Heirloom and Hybrid Melons

carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)July 27, 2005


You asked in Joe's marathon thread on melons if there was a difference in flavor between Charentais melon and its hybrids. I am having trouble scrolling in that thread now, so I though I might start a new thread to answer your question.

Bill said that Charentais, Savor and Trocadero taste very similar. I am growing all three this year, and find that plant culture and the stage of ripeness make more difference to the flavor than variety. There may be subtle differences which would be evident if you tasted enough melons grown in similar conditions. French Orange is a hybrid between a Charentais and a netted melon, resembling the latter, so would not be expected to have the same flavor as a Charentais.

One goal of people hybridizing Charentais is probably to preserve the famous original flavor. With other melons, they sometimes want to alter the flavor. But I have read a description of one Charentais hybrid which said that it had a light, delicate flavor and was sweet, but not too sweet. Maybe they were not trying to duplicate the original flavor in this particular variety. Read you catalog descriptions to see why the hybrid was developed - disease resistance, productivity, storage properties, etc. In a dry-summer climate like yours, certain disease resistance properties of hybrids may not be a great advantage.

Some companies take care to maintain the parent lines of their hybrids and others may not, leading to a decline in quality of the variety over a period of years. And some suddenly replace one hybrid with another for marketing reasons. Whether you choose the heirloom or a hybrid for your limited growing space, it makes sense to me to get your seed from a really reliable source.

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bill_southerncal(10 So.Cal)

TO Green and CarolynCl

Re: Charentais melon and the hybrids. Yes, I've grown several of the hybrids (Savor, Trocadero, Vedrantais, and a Burpee version (Honey Girl?) and I love them all. Since I have no problems growing the original, I tend to stick to that. Also, people I know who've been to France tell me it's the best melon they've ever eaten. They're surprised that we can grow the same thing here. I have gotten seeds from many different sources, and haven't had a bad crop yet. And definitely stage of ripeness and how grown have a big effect on taste. For me in my coastal climate with two plantings, one in April and the other in late July, definitely the second planting is sweeter and more productive.

I've had similar success with Galia melons and its many hybrid versions, like Passport which worked well for me but didn't do so well for CarolynCl. But I absolultely love the Vanilla Ice hybrid, an exclusive of Burpee Seeds. It's different in appearance than the yellow, very round netted and green fleshed Galia. But it grew bigger, juicier, and sweeter melons that I had expected.

I have also grown the OP Butterscotch melon. It was very good but inconsistent. Though I was looking for it, really all I could find was the Butterscotch Sweetie hybrid.

In summary, I prefer the heirloom, the original. Varieties handed down from generation to generation is a great thing. So is Biodiversity. But sometimes, if I can't get it, I'm satisfied with the hybrid versions.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 1:11AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

I think it's rewarding to grow heirlooms, too. But sometimes hybrids will have certain advantages (or disadvantages for home growers, such as ripening all at once for commercial production). I like Crenshaws, and have two hybrids and four heirloom types growing. I think there is room for both types in home gardens. But there would be no hybrids without heirlooms.


I bought seed of Vedrentais as an heirloom from Burpee a few years ago. I think I planted the last seeds in the packet in June. The French company which Carolyn137 linked in another thread doesn't list it as a hybrid, either. They feature its fusarium resistance, though. May be an older, stabilized Charentais hybrid strain rather than a modern F1 hybrid - sort of like the modern OP types Green Machine and Sweet Freckles. Sounds like Vedrentais may ripen earlier than Charentais, too. Their name for it is Super Precoce du Roc (sorry about skipping the accents).

They also have an orange-fleshed Galia hybrid which might interest you. Galick. I don't like the name much, but I tend to prefer orange-fleshed melons. And they have some other interesting melons. Their Banana melon looks a little different from mine. Their Ananas melon looks really different from mine.

Speaking of biodiversity, some of my extra melons this year are going to a friend and her husband, a dedicated wild food enthusiast. Maybe a step more unusual than an heirloom enthusiast.

