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melons, watermelons doing well

Posted by winnjoe MB (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 14, 05 at 14:46

2 hills of Prescott Fond Blanc, 2 of Petits gris de Rennes, 2 of Green Nutmeg, and 2 of Cream of Saskatchewan, each hill with 3 plants. They love this heat and humidity and have taken off this last week (started from seed in mid-May, put out 3rd week of June). Male flowers starting to come out in profusion. Joe, Winnipeg


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Good to hear, Joe. I directed seeded around June 10th. I have plenty of male flowers making the area look pretty. Have you ever grown Prescott Fond? Natasja asked about productivity in another thread. My first year with them so I have no idea. Normally I go with half direct seed - half transplate.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Hi Reign,
I've never grown it before but the pictures in Ms Goldman's book looked so good! The weather in June here is so unpredictable that I wouldn't trust direct sowing. But then it's a race between seedlings too leggy and bad weather. Plus this year I really needed the lights for my tomatoes, which might have suffered from being displaced by melons! Joe, Winnipeg


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3 Ambrosias and 2 Eden Gem picked

I had the first half one of the Ambrosias for breakfast. Wow, even in this cool weather, there is plenty of sugar, but the color wasn't as deep an orange as usual. I've read that this melon has Crenshaw in its parentage, and I definitely taste that in the melon today. Lots of cold juice, a great pick me up before I had to drive to LA this morning. I'll report on the Eden Gem later this week.

The Butterscoctch Sweetie will be ready in less than two weeks. I planted that about 45 days ago from seed, the Ambrosia and Eden Gem were from seedlings. The first Galias will be ready later this week, they are also from seed planted the same time as the Ambrosia. They are also, like the other melons, smaller than usual. Finally, today we hit 80 degrees, it's been stuck in the 68-72 range for the past month, way too cool.

So how do I post a picture from my Mavica digital?


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

"I had the first half one of the Ambrosias for breakfast."

Bill - I just hate you so much. It is a good pure clean fun sort of hate but still...HATE HATE HATE:)

You can create a free account at a site like http://photobucket.com.
If you don't want an account there, use http://tinypic.com/

Then add the TAG to your message.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

A Prescott Fond Blanc fell off the vine yesterday, and another one today. I think they got too much water Tuesday. I had no idea that they were thinking about being ripe. I just got my first Passport the other day, and they were started with the PFB. The PFB don't seem quite ripe. And they are smaller than I expected - 6.5 inches across and 3.5 inches high for the one today.

I cut the one from yesterday and we ate it. It shows promise of being a good melon. Texture was very fine, but it was still a little hard. Flesh was pastel orange. It was not as sweet as our cardboardish volunteer melon, but it holds promise of better texture. They should be better when fully ripe.

Though it is quite comical-looking when whole, it is beautiful cut in wedges, as the thick, pale rind makes pretty scallops around the flesh. I'll try to cut back on the water (if someone else doesn't water when I'm not looking) and see if I can get one to stay on the vine a little longer. I'm keeping the one from today on the counter for a while to see if it softens up a little. The blossom end is a little flexible. It is a creamy color with a few green flecks and some tan markings similar to netting. It looks a lot like a miniature Cinderella pumpkin in funny colors.

I don't think I am a real good judge of productivity in melons, but I would guess that I have low-medium productivity for this variety. It's in kind of a crowded location at the moment, though. I'm still taking some other crops out of alternate rows between the melons.

Sucrin de Tours is changing its appearance. Netting on the biggest melons is getting thicker and the button on the blossom end is disappearing. You can still see the spots on the skin under the netting, though.

108 degrees forecast for tomorrow. I'm busy putting squares of white cotton cloth on any melons I can see to protect them from sunburn. Already have a little sunburn on a few melons. I've been propping them up off the ground with chunks of wood, strawberry baskets (the little plastic ones) cut down the corners and nursery six-packs turned upside down and crunched down to make little melon cradles.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Nice report C1 ;) You forgot to include a photo. :)

I'm surprised it fell off the vine. Glad it was edible and shows promise.

Do you drink a lot of beverages that come in 2 liter plastic bottles? I cut off the bottom and use them to cradle melons.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Guess I'll have to go buy a digital camera. We don't use a lot of 2 liter bottles, but I'll bet empty milk jugs would work, too.

I also got a couple of really nasty volunteer melons Wednesday, from a plant I had totally missed. Skin way too small for the melon. Best to control pollination if you intend to save seed.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 15, 05 at 7:48

I see a lot of people are growing passport, maybe i'll have to give it a try next year. Very interested to follow progress on the Sucrin de Tours as well.

I asked about productivity because several of my friends that have small restaurants buy my surplus "unusual" fruits and veggies. The smaller, "single serving" type melons are a big hit and what i have most demand for. For the few kilos of melons that i can sell them, i can recuperate all i spend during the whole year on seed, water, compost, etc.
Not a bad deal. I'm not interested in commercial hybrid productivity, but if one heirloom will give me 2 more melons than another, that's a little more money for the same effort.

105+ degrees and 25% humidity. good melon weather.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Okay - you don't have to post a picture, Carolyn. :)

Natasja - I got a similar offer from a restaurant here. They've asked to buy any surplus melons I have. They want the heirlooms with unusal/interesting looks and single serving. I'm concerned that if I start doing it I'll end up caring about what will sell instead of what I want to grow. Recovering the costs of a hobby is a good deal.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Tuso,

Passport has not had outstanding flavor here, where we have quite hot summers. It is not a single-serving melon, either, but is on the small side for a canteloupe. Other than having green flesh, there is nothing outstanding about its appearance. Many people in the Northeastern U.S. report excellent results with it.

I grew Passport for its earliness. But Butterscotch Sweetie, which Bill likes so much, may make a better early melon for you. You might see which is better suited to your climate.


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RE: Prescott Fond Blanc

I cut the Prescott Fond Blanc which slipped (a little early, I think) on Thursday. It sat on the counter for two days, getting more fragrant, particularly on the blossom end. During this time, the green flecks disappeared from the skin, except immediately around the button on the blossom end. The skin darkened to a buff color. The blossom end gave a little when pushed.

The melon was different from the immature one on the inside, too. Flesh was softer and darker orange and had lost its pastel-sherbet quality. The interior of the rind had turned from cream to green and a little orange had "leaked" into the rind in a few places. Not as striking when cut as the immature one, but still interesting and attractive.

The perfume of this melon was pervasive, but it had not gained any sweetness as it sat on the counter. If I can't get them to hang onto the vine until they develop more sweetness, I will have to get creative with serving them. I first thought that maybe the JL Hudson mentions using this melon as an ice cream mold because it needs the sweetness of ice cream - vanilla or maybe coconut. Or maybe a nice, thick custard or lemon sorbet or syrup.

If I were really industrious, I might make a melon mousse from most of it and serve it with a thin wedge of the most attractive mid-section of the melon. The perfume might also work with certain main dishes where you would not need a really sweet melon.

Almost makes me want to cross it with a really sweet melon that doesn't slip when ripe.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

PFB is a rock melon. It is not suppose to slip when ripe.

I consider it a sad thing that melons don't get sweeter off the vine. In Goldman's book she gave them 12 1/2 Brix based on her sample. That is pretty sweet. Listings in the SSE Yearbook comment on the sweetness and I recall someone commenting they grew well without water. I hope the next one is better for you.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Reign,

Thanks for the sympathy and advice. I'm pretty sure the first two Prescott Fond Blanc melons slipped early due to an excess of water. Unfortunately, our gardening partner watered the PFB again today after tasting the first one and telling me it should have stayed on the vine longer, and immediately after telling me how important it was not to water maturing melons. It was under cover. Maybe he didn't see it.

He's a sweet guy, but sometimes we are really surprised by the things he does. Never met anyone so set on digging little trenches, filling them, then digging them out again. And sometimes we are surprised to find a big hole he has dug to bury tree limbs or something. He seems to resist doing anything the easy way. He wants me to garden the way he did it in Mexico, too. He still hasn't convinced me that it's a good idea to stomp on onions to convince them to make big bulbs, or to dig a little trench next to young watermelon vines to give the roots air, just about the time of first bloom. We're trying a couple of scientific comparisons this year.

Oh, well. There are a couple more PFBs out there. The next melon coming up looks riper than the ones that fell of the vine, and it's still holding. Blossom end is not as flexible as the one we ate today, but the perfume already gets on your hands when you touch it. Maybe I can get it to hold on the vine a day or two . . . .

He didn't water the Tigger, Sugar Nut or Collective Farm Woman. Guess those look about ready to him. It's coming up on 80 days since I sowed seed, and I'll have to keep a better eye out for sneak waterers like him and my husband.

