Five Great Melon Varieties!
Seasons greetings all-
With the New Year fast approaching I look back on my garden successes and fails this past season. This is always a time of garden reflection for me.
Melons were a mixed bag this year, mostly depending on where they were grown, with those closer to the house sustaining far less ground squirrel damage.
Usually we only grow one variety of melon and watermelon per field to keep our seed pure. Doing this I can grow three different varieties spread out on our 40 acre parcel which is just what we did with watermelon this year: we grew Crimson Sweet, Early Moonbeam and Christmas watermelon.
But this year, in our home field, I decided to trial 5 of our melons side by side to compare flavors, maturation and yield. All 5 varieties, Mountain Honey, Hoagen, Huerfano Bliss, Boule d' Or and Ice Cream melon, were direct seeded around June 20th in a brand new field with very little inputs. This was an informal trial so I didn't grow replicated plots, count plants or weigh fruits.
Here are my impressions:
All had strong seedling vigor with Boule d' Or standing out of the crowd for rapid growth. These had an amazingly hard rind meaning we were able to harvest melons and eat them weeks later. The sweet green flesh of this honeydew type has a special texture and flavor.
Mountain Honey was the first to mature and even the non-melon fans in my family loved the flavor. These slip off the vine when ripe taking the guess work out of harvest time. Don Tipping of Siskyou Seeds bred these to mature quickly in short season climates. They also do well in hot climates because planted early in the season they will mature before the real heat of August fries the garden.
I had a special affinity for the Huerfano Bliss melon which reminded me of eating a mango. These come to us from my seed growing friends at Pueblo Seed and Food co and is named for the Huerfano river in Pueblo County, CO. They describe them as having 'outrageous flavor' and I agree!
Haogen was the first of the green melons to ripen and I love how the rind completely changes color to signify ripeness. These will produce a main crop that ripens over a month and continue with smaller fruits all the way to the first frost.
Ice Cream melons are small but win the prize for over all fruitfulness! These are very sweet and can start to ferment with all the sugars if not picked in time. Also known as Green Machine because they are so prolific.
GROW MELONS! They are delicious and will make you feel amazing for growing something so dessert-like:)
Speaking of dessert, as I wrote today gingerbread dough has been chilling in the fridge and I'm in the midst of my seasonal holiday music binge! Somehow I've made it through 11 years of parenting without doing gingerbread houses before now. Honestly, it's turning into a really fun day long project and we are all enjoying the holiday vibes.
I hope you are as well...wherever you may be, and however you celebrate the season!