MELON

Once or twice I attempted to grow cantaloupe or watermelon in our Wellington garden, and the melons never grew well enough to harvest. They should have. I believe it was warm enough there and that all conditions were right. I was just never successful.

Knowing that melons like warm weather, I wasn’t sure if they would grow here but I wanted to try a variety that is a compact plant, suited for short seasons: MINNESOTA MIDGET (65-70 Days). I’d gotten a couple of these many years ago at a farmers market, and never forgot about them.

I planned to try one in the greenhouse, which has extra space in the summer while most things grow outdoors. Since I had more outdoor garden space available this year after removing all of our berries, I decided to try this outdoors as well. 

GREENHOUSE

Minnesota Midget, shown 83 days after transplanting to greenhouse.

The greenhouse plant was started in a soil block late April, and transplanted to the greenhouse on May 4. Two small melons were harvested September 1, 120 days after transplant.

The plant seemed to grow well, and there were several blossoms. Due to a lack of pollinators in the greenhouse I attempted to hand-pollinate these blossoms, as I do with all my squash. The flowers were small, and this was difficult to do. I wasn’t sure that any of them were pollinated, but eventually I did get the two melons.

The small melons were sweet & delicious. I plan to grow them again next summer in the greenhouse. Perhaps I will find a better method of pollination.

OUTDOORS
The outdoor melon plant was started in a soil block “mini” in mid-May, transplanted to a “maxi” size block later in May, then transplanted outdoors 6/12, after the last snow. Unfortunately, the 2020 early summer was colder than usual, with another below-freezing day July 1st. Although this plant was covered each night with plastic over hoops, and additional frost cloth over the plant on the coldest nights, I fear it just wasn’t warm enough. The plant survived, but grew slowly. The flower buds came so late I knew there would not be enough time for the melons to mature, so I removed the plant.

Since every year is different, and I won’t know until summer is upon us and the plants are already growing, I may try this again. If it is too cold, I can put some late-season lettuce or spinach in its spot.