I'm getting more desperate for "melon cradles" now. Made some today from a styrofoam egg carton. And a 2 quart plastic milk jug cut vertically through two opposite corners makes two V-shaped cradles for long Persian melons.

Not much to report on the Sucrin de Tours. I'm still watching it, though.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 17, 05 at 12:18

Thanks for the info on passport. probably not right for my climate.

Sorry about the watering mixups with the melons. Its got to be frustrating when the melons are at this point. But please do tell us about subsequent prescotts that you pick.

natasja


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Tuso,
I live in So. CAL, definitely a Mediterranean climate, but cooled because we aren't too far from the ocean. Generally melons love 80 def. F. average temp and we're 10 degrees below that until July-mid October. Here, Passport does well. I once took Passport, Haogen, Charentais, Ambrosia, and Burpee Hybrid into the office. About 10 people tried all the melons, and 2 or 3 of them told me that Passport was their favorite. Not very scientific, but it does seem to do well in cooler weather. Of the Galia hybrids, the one I like better is "Vanilla Ice". Despite the similar name of a wannabee , out of date rapper, it's more aromatic and sweeter than OP Galia.

Reign,
I don't blame you for hating me and my Ambrosia gobble fest. I ate a half melon for breakfast and brought the other half to the offie for lunch! Just remember I am jealous of your Concord grapes. Our year round climate allows us to plant melons in April and harvest the first fruits in July. I will make a second planting next weekend which should ripen in late September or early Oct. I will be picking Butterscotch Sweetie in a couple of weeks. Oh, I did plant an Eden Gem and it was good. It was a beautiful shade of lime green inside. It was nicely sweet, aromatic, and tasty, but doesn't come close to Ambrosias.

I also planted a Yellow Doll watermelon, and it's actually ripe. I'll give it to a friend who loves watermlon more than I do. The farmer's market vendors are starting to get their heirlooms and specialty melons for sale. BTW, their best seller is Ambrosia.

CarolynCl
Thanks for your journal. I may opt to try Sucrin DeTours next year. A friend tried the PFB and CFW, he said they were good as well, but he isn't growing them this year. I hope the rest of your crop will do well. I've never had to have a cradle for any melons. But hopefully that will keep them from falling off the vine.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Bill_SouthernCal,

I don't know if you remember me. Alas, I finally started the seedlings for the Charentais and Petit de Rennes two weeks ago. The Petit de Rennes are about 3 in. and the Charentais are bit smaller, coming up about 5 days later.

They look healthy so far and I am looking forward to seeing them grow. I don't have much space and plan to grow them on a trellis. Do you have any suggestions about growing melons in small space about 4' x 2'.

Green


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Bill,

Thanks for the note. I am not making melon cradles to keep melons from slipping, it is to protect them from moisture. If you grow melons over green or black plastic in your dry-summer climate, you probably don't need any moisture protection. But I garden with two guys who believe that if you don't thoroughly saturate the root zone when you water in our climate (and preferably go beyond the root zone), your plants will dry up and blow away. So I need protection from ground moisture. Maybe next year I'll experiment with black plastic early in the season and cover it with silver later so I don't cook any roots.

Things are speeding up in the melon patch with all the hot weather. Sorry about the long post, but it may serve as a warning against over-watering ripening melons, and provide some information on several varieties.

Sunday July 18 - Five "casualties" of the watering mishap Saturday - melons which slipped too soon, had other ripening problems and/or diluted flavor due to heavy watering just as they were maturing.

#1. An Emerald Gem slipped Sunday morning. It was a gorgeous little melon except for a rather large, recent crack at the blossom end, no sunscald despite the darker rind. Inside, it was a beautiful rich orange all the way to the rind, but the sweetness was mostly around the seed cavity. Tasted like it had been watered just before it ripened. It think this variety could do well in our climate if watered properly.

#2. A Cantaloup d'Algers was yanked even though it didn't slip because it was starting to rot on the bottom. It was not ripe, but the rind was sort of soft and spongy, and very thick. It was shaped a little like a very large Acorn squash. Rind was about 3/5 yellow, deeply scalloped sort of like Prescott Fond Blanc. Very exotic in appearance. Not too sweet yet. Needs to be ripe, (or ripened with less water) I think. Don't think this would be the best variety for wet climates. Skin is too soft.

#3. A Prescott Fond Blanc was picked a tad too early, Sunday afternoon - had a little crack on the blossom end and I was worried about rot (It was discolored inside around the cracked area). It was at the forced slip stage,though I guess from what Reign says it is not supposed to slip at all. Rind was a dark cream or orangish-buff color, a little darker than the one I ripened indoors. The blossom end was slightly flexible. It was sweeter than the ones that fell off the vine after the earlier watering mishap, but still quite not there yet. Even though not real sweet, it seemed to leave a perfumed taste in my mouth.

#4. An Extra Summer Sweet slipped Sunday morning. It looked very similar to the picture of ESS on the website, though not quite as yellow on the outside and less ripe on the inside. It had just a touch of netting extending up from the blossom end along the greener section markings. Otherwise, it was very smooth and hairless. Here's the picture:

http://www.evergreenseeds.com/evergreenseeds/ormehyexsusw.html

DH, who had been tasting melons all weekend without much enthusiasm, asked me, "Do you want any of this?" when I brought in the big bowl with the cut-up melon Sunday evening. We ate the whole thing. It was nowhere near the advertised 18% brix, but it was still sweet, tender and juicy. I would characterize it as a small, early Crenshaw type in texture and flavor. It does not have a "nose" at the stem end like a typical Crenshaw, though. It's almost perfectly oval. It has a delicate quality. I generally try to avoid eating melons chilled, but people who are looking for a really juicy, refreshing, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth cold melon should like this variety. My OP Japanese (?) variety, Eel River, is getting pretty big. It will be interesting to see if the flavor is similar.

#5. I took the dogs on their evening garden perimeter patrol, and while I was checking the melons, an Early Sugarshaw slipped. It wasn't as large or as yellow as the ones I remember from two years ago, had less corrugation, had some surface cracks and didn't seem quite ripe on the inside - rind margin was still very thick. This is what it was supposed to look like:

https://www.hpsseed.com/hpssite/hpssiteviewproduct.aspx?ProductID=171

But it was still very sweet and flavorful, a little sweeter and firmer than the Extra Summer Sweet brought in earlier in the day. No wonder everyone who tasted it when I grew it before liked it so well. I should have several coming on in the next few days. Probably a few Burpee Hybrid Crenshaws, too. And I'll have to keep my eye on the OP Crenshaw varieties that don't slip. In fact, this hot weather will likely compress the harvest season for all the varieties of melons I planted.

The classic open-pollinated Crenshaws are far from ripe and are getting huge - very deep green. Crenshaw Blanco is not very big, and is kind of skinny. It's not due to be ripe in a while. Does anyone know how to tell when it's ripe?

We lost a Sweet Freckles plant and ate a little melon as a cucumber (not bad). Haven't located the Crane melons yet. Name tags are buried. Wonder if I still have some plants? Unless their name tag is by the Norther Arizona melons. Maybe Bill (or someone else who's grown it) can tell me if Northern Arizona starts out a creamy green with dark spots.

The Crenshaw melons as a class really seem to like this hot, hot weather, although several varieties are susceptible to sunscald and need protection. We have had temperatures above 105 degrees for several days, 108 forecast for today and tomorrow. It's been more humid than normal for these parts, too. Supposed to be a little drier this week.

Monday, July 18: More casualties. Another Extra Summer Sweet slipped. A little greener than the last one, but a little sweeter after another day in the hot sun following watering. It measured 6.5 x 7.5 inches. Flavor still not quite as full as the Early Sugarshaw, but they were both under-ripe. Both were sweeter than the average market melon. We'll try some tomorrow chilled.

After a long discussion about watering melons in the garden, when he told me again that it was a bad thing to give water to a ripening melon, our gardening partner watered yet another row of ripening melons. May not turn out so bad. Two Savor hybrid Charentais melons split. Cut one. It was still crispy, but sweet and nice. Medium orange - not like the pictures of the ripe ones. Quite large for a Charentais, I think: 5.5 x 6.5 inches. Other melons seem to be holding without splitting or threatening to slip.

Also picked our first really ripe melon since Passport from a row which hadn't been watered in a while. It was French Orange, a hybrid between a netted American canteloupe and a Charentais. It was on the small side, flesh was very deep orange and very aromatic - a little overwhelming for my sense of smell, which is still overly sensitive to some aldehydes and ketones after some medical damage. Wonder if the aroma includes some vanillin? I hope that maybe the melon was getting close to being over-ripe. Otherwise, I may either have to eat some of the more fragrant melons cold or feed them to other people.

