PEPINO MELON (solanum muricatum or “melon pear”) MIRACLE FRUIT IS NOW IN KENYA. Native to Peru and Chile in South America, it was apparently reported by the Spanish Conquistadors as being cultivated on the coast in the Moche Valley of Peru. It has been cultivated in the warmer parts of the USA for over a century, and more recently it is being cultivated commercially in New Zealand, Chile and now KENYA!
It is a perennial evergreen shrub growing to a metre outdoors or up to 2 metres in a greenhouse.Growing from seed is surprisingly easy. Treat the seed just as you would with peppers or tomatoes. Sow the seed in pots of free-draining compost, just covering the seed.The seedlings will grow slowly for 2 months, until they are ready to be repotted into their final pots or growbag in a cool or heated greenhouse. The seedlings available in Kenya produces plants with different types of fruit.
Pruning and “pinching out” the growing tips, will be necessary to keep the plants under control in a greenhouse. The main stem will require to be well tied and supported to a cord or cane as the stems are very lax. The growth habit is “indeterminate,” and pinching out any side shoots but leaving any flower buds, as you would do for a tomato plant, would be a good method of pruning and training the plant. Keep trying slightly different systems of pruning where you can pinch out each side shoot, two leaves beyond any fruit buds. Continue reading