Author Topic: Growing Melons  (Read 2493 times)

Duke Ellington

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Growing Melons
« on: August 08, 2021, 20:21:05 »
I would like to grow melons in my greenhouse next year. Have you had success with melons and what varieties would you recommend?

Duke
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Growing Melons
« on: August 08, 2021, 20:21:05 »

Paulh

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2021, 09:47:08 »
My greenhouse is a recent acquisition which I am slowly learning how best to use. Last year my brother gave me a melon plant ("Emir") which I would not otherwise have thought of growing. It grew away nicely from a large pot on the floor, up a cane to the staging. The hand pollination was a bit of fun and one melon resulted, about the size of a large orange (or small grapefruit!). I picked it when the vine died off and put it on a sunny windowsill to ripen. The scent was beautiful, so after some days, we tried it, it still wasn't really ripe but tasted nice enough. Like the (larger) melons you buy but I grew it!

A bit of fun which used what would otherwise have been empty space.

This year I have grown four plants from seed (100% germination) which are growing vigorously. Only two fruits have set so far - female flowers have been scarce - and one of those is hanging under the staging, so I don't think I was the pollinator!

I'll certainly do it again, having melons and black and red chillies in the greenhouse adds to the look of the garden.

Besides, there are still seeds left in the pack.

gray1720

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2021, 17:25:25 »
I have an Emir melon plant - bizarrely, Kings substituted it for the onion seed I ordered - and it  has thus far added to the general Triffidity of my greenhouse without actually providing any fruit. Am I going to have to do the dirty deed for it myself?
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

cudsey

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2021, 18:02:37 »
I have 5 plants in my greenhouse cant remember the variety and seeds are over the allotment I have 6 melons growing supported with netting but whether they will ripen is another matter 2 are quite large and the others are the size of an orange so time will tell but feeling happy at the moment
Barnsley S Yorks

JanG

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2021, 06:58:52 »
About four years ago I produced two or three wonderful sweet melons from F1 Malaga. I’ve grown the same variety since and also tried one or two others. I’ve found they have become apparently ripe and very juicy but haven’t really had that melon sweetness, juicy but a bit tasteless. Also something, mice perhaps, is rather partial to them as they ripen. I shall keep trying though!

saddad

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2021, 14:31:39 »
Emir has worked well for me for the last few years... so I'm expecting it to drop off the lists!

cudsey

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2021, 18:29:12 »
I checked the  seeds today on the allotment and they are Outdoor Wonder very happy with how many fruits but will need to taste them to see before final thoughts 
Barnsley S Yorks

Vinlander

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2021, 11:23:37 »
Excuse me for taking a glass-half-empty approach, but if you can't beat, trounce, drub & marmalise the flavour of what's in the shops then it's pretty pointless - there are much better things to grow (especially if the shops sell rubbish - eg. their plums are either near-tasteless asian species or sold grossly unripe, so growing gages is my top priority). NB. I only grow parsnips because they take less work than walking to the shops.

Any fruit that ripens well off the tree/plant requires some clear thinking before you bother growing it.

For example - take pears. There are several good varieties in the shops (when the season starts properly) so they aren't worth growing unless you love a specific variety that the shops don't provide.
I would love a Doyen de Comice tree, but Concord can be found in shops and is a DdC cross with quite a bit of its parent's flavour.

The worst fruit to bother with IMHO is aubergines. They don't really like it here and only do well under plastic, but then they are an absolute magnet for spider mite. If you do manage to get a decent crop you will find that while you were thrashing around for your first fruit, the season got well into full swing and they are cheaper than chips in the supermarket and even cheaper at the street markets. OTOH the round Turkish species dodge spider mite and aren't in the shops, though they are a bit small to make fritters

Melons aren't much better - I've grown some pretty good melons, but after I succeeded (with a lot of time, resources and effort) I realised the best ones in the markets tasted better (if you learn how to find the most perfectly ripe one - there is a fresh floral scent at the blossom end - the sweet part of the scent shouldn't overpower the floral or it will be sweet without flavour and will be moving towards mealy).

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

Beersmith

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2021, 22:01:23 »
but if you can't beat, trounce, drub & marmalise the flavour of what's in the shops then it's pretty pointless

No arguing with that!
Not mad, just out to mulch!

Paulh

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2021, 23:08:19 »
but if you can't beat, trounce, drub & marmalise the flavour of what's in the shops then it's pretty pointless

No arguing with that!

Except that there are some things (like melons) which offer a challenge for a few seasons - the pleasure in having grown one, even if it is not as good as you could buy!

saddad

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2021, 12:17:02 »
I grew water melons for a couple of years for just the same level of challenge!

gray1720

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2021, 22:27:37 »
Well, I take the view that you can't beat getting your hands on nice melons.

Mine have set two while I was on holiday (remember those?) - helpfully they are between the wire support and the glass, heaven only knows how I will harvest them without risking plunging headlong through the back of my greenhouse!
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

Duke Ellington

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2021, 08:16:07 »
Vinlander has raised some very valid points! I agree with you with regard to Aubergines ….. I tried for three years….and for all my efforts only managed two aubergines per plant sometimes one!! I decided it wasn’t worth the time and effort! I have tried to grow sweet potatoes and have only managed to produce thin rope like roots! ….not worth the effort!! I do find trying a lot of fun!!