The largest Sucrin de Tours is turning darker green under the developing netting. One which we missed covering got badly sunscalded. After I said that it was larger than a typical Charentais, it hasn't grown in size much. It will probably be smaller than the Savor Charentais.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Carolyn - I like your reports. :)

Are all your melons growing as one big melon bed? Since some of your varieties need more water than others, have different days til maturity or exotic looks, maybe your garden mates are having a hard time seeing/knowing which to water. Is it possible to use something like those little landscape flags. Red flag means don't water or something.

I'm not trying to tell you how to grow. Just an idea to control your garden mate's love of watering. :) Maybe you can ground him. Tell him he isn't allowed to use water for a week. It will make showering hard on him. But we do what we must. ;)

Cantaloup d'Algers - well you didn't miss much :). It is a gorgeous melon when mature. It is not a sweet melon. Since my gardening is also about feeding my passion for cooking, finding uses for this melon's flesh was a fun challenge. Never sweet enough to for my fresh eating taste, it got used to flavor pastry cream, stuffed in chickens with lemon and garlic, sauteed with raw sugar/brown butter and mashed as a side. I used one as a serving bowl for a cream soup.

Your Blanco should turn sort of cream color.

Things are shaping up well here. It started raining so I cut my inspection short. I see a melon forming on the PFB. Minnesota Midget is suppose to be compact. It is growing out of its special designed compact bed. I'm going to put a short trellis there and start training it away from the path. I told MM, "Dude, you do not want to go near that path. There is a giant that walks that path welding a weed whacker and..well.. just don't go there."

I think telling my vines stories about the harsh realities of life outside my realm of power really helps.

Obus is really a beautiful vine. Hugh broad leaves. I have it growing with Morning Glories

Standing near Blue Ridge while flicking a lighter must have worked. It is starting to take off. I don't know if it is to late. But I won't set it on fire...this week.

The others all seem to be doing well.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Reign,

Well, you've talked me into trying Obus next year. Thanks for the details on Crenshaw Blanco. Your creative uses for Cantaloup d'Algers may come in handy. I think future melons here may end up in salsas of some sort.

Sounds like you have your melon plants alerted to the necessity of following the rules. I'm having more difficulty with people.

My melons are in double rows. Theoretically, they are arranged with the earlier-maturing melons at the ends of the rows, so water can be restricted as they near ripeness. But our gardening partner, P., is somewhat impulsive and not a 'big picture' kind of guy; he forgets these kinds of details, even though he likes to make little dams in irrigation rows. And I don't think he is used to all these funny melons, either.

Plus, it's kind of hard to maneuver with all his volunteer tomatillos and tomatoes between the melons. At least his giant turnips are almost gone (valuable to prevent sunscald on the melons, he said). But they started to get aphids. He doesn't like aphids. And I had made all those little cloths to shade melons, too.

It would not be good to restrict P's water use for a week. Trust me. He has suggested the little landscape flags (great minds . . . . ) . Trouble is, I have little landscape flags by the name tags (actually, plastic knives) for the varieties, because he likes to bury them, and the flag lets me know where they are buried. He can't understand why we would want to know the names of varieties. He can't read, himself, and has other ways of remembering the varieties that work. I found the Crane melons and their tag today. Have a little yellow mystery melon that looks about ripe, may be Northern Arizona.

We'll think of a way to communicate better about watering melons. And the tomatillos and tomatoes scattered among the melons. Today's watering casualty was a Sweet Freckles, a modern open-pollinated Crenshaw type. Split when the freckles on the bottom were yellow-green rather than yellow-orange, attracting fire ants (not the really horrible ones, though) It was downright crisp and crunchy, but already sweet. The texture reminded me a little of watermelon. I think it veers to the Casaba side of the Crenshaw family tree. If you scroll down on the linked page, you can get to a picture. We'll see what it tastes like ripe in a few days, if all goes well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peters Seed


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I've admired Sweet Freckles for a few years. I think it is just the cutest. I hope it tastes as good as it looks. I thought of giving it a go this year but changed my mind. I tend to shy away from growing the inodorus melons. I'm a methodical egghead when it comes to learning. I haven't considered myself ready for the challenges of growing those melons in my short season. I like to challenge myself just enough to not frustrate myself into shutting down. Thin line. :) Next season I want to try Piel de Sapo. So I'll also plant CFW. One of the easiest and one of the hardest. :)

I think my primary focus will always end up on cantaloupe and muskmelons. They're my favorites to eat. :)

=====
You said, "I think it veers to the Casaba side of the Crenshaw family tree."
=====

It was my understanding that Casaba and Crenshaw were their own branches on the family tree. Is this not the case? How does this branching work?


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Reign,

I have read that Crenshaws originated from crosses between Persian and Casaba melons. Sweet Freckles is shaped a lot like a little Casaba and the flesh is crisp, but tender, at least when under-ripe. Notes from the originator indicate that it came from a cross between a casaba and an unspecified early melon.

Sweet Freckles has more melons on the plants than most of my varieties, at various stages of development. I don't know how many would ripen in your climate. But the half-ripe ones are nice as cucumbers. Ditto for Piel de Sapo. Don't know about Collective Farm Woman. This variety doesn't seem to like our weather. Fruits are dinky and sun-scalded. On a lark, I put three Collective Farm Woman seeds in the ground today, to see if they would do any better in the fall.

Also, for my own amazement, I successfully transplanted some small melon seedlings yesterday, in this heat! Had to remove a leaf from one and rig some shade for it. I'll have to find out how Joe in Zone 3 keeps his seedlings going for more than a month and transplants them to the garden. Maybe I could do my bit in preserving an heirloom variety by starting it a month before anything else in the neighborhood.

An Ananas melon slipped today. Skin was an even copperish tone. One of the ones P. had missed over-watering. Quality was not outstanding. Fairly sweet, but texture had the cardboardish quality of our volunteer melon. I may be missing something in the culture of this variety. I expected more of a sultry, tropical quality. Seemed small for an Ananas, too.

Two more Savor hybrid Charentais, or a Savor and a Trocadero, cracked at the blossom end and also slipped. That's not supposed to happen. They were watered three days ago. We'll try them later. Behind on melon tasting.

I finally got DH to sit down for a blind melon tasting. The under-ripe Savor Charentais and Sweet Freckles both came out O.K. But he much preferred the under-ripe Extra Summer Sweet and Early Sugarshaw, as well as the perfectly ripe French Orange. Wouldn't pick a favorite. Appreciated their different flavors. The French Orange was overwhelming to my abnormal sense of smell even when cold. We'll compare with some conventional Charentais melons when they ripen.

Both Extra Summer Sweet and Early Sugarshaw have made our list for next year. They may be more forgiving of gardeners who accidentally over-water their melons than many varieties. Maybe you have a friend who would do well with one of these. Maybe someone who over-waters Obus.

We'll compare French Orange with the real French melons when they ripen. But for someone who would like some Charentais flavor in a familiar-looking melon that slips, it would be a good choice.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 21, 05 at 12:44

About how large do Sweet Freckles get? I don't know anything about this variety. Crenshaws do well for me and are a favorite with my family. Never tried casabas.

I am also a little confused with ananas. I read somewhere that there is an ananas and and ananas d'amerique. What is the difference? I grow ananas d'amerique vert.

Curious that collective farm woman isn't doing well for you Carolyn. This is my first year growing it, and so far so good. Though i must say that my collective farm woman and kazakh have a few hours of partial shade in the morning.

Green Machine, also first time for me, is really promising. Vines are very vigorous, fruit set is fantastic and prolific. Taste test is probably still a way off.

Reign is right, obus has a beautiful leaf shape. Its very easy to distinguish its vines from its neighbors. Can wait to see and taste the first ripe melon.

natasja


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I finally figured out what you meant by "veers to the Casaba side". The link you gave to Peter's describes Sweet Freckles as tender. They also sell a collection of seeds they use as breeding stock. That could be an interesting grow out.

Sweet Freckles is in the 4 lb neighborhood.
======

ananas and ananas d'amerique are two difference melons. IMO d'amerique is the better melon. But.. you know how that goes. :)

Notes from a 2000 SSE Yearbook (first one I grabbed off the shelf)

Ananas:
1. 100 days. Large white fleshed cantaloupe (my comment- it isn't a cantaloupe. it is reticulatus) turns bright orange when ripe, very sweet.
2. large white fleshed melon, sweet.

