Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Midget Melons

It's important to try growing new things in the garden each year. One of my experimental crops this year is muskmelon. (I grew up thinking of this as cantaloupe, but I guess it's technically a muskmelon.) I chose to grow a variety called "Minnesota Midget," bred at the University of Minnesota. It is known as an early-growing variety and a good choice for northern gardeners.

In mid-April I started the seeds indoors under bright lights. Since melons love heat, I transplanted the seedlings into large containers in the greenhouse, where it's extra hot all summer. The vines of Minnesota Midget grow only three feet long, making them suitable for containers. The fruits are small, about the size of a softball.

How do you know when a melon is ripe? When they turn from green to yellow and the stem is loose on the vine. If they fall off, they're over ripe, but the chickens love them that way!

We've harvested a handful of these cute little melons, perhaps five or six. The fruit has been juicy and the texture is not mealy or unpleasant. Unfortunately, they are almost tasteless. Considering that we've grown three large containers full of abundant vines and harvested only a few boring melons, I'm thinking it's unlikely we'll grow melon again next year. Still, it wasn't a complete failure and we don't regret this experiment.

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