[NAFEX] Unsweet melons

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Tue May 20 08:24:25 EDT 2008

I have grown very good flavored melons on soil with significant clay (a 
mix of clay, loam, and rocks). pH is moderately low, naturally around 
5.8 and usually limed to the low to mid 6's.

In my experience, flavor varies a great deal with variety, and it's 
possible that some varieties will produce good flavor on soils with 
clay while others require sand. I don't know whether organic growing 
techniques might also be making a difference.

The drastic drop off in flavor many report in the fall might be due to 
the reduction in sunlight. A cool, cloudy season can also reduce 

I've had very good to extremely good flavor from Earligold, Golden 
Gopher, Montana Gold, Harvest Queen, Minnesota Midget, Rocky Ford, 
Jenny Lind; in watermelons the best flavor I've had was Blacktail 
Mountain; Sugar Baby has decent watermelon flavor also, and is a lot 
easier to find. Some varieties do seem to be bland here.

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly

On May 20, 2008, at 7:40 AM, Michael Richardson wrote:

> Here in a zone 3 pocket of the Wisconsin River Valley there are three 
> fairly large farm markets that specialize in cucurbits.  They grow 
> every variety of squash and pumpkin and have cantaloupes galore. Few 
> watermelons though--I suspect that they can't compete with Texas on 
> that.  One of them advertises "The best melons in the world".  
> Hyperbole perhaps--but they are gooood.
> Our soil is alkaline sand.  Cacti grow in patches that aren't farmed.  
> It would seem that sand is important to good melon cultivation based 
> upon the limited sample of this list.
> Steve Herje, SW WI USDA zone 3/4
>> -----Original Message-----
>> Gordon wrote:
>> "I do have a black gumbo tight clay soil which is not ideal for 
>> melons."
>> Maybe that's my problem too.  The soil is plenty fertile, but clay 
>> based.  It grows good sized melons if I keep them watered, but flavor 
>> is problematic.  With Steve up north and Gordon down south having the 
>> same  trouble as I, it confirms it's not related to climate.  Maybe 
>> good flavored melons can only be grown on sand?
>> Mark
>> KS
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: Gordon
>>> To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
>>> Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2008 3:34 PM
>>> Subject: [NAFEX] Unsweet melons
>>> I am in zone7/8 in north Texas so I am not too far north for 
>>> melons.  I do have a black gumbo tight clay soil which is not ideal 
>>> for melons.  I have raised on one variety of melon which had a 
>>> decent sweet flavor.  That was the Christmas melon.  I have been 
>>> told to stop watering the vines after the melons are about half size 
>>> but if I did that the vines would die in the summer heat from lack 
>>> of water.  They require lots of water to survive.  I have tried 
>>> various varieties over the last thirty or so years without success.  
>>> I had a labor across the street from me who said he never had such a 
>>> problem but the melons he gave me were just like the ones I grew; 
>>> tasteless and not sweet.
>>> <image.tiff> Gordon Hale
>>> Grand Prairie, Texas

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