Here is a link that might be useful: French Melons

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 2:49PM
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reign(z5 NY)

"I think there is room for both types in home gardens..."

Bill grows both heirloom and hybrids so yeah...he has room. ;) I'm a real smartie pants today.

"Their Banana melon looks a little different from mine. Their Ananas melon looks really different from mine."
Their Banana and Jenny Lind are images from Goldman's book. That Sucrin de Tours image is used at like 10 different sites. I get annoyed when seed companies do that without stating they have permission to use the images. Trust issue here. :)

I think I've gotten like 2 bananas that looked that perfect. Ever. :) Mine are usually shorter and faster.

Their Ananas is suppose to be a picture of Ananas d'Amerique (see details). It doesn't look like one to me. Mine look more like those at the link below.

From our 'Ananas' vs. 'Ananas d'Amerique a chair verte' messages in the other thread, it sounds like you were growing Ananas.

As far as I know Vedrantais is a heirloom.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Few Images

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 3:58PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


Thanks for the pictures. The Collective Farm Woman picture reassures me that I'm picking them at about the right time. Mine are smaller, though, not much flesh. We'll see if the May-planted ones look happier. The Ananas melon on the site I linked says "melon citron d'Amerique". Wonder if their picture is really of a citron melon? I really don't know what a citron melon looks like.

Using the wrong picture for a variety is about as annoying as not crediting an original photo. I've seen a few American catalogs put the wrong picture with an item.

My banana was a little different from your link, too. Darker salmon flesh, smaller green margin at the rind. Outstanding flavor and texture here in our hot summer weather. I think that Willhite has been improving their strain. Skin was paler than I expected and smoother than that in Goldman's picture. Did yours slip, or do things slip for me that don't slip for other people?

I flubbed up when I said I was growing 4 heirloom Crenshaw types - it's 3 heirlooms and a modern OP type (Sweet Freckles). But I think the Banana melon has some similarities to the classic Crenshaw types, at least on the outside. The flesh is much more dense and fine. And Extra Summer Sweet hybrid reminds me of the Crenshaws even more - looser texture, very juicy. I picked an outstanding, very sweet melon today, but I'm not really sure whether it was a small Burpee Hybrid Crenshaw or an Extra Summer Sweet. I lean toward the latter. Name tags are buried. A Crenshaw Blanco looks like it will say, "pick me" pretty soon. My first year with this variety.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 6:11PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Got two Early Sugarshaws a couple of days ago. Medium-sized, one over-ripe with a pithy spot and one under-ripe, sunscalded. Both slipped. Found that with my now-oversensitive nose, I can't even handle the aroma of my favorite variety when it is over-ripe. DH said it didn't taste over-ripe to him. I loved the under-ripe one. Very sweet, with lots of flavor.

Picked my first classic Crenshaw today (8.5 x 7.5") - I think this variety is old enough to qualify as an heirloom. It was starting to develop surface cracks, even though it has received no water since July 16. Forced slip. Picked my first really big Burpee Early Hybrid Crenshaw also (9.5 x 7.75"). Almost full slip. The Burpee hybrid was much heavier. It had thicker flesh and looked riper than the classic Crenshaw, which had a very thick green margin at the rind. But the classic is sweeter than the Burpee Early and had better texture. The Burpee Early seems like it was picked a day early. It also gives a bit of a sensation of chewing on really wet cotton - I've noticed this in other melons of this variety recently, too. Both of today's big Crenshaws have very nice flavor. The Burpee Early was prettier. But in this case, sweetness and texture trump appearance.

I'm confident now that the melon I thought might be a smaller Burpee Early yesterday was an Extra Summersweet (they are next to each other in the row). Exterior appearance and texture were too different for them to be the same variety. But they didn't look too different on the inside. Think I'll give away the rest of my old Burpee Early Hybrid Crenshaw seed to someone in a cooler-summer climate. I remember this as an exceptional melon, growing up in the Intermountain West. Unless they do well for me in the fall. I have some younger plants started.

