Saturday, 23 February 2013

All about Melons

The melons have been coming along beautifully. It has been wonderful to watch the plants getting bigger and creeping out over the grass, while their little fruits also get bigger and more fragrant. Finally, the time has come to start harvesting them!

Melons in a Row

For years I thought growing melons was not worthwhile, that they would take up too much space for too long, need too much water and not produce much of a crop. In fact, they need less space and time than pumpkins and about as much water and work. I'm glad that I finally gave it a go as they are actually very little work when you consider the sweet rewards.

Sweet Granite Rockmelon, divine fragrance
Edens Gem Rockmelon, so delicious
Golden Midget Watermelon, so refreshing

I've been really impressed by the flavour of the rockmelons in particular. Each variety has it's own unique flavour and fragrance, and they are almost always super sweet.

The only tricky bit with growing melons is working out when they are ripe. Melons, especialy watermelons, won't ripen much more off the vine but they can easily become over ripe if left on the vine for too long. So it is pretty important to pick them at just the right time. Rockmelons become extremely fragrant when they are ripe, so it's just a matter of following your nose. Rockmelons will also often 'slip' off the vine easily when ripe. 

Watermelons however are a bit more complicated. Apparently, if you knock on a ripe watermelon it will have a hollow sound. I haven't managed to master this trick yet, the ripe and unripe watermelons sound pretty much the same to me. Another trick is to check the tendril closest to the watermelon, it will begin dryng out when the melon is ripe. But the method I have mostly been using is the yellow spot method. A watermelon always has a pale spot on the side that it rests on which will turn yellow as it ripens.

White spot, unripe watermelon

Yellow spot, ripe watermelon

Here are some of the fabulous melon varieties I have been growing this year.