Pepino dulce is a small, unarmed, herbaceous plant or bush with a woody base and fibrous roots. Growth is erect or ascending to about 3 feet high and several feet across. It is similar in these respects to a small tomato vine, and like the tomato may need staking or other support.
Pepino Dulce, Pepino, Melon Pear, Melon Shrub, Pear Mellon
The bright green leaves are sparsely covered with very small hairs. In appearance the pepino dulce is much like a potato plant, but the leaves may take many forms–simple and entire, lobed, or divided into leaflets.
Distant Affinity: Tree Tomato, Tamarillo (Cyphomandra betacea), Casana (Cyphomandra casana), Tomato (Lycopersicon lycopsersicum), Mexican Husk Tomato, Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa), Cape Gooseberry, Poha Berry (Physalis peruviana) and others.
Origin: The pepino dulce is native to the temperate Andean regions of Colombia, Peru and Chile. The plant is not known in the wild, and the details of it origin are not known. The fruit is grown commercially in New Zealand, Chile and Western Australia. The pepino dulce was being grown in San Diego before 1889 and was listed by Francisco Franceschi of Santa Barbara in 1897. Improved cultivars were imported into California from New Zealand and elsewhere, in more recent times the seedlings were introduced in Kenya.
Goldenscape Tree Africa stocks the healthy seedlings which we sell to our consumers.
PEPINO FARMING IN KENYA- GROWTH REQUIREMENTS
The plant likes a sunny or semi-shaded, frost-free location, sheltered from strong winds. It does well planted next to a south-facing wall or in a patio.
The pepino dulce does best in a fertile (but not too fertile), free draining, neutral soil ( pH of 6.5-7.5). It is not as tolerant of salinity as the tomato. Mulching will help suppress weed growth
The pepino dulce is quite sensitive to moisture stress as their root systems spread out and are quite shallow. Irrigation techniques are thus crucial for the health of the plants as well as for pollination, fruit set and quality of the fruit crop. Some growers feel that overhead sprinkling may even favor increased pollination. Microjets appear to deliver moisture better than trickle irrigation
The plants should be fertilized in a manner similar to a tomato plant, mixing in some well-rotted manure to the plant site several weeks in advance and supplementing with a 5-10-10 NPK granular fertilizer as needed. Soils that are too rich produce vigorous vegetative growth which can lead to reduced fruit set and quality, plus an increase in pest problems.
The fruit show considerable diversity in size and shape. In the areas of its origin there are small oblong types with many seeds, while others are pear or heart-shaped with few or many seeds. Still others are round, slightly larger than a baseball and completely seedless. The colors also vary–completely purple, solid green or green with purple stripes, or cream colored with or without purple stripes. The fruit of cultivars grown in this country are usually round to egg-shaped, about 2 to 4 inches long, with some growing up to 6 inches. The skin is typically yellow or purplish green, often with numerous darker streaks or stripes. The flesh is greenish to white and yellowish-orange. Better quality fruit is moderately sweet, refreshing and juicy with a taste and aroma similar to a combination of cantaloupe and honeydew melon. In poor varieties there can be an unpleasant “soapy” aftertaste. The fruit matures 30 to 80 days after pollination.
Pruning of the pepino dulce is not needed unless the plant is being trained to a trellis. In this case treat it as one would a tomato vine. Opening the the fruits to light increases the purple striping and improves the general appearance.
PEPINO MELON FARMING IN KENYA – PROPAGATION
The pepino dulce can be grown from seeds, but is usually propagated vegetatively from cuttings. Three to five inch stem cuttings are taken leaving 4 or 5 leaves at the upper end. Treatment with rooting hormones will help increase uniformity in rooting and development of heavier root systems. The cuttings are then placed in a fast-draining medium and placed under mist or otherwise protected from excessive water loss. Bottom heat also is helpful. With the right conditions most of the cuttings quickly root and are ready for potting up in individual containers. Rooted cuttings set out after the danger of frost (February to April) should be large enough to start blooming shortly after planting. The fruit will then have time to grow and ripen during the warm summer months. When planted out, a spacing of about 2 to 3 ft. between bushes is recommended.
PEPINO FARMING INVESTMENT IN KENYA – PEST AND DISEASES
The plant is affected by many of the diseases and pests that afflict tomatoes and other solanaceous plants, including bacterial spot, anthracnose, and blights caused by Alternaria spp. and Phytophthora spp. The various pests include spider mite, cut worm, hornworm, leaf miner, flea beetle, Colorado potato beetle and others. Fruit fly is a serious pest where they are a problem. Greenhouse grown plants are particularly prone to attack by spider mites, white flies and aphids
Pepino Melon breaks down into glucose for great energy to get you through your day and increases stamina. And it is also chocked full of great beta-carotene antioxidants that prevent disease. Pepino Melon is packed full of great nutrients and that’s why they call it a Super Fruit.LIVER DISEASES & LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
It helps with liver disease, lowers blood pressure, helps those that suffer from strokes to heal faster, and promotes cardiovascular health.CANCER PREVENTION & DIABETES
Pepino Melon can also help prevent cancer and diabetes tends to regulate blood sugar levels because of the high fiber content, plus lower cholesterol. Plus Pepino Melon is anti-inflammatory in action helping to sooth away your aches and pains.
NON ENDING VITAMINS
Pepino Melon has lots of Vitamin A, C, K and also B Vitamins, protein, plus iron and copper, which are essential for a healthy immune system, and calcium for bones, potassium which is needed for relaxing and lowering blood pressure, and Pepino is a good diuretic.
Pepino Melon has soluble fiber similar to oatmeal, which also helps to lower cholesterol, and it’s easy to digest. Plus the fiber also helps with constipation and it tends to sooth away gastric ulcers too!
Anemia is the most common complication of kidney disease. Apart from iron injection, diet treatment is also necessary. Pepino melon fruit can relieve anemia.
Stomach discomforts like stomach pain, constipation and loss of appetite are also experienced by kidney disease patients. Stomach discomforts can be alleviated by pepino melon fruit.
Pepino Melon grows all over the world now and is very popular in Latin American and in Asia and a little bit new in Kenya.