[NAFEX] Of melons and dreams...

Lori Rizzo larizzo at charter.net
Wed Jun 10 19:00:59 EDT 2009

Last year, I bought a house and some acreage in a 'preferred flood plain' in
eastern TN - clay soil, though I thought, at least, the location by the
creek would be great for growing melons, because where I was from in Texas,
they grew watermelons in the creek beds.  My goal is to grow unusual &
heirloom vegetables and melons.  I planted mine in hills, rich with
manure/compost, and fertilized with 15/15/15.  I also covered the mounds
with straw to mulch them. For some reason, most of the melons didn't
germinate the first time around - so had to re-seed again.  I've noticed
this year, the same thing - seems like I can't get any of the seeds to
germinate well when planted straight outside until at least May 1-15th.
I've also noticed, no matter what I do, they still wait until June (right
about this week) to get their first growth spurt.  I don't think it's heat -
I think it's day length.  


Last year, I bought most of my seeds from Baker's Creek - heirloom melons.
I am in Zone 7 - Eastern TN, at the base of the Smokies.  Last year was a
drought season.  With that said, this is what I got:

- Ginger's Pride: This is a huge, football-shaped cantaloupe-type melon,
much larger than a football (about 3x as big) - was really impressive, and
VERY productive (at least 10 per vine) - but the flesh was soft and mushy -
and it didn't have a very distinctive cantaloupe smell - not all that
appetizing.  I'm surprised, because Baker Creek lists it as a favorite.
Won't plant again.

- Old-Time Tennessee: Only got one melon from this before something got it -
but it was o.k.  Didn't plant it this year.

- Stone Mountain: This vine was hugely prolific vine that produced a melon
every 10 inches - I had about 16 melons on one vine - but when you opened
the melon, the flesh was whitish-pink - and it had absolutely no sugar
taste.  I thought I picked it too early and kept harvesting melons until the
vine was just about rotted - and no improvement.  I wondered if this melon
was too close to something else and it was a hybrid - or, maybe, I should
have thinned it. 

- Cassabanana or Melocoton: Weird red sausage-looking melon - never got to
germinate last year outside, but was able to start it inside this year -
can't wait to see what it produces.  

- Hero of Lockinge: Seeds germinated but died early - don't know why.  I
have one this year.

- Tigger: Seeds didn't germinate outside last year, but got them to
germinate inside this year.  Lost all but one with transplant, but the
survivor is doing well.  This is Baker Creek's top seller - an asian melon
that has orange stripes and is very prolific. 

- Thai Golden Round: This vine took over my garden last year - must have
produced 30 melons - but they didn't taste like melons, bland, strange - my
family threatened to rebel if I made them eat the darned things.  So much
for the other asian melon! 

- Orangeglo: LOVED this - got only 4 or 5 off the vine, but matured early
and had a wonderful texture & flavor.  Definitely growing again this year.
Easy keeper, too. 

- White Wonder: Another GREAT one - wonderful sugar taste - all white.  Also
very easy to grow, never gave me any problems - about 6-8 to the vine.  Will
grow this one again this year. 


I was quite distressed I had several melons that were not outstanding last
year - my father, who used to grow melons, said I overwatered them.
However, when I didn't, they looked like they were going to die - I have a
hard time knowing when to water melons.  I didn't prune anything - never
knew you should with melons.  I did think about thinning, but I didn't.
Also, I lost several cucurbit & melon vines early because of some type of
pest - some squash bugs, but I think voles might have been involved.  I'll
need to plan for this again.  This year, I am growing a few 'standard'
varieties, so I can be assured someone eats the melons! - Sugar Baby,
Crimson Sweet, Hale's Best.  But, I'm also adding White Sugar Lump (small,
white, sweet), Ambrosia cantaloupe, and Minneasota Midget. I really need to
know more about growing melons, but as the original lister noted, you don't
get much specific information from the old-timers, and I haven't really done
a lot of research (which is unusual for me!).


I'd also appreciate any insight - and references.





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Lori Rizzo, RN BSN MBA

Health Care Quality Improvement

Pet Training & Behavior Improvement!

Maryville, TN

larizzo at charter.net



From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Road's End Farm
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 9:21 PM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Of melons and dreams...


On Jun 9, 2009, at 5:27 PM, Jolyn wrote:

Growing melons in Zone 4/5 is a crap shoot but the years 
they are good are REALLY good.
Jolyn in Montana

If you are in Montana you should try (if you haven't already) Fisher's seed
company; they have some varieties (including a couple of melons) of their
own breeding meant for that area (some of which do pretty well up here, too;
plus which they are good people).

Fisher's Seeds, PO Box 236, Belgrade MT 59714, (mailing address; store
street address is 20750 East Frontage Road) 406-388-6052 (they are not

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly

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