Moon and Stars Watermelon

vics_gardenkeeper(7b AL)June 25, 2003

I've got seedlings of both M& S and M&S Amish. First off, does anyone know what the distinction is between the two as I could find any? Also, is anyone else growing these. The seedlings are only about 4 inches high, and while healthy, I sure would've thought they'd take off by now.

Thanks in advance.

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fishead(8)

Ditto. Mine are growing SLOW. What's the deal with these?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2003 at 11:03AM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

I don't know about Alabama. But, Fishead, watermelons like hot weather, and given the long, cold, wet spring we've had, that's probably why they've been slow growing.

I'll bet they'll be taking off, now that hot weather has arrived.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2003 at 12:11PM
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nctomatoman(z7/8 NC)

The original Moon and Stars is/was a round, 20 plus pound pinkish red fleshed variety with white seed. Some crossing probably occurred through the years of it being saved and passed on, because several "strains" emerged - including round with brown seed and elongated with brown seed - not sure if there is an elongated with white seed. All are delicious. There is also a round, yellow fleshed white seeded strain - never grown it.

Craig

    Bookmark   June 25, 2003 at 12:17PM
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fishead(8)

G-lad, yeah, this spring has been wacky....I can't figure out the weather here (Louisiana native), but at least it was good for greens!
I expected my watermelon to explode over the past week, since its been in the upper 80's. How much water do they need? I watered them last night, hope to see some improvement when I get home. (Yes, I water after work - It's absolutely the only time I can do it). Am really really wanting those funky looking moon and stars!!
Fish

    Bookmark   June 25, 2003 at 12:50PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

My understanding is that they require a lot of water. But I've never grown watermelons, so have no first hand knowledge.

It is amazing what a little sunshine and warm weather will do, though. My garden (those parts of it that survived the monsoons, that is) has really taken off the past week.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2003 at 2:42PM
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Scott_K(Chas SC 8b)

I'm growing M+S down here in SC this season. Thankfully the Spring wasn't as wet as some of y'all had. I got the seeds in the ground in late April. From four vines, it looks like I'm going to have 7 or 8 nice melons. The first one will be harvested in the next few days. The bottom has turned yellow and I think that its time! I'll report back with the flesh color, seed color, and whether it was tasty.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 9:25PM
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nctomatoman(z7/8 NC)

Scott, do you have the elongated strain, or the nearly round strain? What is the rough weight of the fruit?

I am envious...Moon and Stars is my favorite Watermelon, particularly the elongated brown seeded strain.

Craig

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 11:37PM
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fishead(8)

Scott, do you have a way to take a picture and post it here? I'd like to see the M&S melon (just in case I don't get one off of mine!)
Thanks - fish

    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 9:09AM
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Scott_K(Chas SC 8b)

I will try to post a picture later this week. These melons are roundish and large! I would estimate 30 lbs. The seeds I planted were biege-ish speckled brown. I would gladly send seed to anyone interested.
I live 3 miles from Charleston, and planted a Charleston Gray last year. I got two good fruits before foiliar fungal problems set in.They were good, but this plant is much more interesting. This year I've kept water off of the leaves(as much as possible) and the vines look alot better. I'm going to make this melon a regular. No one around me is growing watermelon, and this variety is the only one I'm growing this year, so I've let the bees take care of business.
Have a great summer. Scott

    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 9:29AM
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Scott_K(Chas SC 8b)

I snipped the umbilical cord this morning and put the melon on ice and took it to work. Before slicing I put the melon on a scale. 32.2 pounds. Nearly round, mostly stars(no big moons), pinkish flesh, mildly sweet, and lots of dark brown rather large seeds. My co-workers were impressed, but I'm thinking that it may have needed another four or five days on the vine. It was(is) plenty good, but I would be very interested in getting some seed of other m+s varieties. Would anyone like to offer some seed for next years' crop?
I'd like to see some bigger moons and the whitish seed. Perhaps I'll get some SSE seeds since they are closer to the original source. No pictures, yet. But be patient. Best regards melon growers........... Scott

