As summer approaches, we are gifted with some of the best and juiciest melon kinds – not the off-season hard-skinned and dry ones.
These belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, thereby making them relatives of cucumbers and squashes. We are mostly familiar with watermelons and muskmelons.
Though watermelons are easy to identify, the same cannot be said for muskmelons as they come in many varieties.
Not being able to identify the different kinds of melon isn’t a sad affair – unless you do want to enjoy each flavor the right way!
If you are a fruit lover, you would probably take some trips down to the farmer’s market. But a trip to the exotic fruit land will have you scratching your head in wonder. There would be too many — varieties to pick and enjoy from.
So before you go on your next trip, educate yourselves on the subject to get the best type of all the different melons and cantaloupes.
1. Amarillo Oro
Image via es.wikipedia.org | Kelsang Gabinet de premsa de l’Ajuntament d’Ontinyent
Amarillo has a golden-yellow rind, with green to salmon-colored flesh. They can grow up to 14 pounds. It first originated in Spain, in 1870.
Image via Amazon
The banana melon looks and appears like a really big banana.
This one can be classified in the “yellow melons” group because it not only looks like a banana but also tastes somewhat like the fruit with a hint of its aroma.
It has a salmon-colored flesh with a yellow rind.
Image via naturalfoodseries.com
Honeydew, also known as the honey melon, is typically light green or brown with a white-yellow, green, or orange inside tone.
Honeydew is associated with natural medicines which help reduce blood pressure and contain nutrients vital to bone health.
4. Hales Best Jumbo
Image via hometownseeds.com
This cantaloupe variety came on the market around the 1920s in California.
It has a beautiful deep green skin with golden netting. It is oval-shaped and has an excellent flavor.
Some people confuse it with golden honeydew, which is a muskmelon variety.
5. Heart of Gold
Image via landrethsseed.com
This one belongs to the Cucurbitaceae. They are known for their deep orange golden flesh. The fruit is fragrant and the taste is juicy.
Heart of Gold originated in 1890 and is considered one of the first modern types.
6. Planters Jumbo
Photo via hometownseeds.com
PJ belongs to the cantaloupe family. It has a smooth rind with heavy nettings. The flesh of the fruit is deep orange.
This fruit is mildew resistant and grows well in drought or high rainfall.
7. All Sweet
Image via theseedcollection.com.au
This kind of melon is a direct descendent of the crimson sweet watermelon.
It appears exactly the way we imagine it to be; green from the outside and reddish-pink from within.
All Sweet plants are usually big with light green stripes and bright red flesh on the inside.
8. Cal Sweet
Image via premierseedsdirect.com
Cal Sweet is the sweetest tasting of all the watermelons.
These have bushy vines that grow 14 to 18 inches long, which provides foliage cover to protect the plants.
9. Carolina Cross
Picture via Amazon
The Carolina Cross are the largest the melon fruit types. It is an oblong fruit that reaches over 200 lbs.
It is remarkably grained for such a large watermelon. However, it needs a long summer to harvest its potential.
Image via seedsnow.com
Congo is a watermelon that has deep red flesh which is firm and has high sugar content.
In 1950, it won the All-America Selections competition. It is a shame it is hard to find them nowadays.
11. Crimson Sweet
Picture via premierseedsdirect.com
Crimson Sweet is known for its resistant trait towards many diseases as well as being one of the sugariest among the large watermelon types.
Its resistance against diseases makes it a favorite to plant. It was introduced by the Kansas University in 1963 and since then has become a farmer’s favorite.
12. Florida Giant
Image via neseed.com
As per the name, one would think that it grows in Florida. However, that is the opposite as it grows outside the sunshine-state.
It belongs to the watermelon category and is a perfect fruit for summer as it takes time to mature.
It is best to let them mature in full sun.
13. Georgia Rattlesnake
Photo via ferrymorse.com
In the 1830s, the Georgia Rattlesnake was an old southern favorite.
It is a bright pink sweet melon and has a tough rind. The fruit loves the summer heat.
The red soil also helps to make it the way it is. Georgia Rattlesnake is light green and dark stripes.
Image via amkhaseed.com
Jubilee is crisp and often requires about 80 days to mature. These watermelons are oblong and have alternate green and pale green stripes.
15. Moon & Stars
Image via southernexposure.com
Moon and stars watermelon comes in various kinds and it is usually very heavy.
The flesh of the fruit can be between red or pink-red or even yellow. The flesh of the fruit is dotted with brown seeds.
The seeds of this fruit are highly nutritious. In fact, in some parts of China and Africa, the fruit is grown for its seeds.
