Best Melons for Zone 5

gardendawgie(5)August 31, 2010

I really want to have some success in Zone 5 New England with melons. I am interested in success and failures of others in zone 5. What should I grow for next year?

Do I have to abandon melons. I hope not.

I am willing to try hybrids since they will probably ripen faster. I am open to any and all melons that will succeed.

Asian melons are included. Any and all melons.

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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Cantaloupe variety "Alaska" will grow and ripen here.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 9:26PM
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Can you share anything else about it. Like yield, size, flavor and how you rate this one.

When is your grow season. Oregon is very different from New England. I have about end of may to Oct 1 frost free. although a few extra days sometimes happen. And I get Oct 7. But then sometimes we get a frost in Sept.

We usually get at least a few days in at 90 F but this year has been very hot for us and we have had a lot of days in the 90's.

I will look into Alaska. has the right name.

Anyone else have some good ones. any kind of melon.

Gurney seeds has it. only 65 days. that is WOW.

Thanks for calling attention to this one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alaska melon

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 10:39PM
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I used to think that Minnesota Midget was the only melon I could grow. Cool nights right thru the growing season limit melon growth but very cool springs are an actual threat.

First of all, I've grown Sugar Baby watermelon a few times. They can be quite good but are also quite seedy.

I discovered Honey Girl Charentais 6 or 8 years ago and it always did well thru some very hot summers. I was absolutely delighted with this melon. Then, we had a very cool June and the Honey Girls, transplanted out at the end of May, died.

The only "trick" with Charentais melons seems to be to pick them at just the right moment. Too early, and they will have little flavor and sweetness; too late, and they will have spoiled. There fragrance is a good indicator of ripeness, for me.

I tried an early cantaloupe several years ago: Sweet Granite. As I understand it, Sweet Granite was developed in the 60's at the University of New Hampshire. Honestly, like the Minnesota Midget, I thought I could do better and tried Fastbreak. Bingo!

This is about the 4th or 5 year that I've harvested Fastbreak and they are very tasty! I had the 1st one of the season today.

Still, that cold June -- most of the Fastbreak melon plants also died. What came thru just fine was the Passport melons. Passport is a Galia melon and I've got ripe ones in my garden right now! They look like they might be a cantaloupe but the interior is very nearly the same as a honeydew.

Last year, I played it too safe and grew only Passport. I went back to a little more variety in 2010 and we had another wet, cold and windy June! Fortunately, the melons didn't die this year. They are a little late but coming along just fine.

New this year is a different Charentais: Edonis. I really hope this one is as tasty as Honey Girl but I'm still waiting for one to ripen. . .

. . . just my 2¢ on the subject of melons.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 12:23AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Charentais for me has never worked out. Either disease gets it or disease gets it! I really want to try Galia or Sharlyn. Both of them i had from the melon fest at the grocery store earlier this summer were out of this world. By far the best melon on the planet (in my book). The flavor/sweetness/color/scent is just awesome. I think they were developed in Israel if i read correctly. I will be giving some yard space up for them next summer.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 1:07AM
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from reading I pick up that Galia, Sharlyn & Canary are suppose to be real good eating. I thought Galia & Sharlyn are different but I am not sure of that. But I can hardly expect the best to ripen super sweet in zone 5. Maybe in California.

I buy these wonderful melons from California. But do not expect I can do the same. Big 8 and 9 pound sweet melons.

Watermelon might be a good option. but I really want a more melon type melon. I suspect that the watermelon is easier than the other melons. Sugar Baby has a good reputation.

last summer was very cold here and I am sure the melons did terrible. This summer is very hot and the melons should do well in new england. Next year who knows. I dont think there is much we can do about this. just plant and hope.

I must thank digit for his long explanation of his melon adventures. I will definitely study it more and find some seeds of those he mentions. He probably has a good idea about trying several every year. I like that idea. It gives more opportunity for success.

