There are many varieties of melon out there. Among the most popular kinds are cantaloupes, watermelons, and honeydew.
Melons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, thereby making them relatives of cucumber and squash.
Before taking a trip down to the farmer’s market, get to know the different melon types. Listed below are some of the most common and best-tasting varieties.
1. Canary Melon
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The canary melon has a golden-yellow rind, with green to salmon-colored flesh. Moreover, it can grow up to 15 pounds and is deliciously sweet.
2. Banana Melon
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The banana melon looks like a really big banana; however, some say it resembles a squash.
The fruit is sweet, has a salmon-colored flesh with a yellow rind, and grows up to 8 pounds. It takes approximately 90 days to mature.
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Honeydew, also known as the honey melon, is typically light green or brown with a white-yellow, green, or orange inside tone.
It grows best in hot climates and takes 65 to 100 days to mature, depending on how it is grown.
4. Hales Best Jumbo
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This cantaloupe variety of melons is oval-shaped and has beautiful deep green skin with golden netting. Plus, it has an excellent flavor and sweet-tasting.
It prefers full sun and takes about 85 days to mature.
5. Hearts of Gold
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This fruit is known for its deep orange golden flesh that is also fragrant and juicy.
The Hearts of Gold cantaloupe is a muskmelon variety. It dates back to the 1890s; however, it is considered one of the first true modern varieties.
6. Planters Jumbo
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Planters Jumbo belongs is a delicious cantaloupe. It has a smooth rind with heavy nettings and the flesh of the fruit is deep orange.
Additionally, it is very sweet, grows well in wet or dry conditions, and matures in about 85 days.
7. All Sweet
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All Sweet is a classic picnic-type watermelon. It appears exactly the way we imagine it — green on the outside and reddish-pink within.
The fruit is usually big (averaging 30 pounds) and sweet.
8. Cal Sweet
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Cal Sweet watermelons have bushy vines that grow 14 to 18 inches long, which provides foliage cover to protect the plants.
It is very sweet and takes about 85 days to mature.
9. Carolina Cross
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The Carolina Cross is the largest watermelon variety. The fruit is also capable of reaching over 200 lbs.
Carolina grows to its full potential during the hot summer months.
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Congo is a unique watermelon that is extra sweet and has deep red firm flesh. In 1950, it won the All-America Selections competition.
11. Crimson Sweet
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Crimson Sweet is known for its delicious flavor, as well as being one of the sugariest among the large watermelon types.
Charles V. Hall of Kansas State University developed it. It was released in 1963, and since then, has become a farmer’s favorite.
You can find organic crimson sweet seeds online.
12. Florida Giant
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As per the name, one would think that it grows in Florida; however, this melon variety thrives well outside the sunshine state.
The Florida Giant belongs is a watermelon that produces large fruits (50+ pounds) and matures in about 90 days.
13. Georgia Rattlesnake
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The Georgia Rattlesnake is a classic watermelon that has a bright pink flesh. Moreover, the fruit is sweet, has a tough rind, and averages 30+ pounds.
This melon fruit also loves the summer heat and matures in about 90 days.
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Jubilee is crisp and often requires about 90 days to mature. This watermelon produces fruits up to 40 pounds and has alternate green and pale green stripes.
15. Moon & Stars
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Moon and stars are usually very heavy, weighing up to 50 pounds.
The flesh of this exotic melon is very juicy and sweet and can be between red or pink-red or even yellow. Also, its unique skin is dotted with large and small yellow spots.
16. Sugar Baby
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Sugar baby is called the ‘picnic’ or ‘icebox’ watermelon. However, this kind of melon is perfect for small families because it is pretty small.
It averages about 9 pounds and grows best in warm, dry temperatures. Also, it is really sweet and matures in about 75 days.
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Among the sweet melons, tendersweet watermelon is known for its crisp orange flesh. It has a tough rind which is suitable for short-term storage. Above all, it has a sweet honey-like flavor and is very nutritious.
Tendersweet averages 35 pounds and takes about 90 days to mature.
18. Tom Watson
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Tom Watson produces large fruits (up to 40 pounds) and matures in approximately 90 days.
The rind is dark-green with stripes that are thin and hard. Besides, the flesh is red and sweet.
Where to Buy the Seeds?
Seeds can be bought locally, at your local farm store. But, you can find a wider range of high-quality organic heirloom seeds at online retailers such as SeedsNow.com and Arbico-Organics.com.
How to Grow Melon
Melon plants are warm-weather crops that can be planted using 2 methods. You can either sow the seeds directly in the ground or transplant the seedlings. Before doing this, ensure that all frost has passed.
Germination usually takes 3-10 days, depending on the type.
Care and Maintenance
When growing melons, be mindful of certain environmental issues and common farming mistakes. However, these are not difficult to avoid, and with the right information and guidance, you can have a good harvest.
Try mulching the ground with shredded newspaper, straw, or grass clippings. These will warm the soil and help prevent weed growth. Moreover, the fruits will be clean by the time you need to pick them. Mulching is also good to maintain moisture levels.
Additionally, during the growing season, melon plants need up to 2 inches of water per week. But, do not over water — the goal is to keep the soil moist.
Pest and Disease Problems
Melons are prone to mildews. However, there are natural products such as BioSafe and OxiDate 2.0 that can help. These are OMRI Listed, which means they are safe for use in organic gardening.
As for garden pests that affect cucurbits, these include:
- Spider Mites
- Beet Armyworms
- Squash Bugs
- Mole Crickets
- Seedcorn Maggots
- White Grubs
To take care of these pests, you can combine a number of natural pest control methods or simply spray them with pest control oils such as AgroPest and A.C.E.
To further further plants from these critters, use row-covers but take them off during the pollinating season.
Depending on the type, melons take 65-100 days to mature. The harvesting time is important as they don’t get sweeter after they are picked.
To find out if your melon is ripe:
- Tap it across the body. If you hear a hollow sound, the fruit is ripe.
- Also, check the bottom of the fruit. In many varieties, if the fruit is ripe, the color will appear yellowish-creamy.
- A ripe melon also gives in easily when it’s pressed.
- Additionally, check the tendril’s color. If it’s green, the fruit isn’t ripe yet. If it appears to be drying up and turns brown or gray, the fruit has almost ripened.
While there are many and we love them all, melons all come with unique features. Choose a variety or two from this list, get your seeds, and start planting!