Flashing my Passport at the Border

digit(ID/WA)September 8, 2011

The Goliath tomato weighs 1 1/4 pounds so you can see that the Passport Galia melon isn't very large. I am just so pleased that I can grow melons here. There's no question, the ability to grow melons here is right on the border of possible success and usual failure.

Passport has been in my garden for about 6 or 7 years, now. I tried for many seasons to grow melons before I discovered this Israeli melon family - the Galia. Wikipedia says that it is a cantaloupe/honeydew cross and that's exactly what it looks like. The exterior has the appearance of the cantaloupe but the flesh is green. Passport is the only Galia variety that I've grown but it is a consistent producer. Why mess with success here at the border?

A little Charentais melon has also grown well for me - Honey Girl. But, this melon has also failed in our cool nights, short-season part of the world. If I would have found the seeds, I suspect that it would have failed this spring when we had a record cool start to the season. Maybe not . . . The Charentais variety that I tried last year failed to ripen properly. The Santon Charentais that is in the garden may or may not ripen. (I think it will ripen . After a record cool start, it looks like we may have record HIGH temperatures to finish!)

Anyway, I wanted to flash my Passport! I've been eating these melons for about a week now. They work for me and if your garden environment is melon-challenged, they might work for you, too!

Steve

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david52 Zone 6

I gave up on melons last summer, haven't bothered to even try now for two years.

The only time I was successful was the 2002 summer when the mega-drought was around along with record high temperatures, and I had wheelbarrows of Charantais - they are so good. Several years of failure after that, then tried the really small Asian melons - maybe get 3 or 4 to eat out of 8 feet of vines.

This one I may try.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 10:25PM
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digit(ID/WA)

David, the secret with the Charentais seems to be timing the harvest. They really must not be a shipping type.

It may have been timing of the Asians but my reaction to the ones I grew over a couple years was, "pretty good for a cucumber . . ."

Then I go back to Minnesota Midgets where I'd get one the size of a softball (maybe) out of each hill. I couldn't win for losing.

I'm still hoping for the Charentais since I'd rate them about a 10 on a flavor scale. I'm not the biggest fan of honeydews and galia melons must be closer to honeydews than cantaloupe. Still, I have yet to fail with these melons! Must be going on 7 years now. With a miserable enuf May and June, other melons will just up and die!

Steve

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 10:59PM
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keen101

Okay, so my watermelons are mostly tiny (don't laugh too much), but this is the first year I've gotten ripe watermelons at all (and probably melons in general), so i'm happy. If anyone is good at identifying varieties, by color and markings, let me know. I planted these in a mass cross landrace style, so i have no idea what is what, and next year should provide even more variety. The tiny one with tiny seeds I think was maybe yellow doll? The other yellow with medium white seeds maybe hopi yellow?

http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/...1/DSCF0662.jpg
http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/...1/DSCF0660.jpg

http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/...1/DSCF0655.jpg
http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/...1/DSCF0652.jpg

Red one (huge seeds):
http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/...1/DSCF0645.jpg
http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/...1/DSCF0644.jpg

Red one tiny and plant was turning yellow:
http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/...DSCF0633-1.jpg

as far as i could tell the yellows are quicker to ripen in my climate, and maybe even taste better too. I have a few more of various sizes still ripening. I have one "huge" one that is almost ready (it starting to turn slightly yellowish everyday), and it's probably going to be an excellent watermelon if i harvest it at the correct time. I do also have a nice sharkfin melon that appears to be doing well. I can upload a picture of the sharkfin melon if anyone is interested.

-Andrew

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:14AM
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digit(ID/WA)

I am interested, Andrew, but your links don't work that way . . . Can't see the photo's. Can't copy & paste the links.

DW claims to have no interest in a yellow watermelon but she tasted one from the farmers' market this year so that may have changed. It was very tasty so, now we know!

My Sugar Babies have mostly been kind of "pink things" and not worth their space. I was looking forward to Blacktail Mountain watermelon last year and the seed completely failed to germinate in the greenhouse. Nothing else had worse performance than that!

