Another Try with Melons



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 04:41 pm | Melons