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Old August 17, 2021   #1
ac21686
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Default I can't seem to grow a sweet melon. Help?

Another year, another failed melon crop! Same story every time. They feel right, look right, even smell right most of the time. Beautiful orange flesh and then...nothing. No sweetness at all. I have harvested at full slip, sometimes a few days before. Doesn't matter! The soil is on the sandier side (which seems like a good thing for melons), but admittedly I've not gotten a nutrients breakdown or clay/loam/sand/etc. composition. The weather this year was awful for melons, but even in a hot dry summer like last year's, I don't recall them tasting any better. We straddle the line between 6A and 5B in Western CT. I'm determined to have one decent crop What melons has anyone grown roughly in this same geographic region/zone and managed to produce a really sweet one?

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Old August 17, 2021   #2
NewWestGardener
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My zone is 7B.
I'm trying to figure it what melons to grow too next year.
I'm currently growing Golden Jenny, which seems to be vigorous and setting flowers and mini melons easily. I planted very late, the end of June (got seeds late), so I can't comment on flavor, but the growth is promising.
Among other melons, the best one is Passport, lots of blooms and melons, probably will be ready to pick in a couple of weeks.
My Topedo Korean melons did not grow much for a long time, just starting to set baby melons now, lots of them. Probably no hope for a harvest, too late.
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Old August 17, 2021   #3
Tormato
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac21686 View Post
Another year, another failed melon crop! Same story every time. They feel right, look right, even smell right most of the time. Beautiful orange flesh and then...nothing. No sweetness at all. I have harvested at full slip, sometimes a few days before. Doesn't matter! The soil is on the sandier side (which seems like a good thing for melons), but admittedly I've gotten a nutrients breakdown or clay/loam/sand/etc. composition. The weather this year was awful for melons, but even in a hot dry summer like last year's, I don't recall them tasting any better. We straddle the line between 6A and 5B in Western CT. I'm determined to have one decent crop What melons has anyone grown roughly in this same geographic region/zone and managed to produce a really sweet one?
I'm in Western MA. With this year's weather, I'm glad I didn't plant melons.

I've tried all kinds of varieties. All have been very sweet in some years. All have been completely non-sweet in some years. Same varieties, just different conditions. From what I've read, the severely limiting of watering about two weeks before harvest, "might" help. The times I've grown melons in hills using black plastic "mulch" have been better than growing on bare soil.

Watermelons seem to be easier, they're never non-sweet.
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Old August 17, 2021   #4
PaulF
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For one year out of ten I get a melon or two. As soon as I find out the trick for a good season I will shout it out from the rooftops.
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Old August 17, 2021   #5
biscuitridge
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I had an old friend that grew watermelons out in his wheat field, he of course couldn't water them in the middle of a 600 acre field, plus we don't get any rain all summer long and those were the sweetest melons, he'd come over and look at my melons and ask how I ever grew them with so much water. My melons do the best growing under my blueberries which has acidic soil, and they are very very sweet.
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Old August 25, 2021   #6
ac21686
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A customer the other day told me about melons her father would grow north of Saratoga, NY, about 3 hours away. Now nostalgia definitely plays a part, but she swears they were absolutely delicious. She said "I don't know what the variety is, just that we called it a hand melon." I Googled it and found this place: http://handmelonfarm.com/melons/, which is apparently famous for them and has great reviews. Unfortunately when I went to the order form they said they're not shipping any more melons for the season because the rain has done a number on the crop. I would've liked to have tried them and saved some seeds
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Old August 25, 2021   #7
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Some friends of mine were doing a co-op here a few years back (that's how I met them), and they would get Sarah's Choice from johnny's. They were pretty excellent. I can't say the particulars of how they grew the melons, but they introduced me to using row covers and drip in general. I've grown some, but for the most part they don't make it for me organically.

The problem we have here is absolutely the bugs. Anything that gets through to ripe is sweet. We have an excellent clay soil here that will take all the lime or compost you care to give it. The problem is the striped cucumber beetles and the wilt they cause.

This year I tried to hide the cantaloupe from bugs in rows, uncovered, with other crops, and there are some coming about ready now. They are not big though. Sharing the beds, they don't get as much sun or space. I have two rows of peppers with cantaloupe running through it, and some more under corn. I would not call it a success at this point, but they were small, late transplants too. I saw one plant today, or at least one vine, looked all wilted up, but I didn't get a chance to trace it back to see if it is broken or poisoned.

