Last year I tried watermelon but only got one fully ripen in time. It’s big though, 20lb. So I did some research, it appears Sugar Baby is the variety you want to grow here. It taste good and it’s early ripen and small (earlier to ripe). So this year I will try it. What variety of watermelon are you going to plant?
I do not have a place to do seed starting but a good friend is kind enough to do a few things on commission for me in his set-up.
The new things we’re trying this year that I’m excited about are serpent “beans” and pink celery!
Savor melon in particular blew my mind to what melons are supposed to taste and smell like. After you have one you wont be able to go back to store bought melons. I grow mine vertically up a rebar mesh trellis.
Melons don’t like to be transplanted for some reason, in my cold zone I have no choice but to start them in pots. I start them really early so at least if they get set back by a week or two I am still ahead.
This year I am going to try some new squash, I am on the quest for the perfect pumpkin for pie filling and in my research I found out that some commercial filling is not made of a traditional pumpkin but squash such as Butterball, who knew? But I guess when ‘plum sauce’ has one of it’s first ingredient as pumpkin the assumptions go out the window.
I’m definitely going to be trying some different melons this year.
Last year, I grew some cantaloupes by accident. Had some sprout from a compost pile and didn’t know what they were but let them grow out of curiosity. That first ripe melon was the best piece of fruit I had all year! And I didn’t do a damn thing to take care of them! I think there were 7 or so melons produced altogether, but we got a spell of rain in September that caused most of them to rot out from the bottom just before they ripened. Salvaged a few but they weren’t as ripe and good as the first one. I’m sure that issue is easily fixable, though, by putting boards or something underneath them and not letting them sit in place on a compost pile.
This will be my first year intentionally growing melons. I’m pretty excited. I’ll start some indoors and plant in a fenced in garden and also try some field planted and in compost. I’m looking into varieties to get and trying to figure out what would work here in zone 6a. I definitely want to get a flavorful, smaller muskmelon type like charantais or ha’ogen, an early honeydew type, and an early watermelon. Maybe a later ripening type like a canary or some hybrid that is early enough for my zone.
If anyone has any advice for growing melons here (varieties, where to buy seeds, etc.), I’d greatly appreciate it.
I’m trying Moon & Stars Watermelon this year – a heirloom with almost black skin and yellow splotches that look like moon and stars. My kids think it sounds fun! Since I also live 6a I order some of my seeds and plants from Jungs. They are not the cheapest, but they have always provided quality products to me. They have several melons that have a shorter time from planting to production (unlike the one I chose – that one I will have to get planted early), which I will probably try in the future, especially if this attempt does not go well. I’ve always struggled to produce watermelons here. I have also been wanting to try Johnny Seeds, which is supposed to have some especially high quality varieties.
In addition this year, I am growing Hearts of Gold Muskmelon (this one does have a shorter season), along with lots of fun varieties of beans, squash, muti-colored heirloom tomatoes, etc. One fun one we’re hoping to get in is Strawberry Popcorn, which is a pretty red popping corn. We also want to grow Painted lady Improved beans as a creeper in a pot – beautiful and practical. We are hoping to do more vertical gardening this year since we have limited space/sun. I did order Dukat dill from Jungs because I’m hoping it will not bolt as quickly. We’ll start our peppers and tomatoes inside in March. That keeps us happy during the cold, gray winter.
You might check out the thread, watermelon and melon growing 2019, lots of good stuff in there. I had really good luck with crimson sweet and jade star last year in 6B so I’m keeping them. Getting rid of black diamond for sure. I also bought 2 new varieties, big stripe and summer flavor 720 after reading other reviews on those two varieties. There are a couple more I want to try as well that did good for others, but have to see if I will have room. Morgancountyseed.com and willhiteseed.com are the two places I order from.
I have special home made “pots” for melons and others from the same family. Take a 4+ inch piece of proper(3 inch) diameter PVC pipe. Cut this piece in halves - along the long side, making two half pipes. Connect them back together and fixate with tape. Now take same diameter pressure testing cap, make some holes in it and close the reconnected pipe from one end. Fill with soil and plant seeds. When it is time to plant outside, make a hole deep enough to accommodate the “pot” and wide enough. Hold the pot tight in your hand in horizontal position, remove cap and tape. Carefully place into the hole, you may need to hold the bottom with your hand, so the soil ball doesn’t slip out of the pipe. After pot is in the hole, carefully take halves apart and remove them from the hole. Fill the hole with soil. This method doesn’t disturb the roots at all, unless something goes wrong. I will post pictures later today.
One of the best pumpkins for pie is butternut squash (aka neck pumpkin). Any good moschata squash is also excellent. If you only consider pepo squashes to be pumpkins, give Long Pie a try. When grown in Maine, it’s one of the best I’ve had. When grown in Kansas, it was so disappointingly bland. I think it prefers more moderate summers than Kansas provides.
Thanks, I will try butternut along another moschata, and Long Pie, I want to try two or three varieties. I have done two ‘pie’ pumpkins but I don’t know what it is about our soil or climate but the resulting pie is extremely void of flavour and they have to be reduced to eliminate the high moisture content so the pie isn’t watery.
Oops, I meant to say maxima (inlcuding buttercup), but yeah, most of the moschatas are pretty darn good. Also, do you simmer or roast your pumpkin to get the pie filling? I find roasting concentrates the flavors and sugars much better, so you get better results for whatever variety you’re using.
@Sophia2017 I like the buttercup flavor and texture, but occasionally the vegetably part of the flavor comes through too strongly for pie in my opinion. But then again, I use way less sugar than most. And it’s really a minor quibble.