August 10, 2010

Home Grown Melons

Orange Honey


Sweetie # 6

What is more deliciously summery than a slice of melon, cool and sweet and juicy? (leaving out tomatoes, corn, berries...) And what can be more special than picking them from your own garden, where they achieve a flavor, even in the challenging climate of northern Vermont, unmatched by store bought fruit. I grow varieties that are recommended for the north, buying the seed from Fedco, a terrific company in Maine. Their product descriptions are extensive and honest: if they say something is luscious, you can believe them.

I've grown Sweetie #6 for many years, but it is no longer available, so I'm using up the remainder of my seed. It's a small fragrant melon with green and orange flesh, and it produces like gangbusters; it even ripens in cool summers. I'm growing both Orange Honey and Arava for the first time, and I'm loving them both. I had forgotten that Arava, a Galia type melon from Israel, was green fleshed, so when I opened it this afternoon I was quite startled; the outside of the melon looks like an ordinary cantaloupe. The thing with melons, and with all gardening for that matter, is that you never know if all the work will pay off, if you will achieve "the fruit of your labors". You may only get one ripe melon per plant, or none, but the eating pleasure is worth the chance, and the effort.

from left to right: Arava, Sweetie # 6, Orange Honey


  1. Im still amazed when I see all the bounty of your garden Altoon... it seems no time at all since you were holed up inside for that long snowy winter. That melons could thrive also surprises me... but as you say ... growing varieties for your climate makes all the difference.What a feast!

  2. mmmm they look so good, sun warm, sweet. can you save the seeds and grow them instead of buying the seeds?

  3. I'm amazed myself sometimes, Sophie. The garden is now producing such variety that it's hard for me to choose what to eat for each meal.

    rappel, these are all hybrids, so I can't save seed. The cross pollination to produce these varieties requires the original parents and labor intensive hand pollinating. I've tried open pollinated melons, whose seed I could save, and found them less sweet. Same with corn, and peas: the hybrids are better, which is not at all the case with tomatoes.

  4. It's always a pleasure to open your e-mail/blog each morning. Seeing the melons I can smell their aromas. Your garden must be huge and alot of work. WHen do you find time to paint and hook?

  5. hi RJ, my garden isn't too huge, about 50 x 60 feet; it is a lot of work, but really worth it. Sometimes the days don't seem to have enough hours in them to get everything done, but the work winds down in fall, and happily there's the winter respite. I don't get as much painting done in summer as in winter, but that's okay with me; I do the rug hooking in the evening, while relaxing in front of the tv.

  6. Your melons are terrific! Yum! Yum! Didn't see any melons of this glory in the grand Farmer's market in Montpelier, but there were still blueberries, corn is delicious this year, and I'm happy with a different green bean, so thin and long. Makes me happy to support my local farmers too. Eating good in Vermont!

  7. hi Maggie, I was amazed at how early the melons started to ripen this year. I bet there will be some at the market next week. Vermont has good eating indeed.