    Bookmark   July 11, 2003 at 9:00PM
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greengodess

Ok. I have lots of sun and have had lots of sun. I'm growing, or trying to grow, the Amish M & S watermelon and mine has been three inches high for two months now. I did forget to mulch it, but come on....two months? Last year I planted a seed and did nothing to it and grew like gangbusters and this year zip. I give them extra water and I live in Vegas.....no denying that we haven't had enough sun. So what's up with that?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2003 at 11:35PM
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heidibird(z7/OK)

Question in refeence to the statement about trying not to get water on the leaves. Should I only be watering the hills in which I planted the seeds? Do they not require watering of the rest of the leaves ad vines? My M&S only developed 2 fruits..one which rotted at about a 2 inch diameter. The other fruit is looking almost flattened on one side(and this is not the side on the ground). No stars or moons on the rind yet although the leaves were wonderfully spackled. The rest of my melons appear to have done well in comparison to M&S. I am getting at least 2 nice sized fruits from each of them.
~Heidi

    Bookmark   July 20, 2003 at 2:44PM
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Scott_K(Chas SC 8b)

Hello Heidi!
I've watered these melons alot!!! But now that I'm harvesting, I've not watered at all. I put the hose ONLY on the hills, trying to be careful not to splash any water onto the ground so hard that dirt bounces up on to the foilage. I point the water wand right at the base of the vine coming out of the ground. You can't avoid keeping the foilage totally dry, but I do try.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2003 at 9:59PM
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WesKat(z8 TX)

We planted Heirloom Moon & Stars Watermelons this year. One vine produced small melons, but those got some kind of brownish rot and fell off. The other vines are producing a few melons now, one is probably 6-8 lbs and looks fine. Not sure what variety I got, elongated or round. When you have the round kind, what size is normal for a first crop?

Kat in E TX

    Bookmark   June 27, 2004 at 4:32PM
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fert1(7 SC)

I have a question about M&S. Do they get the yellow moon and stars as they ripen, or do they have the spots earlier? In other words, can the spots be used as a ripeness indicator?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2004 at 11:13PM
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nctomatoman(z7/8 NC)

No, the foliage and young fruit all have small spots, which just proliferate and, in some cases, enlarge over time. As far as I can tell, you can't use the fruit spots as a ripeness indicator...for me, the dried tendril is still the best test, though it is not foolproof.

Craig

    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 4:46PM
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rodger(8SC)

I planted the yellow meated M&S this year from seed obtained from Bakers Creek. I picked my first melon yesterday and have another five that are ready. I planted directly in the ground on the 15th of Apr and I have about 25# oblong fruits only one week after Blacktail Mountain started riping and both planted on the same date. So this turned out to be alot earlier than expected. And the flavor was excellent. But I believe Keckleys mountain sweet is the best yellow meated melon I'have ever grown.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 12:12AM
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phade(z6 NY)

I am envious. Us Yanks have to work hard just to even get Sugar Baby or Yellow Doll to produce.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2004 at 1:58PM
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fusion_power

1. Watermelons grow best in very rich soil, translate that as lots of organic matter.

2. If the watermelons haven't grown in two months, something is bad wrong.

3. Temperature can suppress growth. Watermelons grow best with temps above 70 degrees at NIGHT.

4. Too much water can cause the roots to waterlog and die. The best way to deal with this is to plant them in a raised hill about 6 inches above the surrounding ground.

5. The worst thing you can do to a watermelon is give it too much nitrogen. They develop white spots in the meat of the melon and have a bitter taste. A low nitrate fertizer such as 8-24-24 at a rate of 2 or 3 level tablespoons per hill of 3 plants is all they need.

6. Kleckley's Sweet is nowhere near the best tasting yellow meated melon though it is better than average.

7. There are several different factors that indicate whether or not a watermelon is ripe. Here are a few.
a. The color of the tendril near the point where the melon attaches to the vine.
b. The color of the underside of the melon
c. The "feel" of the surface of the melon (lumpy and rough is ripe).
d. The hollow sound it makes when you thump it.

