Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Asian Melons

Gardening is not very interesting if I'm not trying something different.

I'm one of those people who ends up wanting everything marked "new" in the seed catalog, but I managed to restrain myself this year and only ordered five unusual melons. (That may sound like a lot, but the catalog had 16 varieties of Eastern and Asian melons that I'd never heard of before.)

This turned out to be my favorite. It's called Sakata's Sweet, and it originated in Japan. The description of fragrant, sweet, and crunchy was too good to pass up. And you can eat the peel!

Never having grown it before, I didn't really know what "ripe" looked like. I think it's actually a bit past this point - they get a yellowish tinge if you leave them longer. But it doesn't seem to matter much to the taste or texture.

One description said that they reach the size of a baseball, but they evidently grow about 50% larger than that in the Alabama heat.

They're green inside, and man oh man are they good. The taste is somewhat like a honeydew melon, only much sweeter, and very crisp.

The only problem we encountered was an extremely low germination rate. Out of about 21 seeds planted at three different times, we got one plant. (Still, it did better than the "Golden Sweet" melon, which produced no plants from the same number of seeds.)

Reading about another Asian variety, I was dismayed to learn that it only produces six - eight melons per plant. I hope that is not true of this type too, or else I've only got a couple more to look forward to.

The seeds came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, a nice company who offered to refund the money for seeds that didn't germinate.


I almost forgot to mention, if any part of the melon seems a little bitter, a day or two in the fridge (after cutting it open) will cure that.


Rachel said...

Oh yum, it sounds delicious indeed!!

Floridacracker said...

It's good to read about garden success. Mine is a mass of weeds.

Caint be no melon, taint red.

rana said...

I've GOT to check out that catalog -- suppose they've got anything that can live in zone 5?

Rurality said...

Rachel, it is! My sister tried some today and she said it reminded her a little of a honeydew melon also.

FC, hubby took the weedeater to the garden over the weekend. Unfortunately some good plants got whacked along with the weeds. Once it started raining a little the weeds really got out of control.

Rana, they are in zone 6a, so probably so. They have a great print catalog.

tai haku said...

I'm having a melon growing shootout with my dad here in the UK (under glass). He went with "sweetheart" whereas I favoured the israeli melon "ogen". I'm currently cruising to a crushing victory with two huge (by uk standards) melons ripening and a load of small ones.

Hick said...

Oh how I wish I had a garden here on the Hick property...alas, not enough sun.

Those pictures make me want to run to the store and grab a melon. Yum!

melissa said...

That looks like the equivalant to a honeydew melon here in australia.
I buy seeds based on there name ..explains why i grew a rockmelon (canteloupe )called collective farm woman .

maybe i'm just a sucker !and they see me coming !

Ron Sullivan said...

Have I got seed catalogue for you!

Rurality said...

TH, you'll have to let me know about the taste!

Melissa, I've heard of that one! I've been known to be drawn in by names too. :)

Ooh, Ron, I want to get Molokeyhia just so I can say that word when someone asks me what they're eating!

DolbyVideos said...

I'm glad you blogged about Sakata Sweets, because it encouraged me to grow some this year. They're delicious!