Archive for the 'Melons' Category

Cantaloupe Success – Sort of

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Last week, I harvested our first Hale’s Best cantaloupe fruit from the vines growing in our vegetable garden, as shown in this picture. This is the same cantaloupe shown in the photo in my July 25 post. Although I can’t say it was the best cantaloupe I have ever eaten, it was sweet and more flavorful than the typical store bought cantaloupe. However, it was small – only about 5 inches long. But I am happy just to get a small cantaloupe that’s tasty. Last year, we harvested a larger cantaloupe, but it wasn’t at all sweet.

I know that our climate is not ideal for melon growing, because the average summer high temperatures are not hot enough. So I consider this cantaloupe a partial success. I have also harvested a few more cantaloupes that are only about 3 inches long. Now I just have to figure out how to get them to set larger fruit, like grocery store cantaloupe. Perhaps, they need more fertilizer. I only gave our cantaloupe plants a few applications of water soluble fertilizer back in the spring. Perhaps, many more applications of fertilizer might work better. Maybe I will try more fertilizer next year.

August 30 2009 | Melons | 3 Comments »

Another Try with Melons

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Last year, I experimented with growing cantaloupes. Although a few cantaloupes developed (one nearly grocery stored size), they weren’t edible, because they didn’t develop any sweetness. Since then, I have read that melons need a lot of summer warmth to sweeten up properly. They are grown successfully in hot summer climates where the high temperatures regularly exceed 90 degrees F. In our area, the summer highs average around 80 degrees F.

This year, I planted a type of cantaloupe (i.e., muskmelon) called Hale’s Best. I have heard that this particular variety of cantaloupe is more likely to ripen in a mild summer climate. I also planted the cantaloupes about 6 weeks earlier than last year to give them a head start. I planted seeds in early April and transplants from a nursery in mid-April to see which would grow better. Both are doing well so far.

A few cantaloupes are already developing on the vines (see first picture). The melons seem to be developing at least few weeks earlier that last year’s melons. I can’t wait to see if they ripen this time. I am hoping that planting them earlier will give them enough time to reach full sweetness. Home grown melons are supposed to be far more sweet and flavorful than the typical grocery store melon.

I also planted honey dew melons by seed. I selected a variety called Sweet Delight that was being sold at a local nursery. I know that honey dew melons may need even more heat than muskmelons to ripen fully. But I decided that it would be fun to try at least once.

I set out several honey dew and cantaloupe seeds in March. Birds ate most of those soon after they sprouted. I then planted a second round of honey dew and cantaloupe seeds a few weeks later in early April. The second time, I put bird netting over the seedlings. Most of the seeds in this second batch managed to sprout and grow into vines that are now producing small melons. The second picture shows one of the honey dew melons on the vines.

July 25 2009 | Melons | No Comments »

First Cantaloupe

I purchased a cantaloupe transplant from a nursery last June and planted it in one of our new raised beds. This transplant is my first attempt to grow cantaloupe in a long time. So far, it has exceeded my expectations.

I decided that I needed to give this plant a head start, because I planted it late. So I fertilized it with water soluble fertilizer about once every week or two for the first few months. For the past few months, it’s vines have grown so quickly that they have been spreading out of the raised bed and onto the rocks below.

This picture shows the first cantaloupe fruit developing on the vines. It’s about 6 inches long. It’s smaller than a typical cantaloupe, but it’s heavy for its size. Even so, I am excited to get a fruit that large. The last time I grew cantaloupe, the fruit only grew to about 2 inches long.

Cantaloupes that are properly ripened can be very delicious. However, my experience has been that the flavor of cantaloupes varies a lot. Some are not very sweet.

Cantaloupes are well worth eating when they are in season and tasting their best. The main season for them is middle and late summer in the US. A few years ago, I learned that cantaloupe is full of vitamins A and C. Since then, I have been cultivating my taste for them.

October 10 2008 | Melons | 1 Comment »