I also had two little Sweet Freckles melons slip, one yesterday and one today. This melon is even cuter cut than it is whole, with its blocky teardrop shape. One was bigger than the other, 6.25 x 4.75". The orange flesh color goes almost to the rind, unlike the bigger Crenshaws. It has a much finer texture. Reminds me of the interior of the Banana melon, though a lighter orange color.

Both melons were comparable in sweetness to the Burpee Early Hybrid Crenshaw, less sweet than the classic Crenshaw. Less flavor than both the big melons. But they got some water a couple of days ago, while the big Crenshaws did not. This will probably be a really sweet melon when it gets a little less water. Fruits did not crack after watering. I think the flavor will be different from that of the bigger Crenshaws.

A Crenshaw Blanco is turning a yellowish cream color and is softening very slightly. Think I'll leave it another day. Hope I'm doing the right thing. Two Sugar Nut melons slipped today, but I'm waiting a day before cutting them based on the flavor development after picking the first one.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 1:09PM
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reign(z5 NY)

Carolyn - good update. Around my camp it is time to play I Spy.

I spy a Noir des Carmes...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 11:25PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


Looks like you have some melons coming right along. Healthy plants, too. Spider mites and aphids are marring some of my plants.

Early Black Rock is supposed to be similar to Noir des Carmes, and I've grown it in the past. Very suscetible to sunscald here. I might try Noir des Carmes for later in the season in the future.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 8:12AM
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reign(z5 NY)

You're eating and all I get to do is take pictures, jot notes. think of new experiments and play silly garden games with my husband. :) There is no justice.

I grow a fair amount of Noir des Carmes. 15 vines this year. A few hand pollinated to get me the next batch of seed. I like to eat it but I also like to use it in various dessert experiments. I also use this melon to make cantaloupe jam, ice cream and sorbet. I love cantaloupe ice cream but it is a rare find. So I supply my own.

I'm sort of blurred on the whole Black Rock vs. Noir des Carmes thing. I thought they were the same melon. I've seen listing stating "Black Rock aka Noir des Carmes". One day I'll do some research and clear that up for myself.

The only melon I "seem" to be having a problem with is Obus. One of the vines that acting up. It is wilting during the day. But I can't imagine it needs more water.

Pollination as been good. I planted a lot of flowers near melons areas in one part of the garden and none in another. I wondered if there would be an increase in melons on the flower side with everything else being equal.

I haven't had a problem with sun scald here. All the melons seem to have decent foliage cover protecting them.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 3:31PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Maybe there is a difference between "Black Rock" and "Early Black Rock". The melons I grew were small and shaped sort of like a Sweet Dumpling winter squash - more squat that the photos I see of Noir des Carmes. Flesh was deep orange, had nice flavor and juicy, loose texture. Flesh was not too thick.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 6:26PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

So, Noir des Carmes is one of those melons which is flavorful enough for cooking?

I can imagine myself making Cantaloupe Sorbet. I wonder about the ice cream and jam. Is the cantaloupe cooked for ice cream? How about the jam? I would think that freezer jam might work better with cantaloupe, but I have never cooked melon before. Don't know how the flavor holds up when it is cooked. What is your experience?

Think I would also want some lemon in cantaloupe jam or sorbet, to cut the sweetness, but I am fond of tart/sweet flavors.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 7:32PM
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reign(z5 NY)

Just about any melon is flavorful enough for cooking if you like the taste. And it depends on what you plan to do with it. It is like cooking with wine. Never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink. There are some melons I love to much to ever dream of cooking them. Some melons are just so meant to be eaten fresh.

I don't cook melon for ice cream. It is mashed/purred. For ice cream I feel you have to use a melon with complex flavor. Good tasting melon.

It is cooked for jam and sometimes paired with another fruit or flavoring. Like pineapple, orange or vanilla bean. Lemon juice is used to bring out flavors, add acidity and all that jazz. I plan to pair it with ground cherries this season. But I will have to choose a different melon for that. Jam is love when spooned on fresh biscuits during the winter. It is also an outstanding cake filling. I once made a cantaloupe and banana bread thing. It was good. But my husband and I agreed that overall it was a waste on a good melon.