Ananas d'Amerique a Chair Verte
1. 75 days a.k.a Green Fleshed Pineapple, round 2-4 lb. fruit with netted skin, highly perfumed, sweet green flesh with an amber center, very good yield, excel. flavor. Grown by Thomas Jefferson in 1794, was illustrated in color in France in the Vilmorin Album.
2. small fruit, green flesh, not very sweet, very early, falls off when ripe, does not keep more than a day, the earliest melon we have grown so far.

Sounds like the second d'Amerique had some problems. Maybe over watering and letting them get to ripe before picking???? I have eaten a lot of this melon. It is sweet. Goldman gives it 11 Brix based on her sampling. I got talked into letting Blue Ridge have the bed that was planned for this famous melon. Another reason for me to hate Blue Ridge. :).

Plese be sure to let us know how Green Machine tastes.


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RE: Yearbook wrong

that was 2002 Yearbook :)


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Hi all,
I've not posted here before, but in the spring, I was searching around for information about planting ideas for a couple of new raised beds. After reading some of your threads, one thing I planted was Charentais melons (Johnny's Seeds Edonis). I planted just a couple of seeds in early May (directly in the ground), and now from one plant that survived, I have probably a hundred or more small melons ranging from about penny to golf-ball size. Like you Bill, we are in coastal So. Cal. (San Pedro). The plant is doing really well. About one 1/4 is raised on a tomato cage, and the rest is on the ground. The plant looks really healthy... Any words of wisdom? From this point, how much longer to ripe fruit? We're quite a bit past the 70 day maturity, but perhaps with our continuously cool summer and the direct planting from seed, that's not a worry. It's currently getting watered 2x a week. And gets full-sun (when we're not in our gloomy foggy mornings).

Green, are you the one in Long Beach? I think I remember from another thread... I just planted watermelon a couple of weeks ago. I cleared some side yard. The seedlings are just a couple of inches tall now. Probably late, but I wanted to see how they'd do after our gloomy early summer is gone compared to the Charentais planted in the spring.

Ann


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Natasja,

Sweet Freckles holds promise of having some nice qualities that distinguish it from other melons, particularly its texture. It is supposed to mature after Early Sugarshaw and Burpee Early Hybrid Crenshaw, but before the classic, big open-pollinated Crenshaw. This seems to be how things are going here. I have had several Early Sugarshaws slip now and the Burpee hybrids look like they're changing color a little. For reference, the Early Sugarshaw is ripening about with Charentais started at the same time.

The Sweet Freckles look like they will take more time to ripen. The under-ripe fruit reminded me of Casabas more than Persian melons (don't know if there is a Persian melon in it's background). But the flesh is orange rather than white and more tender and juicy than that of a Casaba. Casabas are big thick-skinned storage melons, often served with a cut lime to squeeze over each serving, as they are more sweet than fragrant. Their flavor seems to go particularly well with lime. I've never grown them, either.

The Ananas I have is a netted melon which turns a copper-orange color when ripe. The flesh is white with a tinge of peach around the seed cavity. It came from the same row as the Collective Farm Woman which is not doing so well. Also, Tigger is in that row and doesn't seem happy. The melons in this row seemed to get a lot of sun exposure. I have younger CFW and Tigger plants in another row, and hope that they will be better. I couldn't stand the suspense any longer and cut a CFW and a Tigger today. The CFW was green heavily stippled with yellow-orange. Flesh was not very thick, but very sweet, and got good reviews. One taster compared it to pears. Tigger was compared to a cucumber. It's skin color seemed to be muddied, too. It slipped with a little tug. Hadn't had water in some time. The Sugar Nut and Mary Gold at the end of this row look like they are ripe, but Sugar Nut is supposed to be a forced slip melon, and it isn't giving any sign that it will cooperate and slip. They look much nicer than most of the other melons in this row. I would like to taste them side by side.

A Sucrin de Tours turned from green to dark cream under the netting overnight and I picked it (forced slip). It was rotting on the bottom, and did not seem ripe. I'm not sure I got the right seed, but whatever this melon is, it is very interesting. It started out smooth and spotted, then started to develop netting, which became very pronounced and ropy. The skin under the netting then turned darker green before turning cream. The flesh was not red, it was pale orange. Still hard and not very sweet. If it is really Sucrin de Tours, it has some more changing to do before it is ripe. May not be the best choice in short-season areas, even if it does germinate well at low temperatures.

I got a classic Charentais and a Trocadero hybrid Charentais today, also. Both had a little splitting, and the Charentais slipped with pressure, which it isn't supposed to do, I know. The Charentais is growing on a fence, but this melon was on the ground. The Trocadero was watered more recently, I think, which may have adversely affected its sweetness and fragrance. The Charentais was more appealing to me, with its thick flesh and small seed cavity. It was also the taste test winner for the day. Fragrant, but not as overwhelming to me as the earlier French Orange ripened in dry conditions. Trocadero was a little bigger. Would be nice to try a properly ripened one. The skin of both melons was starting to turn a cream color, and the markings on the Trocadero looked remarkably like those on the Extra Summer Sweet melon I picked on the 18th. Wonder if ESS has some Charentais in its background?

I also discovered four badly split Petit Gris the Rennes, on the fence with the Charentais. All were crown set melons on the ground. The ones hanging on the fence in slings are still fine. The ones that split weren't ripe yet. Still hard. Sweetening up, though. Ha Ogen is also on the fence. Maybe someone can tell me how to determine its ripeness.

I got another Prescott Fond Blanc today - forced slip. DH liked it, but not as much as some of the other melons. Got three Early Sugarshaws and another Extra Summer Sweet today, but only cut one Sugarshaw, as we are running out of fridge space. I love this melon, but I think the Charentais would have been the choice of most people tasting both melons today, with the Sugarshaw taking second place. I picked the little netted yellow mystery melon today, and decided that it was probably a rogue from Extra Summersweet or Early Sugarshaw. Sweet, but mealy, with green and peach flesh. Reminded me of some of the melons I got from F2 generation seeds of Early Sugarshaw last year when I couldn't find a source for the seed I really wanted.

The prettiest melon of the day was a Stutz Supreme (link below). I picked it at forced slip even though it is supposed to be a full slip melon. It just looked so good. It is categorized as a honeydew, but I think that is just because they couldn't think of anything else to call it. Finely netted cream skin, pale orange flesh. Very juicy, tender and sweet. Big - 7.75 x 6.75 inches. I don't think it had as much flavor as the Early Sugarshaw, but I liked it. So did other tasters. One for hot-summer climates.


Here is a link that might be useful: Stutz Supreme


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Good gosh. How many different melons are you growing this round?


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 22, 05 at 12:53

Thanks for clearing up the ananas confusion. How strange that it was described by one grower as not sweet. After having grown them for several years, i cannot report having picked a bland one. Its one of our favorites.

It looks like i will be making space next year for sweet freckles and not Blue Ridge. Looks like sweet freckles would be right up my alley.

Good news on the CFW tasting. Let us know when you pick another, Carolyn.

I need some advice. I have never grown the so-called short season or ice box watermelons. Normally when i grow the whoppers, i limit the number of melons per vine to 2 or 3 max. What about the smaller melons? I don't have the short season problems, so can i let all that set stay on the vine? I am growing blacktail mountain and golden midget for the first time. I'd love some guidance.

Natasja


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 22, 05 at 13:11

Carolyn,

I did some research on Sucrin de tours on several french seed sites. They all describe it as heavily roped, with very sweet, firm, red flesh. They also describe it a early, which would make sense as it comes from the Loire Valley which has a shorter, cooler season. Curious that it doesn't seem to be that early. Maybe it needs a little more time?


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Natasja

Blacktail is pretty productive. On average (based on previous years) I've stopped at 4 melons on the vine. But that is also because I have to count days. :) I cut anything that isn't going to mature before it gets to cold outside.

This is my first year growing Golden Midget. This year I'm going to pretty much let them do what ever they want and just take notes.

I bought my Sucrin de tours seeds for next year from the same source as Carolyn. I'm going to wait for her next one before I start biting my lip and wondering about the seed source. Her melon isn't matching what I've read. If need be, I'll start looking for another seed source in the fall.

Bill - go over to Carolyn's and take some pictures. ;)


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 22, 05 at 15:24

Thanks for the watermelon advice. I have 4 blacktail vines. Maybe on 2 vines i'll limit to 4 or 5, and let the other 2 carry what sets. There are 6 on one vine. I am really looking forward to the blacktail as i have heard a lot about it. The only new big melon i am growing this year is orangeglo.