Where is everyone in New England with melons? I expected more success. I do not mind failure in bad years. I expect that. But when a good year like this year comes along I want success.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 5:59AM
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organicdan(z5b Nova Scotia)

I have had success with melons in Nova Scotia's zone 5. With an early start I can pet the sizable transplants in by May with temperature cooperation. Initial growth is under rowcover to keep the pests away. With appearance of blossoms I remove the covers.

The first melon was the fast break but have since moved into heirlooms. This year I have a spread of 8-12 lb Moons and Stars, a Georgia Rattlesnake about 20+ lb, a few 4-5 lb Iroquois, 6 of the Hale's Best and expectation for four of the Banana melons. I did lose the Ogen to cucumber beetles.

This summer has been hot and humid. Thankfully I have the drip irrigation for the melons, tomatoes and peppers.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 6:40AM
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Here is a little on the plant breeding work of Brent Loy, at the U of New Hampshire (linked below). Frank is correct, I believe, that the Galia is from Israel but, if you notice, Dr. Loy is the originator of "Passport."

I've been intending to try his Halona melon but haven't yet, maybe in 2011.

The Asian melons can be really quick but maybe I don't have the timing down on harvest. And yet, I have only purchased a few Asian melons at the supermarket and none have been terribly exciting.

I wish my DW wouldn't snub yellow watermelon. Honestly, I think it is only because they are yellow and not red. There's a red watermelon with a yellow rind that I was looking at in a catalog . . . I wonder if I could get that past her . . ?

This year I purchased Blacktail Mountain water melon seed. It was my only complete failure - not 1 seed germinated. Oh yes, I find it best to start all melons indoors and get that little jump on the season. Still, they have to be hardened off and transplanted carefully.


Here is a link that might be useful: UNH vegetables in garden seed catalogs

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 7:02AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

You can grow melons almost anywhere in the US. They are selling large very nice looking watermelons grown in Minnesota here! Its been a very warm summer *humid*, so that helps.

Start melons early and transplant. Use black plastic. If push comes to shove, buy yourself a high tunnel and grow them under plastic! I have a small greenhouse i start everything of mine in and mine were growing up the sides in May.

I'd like to try a watermelon orange, yellow and red of each.

I bought some peaches from Idaho yesterday... Oh man they were good. Probably the best peaches i've had all summer.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 8:41AM
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Diplomat is a new early variety of Galia. I planted it for the first time this year and it ripened weeks before the other melons. Now a nice 2nd crop is developing.

What I'd like to see is a Charentais with better resistance to splitting. I've been growing "Savor" but all the split fruits are making me think about a switch.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 12:23PM
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Johnny's up in Albion, Maine has bred a line of honeydews for northern climates: Honey Orange, Honey Yellow, Honey Pearl, and Snow Leopard.

I bought the seeds last year, but never got them planted. It was very cold here last summer, so it would have been a good trial of their tolerance to cooler climates.

This year, it's very hot here, and these things are just awesome. Fantastic flavor, and they seem vigorous and productive. Medium to large melons.

Because of the weather, it's been a terrific melon year, and they are coming out of my ears. I gave another roughly dozen to my chickens, turkeys, and ducks this morning, because I have no way of using them all, I've already given a lot away, and you can only make so much melon freezer jam.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jonny's line of honeydews

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 1:07PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Hmmmmm.... Feeding prime produce to your chickens... doesn't seem fair :)

I bought a really nice melon at the store a week ago and i've yet to fine it!!! I have no idea where i set it... I just have this feeling a month from now i'm going to smell it out.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 1:36PM
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Well, Frank, the birds are very happy with me. They love to see me coming hollering "treats, treats, treats".

You'll find it. Sooner than a month. It should be pretty stinky any day now in this kind of weather.

I set a dozen dud Coturnix quail hatching eggs in an open carton up on top of my computer desk about 3 weeks ago, and found those when they "ripened" by smell. Talk about yucky when I got up close.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 2:45PM
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I found this on the internet.