You grow enough melons to at least try a sorbet or sherbet. :)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 12:42AM
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Tuso(madrid spain)

Just thought i'd say that i'm not having a wilting problem with my obus vines. A couple of days ago they got wilty for lack of water, but perked right back up with their regular watering, and they haven't shown any signs of stress during the day since.

By the way, i had never heard of cantalope ice cream until i saw it in the ben & jerry's ice cream cook book. I tried it last year and it wasn't bad. Do you use a cooked base, or uncooked with just cream and sugar? I would like to try again and see if i can do better.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 2:08PM
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reign(z5 NY)

Natasja - I think I have an idea of what is going on with my Obus. A little of it may be that I'm a water nazi.I think the main problem is the heat we've been having. The plastic the Obus vines lay on is getting pretty hot. I don't see it with the other melons beds because the vines totally cover the plastic beds. Once Obus started forming melons, daytime wilting got worse. I'm going to put some straw under the vines and see if that helps it. If I grow it next year, I'll be prepared for it to have attitude. :)

Most of the time I use an uncooked sweet cream type of the ice cream base. I also use a French ice cream base (cooked). It depends on my mood, time and what I'm going to do with the ice cream. French style takes so much extra time and effort but it is just yummy. French really know how to draw out a process. ;) First batch of the season is usally French.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 5:13PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


I think I like the idea of uncooked melon best. I've made Santa Rosa plum/clove currant cooked jam and strawberry/nectarine/lemon frozen jam this year - heavy on the lemon. The latter is a big hit with DH. Might try a white-fleshed melon with lime in frozen jam. Homemade biscuits and jam are wonderful together. But I prefer cake "straight" - It's sweet enough for me. Maybe a little whipping cream, custard and fruit is O.K. with cake. Maybe some fresh melon and custard with a nutmeg-flavored pound cake.

For sorbet, there are lots of possiblities. But I'm the one who prefers most melons at room temperature rather than chilled. Might have to add lemon or lime to a melon sorbet, too, in order to tolerate the sweetness.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 1:02AM
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reign(z5 NY)

PFB doesn't look like it will make my high productive list. :) A few vines have two fruits. Most seem to only have one. I haven't been poking around a lot since I don't like to disturb the vines. Maybe there are some hiding from me.

I think Golden Midget is going to be a favorite. Those little watermelons are just to cute.

I have my eyes on a few Minnesota Midgets that are at full size and should start ripening. For such small vines, they are productive. If I grow them next year, I may put them in a pot with a short trellis. One thing that is neat about them is how soon they start putting out female flowers. This would be a nice one for a children's garden. Easy to grow and payout is fast.
"Might have to add lemon or lime to a melon sorbet"

You're in luck! Lemon is added to sorbet. :)

I've never made a freezer jam. Jam with cake is like having a fruit sauce with it. Jam is heated and a few spoons is drizzled on and around the cake. Nice when punching up a simple cake or cheesecake. I like fresh melon at room temperature. too. I pretty much like all my fresh fruit at room temperature. Come to think of it...I think I eat just about everything at room temp. except ice cream.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 3:25AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


My PFB plants mostly set one fruit, too. Right at the crown. Guess this variety often puts everything it has into one or two melons. They must take a lot of energy to produce. I'll see if I get any new little fruits on the vine now that the first crop is mostly gone. One melon is about 2/3 mature, not at the crown.

We'll be looking for a canteloupe ice cream or sorbet recipe over at the Harvest Forum. Jam on cake is a much better idea than most frostings. I'll give you that. But I lived near a cheesecake bakery once whose owner was disappointed if you ordered a topping for your cheesecake (though he offered toppings, of course). I'm kind of used to that purist line of thought, I guess. Plain cheesecake, plain melon - at least if it's really good.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 6:35PM
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reign(z5 NY)

On closer inspection today. I found one PFB closer to the base. Several new female flowers are on the vines. So...maybe I'll get a few more. I had to remind myself that it is considered a late melon. I may be giving it glares to soon.