8. The best soil for watermelons is a sandy loam.

Fusion

    Bookmark   July 4, 2004 at 6:15PM
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Hipydawg(6-MO)

Hey Fusion, thanks for the "what to look for" as to when to pick the watermelon. We are growing the Moon and Stars this year and had not seen a lot of action until this last week or so. We took a trip up to the California wine country and saw some examples at the Fetzer gardens. How excited we were to return home to our own ripening melons. They have many stars but no discernable moons.
Lori

    Bookmark   July 9, 2004 at 7:45PM
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PintSizedPlanter(z9 CA)

Hey good people!

This is my first time growing watermelon. I decided to go with the Moon+Stars because they just look so cool! (I thought it would be nice to impress my niece, who absolutely LOVES watermelon!) :D

Was wondering how big I should expect these babies to get?

I have six plants with varying sizes of fruit, the largest being about 3" round.

How often do you water?

Mine are grown in a garden bed and the vines are sprawling outside of the box.

I'm looking forward to my first slice of homegrown melon!

PintSizedPlanter

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 4:28PM
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YankeeBelle(z7 NE GA)

I was very lucky with my first attempt at growing watermelon(Myself, being a Yankee transplant to Georgia) I bought one 4" Moon & Stars plant from a greenhouse in Jefferson, Ga. I have harvested two large melons already, and more on the way. The one I picked yesterday weighed in at 32.5 pounds! I'll be saving the seeds from this one. Does anyone have any hints on saving viable watermelon seed?
The foliage of the plant and the melon itself is quite interesting, very dark green with bright yellow speckles and splotches, thus the "moons and stars". The fruit is very sweet and juicy.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 12:02PM
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fusion_power

Size?

Moon and Stars gets up to 45 pounds though this is unusual. Most are from 15 to 25 pounds.

I suggest more northern growers try Blacktail Mountain from Sandhill Preservation. Its a small to medium sized (5 to 10 lbs.)melon with lots of flavor.

Fusion

    Bookmark   August 15, 2004 at 4:03PM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

Fusion Power, what, in your opinion, is a great tasting yellow fleshed watermelon?

I've tried M and S two years running now and have never had any fruit set. Lovely vine though! This year I'm going to try Sweet Siberian (yep, our season is about to begin).

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 5:13AM
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fusion_power

Orange Flesh Tendersweet is a pretty decent melon though it is technically orange not yellow. Let me qualify a bit by saying that I put the true yellow flesh melons and the orange flesh melons in the same category. I also group the pink flesh melons like Tom Watson with red flesh melons like Jubilee.

The best tasting yellow/orange melon I've yet tried is an heirloom grown by a man in NorthWest Alabama. If you look up a melon called Desert King, you will get an idea what its outside looks like. The inside is dramatically different though. It carries the explosive gene like Cream of Saskatchewan and it has light orange flesh with tan seed. This melon is extremely susceptible to fusarium so it is difficult to grow. But when you get a good crop of melons, WOW!

Fusion

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 12:53AM
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stevholz(7)

Here's a picture of mine (picked too early - yellow flesh)

I waited a couple more weeks and have harvested two so far with pretty good sweetness.

Question: Can I plant the seeds from these watermelons? Do I just let them dry out and save them?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 12:47PM
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maru(7a MD)

I planted my Moon and Stars in May. I got a lot of vine, but no fruit. That was until around the time the plants reached the 100th day maturity specified. Like magic several fruit have appeared and since then one has grown quite large. Lots of stars no moons. The spot where it's connected to the vine looks green and fresh so I'm afraid to pick it. This is not a hot summer in Maryland so I suspect the growth is slightly stunted.

How can I tell when the melons are ready to pick?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2004 at 4:37PM
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glob(MD)

I just picked this 7 pounder from my patch in my Baltimore Community Graden - I will be away for quite some time - so I did not want to abandon this guy.

