fall.
Some of the seeds were black and some white. I gues the white ones were not matured.

I might start a thread about gourds if there is not one yet there. I have some questions about Downey Mildew that killed my vines last year. When I realized it, it was too late and fugus spray could not remedy.

Cyrus

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 9:12PM
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hwlee(South NY)

Cyrus,

Where do you live? If you are in a big enough city usually there is a Chinatown. The vegetable markets usually have good selection of this melon. My first seedlings were from seeds of a melon bought from the market 4 years ago.

It's been a bad year for squash planting so far with 47 continuous days of rain. I am hoping my seedlings can survive the next 3 weeks. There were little growth in the last 3 weeks.


If you still can't find any nice matured ones by the end of the year let me know and I will send you some seeds. My email is hwlee888@gmail.com

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 12:47AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Many Thanks , HWlee,
I live in Atlanta suburb. There are big communities of Asians here, mostly Koreans and Chines. Also there are several huge Asian vegies, grocery markets. But none has had matured shark fin melons so far. They are still selling young ones. One of the stores also sells seeds, very limited variety, mostly Korean stuff. I like their radishes. Last year I planted some. They did well. This year, in a month or so, I will plant my radishes. In my zone(8GA) they will last throughout most of the winter.
Cyrus

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 2:57AM
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paul_o_lee_hotmail_com

Anyone know why some small mellons drop off and some just dry up and die?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 11:29AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Paul,

The primary reason and cause for the problem you experiencing could be lack of pollination.
If you don't see around a lot of honey bees, bumble bees, the perhaps you should start hand pollinating.
There is a good thread about hand pollinating in "VEGETABLES" forum.
Another reason could be very wet and rainy weather.
It also depends on how big your vines are, what the growing conditions are.

I hope that some other members will give you some answers better than mine.
Cyrus

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:21AM
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moby_gardener

I have just come across this forum whilst googling to find out what sort of pumpkin I have growing in my garden. I was given a pumpkin plant that was supposed to be the usual orange variety but I now have a green monster! The plant has taken over my whole pumpkin patch with it growing about 15ft in each direction. It is growing through hedges and over garden benches. I have two huge fruits on it at the moment as well as about 10 small ones (though these are inclined to drop off). I am hoping that someone can identify the plant from the picture and confirm if, in fact, it is a sharkfin melon.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 5:57PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Hi Moby,

I peaked at your picture and it doesn't look like our sharkfin melons. The ones we have grown are smooth skinned. From your picture it looks like there are some warts and some lobes. See my previous pics.

And yes after all these years we still are growing this marvelous melon!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 11:16PM
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moby_gardener

Thanks for your reply, winane. Sorry, perhaps the picture is not too good - they are not warts on the skin, I took the picture after rain and they are water droplets. The skin is fairly smooth. Perhaps I will not be able to identify the fruit until after I have harvested and cut it open. At the moment I am just waiting to see how big it will get. In the meantime it will remain a mystery.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 4:34AM
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wellspringorganics(9)

I know this is an old thread, but I feel compelled to reopen it given my recent experience with SFM. I'm in the SF Bay Area (East Bay where it gets pretty warm/hot in the Summer). Last year, I planted SFM a little to late and only got one fruit before the first frost in December. I thought the plant was gone. Low and behold, it started sprouting in March. And this is after we had some rare 22 degree days in the mid of Winter.

Thanks to those who shared their experience with eating the shoot tips. Like others, my vines grow almost a foot a day and I'm running out of room; so I'll start harvesting the vine tips.

I'll have seed later in the year. So let me know if you'd like to trade.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 11:59PM
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hwlee(South NY)

Time to open up this old thread again.
This year's harvest is a little better than last year. Got a total of 15, although the pic showed only 8. I harvested some 2 weeks ago and some were still on the vine but died after last night's frost.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 2:03PM
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wellspringorganics(9)

Time to once again resurrect this thread.
I now have seeds. However, my question is this:

I'm wondering if I'm wasting my time saving seed of the C. ficifolia that are already starting to have a very small sprout starting in the fruit. � I've read sometime in the past that they do this but am unsure if the seed are still viable.

TIA

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 11:12AM
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wellspringorganics(9)

Upon further thought, I do think I have to pick smaller fruit that don't have as much internal moisture in order to save seed. The large fruits i saved seed from are very moist inside and cause the seed to start sprouting ever so slightly.
Anyone else notice this?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:28PM
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wellspringorganics(9)

I guess there's not a way to edit msgs.
I forgot that the younger, smaller fruits have small undeveloped cucucumber-like seeds, so maybe the secret is to cut open a mature fruit immediately & not let it store for 5-6 months like mine have.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:56PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Hi! Wow I can't believe this posting is still going! Well these melons/seeds are extremely hardy! Yes you must harvest from a well matured melon. I have had some in storage for almost 3 years and the seeds are very black and they do dry up well. The seeds appear to be sprouting but unless there is a sprout it is not. I have been using seed from about 6 years ago that I have dried. This year I will try my best to keep it down to 2 plants. Last year we did 2 plants and trimmed it down consistently and we got about 40 melons. That is way more than enough!