Obus looked good and happy again. The fruits on it had doubled in size. Granted thier still babies. But I'm no longer wondering that they were stunned to death while I was playing doctor with the vines. They still may end up smaller than they should. But that never bothers me if they taste good.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 11:41PM
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Tuso(madrid spain)

Glad to hear that the Obus has perked up.

Please post keep us up to date on Minnesota midget, as i'd like to hear how you would compare it to other smaller melons.

My blacktails seem half stunted and they seem to have stopped growing at about 5 inches. Maybe they need more time to fatten up?


    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 3:43PM
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reign(z5 NY)

I had my first casualty today. Lost a small NDC to a rodent of some sort. I've never lost a melon to a rodent so I was rather...bothered. I must have looked some kind of pissed off standing there looking at half a melon. My husband handed me the beer he was drinking and said, "We'll get the b*&$%^."

"His family. Friends. And anyone he has ever squeaked to."

Granted - losing one small melon from such a prolific variety is no reason to start calling in favors. But that has to stop. Now.

Two of the Golden Midgets are changing color. They are pale yellow runts. I don't mind since it is only those two and it gives me a chance to know what to expect. The others are taking on a decent size for what they are. If Golden Midget tastes anywhere close to good, I'll be inviting them back next year.

I also have a few Blacktails that appear to have stopped growing. I found one of my notes from 2003 where I commented that they seemed stunned after a drop from 90+ degree weather back down to the 80s. I later commented that they were growing just at a much slower rate.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 5:23PM
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I feel your frustration.

What a DH you have! A man close to my heart.

My DH tries to get rid of the possums we get here that eat my tomatoes and strawberries before I can pick them. One night I heard some scrambling in one of the bushes. I opened the sliding door and there was this possum hanging out on the branches. DH got out his sling shot and started shooting at it. It didn't budge! It just stared at us. Our eyes locked and I felt badly for it, thinking we were hurting him. But he didn't seem to be in any kind of pain. So then DH got out the water hose and sprayed the thing and it took off running. Something to keep in mind for the next encounter.

I hope when the melons develop, we won't lose them to the possums. I think I would just lose it!


    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 5:58PM
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reign(z5 NY)

The hybrid formally known as TBA has had a name change. He is now Burpee Hybrid.
When he ripens, I'll eat him any way.

Next season...another TBA ;)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 4:55PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


Sorry about your rodent experience. I've only lost entire melon vines to gophers or canines - never a gnawed-up melon. Could you borrow a cat or dog which would prowl around and leave some scent without doing too much damage? Our cats discouraged the ground squirrels and the dogs seem to have kept the neighborhood rabbits out of the garden. And the cats eat some of the gophers.


We might have possums, too, without the pets. One possum-lover (really) still recognized that they are only dealing with about a quarter deck in the mental department. Their life expectancy is only 18 months.

Haogen seems to be very productive for me this year, with bigger melons than I expected. A few other melons are ripening here and there, but P. secretly watered again.

I am becoming more impressed with Emerald Gem. But my first crop of melon plants are suffering from spider mites, white flies and a few aphids. Waiting for the May-planted melons to start ripening.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 7:05PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

The April-planted melon vines are showing their age and the effects of spider mites and white flies.

I got a banana melon Saturday which was longer than the last one, 14.5 x 5 inches, and more heavily ridged, but still pale yellow and green. It had cracked on the blossom end and was under ant attack, so I picked it at forced slip. It was still very nice and sweet, though flesh was not very thick. Firm.

An Eel River melon also got picked at forced slip due to cracking. End was a little rotted. Sweet and firm. Looks like a really big Crane melon.

An Extra Summersweet was a little over-ripe for my taste at forced slip. Earlier melons slipped and were larger and sweeter. This one was in the advertised range of a little over a couple of pounds, resembling a Charentais type on the outside, a little Crenshaw on the inside. Water was restricted during ripening, and flesh was firmer than earlier melons. Even the membrane in the seed cavity was firm. Whether from the effects of vine age or protracted heat in the 105 degree range, I liked the earlier melons better.

