America leads the world in melon consumption by eating an average of 27 pounds of melon per person, every year! Here are the TOP 4 melons, how to grow them and how to tell when they are ripe.
#1 Watermelons- Over 120,000 acres of these beauties are grown each year in the US with over 85% being seedless. With an average of over 31,000 lbs per acre, that’s over 1.8 million tons of watermelon grown in the US each year, not including what you are growing in your own yard.
Grow: in deep (12-18”+) rich, well draining soil with a good 2” of mulch on top to help keep the maturing melons from rotting as they ripen.
Ripe: when a yellow field spot and blossom end is clean
Listen: for a thump (hollow sound) not a tink
Feel: the weight…the heavier the better (an over-ripe melon sounds hollow, but feels light
#2 Cantaloupe- Over 75,000 acres grown per year used in everything from salads to smoothies and beyond. It’s the most versatile of the melons and a great add to any garden for it’s great taste as well as it’s thicker, more even ground cover.
Grow: in deep, rich well-draining soil with a good 2” of mulch or even a bit of extra air flow around the ripening fruit that an inch of straw or wood chip on top can provide. Feed monthly with a fish emulsion or compost tea for best results.
Ripe: when a golden color between the netting is a good sign it’s ripe
Feel: the top and the bottom…are they firm, but not solid or squishy?
Smell It: there should be a sweet hint to a melon full of flavor
#3 Honeydew- Rising more than 13,000 acres grown nationally, honeydew, in many of its varieties is in a clear 3rd place spot. Eaten mostly fresh, this big green or yellow beauty is as soft inside as it looks on the outside.
Grow: like a cantaloupe, may need an extra bit of air circulation around the ripening
Ripe: when there is a golden hue
Listen: for the squeak when you rub an ungreased thumb across the midsection of the fruit
Smell: the stem end. It should be sweet.
#4 It’s a four-way tie! Have you ever tried a Crenshaw melon? Santa Claus? Canary? Musk? There are many awesome varieties of melon out there. Why not give all of them a try!