Thursday, August 12, 2010

Check out these melons!

This year our garden has not done well and it might be the fact that we've had bigger and better things going on this having a baby. However, the plants that have survived and being fruitful is our Sweet Melon plant. We had one lone melon (until recently) and it is a biggin'! We finally cut it open tonight for dinner. It was sweet but a little bitter out towards the edge so even though we let it sit on the vine a couple of weeks after we thought it needed to be picked, it still could have used more time. This is the first time we have grown sweet melons, although we have grown cantaloupe and watermelon with somewhat success. :-)
Here are some things you may or may not know about melons...
*They grow in a wide variety of geographical areas making them easy to grow and have a long growing season.
*There are two categories of melons - watermelons and muskmelon (which includes all melons that aren't watermelons.)
*Because of their thin cell walls, melons don't preserve well.
*The secret to picking a good watermelon is not necessarily by thumping it but by choosing the melon that has a "white belly" on one side. This indicates that the melon was allowed to ripen on the vine and should be sweet.
*When growing melons, be sure to rotate them so that only one side isn't on the ground the entire time. This will cause the melon to rot or the bugs to eat it before you get to it.
*To increase the produce coming from your plant, cut off some of those little yellow flowers that emerge from the plant. All of the nutrients will go to those flowers rather than growing fruit. And while those yellow flowers are lovely - that's not the point of planting a melon plant!
*Nutritionally melons are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A. In fact, a serving of fresh watermelon is the best source of lycopene! Lycopene is an antioxidant that is responsible for the red pigment you find in foods such as watermelon and tomatoes. It helps keep your eyes healthy but don't eat too much - it might make your skin turn orange! (No worries, just lay off the orange and red veggies/fruits for a couple of days.)