A Cantaloup d'Algers was picked fully dark yellow and a little soft. This one will not make my "must have" list, despite its beauty. Gave it to P. for salsa. He also took home a few watermelons and an unidentified muskmelon - tag buried.

I identified another mystery melon earlier in the week as Honey-I-Dew hybrid honeydew when it turned bright yellow and slipped. Not exceptionally sweet or flavorful. Not your typical honeydew. Very dark green before ripening, then bright yellow outside and green inside. On the small side. I prefer Ha Ogen. Getting a bumper crop of good melons, slipping when ripe. Reign talked me into experimenting with a melon recipe. See link below.

I am starting to get a few melons from the late May-planted vines. A Petit Gris de Rennes and a Charentais ripened a little before their time in the heat. Sweet and firm, some cracking on the Charentais. One row of plants in particular is very vigorous. A little sandier soil, well-amended with goat manure. Crenshaws are bigger than those in the April-planted row.

Should get a very big Early Sugarshaw today or tomorrow. Brighter yellow than melons which ripened earlier when it was not quite as hot. When it is very hot and water is restricted, this variety may not slip when ripe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Melon Limeade Freezer Jam

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 9:53AM
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reign(z5 NY)

Two ripe Minnesota Midgets were picked. I was out of town so DH picked, weighed, checked Brix and ate them for me. :) He was impressed with them. I can tell because he has asked like a zillion times how long before the others will be ripe and if I'm growing them again next year. Each one was close to 11 oz and came in at 14 and 16 Brix. Getting info on the smell, texture etc. from him is an exercise. I'll just wait until I have one. ;)

I took a glance at your recipe. How did it taste?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 4:27PM
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StanInCalif(Glenn County)

I grew Minnesota Midget for the first time this year. It is a winner, in my opinion. They were just a little flat tasting, but I blame that on the fact that they got watered within 10 days of harvest (they sneaked up on me), but none split.
Golden Midget was definitely flat, and this was not an irrigation problem - I think it's about as good as it gets.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 4:46PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


Exciting news - your first melon of the season. And you were gone! Good thing your DH has the melon record-keeping routine down. I have the same problem getting detailed evaluations of flavor, and I don't think my DH would really want to take vital statistics on a melon, either.

The melon/lime jam is fresh and tangy, with lime as the predominant flavor. You don't need to save your very best melon for it, as the nuances of your melon's flavor will get lost. Doesn't have the sophisticated "edge" of marmalade, and has a different quality from regular jam, too - doesn't seem quite right for bread to me. I think it would have "kid appeal", with all the sweet/tart candies they seem so fond of. Reminded me of the fresh lime sodas I loved as a kid, but I also thought of melon Agua Fresca at the beach when I first tried it. A real summer flavor. We'll be looking for a melon recipe or two from you when your harvest starts really rolling in.

My DH loved the Extra Summersweet which was too ripe for me, so it has clinched a spot on the variety list for next year. Minnesota Midget sound like it will make our short "early harvest" list. Thanks for the additional experience with this variety, Stan.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 6:21PM
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StanInCalif(Glenn County)

Carolyn- Minnesota Midget made a big hit at the [farmers]market this year- not quite Ambrosia quality, but a pretty dang good muskmelon, and just the right size - the age of the personal "cantaloupe" has arrived. I'm looking forward to supplementing it with Eden Gem and Jenny Lind next year.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 11:01PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


Have you ever tried Emerald Gem? Not exactly personal-sized, but smaller than many melons, very pretty and distinctive. Might be worth a trial.

Extra Summer Sweet is another you might try in your area. Even though my husband liked the last one better than I did. My sense of smell was damaged a while ago, and I am over-sensitive to some aromas. Although we got some variation in size and flavor, we never got one that tasted flat, even when watered at the wrong time. And they were always attractive.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 12:54AM
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Tuso(madrid spain)

I am very frustrated with my watermelons. Blacktail and golden midget melons are very small, have stopped sending out blossoms and have just plain quit. Orangeglo is much more vigorous and active. I planted all melons late this year, and maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe these "short season" melons need to be planted in April instead of June.