This is my first attempt at M&S watermelon - or any watermelon for that matter - so I am proud of this guy. Not bad for a city kid (age 40). I may have picked it too soon - but I find that much of gardening is trial and error - and you have to jump in with two feet to learn anything.

Nice moons on this guys too!

Cheers!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 5:13PM
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hooch_92366(Z6 OH)

This is the first year I have grown moon and stars. They are the best producer I have ever had. I have many 20-30 pounders and a few woppers. We brought in a 38 pounder last week and we have one that is much larger than that. It will be well over 50 pounds. We love them!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 7:57AM
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AdelJeff(z5 IA)

Mine are tasting onderful but don't pick to early. When ripe they are increadable... I will definiantly gow again. Mine is the red-pink flesh var. About half of mine have moons as well as stars.
Jeff

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 3:45PM
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BDEBASITIS_EXCITE_COM

Does Moon & Stars require a pollenator? I have great vine growth, but not a single fruit yet. I'm in San Jose CA and we have had some great melon growing weather (not so good people weather). There have been days I could almost see the vines grow. My wife and I just moved here and I'm noticing a pretty significant shortage of pollenators. I'm considering getting a soft brush to do it myself. Is this necessary?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 11:27AM
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macmex

If you don't have pollinators it certainly wouldn't hurt to do some hand pollinating.

How many days since you planted them? From one of my plantings I'm just seeing fruit set at 70 days. I have some nice large ones on my first planting, which is 100 days old. Two days ago I picked a melon from my April 17 planting and it was only 1/2 ripe : (

I have the round, white seeded variety. Got the seed via the Seed Savers Exchange in the mid 80's and have grown it out for seed a couple of times. This is the first time that I'm growing it under truly favorable conditions and some of those melons are going to pass 30 lb! It's hot here in OK!

George
Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 2:17PM
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harrisphd(8b/BR La US)

I've got my Moon and Stars in the ground and they've developed their real leaves. Does the foilage have yellow spots? I have mine in raised beds about 5", they have GREAT soil could 2' apart be too close?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 2:02PM
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macmex

Yes, very soon you should start seeing yellow spots on the true leaves.
I don't know if 2' apart is too close since I don't know your lay out. But if you have a rectangular bed and you planted them 2' apart down the middle, that'll probably work.

George

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 3:17PM
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woodyend

Here is my husband in the garden last year with one of our largest Moon and Stars Watermelon. BTW it grew bigger as this one is still attached to the vine.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 7:16PM
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harrisphd(8b/BR La US)

Thanks for the info George. It is a rectangular bed and I mulched 'em with newspaper and pine straw. Does anyone have any knowledge of trellising cantaloupe?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 10:02AM
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henry_garden

Wow, thats an impressive watermelon. What was the weight of it when you pulled it?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 9:20PM
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smonky(6 Western NY)

Does anyone know where to get seeds/seedlings for Moon&Stars? seedsavers.org are all out... thanks

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 12:50PM
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fusion_power

Moon & Stars melons are available from Sandhill Preservation.

http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/catalog/melon.html

As an fyi, I am growing both Long Moon & Stars and Yellow Moon & Stars melons for seed this year. They are in two locations a bit over 1/2 mile apart to maintain seed purity. If all goes well, these will be the seed Glenn sells next year!

Fusion

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 3:02PM
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lisainzone7

I tried trellising cantaloupes last year. This year I'm just letting the vines run. The melons pulled my trellis over somewhat. I was afraid the melons would pull off too soon because they do detach easily as they ripen. I used old panty hose as a sling to hold the melons up and take the tension off the vine. It worked enough to say that no melon went uneaten and I have never had better melons, but in my opinion Ambrosia cantaloupes were too heavy for the trellis.
I have been looking through my seed catalogs (for next year) and have been looking for a small melon that could be trellised. I will also grow Ambrosias too--always!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:06PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Hi, all

It is hard to hear all of you living in zone 8,7,6 talking about harvesting watermelons. I live in zone 5, I grow M$S first time this year and the vine just start grow. I haven't see baby melon yet. However, I also grow Charleston gray, I already have two baby watermelon set on the vine. I noticed this year, there aren't many bees there for pollinating the flowers. I have to do hand pollination.