There a couple reliable french seed sources, maybe i'll order some sucrin de tours from them and we can do a comparason next year. My petit gris de rennes, d'algiers, noir de carmes and charantais have all come from them and have been very good seed.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I'm not a big watermelon eater. But I sure love growing them! Most of my watermelons go to friends and neighbors. They seem to enjoy eating them as much as I enjoy growing them. The first time I cut open an Orangeglo, I was having a barbecue and one of the guests had been wandering the garden. He came back and told me one of my watermelons was ripe. The color was simply perfect. Guests were amazed at the color. I travel with easy to amaze people. Keeps me...amazing. ;)

The white seeds made people think it wasn't ripe yet. The melons are refreshingly sweet and IMO have more of a tropical taste. The taste is defiantly different from reds. You're in for a treat.

I can't say enough good things about Blacktail. I only eat a few slices of watermelon a year and it is the one. This year there won't be many extra watermelons to pass out. I didn't pay attention to how many seeds I gave out. So I'm growing out Blacktail for seed. My friends have already proven they can't be trusted to bring me the seeds. :) I think I'm going to have to make a rule. Friends can only get seeds for an heirloom variety from me once. After that, they need to save their own seeds.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Natasja,

You seem to have said the magic word about Sucrin de Tours ripening early: Between morning and evening, two melons underwent a very dramatic color change to deep creamy orange with tan spots, under the ropy netting. They don't seem ready to slip at the stem attachment, though. I'll try leaving them on the vine to see if the color of the flesh changes. This one will be interesting to watch. If the flesh of intact melons doesn't turn red, at least we may have a melon that has some characteristics of SdT on the outside, per your research. I planted some in May and June, too. So there will be additional chances to evaluate it.

An additional Ananas melon changed color today. I covered it carefully so P. would not be alarmed at its dramatic color and pick it prematurely. Maybe I will get one which is closer in flavor to the ones you grow.

Reign,

I counted my list and found that I planted 30 varieties of melons on April 27, some just a couple of seeds. They just fit so nicely in those Root Trainers. Couldn't leave empty sleeves. Think I lost 3 or 4 varieties. This is probably the last year I will have so much space (we'll be building on our second lot). So, I decided to have a "year of the melon". Planted practically all the varieties of seed I have accumulated over the past few years (I'm a big sucker for seed catalogs). Plus, there are P.'s volunteers.

The alternative for our hot summers was a "year of the corn", to which I am allergic. I repeated melon planting with eight varieties on May 28, eight on June 27, nine on July 7 and four on July 20 - cleared out seed packets with just a couple of seeds. My seed file is getting so confusing. The last three plantings are a real gamble in these parts - with the whiteflies, spider mites, aphids, thrips, the weather, and also with the spraying of cotton defoliant in October in the cotton fields. This sometimes affects our plants directly and always means a mass immigration of insects into the garden.

I also have Winter Melons (the Asian gourd), planted kind of late. The vines are very slow to start, but once they do, watch out. They're blooming now. Big pastel yellow-orange blossoms. There are 3 or 4 watermelon varieties out there, too.

A little Crane melon (the heirloom Crenshaw type which Sweet Freckles is advertised as surpassing) slipped today. It had a nice, tender texture and was sweet, but seemed a little bland and watery. From the same over-watered row as the Sweet Freckles which popped before it was ripe. It is different from a regular Crenshaw in flavor and texture. Some of the freckles had turned yellow-orange, just as they are supposed to do on a ripe SF. Has light netting, unlike SF. I also picked two Savor hybrid Charentais, slightly cracked, and a classic Charentais - my first uncracked Charentais type. Breakfast. And 5 little watermelons.

Bill's welcome to come by to try some melons the next time he goes to Visalia. But I hope he's not expecting an orderly, picturesque garden. Ours is pretty jumbled.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 23, 05 at 10:52

I'm dyin' to try an orangeglo! Reign, about how long from transplant to maturity for your orangeglo?

And Carolyn, what are Root Trainers?


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Carolyn,

First, I am impressed by your sheer industriousness, planting and trialing so many melons. You know what does well in your area, and it's helpful for others who lurk here but don't post.

Second,thanks for the invite to trial the melons. But I'm not going to Visalia or Bakersfield (where I have relatives) anytime soon. I always wait till winter to see them. I'm wilting in this unseasonably warm So. Cal heat wave (95 deg) and would probably be useless in the Central Valley where 95 is average in the summer!

Third, I am sorry you are sensitive to the ketones in French Orange (are there aldehydes in melons?). Loving the aroma for me is a big plus in food, but the reverse (hating the aroma) really takes the joy out of it. Your situation reminds me of the Durian fruit controversy in Asia where the pineapply/leathery aroma is either loved or hated. But the Charentais -Western muskmelon hybrids are a favorite of mine. There was Orange Blossom at one time. Now, there is the "Tuscan" melon that sells for $2-$4 or so a piece. It's supposed to be twice as sweet as the other muskmelons as reported in a trial. (Of course, they probably used their sweetest melons in a batch, and took the blandest in store muskmelons, LOL). The Tuscan is supposed to be the "Red Moon" variety, but it sure tastes like a cross between charentais and a western (a la Hales Best) melon.
Savor, vedrantais, and charentais are similar in taste, though I believe there are external differences in skin color and size.

Ananas is well known at the farmers markets and is a favorite. I might see what they have today that I'm not growing.

As far as Haogen, the fruit will be a green and gold color when ripe. The aroma might be overwhelming for you. You can smell the melon 10' away. MY brother (who is not a huge melon fan) had to wrap a bagful in blankets when he drove them to my parents. He said the aroma in a van was too much!

And thanks again for the reports. I love reading them and the opinions of you and your husband in the taste arena.

Green (and Ann (spacific)),

Of course I remember you. I am glad your Charentais are doing well. This current heat wave we're having in late July will really help the melons grow and the fruit sweeten up. Mine in Costa Mesa always takes about 80-85 days from seed to fruit. They get from grapefruit to regular melon size, but just hold back on the water as the color lightens up. If your soil is rich and soft, in full sun, and healthy, your melons should taste great.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Regarding the French Orange hybrid charentais. I wrote this in the veggie forum, but thought I would mention it here. I planted this along with one watermelon (Blacktail Mountain). Both are taking over the garden but the French Orange refuses to produce ANY female flowers. It has been this way for well over 2 weeks. The Blacktail Mountain on the other hand is producing tons of females and males. I don't think I will be planting French Orange again after this year.

Jamie


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Jamie -
Some melons produce a ton of male flowers before they even lay out one female. It is sort of normal. One good thing about there being a lot of male flowers for a bit (IMO) is that it gets pollinators excited and use to visiting the plants. When that female shows up...it is tortoise on kumato time in the old melon patch. ;)

Blacktail puts out females early, fast and often. As a matter of fact, I was getting worried this year when I had weeks of females and no male on Blacktail.

Don't compare the two. Hang in there and try not to worry. :)


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Natasja,

How long for orangeglo from transplant? About 90 days here. I have had mixed results with orangeglo. When the melon was 25 pounds it was scrumptous. When too many sat on at once or wharever and it was under 22 pounds, it did not flavor up for me.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Bill,

I don't blame you for not traveling to the Central Valley now, even for melons. Our average highs over the last couple of weeks have been closer to 105 than 95, with some humidity at times, too. And over-heated or burning vehicles aren't the nicest scenery on the Grapevine. But watch for the fog and other traveling hazards in winter, too. Fall and spring can be nice in the Valley, and winter is so nice in So. Cal. Why leave then? Consider making the trek over the Grapevine when the poppies are blooming.

I don't really know if melons contain aldehydes. I kind of categorize aldehydes and ketones together in my mind as aromatic compounds, and I think they are often found together in nature. Vanillin is an aldehyde, and I am very sensitive to it now, though less so than a year ago, when even a whiff was really hard to take. We'll have to see if the fragrance of Ha Ogen is one of the ones that overwhelms me now. Something out there in the melon patch was fragrant this evening, whether it was Ha Ogen, PFB or something else. Smelled nice, even to me.

The Crenshaws don't exude much perfume, but they have a distinctive flavor. They taste very close to how I remember them before my sense of smell got tuned wrong. Unless they are over-ripe, when the ketone levels probably go up.

We don't get fancy stuff like the Tuscan melons in the supermarkets around here, but I saw some when we were over at the coast a few weeks ago. They do sort of look like a Charentais/Western muskmelon cross - they resemble the French Orange I picked here, though the green ribs between the netting on the Tuscans were very pronounced.

Thanks for the comment on taste similarity of Charentais, Savor and Trocadero. One difference I have noticed is that Trocadero has been larger than the other two varieties, so far. Picked another one today. I think the differences in flavor we have noticed have been due to more water recently in the row with the hybrids, and the level of ripeness.

