Melon is a favorite summer fruit. Few things are better than a cold slice of watermelon on a hot day after all. These are pretty easy plants to grow in the garden too, and there is a seemingly endless variety of different melons to try, from watermelon and cantaloupe to honeydew and canary.
Melon Plant Info for Growing
Melons belong in the cucurbit family of plants, related to squash and cucumbers. They prefer a long, hot summer. Cooler climates are tricky for growing these tasty fruits, but you can do it if you start them indoors and choose varieties with a shorter growing season.
Plant your melons in full sun with fertile, well-drained soil and water regularly until the fruits are about the size of a baseball. At that time, you can water only when the soil dries out. As the fruits develop, set them up above the ground, on a pot or piece of wood to protect from damage.
Melon Plant Varieties to Try
The different kinds of melons you can try in the garden are broadly categorized by the color of the fruit flesh, which could be red, orange, yellow, or green. There are so many types of melons, but here are just a few standouts to look for:
‘Honey Yellow’ – This cultivar is a honeydew melon with a pale yellow flesh and bright yellow rind. It has high sugar content and a great flavor.
Canary – Canary melons are similarly yellow on yellow, but they have a mild flavor and juicy texture.
Santa Claus and Christmas – These varieties take their names from the fact that they keep for a long time, sometimes until Christmas. The rind is green and yellow, and the flesh may be pale orange or light green.
‘Sweet Beauty’ – This watermelon cultivar is smaller and more manageable than some others. It has a delicious, very sweet flavor.
Galia – Galia melons are from Israel and they look like cantaloupe on the outside. The flesh is more like a honeydew though, with a pale green color and a spicy to sweet flavor.
Athena – These cantaloupes are easy to find in the eastern U.S. and mature early, making them a good choice for colder climates.
Charentais – Charentais are small, French melons. The rind is gray and the melons are small enough to serve just one half per person for breakfast or a snack. The flavor is more delicate than an American cantaloupe.
Casaba – Casaba melons are oval in shape and weigh between 4 and 7 pounds (2-3 kg.). The flesh is nearly white and the flavor is very sweet and a little spicy.