Saturday Spotlight... melons...

20 April, 2013

This year I grew six varieties of rockmelon/honeydew melon: Ananas, Orange Sherbet, Lambkin's Hybrid, Tigger, Planters Jumbo and Sweet Granite.

These were all planted a little on the late side in around late Nov/early Dec last year (from my admittedly poor memory) and sprawled to become a mass of plants.

The melon bed

Now heading into the cooler months they have succumbed to a bit of the dreaded powdery mildew.

The melon bed - from a different angle

This however has an unforeseen advantage, as it makes the melons easier to spot.


So far it appears four of the six varieties have set fruit, although some of them look a bit small and I'm not confident they will ripen fully.

But happily, some are well on the way to ripeness. I find the best indicator of a ripe melon (of the rockmelon/cantaulope and honeydew melon variety) is by smell. The scent fills the air. A good melon calls to you.

Today I picked three ripe smelling melons.


Now because my melon bed was so overcrowded I needed to go back to my melon seeds and the seed company websites to be sure which was which. And I've hit a little dilemma.

Now I know this one is a Planters Jumbo.
 

This one I was able to determine, is a Lambkin's Hybrid.


However this one is a complete mystery.


From the photo's available on the various seed company websites from which I purchased my seeds, none of the photos match this variety. And it is a honeydew (i.e. green fleshed) melon, which doesn't match up with four remaining varieties which are all rockmelon/cantaulope (i.e. orange fleshed) melons.  


See.

I have no idea what is going on. But anyhoo, back to the spotlight.

The unknown variety has produced five fruits, but they are all a bit on the small side. The taste is pleasant,  not particularly sweet, thought I may have picked this one a little under-ripe. Did my nose deceive me? Probably. I'm reserving judgement on this variety until I've tried at least one more that I'm sure was fully ripe.

The Planters Jumbo set three fruits. It has lived up to it's name by producing the biggest melons of the lot.

Here is an inside view.


Taste wise I find the flavour is good, but it has a somewhat mealy texture. I have grown Charentais melons before and I thought they were better.

Lambkin's Hybrid is my favourite so far. This one set four fruits, all of a reasonable size. They were the first to ripen and this is the third of four that I've picked.


They have all been sweet, firm fleshed and delicious! I'm definitely growing this one again (I got the seed from Territorial Seeds.) Also, it goes as kind of yellow colour when it ripens which makes for easy pickings.

So overall melons have been reasonably successful. But if anyone can assist with identifying the unknown variety that would be greatly appreciated. Especially if on further pickings it turns out to be quite good.

I'm contributing this to Liz's Saturday Spotlight series.

8 comments:

  1. As I have almost no knowledge of melons I can't really help but I do know I'm really impressed with your crop. My attempts at melons have been pathetic - ie I have never managed to get them to set fruit.

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    1. This is only the second time I've got them to set fruits - last year was a complete failure! But I reckon they're worth the effort. They love full sun, while having plenty of water and food and being well mulched, like lots of summer crops. I guess it just depends how much space you have and what your priorities are. There are always too many plants to grow and not enough space to fit them all in!

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  2. Bek, can't help you with the melon identification.. save the seed if it is good! I have only ever grown one type of melon - French charentais. Oh, it was wonderful! Maybe next year I'll have some space for another one.. hope your melons ripen before the frost.

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    1. I haven't tried any more ripe ones yet, but it did set a few fruit so at least I know its productive! I hope they ripen too.

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  3. Bek, thanks for this what lovely melons you have... Love the different colours and textures of the skin. My Tigger gave up the ghost very early in the season - it couldn't take the heat. My only melon but a terrific performer despite the heat was Minnesota Midget.

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    1. They are pretty sensitive to heat! My Tigger has set only three very tiny fruit. I'm not sure if I'll get anything worth eating though. I like the sound of Minnesota Midget though.

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  4. I'm very envious of your melon production. I tried a couple of years ago - managed to raise one plant in the greenhouse but it gave up after producing a few flowers. We just don't get the weather in the UK to be growing them outside. I shall just have to enjoy fresh homegrown melons vicariously through you!

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    1. At least you can try with the greenhouse. I wish I could grow the really cold climate liking fruits like some apple varieties, and real frost sweetened parsnips... I guess we always want what we don't have.

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