Mighty Melons

Seed List, MelonsPOD’s had mixed results with melons, but loves, loves, loves them. Last year just a few melons were harvested, but oh, how rewarding those melons were. Plus, fancy cucurbits are ridiculously expensive and difficult to find. Last year’s charentais was heavenly. But there was only one of them. Not one plant (well, that too) but one melon!

So this year:

Kiara F-1: “High quality true French charentais with authentic flavor. Strong vines provide excellent fruit protection…resistant to fusarium wilt 0, 1, 2; intermediate resistance to powdery mildew.” ARRRRRGGGG! And, the folks at Seeds for Change are totally letting POD down. Not available. Back to the drawing board. So annoyed. Since POD’s become so attached to the notion of charentais flavor in the sturdy form of a disease-resistant hybrid, Park Seeds answered the call: “Measuring about 4 1/2 inches in diameter, French Orange Hybrid is a superb eating experience and a great change of pace from cantaloupes and honeydews. The vines are very disease-tolerant for even bigger, healthier yields.”

Sprite: Hey, Diana, wanna’ trade? Lemme’ know and we can work something out.

These beauties will be started inside about 3-4 weeks (say, late April-ish) before being transplanted into light, well-drained, warm 65 degree soil with a pH of 6.0 and above.  Mulch well.

Deliciousness

Charentais and Cake
Charentais and Cake

The mystery melon? That top-heavy Charentais? That muskmelon that emerged from saved seeds?

DELICIOUS!

This is why I garden. Stop by Smitten Kitchen for the cream cheese pound cake recipe. Blueberries courtesy of Grand Junction, MI — just 33 miles from POD’s roots.

Mystery Melon

Charentais, maybe.
Charentais, maybe.

So, last year Plants On Deck fell in love with a certain farmer’s Charentais melons. In a fit of exuberance, seeds were saved and joined the rest of the crew on the little blue deck.

Since then, much research was conducted about saving seeds. And stuff was learned. Like, um, melons cross-pollinate in the fields quite easily. Yeah, bees. Forgot about that. We also know our farmer guy grows lots of delicious varieties. Which means, my mystery melon (let’s just assume the late bloomer was the Charentais) may be a mutt of sorts. Which means there’s a decent chance it’s not going to produce Charentais melons. Or much at all.

So, I guess there’s still some mystery lingering around, after all.

Off With Its Head!

Thinning Cucumbers
Help me! I'm a mystery melon!

It’s a necessary evil, thinning is. Last year two melons were housed in a single 5-gallon bucket. That didn’t work so well, honestly. Only 3 or 4 Minnesota Midgets made it onto the table. This year, given just how rootbound last year’s  mildew-ridden corpses were, one plant will enjoy all 5-gallons of real estate. POD hopes this will encourage healthier root development and air flow around the leaves.

Because the roots of melons and cucumbers are very delicate, don’t pull the rejects from the soil — you may end up disturbing the surviving plants root system. So instead, carefully pinch the doomed seedlings off at the soil line.

But guess what! We have a mystery on our hands! So, two 5-gallon buckets of melons were planted. One bucket with Charentais (from seeds saved from a Culton Organics melon) and one bucket with Minnesota Midgets (from seeds purchased at least 4 years ago). One bucket sprouted four healthy seedlings (thinned to one) and the other bucket sprouted not a one.

Do you think POD labeled the buckets? Strangely, no. Do you think POD remembers which went where? Not so strangely, no. Whattya’ think? Will it be French or will it be American? Unwisely, POD seems to have lost/pitched the saved Charentais seeds and is disinclined to plant what may or may not be a second MN Midget. Make sense? Thoughts?