My perfect-looking little Charentais from yesterday was not nearly as sweet and good as the first, cracked one. Yesterday's Savor was not too inspiring, either. Also opened an Early Sugarshaw this morning that was not as sweet as the one cut Thursday. Tasted over-ripe. It could have been due partly to sitting on the counter for two days, but normally this variety will keep for a while at room temperature without losing much quality. The Extra Summersweet picked Thursday was better than the other three melons at this cutting. I pulled some leftover Sugarshaw from Thursday out of the fridge, and it was sweeter than any of the melons cut this morning. A second Crane melon tonight was sweet, juicy and pleasant, but not outstanding. I'll have to let some other people try it. Maybe cold.

I'll keep working on the culture of Ananas. Maybe I will get the hang of growing them.

Natasja,

The drama continues with the Sucrin de Tours (?) melons. Today the two most mature melons developed deep orange vertical stripes under the netting, and the netting thinned out, perhaps as the melon grew a little. The skin around the stem attachment is very slick. The leaf attached near the melon has withered on one melon and is withering on the other. Sometime soon, I will have to pick one of them. Anyone want to suggest when?

Root Trainers are plant starting containers which you can open like a book. They are bottomless and really do train roots down, rather than around the outside of the container. With melons, I like to plant two to a sleeve, germinate them over heat and separate and transplant them before they get true leaves. I use a loose, steam-sterilized potting soil to fill them. Tomato plants can be left in the trainers for a longer time, and seem healthier than those in 6-packs or similar containers. I lost a few melon seedlings after transplanting in April, but the losses were variety-specific and seemed to be due to damping off or a similar soil-borne malady.

Here is a link for the Root Trainers. People in the U.S. can get a slightly cheaper version from Park Seed, but I don't like the carrier as well, and it doesn't have the lid which can double as a soil-proof outer container for transporting the filled Root Trainers. Or, people in the U.S. can go to the U.S. site of the T&M catalog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Root Trainers


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I'm intrigued by the mention of melon salsa (Carolyn a few days ago). Any recipes?
I've never seen root trainers before. It looks like you still have to take the plants out of their containers. I use peat pots in a plastic tray, so by the time I get to plant them the bottom is usually pretty demolished anyways from the water.
The comments about male/female flowers are true in my experience, Jamie: just wait! I also planted annual alyssum around the hills to attract bees just in case, although they are now covered with little wasps. I hope they can pollinate melons as well as bees.
Joe


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Joe,

Thanks for the info. on how you start your melons. Root Trainers are a Canadian product, so there is a chance you could find them locally. I don't think you could use them for melons, since you start your plants so early and since melons resent disturbance to their roots once they get true leaves (less so than squashes, though). But Root Trainers could be great for tomatoes in your situation, I think. If you need to transplant to larger containers, you will need deep ones.

Our gardening partner, P., puts melon or cucumbers into basic Pico de Gallo. A close approximation would be the following recipe, without the orange juice or nuts, but with more chiles and lime or lemon juice. His favorite pepper is Chile de Arbol, which he has planted by our front sidewalk. He eats food "mas picante" than I can tolerate it.

http://appetizer.allrecipes.com/az/74022.asp

Here is a recipe for poached salmon with a tomato-free melon salsa that sounds pretty good to me. Maybe you could use Green Nutmeg and PFB in it:

Here is a link that might be useful: salmon with melon salsa


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I know that melons, cucumbers, squash etc all put out a lot of male flowers first. But the French Orange seemed to be excessive. Guess I'm just worried because our growing season doesn't last forever up here. On the plus side, it has been the nicest summer here in probably 4 or 5 years. 80s and 90s for highs so I'm happy about that. Hopefully it will continue in to September. Next year I'm going to attempt an heirloom melon: Thinking about Ananas d' Amerique Chair Verte, Noir de Carmes, D'Algiers or maybe Prescott Fond Blanc. I think the first two are shorter season. Haven't decided on a water melon yet.

Jamie


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RE: Heirloom melon salsa

Joe,

On the second recipe in my post above, I would probably skip the mint if I used Prescott Fond Blanc.

Jamie,

I would listen to Reign when she says that cantaloup d'Algers is not a sweet melon. But if you're looking for a dramatic serving bowl for Melon Pico de Gallo, d'Algers would fit the bill. Maybe Natasja can coax it to sweetness in the prolonged hot summer weather of Madrid.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Bill, thanks for the note. I'll keep checking in here to listen to the experts and post again when it looks like things are getting ripe. By the way, our raised beds are bordered by lavender. The bees are always around the flowers, and the fruits and vegetables. Seems to be working well. Since we should have warm weather now well into the fall, do I need to pinch of the smaller ones or just let everything grow?


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

"I would listen to Reign when she says that cantaloup d'Algers is not a sweet melon. But if you're looking for a dramatic serving bowl for Melon Pico de Gallo, d'Algers would fit the bill."
===

I think it is important to grow and preserve even the heirloom melons that aren't the best eats. Nothing wrong with growing a melon because it only looks or smells good. If we only grow for taste we'll end up losing a lot of important melons.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Reign,

I agree with you that it is important to preserve varieties for reasons other than optimum flavor. But if Jamie can only grow one heirloom melon, she should know what it's like, don't you think? Don't want her to give up on heirlooms the first year she tries one.

If she wants to amaze her friends, she can grow d'Algers, though the skin is so soft that I would worry about rot if she gets a lot of rain. This variety is still quite edible, even if it's not real sweet. Hence the salsa recommendation. She can take a look at your cooking ideas above, too.

Speaking of growing melons for looks or aroma instead of taste, I picked some prettier Tiggers today (mostly brick red, not much yellow). They smell good, too. I think I'll leave them whole for a while. But they weren't isolated, so it would be silly to save the seed.

Joe told me how he starts his melons so early. The easiest way I can think of to isolate a variety here for preservation is to start some plants a month earlier than all the other varieties, and pick off any early male blossoms from potential cross-pollinators until the first fruits set on my target variety - then I would mark the fruits for saving. What do you think?

My typical mode of support for heirloom varieties is to buy seed whether I need it or not. I have an embarrassing number of seed packets in the house. That's how I ended up planting more than 30 kinds of melons this year, a haphazard collection of heirlooms and non-heirlooms. Melon seeds don't take up as much room as bean seeds, but they aren't as interesting to look at. I've cleared out some space in the melon file to buy more seeds - melon seeds keep a long time, and some of the ones I planted this year were pretty old. Seeds are cheaper than jewelry if you have to collect something, and much more useful.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I just don't want to come across as going poo poo on someone's variety interest /choice. I'm usually so thrilled when someone wants to grow melons that I don't want to discourage in any way. I suppose I could make some suggestions since I'm closer to zone 4 conditions.

===
"...she can grow d'Algers, though the skin is so soft that I would worry about rot if she gets a lot of rain"
===

This is an area where you and I don't share the same experience with this melon. The skin was not "soft" for me.

My d'Alers vines were 3-4 feet long when I transplanted them. Somewhere around here we have photo of me taking them to the garden. I looked like a snake charmer.

You don't have room for a small isolation plot? It doesn't have to be big.

How about instead of picking off the male flowers, you use a row cover? When female flowers arrive, uncover and hand pollinate. There is no hurry for you to start saving seeds. You can wait and think through the best options.

I have a large seed collection too. I'm no where near embarrassed about it. :)

===
"Melon seeds don't take up as much room as bean seeds, but they aren't as interesting to look at."
===

That is where photos and books like Goldman's come in. Nice way to look at your collection :)


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Reign,

Maybe my d'Algers was water-logged. It was sure spongy on the outside. Might be a variety that really needs a light hand with the watering can. Though P. really did overdo watering this row.

Sounds like you have some experience with transplanting larger melon plants, like Joe does. I think I am doing well here to get a plant through with two true leaves. But it was 105 degrees. P. taught me to really firm in the roots of transplants. Seems to work really well with these small transplants and with trees - it's a little scary to watch his foot over the roots of a new tree, but so far, so good. I have my doubts about using this technique on a larger melon plant - afraid of breaking roots.

I like the idea of row covers for pollination control. But sometimes here the weather heats up so fast that row covers cook plants. I do have some room for an isolation plot, but if I'm going to be distributing seeds, I still worry about the stray insect with wanderlust. I have two heirloom plants in isolation this year for an amateur hybridization experiment, but it's going to be pretty low-tech. and I don't really expect a pure hybrid.