All other melons are seem to be doing OK. Nothing to write home about as far as size, but many fruit have set.

Going to add Minnesota Midget to the list for next year.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 12:36PM
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StanInCalif(Glenn County)

Thanks for the info. Yours comments on Ha Ogen make it sound pretty promising, also.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 3:13PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


Ha Ogen has probably been my most productive variety this year. Not always the sweetest melon, but consistently good and fragrant. Rather soft and loose texture. You could also try out Bill's recommendation, Vanilla Ice, for another Galia type. I noticed that this variety was on Burpee's bargain seed list this year.

Emerald Gem has salmon flesh despite its name. Both my Canary types, Sugar Nut and Mary Gold, look like potential Farmer's Market winners to me, too. But I think I will time the ripening of mine next year for after the hottest summer weather. I'm having some trouble figuring out when to pick them. They both stand up to hot conditions very well, but I think it will be easier to pick them at the optimal stage when ripening is a little slower. Both are small, but Sugar Nut is smaller and unusually sweet. Mary Gold (OP) is my favorite chilled melon so far this year.

I plant to grow Charentais and/or Savor hybrid Charentais next year even in the hottest weather. You might also look into Bill's recommended Butterscotch Sweetie for another personal-sized melon.

My favorite big hot-weather melon continues to be Early Sugarshaw. They're coming in at about 9x7 inches now. I also got a big, beautiful Stutz Supreme (OP) yesterday. Its deep salmon flesh was a surprise under the delicate netting. It did not slip as advertised. Melon was softening. Very thick, rather soft and juicy flesh, flavorful. And I love the Banana Melon, too. Though it sometimes looks pretty rustic, gets some cracking and lacks consistency in size. I arranged five slices over the top of a big tub of assorted melon chunks (peels left on) yesterday for a party. Looked pretty dramatic.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 5:42PM
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StanInCalif(Glenn County)

A personal sized melon called Butterscotch Sweetie and recommended by Bill has to be a winner- Ive added it to the list for 2006.
I agree on the Canary- I grew a variety from Burpee several years ago, and felt that it would be a good market melon- dependable, productive, and a wide window for harvesting. The Canaries you describe sound even better- aah so many varieties, so little time.
I grew Charentais (Baker Creek) this year, and it was good, but it didn't measure up to Ambrosia (my benchmark). However, the harvest window seems to be a little wider. In this climate, when Ambrosia is ready, you better eat it or refrigerate it.
Charentais will be a repeat next year- it's a good melon, and it gives me a little prestige as a vendor, but the best melons I have ever grown have all been muskmelons- Persian, Ambrosia, and Netted Gem.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 11:41PM
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reign(z5 NY)

*&%^$# Blue Ridge. I think I'm going to have to invite it back next year and pay attention to it. What I've done to this melon goes beyond abuse. :) It has staying power. And is showing some serious drought tolerance.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 5:10PM
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I grew many Tigger melon's this year and the only way I could get anyone to eat them was to tell them they were squash and good in salads. Does anyone know how to make a Tigger hybrid that would be sweet?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 1:58PM
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bill_southerncal(10 So.Cal)

Peculiar Butch: I have never been impressed with anything that is as pretty as a Tigger Melon if it doesn't taste good. That's why I never even considered growing it. The other one that is interesting but worthless to me is that Perfume melon that they used to carry in purses and pockets. It smells great but also has zero taste. Unlike people, even a hunchback of Notre Dame looking melon, if it tastes great, is beautiful and a welcome sight to melon lovers.

Hopefully, you will grow a different, more tasty melon for yourself and your neighbors next year. I don't know how you can make that melon sweeter except to dunk slices in honey.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 8:28PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


You could try crossing Tigger with a sweet yellow-skinned open-pollinated melon, but it would be a real gamble. Or, if you wanted a really sweet hybrid melon that looked something like Tigger, you could grow Sugar Nut and color the melons with permanent markers to look like Tigger. They wouldn't smell the same, though.

