This past spring, I talked with my friend Ona Blue about growing melons. Ona is a passionate melon grower and her enthusiasm is catching. To read more about our conversation, link to my article about her: https://lopezislandkitchengardens.wordpress.com/melons-ambrosia-we-can-grow/
Inspired by Ona, I grew melons for the first time this year, selecting varieties she recommended and following her instructions for starting the seeds and nurturing the plants. I set them outdoors in a low plastic house in mid-June and even with our non-melon-friendly summer, I started harvesting melons on Labor Day and have been enjoying both their flavor and their beauty in the weeks since.
Here are some of the first week’s harvest. The oblong melon is Sweet Granite, the green is Eden’s Gem and the deeply ribbed melon is Noir des Carmes.
A week later, Minnesota Midget, the smaller melons in this photo, ripened and this past week Charentais the largest melon was ready.
Except for Eden’s Gem, which remained green when ripe, all the others turned from green to yellow when ripe. Most dramatic was the Noir des Carmes which turned from dark green to bright yellow. While each is sweet, some are sweeter and others are spicier. I’m still learning their flavors. Each seems better than the last until I go back to the one that came before.
It hasn’t been a big harvest; in fact a warm-climate melon grower would find it laughably small, both in individual melon size and overall yields, but how many melons can two people eat? There have been enough for breakfasts, their sweetness matching perfectly with yogurt. And enough to mix with fall raspberries and late blueberries for desserts.
Small yields but still ambrosia as Ona says and enticing enough that I will plant melons again next year. They are lovely to grow and to eat.