Melons are my sugar of choice. Keep your gooey cakes and cookies and give me a ripe melon every time. Ambrosia.
Melons are going to be a hard one for me to grow, all agreement goes to the naysayers. This is where trying to jump start a landrace species might work for me. I admire those who are breeding just for genetic diversity, easily done in milder climates.
Like the Anasazi, I am breeding for a harsh climate. Survival counts more than taste or sugar. Yes, you heard me whimper. I am relying on it being a MELON after we get through the whole survival thingie.
I was online a long time yesterday putting together a group of melons that might survive my conditions and produce seeds. Notice I didn’t mention any other traits. Not appearance, sweetness, color, storage. What might survive and produce seeds?
Yesterday I placed an order for the following seeds:
Sakata’s Sweet Melon (Cucumis melo), 3 to 4 inch melons that mature in 80 days. Crisp flesh, high sugar, edible rinds, and prolific vines. This was the first one I saw that matured in under 90 days, so I popped it in my shopping cart. Apart from that basic possibility of producing seeds, small size is good for one person, more likely to ripen fully to HIGH SUGAR. Edible rind is good and I would like it to give that gift to my final mixture. Of course, high sugar isn’t really on the list and you know that!
Early Silverline Melon (Cucumis melo), matures in 76 days or less. Got me with that marketing claim. 1 to 2 pounds. Still relatively small and more likely to fully ripen and produce seeds.
Collective Farm Women Melon (Cucumis melo), matures in 83 days. This originated in the Ukraine, and is fast ripening in cool conditions. My cool mountain nights offset my warm days, so this might help with ripening. Claims EXTRA SWEET white flesh.
Minnesota Midget Melons (Cucumis melo), matures in 70 days. Excellent for short growing season or cool nights. I have that! Less than a half pound. It wasn’t bragging on sweetness or anything, but hey, it is a melon.
I spent quite some time looking for short season melons to get this list. I will continue to look, but already ordered these seeds. I don’t mind adding more to the mix and see who lives. I will have seeds left and will pop them in the freezer for future attempts at the glory of a ripe melon produced in the mountains of New Mexico.
I will be happy if I get even one mature melon this summer. That baby’s seeds will go straight in the ground next year. Instant start to a landrace strain. If you know any short season melons, let me know so I can order seeds. At this point I am worrying about my short mountain season and cool nights.
Having lived in Texas a couple decades, I am not used to working so hard for my melon patch.
Landrace varieties are designed to live within all local conditions. Melon might not fit into the low water end, but I get more rain during the summer and I will go for moisture retentive soil in raised beds that radiate warmth at night. Like for my heavenly blueberries, I will work a little harder for results and count it effort well spent. This is about a life worth living to go with my basic food security.