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Old March 31, 2016   #1
Christa B.
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Default Share which watermelon and other melons you are growing this year

I am interested to see which watermelon and cantaloupe varieties everybody is growing this year and why you chose them.

These are the watermelons I am definitely growing:

Klondike Blue Ribbon Striped-super sweet and crispy, my favorite

Orangeglo -unique flavor, very sweet, my other favorite

Bradford-once thought to be extinct, the story sounded interesting and the money spent on the seeds went to a good cause. I ordered them last year but will be planting them for the first time this year.

Jubilee-new to me but I have heard good things

Moon and Stars-decent flavor, super crispy

I have room for one more watermelon plant but have seeds for both Ali Baba and Moon and Stars Yellow Fleshed. I have grown them both once before. Ali Baba was just okay imo, It was very sweet and prolific but none of my Ali Baba melons were very crisp and I like a crispy watermelon. Yellow Moon and Stars was the most beautiful watermelon I have ever seen. Only two watermelons grew on my Yellow Moon and Stars plant last year. I picked one a little early and the other one got a major sunburn so I can't really judge the flavor. Still trying to decide which one to go with.

Other Melons I am growing:
Golden Jenny Lind-really like this one
Zatta- last year, my Zatta melon plant just kind of withered away shortly after i transplanted it but I want to give it another try.

Might grow:
Old Time Tennessee-grew it last year, one of the best I ever had but it turns to mush fast You have to really keep an eye on your garden and pick it as soon as it is ready.

Let me know what you are growing
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Old March 31, 2016   #2
BigVanVader
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Sakata's Sweet
Crane melon
Oraneglo
Minnesota Midget
Ha'Ogen melon
Crenshaw Melon

Big thanks to Imp for most of the seeds! I wanted to try small unique melons for market as big melons dont sell that great and I have limited space, plus small melons are easier to trellis. I love pretty much any melon for eating so far with Oragelo/Ali baba as my 2 fav watermelons and Crenshaw is my wife and I fav muskmelon. Every time I eat one my whole body smiles. Others seem turned off by the color until they try it.
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Old April 1, 2016   #3
joseph
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I grow my own variety of watermelons and muskmelons.

I grew over 100 varieties of melons, and over 300 varieties of watermelons to find a few that work in my garden. Then allowed them to promiscuously cross pollinate.

I have selected for yellow-fleshed watermelons, because I think that they taste sweeter with lower brix. It's hard to grow a high brix watermelon with my short-season and cold-nights.

I have selected for orange-fleshed muskmelons, with netted skin. Because I really like the taste of carotenes in my food, and because netted skin is stronger. I selected for muskmelons, because the smell is the best part of eating a melon.




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Old April 1, 2016   #4
Scooty
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Dunno if it's just the distance of the camera or having no humans in the picture for a sense of scale. But those muskmelons in the second picture look huge!
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Old April 1, 2016   #5
joseph
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooty View Post
Dunno if it's just the distance of the camera or having no humans in the picture for a sense of scale. But those muskmelons in the second picture look huge!
The black crate is 16" wide by 24" long.

Here's some human scale photos.


These are culls. Too big ==> Too long season to be reliable in my garden.
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Old April 1, 2016   #6
Scooty
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Are all of them crosses then? Did you name them?
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Old April 1, 2016   #7
Andrey_BY
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Very nice photoes, Joseph.

I've got some Russian and Polish melons and watermelons for short season areas here.
Limited seed stock, but if you want I can send you some varieties to try
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Old April 1, 2016   #8
Christa B.
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That is really cool Joseph! Are your varieties stable yet or are you still working on them? How many generations does it take to get a stable melon?
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Old April 1, 2016   #9
joseph
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I started with about 90 varieties of cantaloupes/muskmelons, and about 300 varieties of watermelons. I allowed them to promiscuously cross pollinate. I saved seeds from the most vigorously growing, and the earliest maturing, and the tastiest.