Maybe you could grow a Tigger plant for melons to look at and smell while you ate other melons. Sounds like you have the space. There are a lot of choices out there.

I told people who got my Tiggers (with other melons) to admire them for a while, then pretend they were cucumbers (skin and seeds removed). They ought to be good in bread and butter pickles, or the first recipe linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: refrigerator pickles

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 1:14AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Those St. Nick melons are quite large and very very sweet. [9 - 12 pounds]

The Sugar Queens are scrumptous...Two plants have matured either 22 or 23 fruits with 2 more coming on.

My one Orangeglo watermelon made 4 large fruits with a total weight of 119 pounds.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 9:46PM
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How many inches is a Charentais melon when ripe?

How many weeks until harvest is the tigger melon, from flower to full size tigger?


    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 8:28PM
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I grew Petit Gris de Rennes this year and was told they wouldn't ripen in this zone. I had my second one today and it convinced me I'm in love. I have to grow melons next season--fewer tomatoes, more melons--and promise to pay attention to them unlike this season.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 2:58PM
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Tuso(madrid spain)

Well, its official, i will not be growing tigger next year. The long, hot, dry Madrid summer was not enough to coax tigger into being any sweeter. I have grown it for two years and only gotten OK results. I am not saying it is a bad melon, it remains one of the most fragrant that i know and it was super productive this year. But there are too many melons that i want to try to give up space.

Tons of kazakh melons have just slipped and they are a fabulous. The crunchy texture has really won me over.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 7:09AM
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bill_southerncal(10 So.Cal)

Mr. Potatohead - most of the different charentais varieties I have grown were in the 4" - 6" in diameter range. Please reduce the watering the last two weeks of ripening. Let us know how they do.

In mid August, I planted some Butterscotch Sweetie melon seeds like I did a year ago. This year, though, September has been cooler than average. The next week is supposed to be average in temps (mid 70 highs, high 50s lows). That is a good sign, as the plants are now 1-2 feet long with several blossoms. In a couple of weeks, they will begin fruiting. Last year, I harvested fruit around Halloween through Thanksgiving. There are a few Galia volunteers that came up about 10 days later. They have 1-2 sets of true leaves, so I doubt they will produce any decent fruit. I'll keep them around but if there are any diseases or if they don't begin blossoming in two weeks, they'll be removed and replaced by cabbage.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 9:43PM
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AdelJeff(z5 IA)

Tigger Melons Butch if you let them mature on the vine till they basicly fall off they taste pretty good. I had picked some to early and they weren't very good. It is a different taste then other melons but I thought they were pretty good when very dark red.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 2:35PM
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bill_southerncal(10 So.Cal)

It's been weeks since I've posted. I planted some melons in August. The weather has been very unpredictable the last two months here in Southern Cal. We've had mainly cooler than average temps (5-10 degrees) except for one week of 90 deg. weather. Not surprisingly, the Butterscotch Sweetie performed like champs. There were about 3 melons on each of 8 plants, all of them sweet though smaller than those planted in June and harvested early August.

Most of the volunteer Galias have blossoms but they probably won't bear now. The 4 Haogen Melon plants suffered through the foggy evenings and cool days, succumbling to blights. But I managed to get 5 regular sized melons, the rest were too small and I pulled the plants out. Unfortunately, the largest, a 2.5 lb melon was attacked by the ground squirrels. I have one Jenny Lind plant and it produced one one-pound melon, but the squirrels got to it, too. The other two JL melons were too small to be worth anything before the plant died.

The good news is that those three melons, if planted in early August in the future, will probably succeed. They were still selling Ambrosia, Galia and Haogens at the Hollywood Farmer's market through early October. Anyway, I am so glad the Butterscotch melons can produce even when others struggle this first week of November.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 1:08AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Bill, thanks for the summary on melons. I too grew a successful crop of Sweetie and also lost much of my other melons planted after late July to the weird SoCal coastal weather.

I've always had good luck growing Ambrosia and it has proven a favorite with my customers. The Butterscotch melon is acquiring a fan base even though the fruit is small and different.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 11:35AM
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