Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Muskmelon Madness!

The other day I went out to the garden and picked one of the best cantaloupes we've ever eaten. The taste of a store bought melon can never beat that of one that is homegrown!

Cantaloupes are actually muskmelons (Cucumis melo 'reticulatus') that are given the name cantaloupe to sound more palatable. Musk just refers to the smell but if you think of musk you might think more of a skunk, so most people just call them cantaloupes. True cantaloupes (Cucumis melo 'cantaloupensis') aren't actually commercially grown in the United States.

Our cantaloupes or muskmelons are going wild in the raised bed garden (Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Layout). They've completely overrun the bed they are in and are partially covering two other beds. I don't mind since we eat a good deal of fruit and as long as they keep producing we'll be eating. I was at the store today and saw the price of muskmelons was two for $5, so for every two melons the vine produces we save $5. It's almost like growing money!

Cantaloupes have male a female flowers like squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and many other vining fruits. You can tell when the cantaloupe is ripe when it pulls gently off the vine. It will have a generally tan appearance on the surface. A couple of the melons I picked this morning felt like they had just fallen off the vine.




Here's what I picked this morning with many more still to come. One melon from the other day plus the five from this morning makes six. One we've eaten, another we are working on, two were given to my parents (who incidentally gave us the plants), and the last two will eventually get eaten by a hungry almost three year old! Of course she will have help! Yum...


For some good information about muskmelons check out this page at the North Carolina State University Department of Horticulture.

13 comments :

  1. Lucky you to have fresh cantalopes (also muskmelons:). I didn't grow any this year but do love them so much.

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  2. Those look wonderful. I grew some this year too but mine are now gone. When you are on the Coast, you are rather out of step with other garderners when it comes to harvest time.

    We had the little 2 lb watermelons too but I think next year, I am going back to the large ones. The flavor was not as strong or as sweet.

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  3. Dave,

    My favorites. Fresh not refrigerated for the best taste.
    This is one I would love to grow if I had a vegetable garden...very nice!
    Gail

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  4. Dave, love the melons. Your did very well. So nice to go out in you garden & pick what you want. I had some watermelons that was given to me & they tasted so good. Had not had melons that tasted that good since I was a kid.

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  5. The melons look great Dave. This is something I didn't even consider growing, maybe I should think about it. :)

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  6. Dave - What a bumper crop! They look great. I agree with Gail, unrefrigerated for best taste, all sweet and juicy.

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  7. Wow you have a good crop of lope there! Hard to get a good one in the grocery stores. We have never tried to grow them so we get them at the local roadside markets.

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  8. Wow, I'm so impressed! And so envious...they look so much better than what we buy in our stores around here...and we pay between $3-4 a piece! Well done, enjoy.

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  9. Aren't they just the best? "Freddie" the cantaloupe that I grew fell off the vine, and that's when I knew he was ready. He has another friend that will be ready to harvest soon, so I am excited. How many melon plants do you have? We only have one.

    Enjoy your melons. They sure look delicious!

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  10. I like their smell and sure never would have dreamed they had musk in the name. That would turn me off. You have a nice crop of yummies and they are so handsome too.

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  11. Maybe they taste so good because you can pick them at the peak of perfection.

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  12. Tina,

    I hadn't planned on growing them but my mom gave me her two extra plants. I'm glad she did. I'll definitely plant them again.

    Eve,

    It's amazing how different our climates can be. I'm hoping ours will last for a while.

    Gail,

    They are fresh of course! One of the great advantages to having a vegetable garden, the freshness!

    Lola,

    All this talk about watermelons makes me wish ours were ready! I think the watermelon we have is behind. Hopefully we'll have a ripe one in September.

    PG,

    Definitely! If you like to eat them that is!

    Cindy,

    I'm very pleased with it so far. There are quite a few still on the vine.

    Skeeter,

    Store bought fruit just never tastes like home grown. I think they have to pick it so early to get it to the store. Better to find a local farmer's market to buy from if you can.

    Thanks Nancy!

    We definitely are enjoying them!

    DP,

    Have you named Freddie's friend yet? We only have two but they are sprawled out all over the place.

    Anna,

    They do have a very strong smell. I don't know that I would call it musky if I was naming the fruit. There are all sorts of adjectives that would fit better. Delicious comes to mind!

    Mother Nature,

    I'm sure that's a part of it! When you grow stuff at home you can control those factors.

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  13. Hi Dave, Keeping in the theme of the Flintstones (Skeeter's suggestion), my new cantaloupe is named Betty!

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