16. Sugar Baby
Image via bonnieplants.com
Sugar baby is called the ‘picnic’ or ‘icebox’ watermelon.
The name suggests that it is perfect for small families because it is pretty small.
They weigh about 9 lbs. and are only 8 inches. Their rind is either dark-green with faint dark veins or medium-green having dark-veined rind.
Image via Amazon
Tendersweet is known for its crisp orange flesh. It has a tough rind which is suitable for short-term storage.
It has a sweet honey-like flavor.
18. Tom Watson
Image via superseeds.com
Tom Watson is a large fruit that is suited for a short season because it matures in less than 90 days.
The rind is dark green with stripes that are thin and hard. The flesh is red with brown and white seeds.
Where to Buy Melon Seeds?
The seeds can be bought locally, at your local farm store. However, you can find a wider range of high-quality organic heirloom seeds at online retailers such as:
They are warm-weather crops that can be planted using 2 methods. You can either sow the seeds directly in the ground or plant from seedlings.
Before doing this, make sure that all frost has melted and the soil’s temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination takes 8-10 days.
To further protect the growth of the plant, one can start growing them indoors 4 to 3 weeks before moving them into the garden.
They are usually classified as summer or winter melons. The summer; cantaloupes and muskmelons are the first ones to harvest.
Whereas, the winter melon types are called so as they harvest late summer melons usually 3 months after sowing, whereas winter takes an additional month.
Care and Maintenance
When growing melons, we need to be mindful of certain environmental issues as well as common farming mistakes. However, these are not difficult to avoid and with the right information and guidance, we can have a good harvest.
Try mulching the ground with black plastic. The color of the plastic will absorb sunlight, warm the soil, and hinder weed growth. Your fruits will be clean by the time you need to pick them.
During the growing season, melon plants need up to 2 inches of water per week. Remember to not waterlog the soil. Our goal is to simply keep it moist.
Once you have reached the growing phase, reduce watering. Remember, when in dry weather they are sugary!
If you wish to fertilize your plant, liquid fertilizers are preferred. It should be high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus and potassium.
However, as the flowering season approaches, reduce the amount of nitrogen.
You can improve vine productivity by cutting the lateral branches off. Vines also produce both male and female flowers. If the male flowers fall off first, don’t be concerned.
The female flowers are the fruit-bearing parts and will give the fruit.
When the fruit starts to ripen, lift it gently from the ground and place a cardboard box between the melon and the soil. In this manner, we can prevent rotting.
Pest and Disease Problems
Melons are prone to be infected by molds. It is because they have to be grown in cooler and damper climates. These spread disease and cause wilting.
Finding organic methods of controlling mold is not difficult.
As for the main harmful insects that affect cucurbits, these include:
- Spider Mites
- Beet Armyworms
- Squash Bugs
- Mole Crickets
- Seedcorn Maggots
- White Grubs
However, be careful while using them as they can burn the leaves. It is best to use them in a diluted form.
Mulching is a good method to avoid molds, especially by issues caused by uneven watering. However, we need to be careful there as well because mulches can become homes for beetles and squash bugs to lay eggs.
To protect further plants from insects, use row-covers. However, get rid of them during the pollinating season.
Rotate your crop to avoid blight and mold. Don’t overwater or else that makes them susceptible to mildew and mold.
Depending on the type, they take 65-100 days to mature. The harvesting time is important because they don’t sweeten after they are picked.
To find out if your melon is ripe:
- Try to tap it across the body. If you hear a hollow sound, the fruit is ripe. Secondly, look at the color on the top.
- If you see little contrast between the stripes, that is generally a good sign of ripe fruit.
- Don’t forget to check the bottom of the fruit. If it is ripe, the color will appear yellowish-creamy.
- A ripe melon gives in easily when it’s pressed.
- Check the tendril’s color. If it’s green, the fruit isn’t ripe yet. If it appears to be dying, the fruit has almost ripened.
Remember, you will come across many melon varieties in the market. It is exactly those that you need to be wary of as the shiny ones are not ripe yet!
Though melons taste amazing by themselves, serving them with other foods can increase their possibility of triggering your taste buds.
While we would like to keep our beloved fruit on the table for a long time by refrigerating them, this could do it more harm than good.
If you love the fruit, the only harm that can bother you is their taste. Refrigeration diminishes the taste. On the other hand, grilling enhances sweetness.
While there are so many and we love them all, they all come in different sizes. So does that matter? Size does play a huge role in getting the best taste.
If you are holding one, and it feels heavier and larger than normal, that means it is the right one! You may put it in the grocery cart.
Remember the smell can tell you about the ripeness level of the fruit. A truly ripened melon has a sweet fragrance to it which fills the room as a natural air freshener!