I call them Lofthouse Landrace Muskmelon, and Lofthouse Landrace Watermelon.

They are stable for some traits, but I let other traits float... For example, the muskmelons have to taste glorious and smell heavenly. They have to have orange flesh, and a netted skin. They can vary in size from two to five pounds. They can be round or oval shaped. They have to produce fruit in 75 to 90 days when direct seeded into my garden. They are stable in not being bothered by any of our local insects or diseases.

The watermelons are still a bit on the wild side. Because I'll take any ripe fruit that I can get... The population has moved dramatically towards yellow-fleshed fruits the past few years, because I think that they taste sweeter than red-fleshed watermelons. I don't care about rind color, or fruit shape. I only care about taste, and the ability to make ripe fruit in my garden. They are tending towards melons in the 5 to 10 pound range, because they ripen quicker.

I'm not intending to seek any more stability than that...
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Old April 1, 2016   #10
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A bit curious, in some of the pictures, I see different muskmelon sizes and with/without netting. Is that just part of the variation from a single plant? Or do you have like Lofthouse Landrace Muskmelon #1, Muskmelon #2?
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Old April 1, 2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooty View Post
A bit curious, in some of the pictures, I see different muskmelon sizes and with/without netting. Is that just part of the variation from a single plant? Or do you have like Lofthouse Landrace Muskmelon #1, Muskmelon #2?
The photo of me sitting by the truck is from about 5 years ago... The melons with the smooth skin were included in the original planting, but they were bland tasting, they got grainy too easily if it rained, and they cracked from absorbing moisture. I kept them around for a few years, because they were always the earliest to produce ripe fruit. But eventually I got tired of the taste and culled them. To keep genetic diversity high, I plant seed from up to about 3 years ago, so a bit of genetics from them might still be hanging around, but these days I cull those types of melons if they show up.

The melons in the crate are from last growing season. The smooth yellow thing behind the crate is some kind of squash.

The variation of the melons are from different plants: I suppose that by now, they are all cousins to each other. The melons from a single plant tend to be fairly close to the same size and shape.

I don't try to maintain different strains of muskmelons. They are just muskmelons to me. I select for taste, and for smell, and for robust growth and early productivity. I don't care about size, or shape. Netted skin is important to me because it makes the skin stronger, and less likely to be damaged by bugs, animals, or handling.

I keep the smaller melons in the landrace, cause they tend to ripen first. I keep the larger melons in the landrace, because even though they are later to ripen, they are a nice size, and who doesn't love more muskmelon?

I kept the seeds of the XXL muskmelon separate, so I could keep open the option of attempting to make a landrace of really large fruited muskmelons, but I'm currently not intending to work on that project.

I am haltingly moving forward on separating some of the muskmelons into a different landrace because they have a trait that I think could be really valuable to people with small gardens, or that are growing in containers. They have a very short distance between internodes. I call them bush muskmelons... They currently show up in my regular muskmelon patch at a rate of less than 1%.

Here's what the bush muskmelon plants look like.


Contrast that to a typical cantaloupe vine...
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Old April 1, 2016   #12
Scooty
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Yeah that would be really nice to grow in a small garden or even in a greenhouse in the dead of winter. Even in a big garden, it might be easier for people to manage multiple bushy plants vs one large vining plant. It looks similarly compact to a Sugar Baby Bush. I think I've seen one bush type muskmelon sold commercially (Honey Bun F1), but yours would probably taste much better if you ever manage to isolate the bush type.
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Old April 1, 2016   #13
joseph
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I've sent seeds of the bush melons to other growers. I expect that one of them may have seeds generally available before I do.
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Old April 1, 2016   #14
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Do you think you can train the bush melons to grow upwards? If so, I would really like to try them as I'm so short on space...

I'm growing Hearts of Gold this year again...
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Old April 2, 2016   #15
joseph
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The bush melons have tendrils, so I suppose that they could be trained to climb just like any other melon.
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