I am curious if anybody has eatened the shoots off of this hairy vine?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 5:29PM
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hwlee(South NY)

Michael, No, I have not come across a seed sprouting inside a melon, young or matured. I usually harvest the oldest melon last and leave it sitting on my dinning room table for 2 to 3 months before eating and picking seeds.
I usually sow 4 seeds indoors @ mid April. Plant them outside @ later May.
winane: How do you get 40 melons from 2 plants...thats amazing? What fertilizer did you used? I never tried the shoots of the hairy vine. Maybe try preserve them in salt and vinegar?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:09PM
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wellspringorganics(9)

40 is quite amazing. One issue I've had is spider mites once the heat arrives.
I've got viable seed avaiable from non-hairy tips hybrid

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:46PM
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winane(z9 CA)

We are in the SF Bay Area also. We just plant the seeds directly into the ground. They take off quite fast. I think we usually plant in March but this year we have alot of rain so I think it will happen later. After all these years with this melon it seems that it doesn't really matter if we do a headstart in pots or not. The plant actually seems hardier when it is sown outdoors.

HwLee... our very first year we grew these were from 4 seeds that were given to my mom. We harvested well over 200 melons that summer and autumn! I did tend to the vines often with Miracle Grow etal...Since I didn't remember where the root of it was I sprayed the entire plant every 2-3 weeks. As the years past I didn't even bother to fertilize or even water. It grows like a weed! We barely watered them after the vines were about 3 feet long. And my mom has even cut up and dried some of the melons. They actually make a much tastier stock. Though they are darker in color.

Wellspring... These melons if they are fully matured can keep for years. The way my mom has taught me to check for fully matured melons is to check the hardness of the skin. It is full ripe if you can't put your thumb nail through the exterior. We just leave them until I can see the stem of the melon starts to turn brownish. And still you can use the seeds from that same melon to dry. I have done this frequently. You can also use these melon like a hairy gourd melon when they are young.
I think in a similiar thread somebody told me his Filipino wife harvest shoots and stirfried them. I'm a bit leary since they seem so hairy!
Good luck your SFM this year!

I was trying to post some pics but the files are too big for GW.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:57PM
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winane(z9 CA)

We have not had any issues with pest with these...perhaps it's bec you have a nonhairy tip hybrid? If you to try these seeds you are welcome to them.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 11:01PM
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climbthemtns(Zone 8 to 10)

Thanks winane~
Say, one last question about drying the seeds. hwlee says he dries the seed for a month or so.
I'm wondering how you dry yours since it's Winter and high humidity in our neck of the woods during the drying seeds time.

BTW, today I found out that by putting black and tan seeds in a bowl of water, the tan seeds (which aren't viable) will float to the top and are easy to separate.

I usually damp dry the seeds with a towel and them put them in a sunny window for a week or so. What's your technique winane?

Thanks

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 1:24AM
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winane(z9 CA)

Climbthemtns... When I open up a melon (and with all seed harvesting) what I usually do is put the seeds in water and get rid of all the pulp carefully. Put the seeds in a collander to rinse and get off excess water. Then I usually will put the seeds onto coffee filters and put them on the window sill. I've left seeds there for months. Then I store them in ziplock bags coffee filters and all.

Ohhh one thing I don't think this thread mentioned was how to open a mature melon. It took a few trials and errors. The first time I think I had a Chinese chopping cleaver and a rubber mallet. This is NOT the way! One could loose body parts! I have found if I took the melon out to the garage or even to the sidewalk...anywhere with concrete and drop it a few times the hard shell will crack open in several spots. The more the better. The shell with a little muscle will come off in pieces.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 12:48PM
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hwlee(South NY)

Winane, that was ingenious how you open the squash. I will try that this year.
Here are my 15 day old seedlings of 2011.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 9:06PM
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winane(z9 CA)

Hwlee...very nice seedlings! I hope you get a bountiful of melons!

We had a nice harvest in the fall so I don't think we will be growing anymore melons this year. Time to let the ground rejuvenate itself. Hmmm perhaps we will use that area for something else.. Chinese long beans maybe...or bitter melon.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:46AM
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tucson_tomato(9)

I have been looking to grow this variety for a while. Should anyone happen to still have some seeds of this variety I would be happy to trade some rare cucumber seeds for some Shark Fin Melon seeds.

Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: A few of the rare cucumber varieties I grow

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 12:13PM
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