Coyote melon/coyote gourd as a groundcover

mojave_patti(8b/Sunset 11)September 21, 2009

Okay, before I make a big mistake, someone let me know if I'm doing something stupid.

About two years ago, I collected a native coyote melon (Cucurbita palmata) from a huge plant (8 ft across/25 feet long) about 1/2 mile from my house. I think it was in the low spot on a small dry lake, so it was in the optimal spot for water collection.

Anyway, after the gourd dried up, I cracked it open and tried to get some of the seeds to sprout in some clay pots with native soil. Nothing happened after watering for a couple of weeks. Oh, well -- birds, rodents, ants, whatever got the seeds, I figured.

Later, I used the same pot to try to get a Luther Burbank spineless cactus to go. (I have incredibly bad luck trying to get cactus to go from pads.) I moved the pad and the dirt out into a hole in a corner of my yard and put it on the drip line, which I buried because my local rodents like to chew on the line in this part of the yard. The cactus went completely kaput. I kept meaning to pull the line and the emitter and put in a plug, but out of sight, out of mind.

So, last spring up pops this little baby coyote melon vine. I left it alone. By midsummer it was roughly a circular patch about 5 feet across. It produced flowers and melons later. Started to dry up until rodents chewed a hole in the nearby drip line and the vine started getting more water -- now it's suddenly covered with new leaves, one gourd, five more flowers coming up.

And, after tasting the liquid inside (very bitter, astringent) I smeared the liquid all over the drip line the rodents keep chewing. They haven't chewed on it since.

The rabbits/wood rats/ground squirrels/kangaroo rats that are munching on all my store bought stuff won't touch it. It is relatively attractive.

A couple of weeks ago I found another baby vine starting up next to a rosemary plant I put in last spring. This is the general area where I had placed the pots when I was trying to get the vine to go in the first place.

Are there any reasons I shouldn't try to get this to grow and use as a groundcover around my tastier plants?

Good experiences/bad experiences?


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You get to be the pioneer.

Your task is to write about it, and post pictures.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 7:50PM
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mojave_patti(8b/Sunset 11)

Here is a picture of the original melons/close up of the leaves.

I'll post a picture of my plant as soon as I can get out and take some pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coyote melons

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 12:50AM
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All the wild melons I've seen go to sleep in the winter. If deciduous isn't a problem, go to it! : [)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 4:43PM
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Isn't the plant 'odiferous' ?!! The wild ones around here are!Like my sacred datura plant that comes back year after year, your coyote melons now may do the same now they have selected their spot!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 8:16PM
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mojave_patti(8b/Sunset 11)

Deciduous isn't a problem.

I had read about the foul odor. Haven't yet experienced it. Both of my vines are out in the open and it's a rare day we don't have wind.

Maybe I found a mutant?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 4:51PM
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