Duke
dont be fooled by the name I am a Lady!! :-*

Vinlander

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2021, 21:16:11 »
I also like a challenge, but there are plenty of crops out there that aren't available in the shops at all.

I'm going to just mention a few favourites that are well worth the effort, but before that - if you haven't got an apricot then get one - they can be tricky but at least they are always going to be better than what's in the shops (because tolerating grey squirrels means a year with no apricots at all - but it's still less disappointing than buying the rubbish on sale).

The true annual Physalis produce a light amber 1cm berry with a delicious light pineapple taste. Lovely and fruity, but worth mentioning in the current blight crisis that they are OK in a salad in place of tomatoes. They need to be brought on under cover to do well outside, or they can be left inside for double-sized plants and crops. The biggest challenge here is avoiding seeds from the non-hardy perennial ones - various types of P. peruviana - and though I was caught out by Aunt Molly's at least it's a different species entirely and doesn't have those solvent overtones.

Asimina triloba is a fully hardy relative of the custard apple - a good one looks like a mango and tastes similar and equally delicious. They come from New England with hotter summers and colder winters than ours, so ideally they need summer in the greenhouse, but take them out (or their glass out) in winter. A moving greenhouse on rails would be a really excellent thing. It's also worth paying for grafted plants.

Plumcots and pluots were the best fruit to appear in the shops in my lifetime - sadly they never sold well (customer inertia & stupidity) - despite ripening well off the tree (or in the packet) and becoming as delicious as a ripe apricot with a hint of juicy gage.

If you want to grow subtropical Sable grapes without a hothouse then that richness is available outdoors in the UK from Glenora seedless, and probably Reliance seedless too if you like strawberry flavours. Ralli can taste like lychees, but I haven't tried them grown here yet.

Epicacti are grown by enthusiasts who are only interested in the dinnerplate sized flowers - these misguided crews remove all the pollinated fruit to improve next years flowers, but d**n near all the varieties produce fruits with more flavour than than dragonfruit, and as rich as the best prickly pears without their huge annoying seeds. They hang in baskets in my sunroom all winter and are moved outside in May (though any with ripening fruit have to pop back inside because the squirrels go nuts for them).

Skirret (ugly) and Rampion (beautiful) can be a challenge but both are definitely worth it.

Cheers.

With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

Beersmith

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2021, 22:49:22 »
Looks like I'm in a minority of one.

To be honest, I don't like a challenge. I like nothing better than crops that grow like crazy, taste delicious, are impervious to drought, highly prolific and indestructible to pests. I just wish there were more of them. The easier the better as far as I'm concerned.

Two that I like and in my opinion are quite forgiving are physalis and the much underrated Florence fennel.  The former often seems to simply take care of itself. The latter doesn't seem to be grown much at all, but is a really pleasant change now and then.  I wait to sow until early summer and this avoids a tendency to bolt so they will often stand well into autumn.

Not mad, just out to mulch!

Paulh

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2021, 19:16:32 »
I don't think you are much out of line with the rest of us, Beersmith. I guess we all have a core of reliable, tasty and (one hopes) indestructible favourites. Some of us just tinker round the edges a bit more! I try to grow one or two new things each year, but when the seed packet is empty, it has to have been worthwhile enough for me to buy them again.

Broad beans may well be for the chop for me next season, despite being a favourite vegetable. I'm tired of poor germination, blackfly and rust, and a sparse harvest. I think that fails your tests! But there are often other plotholders' spare seedlings going, so may be I'll try those ...

You are right about Florence fennel. I also sow it late (last part of June). We (i.e., my wife!) slice the bulbs, parboil them and bake them in a cheese sauce. I have 30 plantlets in the greenhouse waiting to be set out. I've now got the space but not yet the time. I suspect they will now bolt as soon as they taste freedom.

chriscross1966

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2021, 10:28:56 »
Emir and Eldonis have worked well for me in the greenhouse, think it's Eldonis I have in there this year. generally get 2 decently sized melons per plant, occasionally will get a third . smaller one. Treat in the same way as a cucumber for the most part, though the fruits do need pollinating so if it's hot when it's in flower you'd be advised to hand pollinate. Don't get stressed about some form of test for ripeness.... if there's a ripe melon in a greenhouse you won't be able to smell much else :-) . I have grown Outdoor Wonder outside adn had some fair results, they need protecting from the wind for the most part and they need room to trail. if we get a bad year you have to resign yourself to not getting any as they won't ripen before the frosts, in a good year (and melons are very much feast or famine) then you will spend half of August, all of September adn most of October eating melons and TBF, you'll likely be bored of them by the end.....

BarriedaleNick

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Re: Growing Melons
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2021, 16:54:07 »
Melons in season here are almost free as they are so prolific.  I had a few nice ones but as mentioned above after the first few the novelty wears off and you are left wondering what to do with them.  We even made some melon vodka which smells lovely.
My favourite variety is the Toad Skin Melon or Piel de Sapo.. and we have grown a few small ones here.  Greedy plants though and as my soil is a bit knackered they didn't get very big..
One thing we do have success with is the Horned Melon which is actually a type of cucumber.  Not very interesting to eat but great looking and they are hugely expensive in the shop at 8€ a kilo.. This time next year I'll be a millionaire!
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