Melons, I Ain’t Got Melons

Post last updated: August 13th, 2018

In 2011, I grew two or three tiny watermelons from seeds that came out of a grocery store watermelon. I was so proud of my very first watermelon that I had this casual photo taken. I wasn’t wearing makeup, jewels or any other enhancement. Not that any of that helps a whole lot anyway.  I’m never going to be one of those women they photograph because they age beautifully.

This year, my melons were a dismal failure.  All of the seeds were ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for the 2012 spring garden. I believe I gave the plants sufficient water but maybe not enough fertilizer. Perhaps the two tropical storms that hit us with copious amounts of rain added to their misery. Beats me. These are the melons I attempted to grow:

Ineya Melon – I had them in a five foot tall cage. The vines produced three or four melons. Most were either attacked by wild animals, started to rot and fell off or it became ripe before I realized and rotted on the vine. One of them had gotten to almost cantaloupe size when this happened. As this scenario repeated itself, I finally decided to pick a small one (3.5 inches long) before the critters got it but I suspected it was green.  I let it sit around the house a month before I cut into it. The hard, smooth-skinned rind did not change in color or appearance during that time. One of Baker Creek’s customers grew this with 14 other melons and rated it the best of all fourteen. According to Baker Creek, this melon is from the former Soviet Union, should be allowed to grow to a size of 6 or 8 inches and turn golden. It will then have white to very pale cream-colored flesh, crunchy yet juicy, with a flavor like honeydew with overtones of mulberry or banana. Yup, mine was green. Not much flavor, slightly green flesh.

Banana American – This dated back to 1885 and was supposed to have banana-shaped fruit. I had these in a five foot tall cage.  The vines just never did well. They are the only ones I haven’t torn out. Don’t ask me why.

Melon Thai – I had these on one side of my vertical garden poles on a trellis net. There are 20 inches between the trellis net on one side and the string on the other side. The Kentucky Wonder pole beans (Ferry-Morse seeds) on the string side produced with wild abandon. The Melon Thai started out as strong healthy plants but never did anything. The beans may have crowded the melons and they  failed to get what they needed to produce. However, the two reviews on Baker Creek’s website indicated others were also having trouble growing this foreign melon.  Still, it’s fun to try.

Charantais – This French melon was supposed to be super sweet and fragrant. May have also been crowded on the trellis net. Planted right next to it, however, were gourd vines that produced three gourds.

Watermelon Orangeglo – I planted this in the walkway between the Kentucky Wonder pole beans and a row of large lima beans which became a jungle. The watermelon probably didn’t get enough sun.

Baker Creek puts out a beautiful seed catalog with lots of easy to see full-page photographs although we could probably see it just as easily with a half or quarter-page photograph. I can’t tell you how many times I have picked up this catalog during or after a growing season just to drool over the fruits and veggies and dream about my next garden. Seed companies who are no longer offering print catalogs are making a Big Mistake.

Thankfully, I have enough seeds leftover to give all of these melons another try in my 2013 garden. One should never give up when it comes to gardening. Just try again next year.

11 thoughts on “Melons, I Ain’t Got Melons”

  1. I love the Baker Creek catalog, too! Sorry to hear your melons didn’t work out. It’s been a difficult year to try and figure out whether crop failures are due to nature or human error.

      1. You really are an expert at human error. I know the melons didn’t do well but so much other stuff did. Keep at it chica, I’m looking up to you.

  2. You don’t need any make-up or other enhancements. You have a natural healthy glow about you. Must be from all that outdoor work you are into.
    Sorry that this year’s melons did not turn out for you. But as the saying goes: if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

  3. The first year we tried watermelons, they didn’t do well. I don’t think we’ve tried since then! Although I agree that you never know what does well until you’ve tried it two or three years. Seed catalogs are like porn for gardeners!

  4. I’m not a professional, but I have a 1/4 acre garden and plant around 120-150 melon plants each year of many different varieties ( I _LOVE_ muskmelons and watermelon). The banana melon, while the taste is good, it’s really not any better than many of the “cantaloupe” types I grow each year – average at best, and the melon is more trouble than many of them. Many of the Charantais types have a good taste and may be a bit better than your average “good” muskmelon, but I haven’t found any I’d classify as “excellent”. They’re also more difficult to grow because they typically don’t slip from the vine when they’re ripe, and some varieties have horrible issues with splitting.

    Your Orangeglo watermelon there is a real winner. I love that one. It has a decent size, it’s early for it’s size, and it has an excellent taste. To be successful with it, it will need a lot of sun. It needs lots of water as well. As long as you make sure your soil has good drainage, over watering shouldn’t be an issue (watermelons never get too much water – they just don’t always get enough oxygen to the roots). Make sure your soil is decent, and use a good balanced fertilizer unless you’re sure you’ve done a good job of building up your soil with compost and organic material.

    With muskmelons, you might want to try the Minnesota Midget if you’re looking for something early, small, and easy to grow, or if you don’t mind something a bit larger and have at least an average growing season, try something like the Crane Melon – that’s a taste that even cantaloupe haters can appreciate!

    1. Gene – Oh My Gosh, thank you for dropping by with such good advice. I’ve been trying to grow heirloom or open pollinated seeds so that I could save my own seeds but my success rate with a lot of those seeds, such as the banana melon and charantais, has been dismal, at best. I do use a commercial fertilizer because I’m still in the process of building my soil but do not use pesticides stronger than Seven Dust and try to avoid that. Recently had an infestation of some sort of caterpillar that was defoliating my pinkeye purple hull peas before they could even bloom so out came the Seven Dust. How do you grow so many melons on a quarter acre? Are you growing them vertically? I am making a note of your suggestions for other canteloupes and hope you’ll stop by again with other comments or suggestions.

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