I will admit the hit or miss cantaloupe has been bugging me. Next year I may try some rows devoted just to melons and keep them under cover the entire time. Maybe net some bees and put them under to pollinate when the time comes? Or hand pollinate, but that would mean uncovering, kind of a pain.
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Old August 29, 2021   #8
atilgan
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I live in Ankara/Turkey while we are in 7b we have cool night during the summer. I love watermelons and try new varieties every year. They grow and produce fine but most of them taste bland. Out of probably 20 or more varieties that I tried only blacktail mountain, gift of sun and ogonyok produced sweet tasting fruit. For example I tried gold in gold this year. Size and color was there but it was not sweet.
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Old August 29, 2021   #9
JRinPA
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Default first melon here was sweet

I had a thought about this, regarding soil. The only melons I've tried that were not in ground or a compost row over ground, were grown in my rain gutter buckets. Those buckets contained compost, a second different compost, horse manure, 10-10-10, peat, and perlite. They grow peppers, eggplant, peas, and lettuce very well.

A couple years ago I tried cantaloupe (the same Sarah's Choice) in them, grown up a trellis. The striped cucumber beetles wilted most of them. Those cantaloupe, the few that formed, were indeed tasteless even at full slip. I had withheld water at the end, but I don't recall for how long. I never tried again in buckets. Clearly there were a lot of nutrients missing for good melons.

This one I picked yesterday was vining through a hot pepper row - raised compost rows under black woven ground cover. I haven't used the drip for most of August, but it has rained a lot. The gauge read 3-1/2" last week, and 1/4" the overnight before I picked. It was splitting. It was not ready to slip, so I cut it off. Felt like picking up a cannonball, very heavy and solid. It was sweet with great flavor, but I think it would have been even sweeter in a few days, had it not split. That was an F3 from the original Sarah's Choice F1.

It don't look like much but I'd take 3 dozen like that, spread out, if I could make it happen. I'd laid the top back on for the last pic.
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Old August 30, 2021   #10
atilgan
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This year I tried early melon mix. They are a bit small but profilic.
https://www.resilientseeds.com/store...rganic%29.html
I had 4 wines and 3 of them produced melons which were sweet but not overly sweet.
I would recommend the melon etiophian.
https://organicseeds.top/shop/12006/...-organic-melon
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Old August 30, 2021   #11
ac21686
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Looks exactly like the Haogen melon I grew a few years ago. I had them in California and they were among the best melons I've ever had. I tried them here and they had no flavor at all
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Old August 31, 2021   #12
atilgan
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I had the same experience with haogen melon.
I tried limiting watering as well but it did not make a difference. A friend of mine watered agresively. If I were to water like that mine would have gotten mildew. He had them as seedlings. They look like a local variety but could be hybrit .They produced
very sweet melons. I believe it has to do with cool nighttime temperatures.
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Old September 5, 2021   #13
atilgan
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Here is a melon advertised as coldnight tolerant
https://www.fruitionseeds.com/shop/v...sharlyn-melon/
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Old February 12, 2022   #14
ac21686
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atilgan View Post
Here is a melon advertised as coldnight tolerant
https://www.fruitionseeds.com/shop/v...sharlyn-melon/


I will be trying that out this season and have purchased the seeds for it. The longer harvest window seems really promising! I had good luck with the watermelon they offer, August Ambrosia, last season. Fruition has some good stuff.
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Old February 13, 2022   #15
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I am in what used to be zone 3b, but mid-summers here in the upper Midwest have been hotter in recent years, and fall comes a bit later. I start seeds in mid May to set out early June when I feel the weather is stable with no chance of frost. I will up-pot them if they look like they are outgrowing their pots, and have little set back in growth and don't feel they suffer much from root disturbance. Better than letting them get stringy and root bound. For the most part, I keep the potted plants outside in real sun, and only taken in at night for warmth.
I grow in the ground, but also put two plants each in a large black 15? gallon or larger container. I have super large used nursery pots from my niece who managed a nursery, including trees. The melons in pots mature before the ground plants.

I have tried a few cantaloupes, and have settled on Halona F1 as the best tasting and among the earliest for me.

I do have trouble with mouse/vole damage, often even on the small immature green melons.




For watermelons, Blacktail Mountain does well for me every year, and I've started to grow Crimson Sweet as well.




Some years the melons are sweeter than others, you can't really control rainfall or heat. Well, I suppose you could cover the melon patch with a tarp when you expected a downpour. My problem last summer was drought, all the rain went north or south of my dry doughnut hole.
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