The mini pepino originates from South America. It's also known as Tzimbalo and pepino lloron. It grows in the mountain areas in Columbia, Peru, Equador, Bolivia and Chile. This non hardy perennial is mostly grown as an annual in milder climates like the Netherlands. The flavour is an unusual and exotical mix of melon, banana and pine-apple. The fresh sweet flavour is long lasting. The little firm and round fruits ripen from light green to greenish yellow with green till purple-brown stripes. The peel is quite firm and sometimes hard. Use the Tzimbalo in exotical fruitsalads, in combination with yoghurt or quark or in delicious fresh desserts. Non hardy perennial. Height: 75 - 80 cm.
Indoor sowing: march - may
Germination: 10 - 21 days
Germination temp.: 19 - 22°C
Sowing depth: 1 - 2 mm
Plant distance: 45 - 50 cm
Plant position: sunny and sheltered (greenhouse)
Harvest period: september - end of october
Sow indoors in trays filled with moist potting soil from march on. Sow shallow and press the seeds gently in the soil. Tzimbalo is a light germinator. Put the trays in a warm room or propagator. The ideal germination temp is 19 - 22 °C. Keep the temperature as even as possible. Don't let the temperature drop during the night. Cover the trays with a lid or clingfilm to retain the moisture.
Remove the clingfilm or lid when the seedlings emerge. Transplant the seedlings to seperate pots after 10 - 14 days. Put the pots away at a cooler temperature of approx. 18 °C.
Harden the plants of by putting them outside during the day for approx. 10 - 14 days from the beginning of may. Plant them in a greenhouse on a sunny and sheltered spot after this period. Use eventually large pots or put them in the soil. Keep the plants 45 - 50 cm apart. Keep moist, but not waterlogged. You can harvest from the beginning of september.