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Vermont Garden Journal: Melons

AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill

Friday, August 2, 2013 at 5:56 p.m. and Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 9:35 a.m.  I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. Well the recent spate of hot summer weather has got my melons cranking. They're putting on growth daily and soon I hope to have some juicy fruits to eat. While cantaloupes and watermelons may be one of the signs of mid summer, think about trying some unusual melons. This summer is a good time to taste test some of the specialty melons and take note of the ones you like for next year's planting. Here are a few I think are worth trying.

The honeydew melon has a tan skin color and pale green or white flesh. Unlike cantaloupes, it doesn't continue to ripen after picking so wait until this baby is fully ripe to harvest. Give it a good sniff in the market to make sure it's mature. It has a sweeter and milder flavor than cantaloupes. If you want a melon flavor between cantaloupes and honeydew, try the Galia melon. It looks like a cantaloupe on the outside, but has pale green flesh on the inside.

Crenshaw melons have pale green skin and a salmon-pink colored flesh. The flavor is sweet and slightly spicy.  It's a long season melon so start this one indoors in spring and protect it from early and late season frosts.

Charentais melons hail from France. They look like a cantaloupe on the outside, but the inside has orange flesh with a sweet, almost tropical flavor and a strong aroma. Eat this one quickly since it doesn't last long even in the refrigerator.

For watermelons, look for the yellow or orange fleshed hybrids and the icebox types. They mature faster and are easier to store. You can also grow them in square boxes or glass containers like the Japanese to create square watermelons that fit better in the refrigerator. Now that's different!

And now for this week's tip, deadhead bee balm, gaillardia and other perennial flowers now so they put on new growth and more flowering for the end of summer.

Next week on The Vermont Garden Journal I'll be talking about canna lilies. Until then,  I'll be seeing you in the garden.

How to Grow Melons
Square Watermelons

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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