I was living & gardening very close to Blacktail Mountain when the guy developed that variety. Seems like I should be able to grow it . . .

Steve

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 7:45AM
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david52 Zone 6

I tried two varieties of Charantais - one was open-pollenated, and the taste was spectacular. Then another year I tried some hybrid that clearly was designed for shipping - ended up tipping that lot into the compost heap - they just wouldn't ripen, a month after picking before the frost.

I *think* I still have saved seeds from the OP, but they must be getting on in years.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 10:05AM
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Dan Staley

Steve, you describe the 'Passport' appearance but not the taste...

First year of a Charantais, 'Edonis'. This year here was hard on melons but will try it again. Everyone who tries it basically says 'Wow! that's really good!'.

Also grow 'Minnesota Midget' cantaloupe and that works very well here.

Everything on a vine in the SFG goes on a trellis: melon, cuke, butternut, tomato.

Dan

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 2:23PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Dan, it really has a honeydew flavor.

I tried Edonis Charentais last year and - in another very bad melon year - it failed to ripen. Santon Charentais is my hope this year but I'm really not giving these varieties a fair trial! I'm not sure that Honey Girl would have survived the last 2 springs!

Passport came thru each year . . .

Steve

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 3:38PM
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Dan Staley

Where'd you find the seeds, Steve?

Dan

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:52PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Harris Seed

There are a number of Galia melons available. The catalog story on the class is that they can handle adverse weather . . .

Steve

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 12:23AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Keen, since you're already using Photobucket, just use the HTML code instead, and it will work. If you right click on the HTML code that pops up when you scroll across the photo, it should copy it, and then you can paste into your GW text box.

Steve, it's been my very limited experience that melons are fickle. The same variety that does great one year, is a dud the next. Last year, we planted some Orangeglo very late, and still got two or three small to medium sized, very sweet watermelons. This year, it was planted right on time, and hasn't set fruit yet, and now the vines are dying back. Most of the melons I do get, are much smaller than the size advertised.

This picture is deceiving. This Early Moonbeam Watermelon is only the size of a grapefruit. Steve, it's a yellow melon, from Seeds of Change. I'll get back to you on its flavor.

Here is one of my Blacktail Mountain Watermelons. They are about the size of a grocery store Honeydew melon. It is my best producer this year, so maybe you should give it another try?

This is Amish Melon, and it has maybe four, small canteloupe sized melons on it.

Another first for me this year, Canoe Creek. It only has 3 fruit on it, but they are canteloupe sized, and may get a bit bigger yet.

Those are all at the community garden. Here at the house, I have Jenny Lind, and Banana Melons, but no pics of them.

Bonnie

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 7:24PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Wow, Bonnie!

Please report on their flavor when ripe . . . And, we will all hope you get ALL of those melons ripe!

I may not be able to wait for the development of Andrew's landrace. Blacktail Mountain is so likely as a possibility . . . (may be dreaming).

The name of the mountain is something of an enigma. There are no blacktail deer within hundreds of miles, that I know of. What were these "blacktails" that gave their name to that mountain??

For those of you that have some knowledge of the area, Blacktail Mountain is about half way up and near the west shore of Pend Oreille Lake in northern Idaho. When Glenn Drowns was a little boy and dreaming of watermelons in Idaho, I was living & gardening near the south end of Pend Oreille Lake on Cedar Mountain Road.

Somewhere around there, Glenn (now owner of Sand Hill Preservation) first grew his own short-season watermelon. (I've linked a story.) Glenn moved to Iowa while I just moved a few miles down the valley to a, supposedly, better location to grow melons . . .

BTW - I planted Seed Savers Exchange seed for this melon in 2010 with 0 results. Maybe I should just order those seeds from Glenn, hmmm?.

Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: Craving Watermelon

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 10:21PM
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Dan Staley

For me its always about how many fruits on a vine. This hot summer in these parts have cut down my production, and now late production hopefully will beat the frost...

Dan

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 10:14PM
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