Books and photos of heirlooms are more interesting to look at than the seeds, with the possible exception of beans. I have some nice heirloom vegetable books. Maybe I need some melon books, too. I'm not really embarrassed very often by my large seed collection, but once in a while, someone does look at me like I'm nuts. I can take it.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 25, 05 at 12:56

Gosh, you go away for 2 days and the thread explodes with great information.

Root trainers look super interesting, thanks for the link.

The sucrin de tours mystery deepens. Pick one of them when you just can't stand it anylonger. But i think the dying leaf is a pretty sure sign.

d'Algers is not in my garden this year, but it is not b/c i don't like it. The melons we harvested here did sweeten up a little, but it is far from the sweetest that we grow. It was aromatic and very complex flavored. There are times when you don't want a sugary sweet melon, especially to add to salads, to serve with prosciutto, to add to and use as bowl for curried chicken sald. (a personal fave)Speaking of using for a bowl, a drawback for me of d'algers is the large seed cavity. Not as much flesh as with other melons.

I would think for jamie the best bet would be any of adaptable to cooler climates or early ripeners like petit gris de rennes, or as she mentioned ananas d'amerique chair verte. Also keep reading the thread to see how collective farm woman fairs for those of us who are growing it. I read somewhere that you were thinking about tigger, and i think we would all say that there are a lot of other great melons to try first.

I am having problems with my golden midget. The oldest leaves are yellowing uniformly (no spots or patches). No wilt or wrinkling. The rest of the leaves seem healthy. Don't know weather to pinch them off or not. Maybe it needs a touch of shade. Blacktail mountain is spectuacular in setting fruit and vigour.

Natasja


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Natasja - don't pinch them off.. I'm seeing the same thing here. At first I thought it was a problem. But remembered this melon has built in ripeness indicators. When both the foliage and melon turn yellow, it is ripe. I noticed that the fruit on un pollinated female turns the same color as the leaves that I thought were sick. I think we're both A Okay. :)

Obus - or some of your leaves so large that they droop some during the day heat and perk up once sun is going down?

Carolyn - light weight insect barrier covers shouldn't cook your plants.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I have one plant of St. Nick [santa Claus type] that has 2 fruits that are probably near full size now. I think it is setting another and if it stays healthy, it might set a few more. My question is: How much yellowing is best before picking this non-slip variety? Since it can store a long time, does it hurt to leave them on the vine a little extra?


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RE: Sucrin de Tours

Well, I think Reign and I may have seed for the real Sucrin de Tours. What an interesting melon to watch grow.

Yesterday, I picked up on Carolyn137's link on French melons from another thread

http://www.graines-baumaux.fr/produit.asp?numsouscategorie=100

and I stared at the detail on Sucrin de Tours, linked below. Think I've seen it before.

I got to thinking that the melons I was waiting on looked way more mature than the one in the picture. I picked the oldest melon. It was strikingly beautiful to look at. But it had firm, dryish, pale orang flesh.

I picked the last cream and orange-caramel melon in the morning, which still had a green spot. I figured I might as well be curious and also picked one which was almost dark green under the high-relief netting, even though it didn't look ripe. Wasn't ripe, but the flesh was darker in color than the probably over-mature melons. Still nowhere near red. Very hard and crispy. Pleasant, somewhat sweet.

The picture in the link is very close to the appearance of the last melon I picked today - netting with pronounced relief, large seed cavity, etc. You will note that the flesh does not really look very red.

The text indicates that this melon is ordinarily very good. Maybe this means that there are times when it is not so good. Maybe there is a reason these are a regional specialty of the Loire valley in France and not the Central Valley in California. Every melon I have tried has had very firm, finely textured flesh. Actually hard and crispy in today's green-skinned (under the netting) melon. The green one was sweeter than the older ones.

Maybe if I can pick the last melon on the vine when the skin under the netting is uniformly very dark forest green, before it does its quick-change to dark cream, the flesh will show some hints of red. Otherwise, we will have to wait for the plants I started in May, which look happier than the ones these melons came from . It's possible that the current melons came from an alkaline spot in the ground or something.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sucrin de Tours


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I picked the first two Butterscotch sweeties. The first one was very sweet, but sadly, the was kind of grainy in texture, but slightly under-ripe. It was lime green with orange swirls and orange at the seed cavity. The second one was less sweet but had a great texture, mainly orange and lime green tinges. There are about 30 fruit with about 8 plants, and when it's warmer, I can get maybe 6 fruit per plant that ripen to an edible size. I also had one Galia ripen. It's such a beautiful melon, netted and bright yellow on the outside, honeydew green on the inside. It looked ripe but maybe it was picked about a week too early (it does not slip when ripe). It was almost equal to BS in sweetness, but I still have to give the sweetness edge to Ambrosia.

I will be planting a few plants of Haogen and Charentais in the next few weeks. Hope the weather remains warm.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

"I still have to give the sweetness edge to Ambrosia."

Made me smile. With that many fruits on SB you're bought to get dozens of perfect ones.

The hybrid that I affectional named TBA (Trying Bill's Ambrosia) has set a good amount of fruit. I am still hoping it is Ambrosia. But trying not to set myself up for a disappointment.

I tried a Sprite Melon from the local grocer this evening. The white on white was attractive. The taste of this softball sized melon was so poor it hurt my feelings. I tried a spoonful from the two I bought and then tossed them in the bin. I expected more after having read so much about them and the program in NC.

I did save a few seeds for future experiments.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Reign,

If I remember correctly, Sprite's a hybrid. I don't like it, either. I hope Bill gets a lot of nice melons this year, too.

It's getting busy in the melon patch. Yesterday I picked a Sugar Nut (Hybrid) and a Mary Gold (OP) canary melon from vines wilting in heat. Both forced slip. Sugar Nut was sweet, but that was all, straight from the garden. It was a mystery to me how it could have won a Cook's Garden Taste Test.

http://cooksgarden.com/prodinfo.asp?number=415&variation=&aitem=1&mitem=8

But Sugar Nut tasted better after it had cooled to room temperature. And after a few hours at room temperature, I could tell how it could win a taste test. It developed a very nice flavor after some time off the plant, which balanced its sweetness. Mary Gold continued to taste like it had been picked a little early. But in the morning, when I tasted them cold, I preferred the Mary Gold - crisp and refreshing. The sweetness of the Sugar Nut was too much when its flavor was masked by cold. Mary Gold is one of the few melons so far this year which has tasted better to me cold than at room temperature. Another is the Crane Melon from Saturday.

The plants looked ready to expire, so today I gave them a little water, even though they still have nearly ripe fruit on them. We'll compare before and after watering. Hit the irrigation ditch fast, though. Didn't let the water trickle in for hours. Plants have perked up.
Got a good PFB yesterday, too. I know they're not supposed to slip, but it did. Seemed natural this time, unlike the one that slipped after over-watering. The skin was an orange-caramel cream color. Nice, firm, moderately sweet, flavorful flesh. Pale orange scallop around edge of flesh. Very attractive.

We also got several Charentais types today, including a Savor at the perfect stage of ripeness. Trocadero still follows the pattern of being a larger melon with a larger seed cavity than Savor or Charentais. Got some other assorted melons, too.

Bill,

Ha Ogen produced its first ripe melon today. Turned gold with green sutures, Slipped. DH loved the aroma, and it wasn't too bad for my warped sense of smell, either. Though after some time on the kitchen counter, I could tell how some people would find the aroma to be too much. You didn't goof up when you inadvertently talked me into planting another round of this melon. It's not overpowering to me like that French Orange was. It was bigger than I expected for this variety, 5.5 x 6". It was sweet and juicy, with a rather loose texture. Had its own very nice flavor. Mary Gold edged it out when we compared the melons cold. Haogen beat out Sugar Nut cold, even though Sugar Nut was much sweeter.

The big surprise of the day was a Banana Melon. It slipped . Very lightly netted, creamy yellow and pale green with a few darker green flecks, 5 x 8.5". Not as long and skinny as most pictures you see of this variety. Not a particularly thick-fleshed melon, but tasty. Very sweet, aromatic, with its own flavor. Sweeter than the smallish Burpee Hybrid Crenshaw I picked with it. The Crenshaw also slipped. Darker orange, firmer flesh than the Crenshaw. Comparable in sweetness to Ha Ogen, probably a little sweeter. Much finer texture. From Willhite Seed. I think they have been doing some selection on this variety. It's the second down on the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Willhite non-hybrid melons


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Reign,

Sprite is a melon whose texture I don't care for. It's crispy, and I prefer a softer juicier melon. But when it's a happy plant, it puts out some of the most aromatic melons. It kind of reminds me of crispy, white flesh and white skin honeydew with hints of bazooka bubblegum.

spacific-

No, I never prune a melon plant. I just let them sprawl and have a ball. I hope your plants stay healthy.

