Did I mention that I don’t have a lot of land here? It’s part of a typical AZ backyard. Not much to speak of.
But I like melons, which are the WORST thing to grow if you don’t have space because everyone knows the goal of any melon vine is TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION!! (insert maniacal laughter here).
That’s only a mild exaggeration.
So here is the breakdown.
Apple melons: These little things are… well… little. Not much to them. The flavor is interesting, especially if you eat the skin along with the flesh. I ate them, but I have to say, I wasn’t a big fan. Just not real sweet, although very interesting. Won’t grow these again.
Banana melons: I’m kind of torn on these. They are really interesting looking fruit. They grow relatively fast with good yields. The flavor is unique for a musk type melon. It has a little banana edge to it. The sweetness and flavor are dramatically effected by the MOMENT of harvest however and quite frankly, I had trouble timing it right. The last one I was really excited about was bored into by some type of insect. I was… irritated by that. In all… I don’t know. Probably won’t grow again, but…
Crane: I have nothing to show here. Only one melon actually grew but it split before it fully ripened and so I didn’t get to eat it. Very frustrating. Considering it only produced one fruit… I probably won’t grow it again.
Jenny Lind: Okay, Jenny, I have one thing to say… RIPEN ALREADY! For crying out loud these things took FOREVER to ripen and even then it tasted like I pulled it too soon. COME ON! Flavor was okay, sweetness was okay, but texture was NO BIEN because it was still NOT RIPE. Okay, so maybe I don’t have the patience for Jenny Lind melons. Won’t grow these again.
Green Machine: These were not bad melons. Produced well. Very small melons. Bigger than the apple melons, but still very small. Not much too them. Not real sweet. They weren’t bad, I just didn’t love them. I probably won’t grow them again.
Old Time Tennessee Melons: Oh my… These totally lived up to the description. The vines produced well, I actually have four more in the garden right now. A little tough to time, but once you realize that you check every day and AS SOON as you smell them, you pick it, you’ll get it just right. Very sweet. Very juicy. Great texture. LARGE melons. Two of the ones in the garden right now are probably going to be between 5 and 8 pounds. To top it off, they are BEAUTIFUL MELONS! I mean, come on! These things are just… pretty!
Needless to say, Old Time Tennessee melons are my musk melon/cantaloupe of choice moving forward. I will DEFINITELY be growing these next year.
Now for the watermelons.
Orange Flesh Tendersweet: Boo! Okay, that’s all I have to say is BOO! We got ONE. One stinkin’ melon. Really? It was good sized, about 15 pounds. Unfortunately about 14.5 pounds of it was RIND.
Did I mention the seeds? How could I leave that out. I’ve never seen so many seeds in one watermelon. Between the seeds and the rind there wasn’t much to EAT. Not real sweet. Not a great flavor. It was definitely JUICY, but all in all a loser. The last picture there is the orange flesh next to the Charleston Gray. I will not be growing this one again.
Charleston Gray: This was an interesting melon. Kind of delicate. Long, thin, and relatively big (although the one in the picture is actually pretty small). Unfortunately the shape means that there isn’t that much fruit. A 15 pound Charleston has a LOT less flesh than a 13 pound Desert King. Not bad melons. Good flavor. Sweet. Juicy. Just not a lot to them and kind of touchy. I probably will not grow these again, but I’m not real firm on that.
Desert King: These are the best. We’ve only gotten one melon this year because of the limited number of plantings, but it was FANTASTIC. Sweet. Juicy. Great flavor and texture. Love these. The kids love these. They are awesome. I will go back to more of these next year for sure. I don’t have any pictures, but they look like the ones I’ve grown in years past. You can take a look at some old posts if you want. Great melons.
That’s it. The conclusion. Desert Kings are my watermelons and OTTMs are my cantaloupes. I’ll focus on those two next year.
I hope your summer harvest is going good! God bless!
Enjoyed reading. It took a bit but I found a few that you were successful with. I did Charleston Greys and our molded before they were ready. We did have success with the icebox melons but just didn’t have the space the last couple years. 🙂
Watermelons are all about space. I have a problem at the moment because… well, it’s tough to see through all of the vines back in the main melon corner. I’m… not sure what to do about that yet.
Oh, those melons are looking delicious. 🙂
Thank you… some of them were. 🙂 I’ve got my hopes up for a few more before the season is done.
Oh my, I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but have a good giggle through this post and was in despair of you actually finding one you liked 😀
The Old Time Tennessee melons look absolutely gorgeous and I am sooooo relieved you liked them because it would have been immensely disappointing to read they tasted bland 🙂
Yah, that would have been bad. Fortunately they were good and enjoyed by many.
Interesting post! At least you what NOT to fill up you back yard with next year.
Exactly! Focus on the ones we like and eat. It’s all about the food.
Ditto! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.
Lordy, you are a dedicated gardener trying so many varieties to ensure in the future you grow the right one. I tend to grow one of something, get disappointed and give up. You’ve inspired me. Maybe it was the type of watermelon I grew, not that I can’t grow a melon to save myself. I’ll try again!
I really like to plant new and interesting things, but I realize I need to grow FOOD. So this year was a good year to experiment and figure out what the best things are for us. My first year of melons was a total failure, but it’s been looking up ever since. 🙂 Glad I could be of some inspiration!
Hi Keith. I have had a bit of a change in thinking this season. There are so many varieties out there to choose from and the gardener in me wants to grow them all – just to see what they are like and for the pleasure of growing them all. But in the kitchen, which is the final point for all of this, not only is too many impractical, but as you found, they all don’t satisfy. This year I am gardening as a cook and not a gardener with my eye on the end purpose. (I think there is a word in this…)
Although now you know what melons you like, you may just need to use the space to find out what variety of another veggie you love best…. I know that my garden will never be full of just practical kitchen food, there has to be some excitement.
Cheers Sarah : o )