Diplomat is comparable to our very successful Passport, but tolerant to powdery mildew. The thick flesh has excellent quality and flavor. Nearly a globe, Diplomat is similar to Galia but two weeks earlier to mature. The fruit remains on the vine, so that the stem can be left on the fruit to avoid infection of the blossom scar.

Approximate Days to Maturity: 75
Fruit Size: Globe, 2.25 - 2.75kg (5 - 6 Lbs).
Resistance / Tolerance: Powdery Mildew

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 10:38AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I did save seed from a Galia and a Sharlyn but i don't know if i risk growing out this seed. I could end up with mutants.

Amazing amt of variety in melons. Some neat stuff out there. Expensive too, so its better to grow.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 11:37AM
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This year I experimented with several new melons: crenshaw, san juan canary, creme de menthe, green nutmeg, yellow doll, and golden crown. It was a tough year for us for melons, so I will try them all again before passing judgment. The only ones that impressed me were the crenshaws, golden crown, and yellow doll. The last two have earned a permanent spot on my planting list. In fact, I'll double their planting next year.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 2:12PM
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I read good things about yellow doll.

vines are suppose to be small and capable of 2 or 3 melons. does not mean I would succeed in getting that many. but one per vine would be good for me.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 5:26PM
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here is a comment on yellow doll in the fedco catalog. They seem to like Peace F1 better.

Peace Watermelon (75 days) F-1 hybrid. "I gave Peace a chance and was rewarded with loads of sweet little melons. DidnÂt miss Yellow Doll," wrote Welsby. Coming in at the same 8 lb. size range, Peace surpasses Yellow Doll in flavor, texture and sweetness. Its yellow flesh has that kind of drizzle-down-your chin juiciness that thoroughly satisfies on a hot humid late-summer day

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 6:11PM
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I really love Yellow Doll. If Peace beats YD, it has to be one great melon.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 8:13PM
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I tried Gnadenfeld (from Manitoba) in my zone 5a garden. They germinated fast, grew fast and produced nicely. Sixty days to maturity!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 1:01PM
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not easy to find but for those interested here is a discription I found on the web.

Gnadenfeld. 70 days. This orange fleshed melon was bred in Manitoba for their short summers, but it did very well in Missouri in the summer of 2009. It produces 1 1/2 pound melons with a fine sweet taste and fragrance, and the melons slipped easily from the vines when they were ripe.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 4:19PM
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Please email me. my email is listed. Your email is not available for me to email to you.



    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 4:33PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Are any of the varieties above open pollinated so seeds can be saved?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 7:07PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Not sure about saving seed. I saved seed from Galia and Sharlyn that were store bought, and hope i get something similar to the parents. I guess the only way to know is to try.

I've been reading and it seems there is a lot of hype for the crenshaws... I might have to try one of those. Store bought ones will send me to the poor house.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 10:02PM
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There are lots of open pollenated varieties. A few are very fast but you can shave a few days off if you go to hybrids. but then hybrids probably dont have the flavor. I dont really know.

Lots of seed people sell OP melons of all kinds.

I must have saved seed from at least 5 melons from the store this year. They will grow very well. They have great genetics just not lined up perfect in f2 sometimes.

I grow a lot of f2 seed that comes out true to the original. Many times the seller just likes to claim they are F1. Stops people from saving seeds. haha.

I know someone who plants almost an entire garden from the store bought veggies. It can be a lot of fun. I also find good stuff. or I should say better stuff from the farm stands. That is a better place to find seeds because you know it was local grown. I have picked at least 3 melons this year where I could immediately tell the variety once looking in the seed catalogs. Mostly because the locals like to buy from Johnnys and Fedco. northern seed companies carrying good seed for New England.

It is hard with the major grocery stores because they import everything from California and Florida which is not the best variety for growing in new england.

Here is a link that might be useful: OP melons from one company

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 1:50AM
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