Bill


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I love the enthusiasm on this thread. I don't think I have met people who love melons as much as everyone here. I love it! I am a novice when it comes to gardening and much appreciative of all the descriptions and advice.

Ann,
I am the one from Long Beach. I just recently cleared an area for the Petit de Rennes, and I have another small space for the Charentais that I will need to clear asap. I planted three seeds for both melons. All three of the Petit came up and two of the Charentais grew. They look healthy so far. Let me know how yours turn out. It sounds like from one plant one can get a lot of melons. I am uncertain about the amount of space I have for them but even if I only get a couple of melons I'll be happy.

For all those experienced with Charentais, is there a taste difference between the hybrid and heirloom versions? Just wanted to know for next year.

Thanks,
Green


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Bill, thanks for the note. I won't prune (except where it's taking over the eggplant. I had so little confidence in what I could grow, that I planted way too close, and probably a few things that shouldn't be together. But this year was just an experimental year. My watermelon plants are now a couple of inches and growing. I at least had enough sense to plant them on a side yard with a bit more room. Unfortunately, the soil there is not as good as in the beds (which I started new this year with 1/2 compost and 1/2 planting soil).

Hey Green, I'll be interested in seeing how your plants do. For all of you with too many seeds that want someone in So.Cal. to do any testing, let me know. I'll be happy to try! Not really knowing sources, I'm guessing my Charentais Edonis seeds from Johnny's Seeds are hybrid and therefore unable to reuse the seeds?


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RE: St. Nick (Santa Clause type) melon

Wayne,

I believe the instructions for St. Nick melon are to pick it slightly under-ripe if you intend to store it. It is supposed to get sweeter in storage. If you want to eat it now, let it ripen fully if you want. I think this type is quite sweet even when under-ripe. I don't really know how to tell when it is at optimum ripeness.

It's probably similar to some of the green-skinned, white-fleshed storage melons Natasja is very familiar with. She might be more help. I've got a few seeds of St. Nick planted for fall this year. I found with Canary melons recently that their flavor seems to develop after the melon is off the plant for a few hours. I suspect that something similar might happen with this type of melon, even if you pick it ripe.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I never had any idea there were gardeners with such a wealth of knowledge of melon growing. Thanks for sharing. I am growing Petit de Rennes this year for the first time and would greatly appreciate any and all information about this variety. My plants are healthy and have melons that are up to 5" in diameter. Thanks in advance. Kerry1GA


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Thanks, Carolyn.
I see Santa Claus melons at the store often and they are green with a little bit of yellow mottling. I assume these are full ripe.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I noticed that the French site (graines baumaux) says re Prescott Fond Blanc 'leave one fruit only per plant'. Is this what others have done in the past? Is it necessary? Joe


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Joe - I'm sure as heck not doing that! :) I going for as many as I can get before time to consider end of season.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

  • Posted by Tuso madrid spain (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 28, 05 at 9:39

AS for storage melons, yes they are normally picked slightly underripe. Too underipe and they will never develop flavor. The tradition here in Spain used to be to save these melons in a cold, dark pantry and serve them for Christmas. That was when fruit was not readily available in winter and transportation wasn't what it is now.

I have read about and talked to a lot of french melon farmers, and the question of pruning the vines and pruning fruit it up to a lot of debate. There are the organic, "biodynamic" farmers who don't believe in interfering in the plant's growth process and believe a healthy plant is self-regulating. Many others subject to shorter seasons and much rain in the north practice vine pruning and/or fruit pruning because it is the only way for them to have fully ripe fruit before the cooler weather sets in. If you read the cultivating advice on other french seed sites (ferme sainte marthe, biaugerme) they say that pruning is optional.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

One of my Cream of Saskatchewan plants has started setting fruit, about half a dozen so far, about the size of my thumb. I've gotten this far! Joe, Winnipeg


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Most of my watermelons aren't heirloom. I haven't done all that well with most of them [heirlooms]. I do have an old-time Dixie Queen though and an Orangeglo that looks really good sized now.
Perhaps Orangeglo is heirloom and a good Orangeglo is very good though I have had ones less than 20 pound that lacked ooomph in flavor.
My non-heirloom watermelons are really doing great this year....brought in a 27 pound SF#790HQ today. How does that variety name sound compared to heirloom names!!?


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

The Cream of Saskatchewan has about a dozen set fruit, some the size of a small baby's head. I have about a half dozen Prescott Fond Blanc. They're distinctive with the fruit the size of a golf ball and the blossom scar the size of a quarter. I haven't seen any Petit gris de Rennes or Green Nutmeg but I can't really get in to those hills because the vines are too thick. Of course looking doesn't make them set fruit any faster. Joe


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

football practice started this week, so I'm at the school guarding the melons from the boys. Some parents come along and were asking questions. We're discussing how you determine whether a watermelon is ripe and one dad says 'like this' and WHAM smashes a Cream of Saskatchewan open. I counted to ten and said 'I'll go get a knife and we can try it' but he misunderstood the purpose of the knife and was gone when I came back.
It wasn't 100% ripe. It had a bit of the sourness that you get from the rind all through it, but definitely tasted of sugar and watermelon. Some of the seeds were white but others had a bit of colour on them. Do they need to be fully coloured to be viable?
Joe, Winnipeg


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

We just ate a Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon. Saskatchewan was whupping the Winnipeg Blue Bombers so I was waving bits of rind at the tv saying 'cream Saskatchewan' but it didn't work.
Anyways, 5 1/2 lbs, about 7" round. Nicely sweet, very juicy. Not too seedy. This was the first - and largest - fruit to set. I might consider something else for next year. Joe, Winnipeg


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Any red fleshed cantaloups, muskmelons?

Kokopelli seeds of France offers Sucrin De Tours and Green Olive netted melons. Both descriptions indicate they are red fleshed. I know Artisticgardens.com offers Sucrin De Tours. I'm looking for this unusual trait in musk melons. Unfortunately, Kokopelli is out of both varieties right now.

Anyone here had success with the red cantaloupes?
http://www.kokopelli.asso.fr/boutic/index-en.html


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I don't know that I would recommend Sucrin de Tours for Texas. The melons never developed decent flavor or texture our hot climate, and never got particularly red - the flesh was far more pastel in tone than many melons I have grown - the closest to red it got was sort of a rosy pastel peach color.

It was very interesting to watch Sucrin de Tours grow, as it changed appearance a lot from one stage to the next. The seeds of this variety have been shown to germinate at lower temperatures than many other cucurbits.

For more saturated color in an heirloom melon, you might try the Banana melon from Willhite, though it isn't really red, either. But it tastes good and stands up to heat. Also recommended for parts of New England, to my surprise.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I've been reading this discussion with interest. I love melons but have never grown any. Would any of these varieties be suitable for a small garden? I don't have as much space as I'd like or I'd let melons ramble all over. Yum!


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

fliptx, you might consider Minnesota Midget Cantelope, the vines only grow 3-4 feet long.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Thanks, Gene :) That was on my shortlist of melons to try.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I need some help.I have a dark,dark orange skin melon.It is about the size of a softball.Does anyone know the name?
Thanks
jackman1944


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

Where did you get the seeds?

Does it look like any of the varieties at SeedSavers?


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Watermelons & armenian cukes, not fruiting

Hello.
I've had watermelons and armenian cucumbers in for over 2 months. They look beautiful and are still flowering; but no fruit. I'm presuming they have not been pollinated. I see only one flower, not (both) male and female - if I wanted to self pollinate.

Do I pull the plants out and start over; wait until the end of the season and prune, and try to re-start?

Thanks for any info.


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RE: melons, watermelons doing well

I hope you've seen some fruit by now, gardenerlady! From what I've heard, it's normal to see only one kind of flower (male) on melons and cucumbers early in the season. I wouldn't call Mid-July "early", though...was the weather too cool, maybe?

I haven't been gardening for very many years, but I've always noticed that cucurbits produce male flowers for what seems like weeks (it really isn't) before they finally start producing female flowers. It goes along like tht just enough to make me god and worried, and then it resolves itself.

This has been an interesting thread to backread; I'm growing some Prescott Fond Blancs myself, and two melons did slip from the vine sort of early. They're nice enough, decently sweet, but nothing to write home about. Then I read the observations on overwatering, and thought "Oh." It's been very hot here, and some of their leaves got toasted on the vine, so I was watering them a lot, just soaking them. Maybe I'll cut back on the water a bit and see if my future melons are sweeter. They have a wonderful scent, though! It's sweet and spicy, sort of like melon and sort of like cedar wood.


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