Beside M&S and Charleston gray, I also grow Burpee's Orangeglo, and bush sugar baby. I am anxiously wait to see how those two turned out at end of the season.

My watermelon vine is spreading all over the place , I am thinking about pruning it. But I don't want to sacrifice the melon producing rate and size. I remember I read somewhere long time ago ( when I was not growing any watermelon) that if you are pruning the vine and burring the vine node , you will get bigger watermelon. Does anyone here knows more about it?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 2:51PM
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fusion_power

The way to get bigger melons is to limit the number of fruit on the vine. Most vines can produce between 1 and 3 fruit depending on variety and planting density. I plant 5 seed per hill with most of my watermelons and thin to 3 plants per.

When you see the vines set one or two melons, pull off all further female flowers from that vine and you will get much larger melons from the ones that remain.

Pruning the vines limits fruit production. This may be necessary since most home gardeners don't allow enough room for watermelons to expand properly. Most watermelons will grow 30 foot long runners under normal conitions. They will cover an area up to 1000 square feet. This is equivalent to a square 32 feet on each side. When I grow watermelons in a field, they are planted on 12 ft centers.

When I grow melons for seed, I plant them much denser which limits the melon size. I have been using woven mesh black plastic ground cover 15 feet wide by 300 feet long to control weeds. This is a highly effective method for the home gardener. The only caveat is that the plastic is very expensive. I can justify the expense since I am growing them for seed. If you want to check into the plastic, see this link:

shawfabrics

Fusion

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 11:44PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Well said fusion. With all large types of watermelons it usually works out about like this: 1 very nice watermelon; 2 good watermelons' and 3, 4, or more poor quality melons. Of course there are a few exceptions to that rule. Sometimes a healthy plant will set a couple nice fruits and then start a second set when the first ones are ripening.And rarely a plant will set 4 huge ones at once like an Orangeglo did for me a couple years ago.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 4:45PM
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timetaplant(7)

This was the first and only year I have ever planted watermelon. I must say based on or own opinion and many people who are avid gardeners that the M&S we have been enjoying for 3-4 weeks have been delicious and very well formed. I do remember it seemed they took a cpl weeks after we planted for them to settle in and start their vineing process. Starting from seed my son Luke and I Started 4 plants (2 seperate hills)from seed and by the end of June they had taken all the room I had given them and were growing out of their area. Up the rose trellis and across our concrete patio. I think they would have grown over our home if I and my scissors had not taken action to keep them in the area (10x30). They made great and quite large melons, 38lbs in one case but no smaller than 25lbs. All the fruit, 11 total made it to maturity and were very juicy and sweet. They have vined and bloomed and set fruit again with one growing 3 feet off the ground on our rose trellis ,...need to build a stick platform for it lol. Which brings me to my question. Is thier enough time for them ( 5 more so far) to develop to maturity? And is it common for watermelons to have 2 seperate crops from each plant???? I water them really well until they are fully formed and not getting any larger then I cut the water back to whatever nature will give us......my take on M&S's watermelons.......GREAT!!!!!!....thx ,..timetaplant

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 6:41PM
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spiterwoman_yahoo_com

I planted a m+s last year and got one melon that was overripe when I picked it. I threw it out for the chickens and this year one came up all by itself in a clump of grass. I didn't water at all and it has 6 melons so far, one quite large.

I live in Austin and have dry, clay soil. Go figure.

Now if I can just pick them at the right time I'll be in business.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 11:39AM
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desertking

Amish variety is Round - Van Doren Strain
Other variety is long...Both are spotted. I grew the Van Doren Strain, and didn't find it that sweet. They say adding a little borax to water can make them sweeter. It's a pretty melon...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 2:54AM
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