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The Nose Knows
Small and green, a Charentais melon can look unripe to unaccustomed eyes. When it is ready to pick, the flesh takes on just a bit of a tan or golden cast, but it’s the delicious scent that truly says “Go”. The fruit may also have split slightly at the bottom end--another good sign. If you’ve never tasted a Charentais, you have a rare treat ahead.
When is a Melon Ripe?
Many melon varieties are ripe at what is called "full slip" - that is, when you can sever the melon from the stem by lightly pushing it off with your thumb. But this rule of thumb is not trustworthy for certain melon types, the Middle Eastern 'Galia' type being one of them. In this case, we turn up our noses. When the melon smells ripe, it is. Pressing the blossom end slightly will help to release that seductive aroma.

Nothing speaks the sultry language of summer like the juicy taste of melon. Direct-sow the seed 4 weeks before the last frost date and transplant out when night time temperatures reliably 55°F. Install supportive trellising structure through which to train the vines. As melons reach maturity, stop watering to prevent splitting. Harvest when the stem disconnects readily from the vine. Fat-free and low-calorie, most Melons are high in Vitamins A and C. For wild raves and acclaim, make Shelburne Farms’ Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad.

Average seed life: 2 years

#2956 Bitter Melon Edible Gourds: 75-90 days
AKA Bitter Gourd, the Balsam Pear. This unique edible gourd is coveted in Asia, Indonesia, Latin America, India and Australia for its cool, cleansing, bitter quinine-citrus taste and bracing, grassy aroma. It is the size and shape of an apple-green cucumber with deeply furrowed, smooth-skin and lightly crisp to supple flesh when mature. Bitter Melon should be started indoors 4 weeks before setting out when night temperatures stay above 55°F. Grow them like cucumbers and support the vines with a tall trellis, netting or strings to keep the fruit straight. Harvest them regularly to encourage production when they are 3” to 8” long and the fruit is firm, before they turn orange. Then, enjoy them in much the same way as you would zucchini squash. (OP.)

Packet of 15 Seeds / $3.95

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#3100 Galia Melon: 80-90 days
Galia has a spicy-sweet aroma and performs reliably despite cooler summers. The skin is netted with gold and the flesh is the cool green of a glacial lake. Sturdy, mildew-resistant vines yield two to three pound, globe-shaped melons. This luscious variety is not available in markets in the U.S. but French and Italian cooks know them well, flocking to summer markets for these perfumed Middle Eastern beauties. Serve Galia with prosciutto or parma ham as antipasto. Or at meal’s end, with bunches of fat purple grapes and tangerines. (OP.)

Packet of 17 Seeds / $3.55

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#3110 Athena Cantaloupe: 70-80 days
Athena is an early-maturing, Middle Eastern hybrid cantaloupe, and like the Greek goddess, this melon is in a class by itself. Big, flavorful cantaloupes are borne on sturdy, disease-resistant vines. Pick these well-netted oval fruits, weighing a hefty five pounds at maturity. Athena produces reliably even in cool summers and the thick orange flesh is highly resistant to cracking and splitting. This cantaloupe is fit for the goddesses! (F1.)

Packet of 17 Seeds / $3.95

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#3130 New Queen Watermelon: 75-80 days
An exciting Taiwanese import, New Queen is a bright orange-yellow fleshed watermelon that is fragrant and juicy with just a few seeds. With 12% sugar content, it is so sweet that you will mistake it for candy! Early maturing, vigorous and prolific, it is a uniform, globe-shaped, "icebox type" melon, weighing only five to six pounds. (F1.)

Packet of 15 Seeds / $3.75

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#3140 Savor Charentais Melon: 75-80 days
There is no need to translate Melon in French; merely ask for a Charentais, the quintessential French heirloom variety. Our Charentais-type Savor hybrid is early maturing and grows to a plump 2 to 2 1/2 pounds. Boasting a succulent, orange, fine-textured flesh, Savor Charentais is very sweet with a rich, complex flavor and a deep, heady aroma. The fruit is round and smooth with a gray or gray-blue rind borne on disease-resistant plants. Be sure to plant this succulent gem in your family's garden for you will likely not ever see it at the market: the fruits' tender fragility makes shipping difficult. (F1.)

Packet of 15 Seeds / $4.75

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#3145 Santon Charentais Melon: 75 days
Santon has succulent, salmon-orange flesh with a floral fragrance and a nectar-like sweetness. Another rare French variety really seen in the U.S. because they don’t travel well, these 2-pound, gray-green beauties must ripen on the vine, ready for harvest and ravenous feasting as soon as their exteriors turn tannish-yellow. (OP.)

Packet of 50 Seeds / $3.55

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#3160 Tigger Asian Melon: 80-90 days
The most stunning, unusual melon we have ever seen, Tigger Asian Melons have radiant lemon-yellow skin with brilliant fire engine-red spots and stripes and creamy white flesh. Easy to grow, this small grapefruit-sized melon will develop a sweet, intoxicating aroma and taste in dry summers with prolonged, scorching heat as long as you keep them regularly watered. (OP.)

Packet of 25 Seeds / $3.65

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#3170 Pony Red Mini Watermelon: 80 days
Pony is the perfectly sized watermelon for a romantic breakfast for two. Weighing in at 5 to 6 pounds each, Pony yields little, light green globes marked with dark green stripes. Its thin rind encases delicious, firm and sweet red-pink flesh that is simply irresistible. A Japanese hybrid, Pony is relatively early, disease-resistant and incredibly productive~one hill yields about ten prized melons. (F1.)

Packet of 20 Seeds / $3.95

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#3175 Honeydew Green Flesh Melon: 100 days
AKA White Antibes Winter Melon, this high-yielding French heirloom has a small seed cavity and exceedingly sweet, glacial green flesh cloaked in a firm, smooth rind that matures from pale green to a ripe yellowish-cream color. Ranging in weight from three to six pounds and up to 9” long and 6” wide, it prefers the warmest sunny spot in cooler areas. There is nothing better than a hunky slice of this prized Honeydew with a wedge of lime and a dollop of Greek yoghurt on a hot summer day. (It is also wonderful pureed and frozen in airtight freezer bags for midwinter juice bars). (OP.)

Packet of 40 Seeds / $3.25

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#3180 Petit Gris de Rennes Melon: 80-85 days
The champagne of melons, this French heirloom produces small two to three pound dense melons with heavenly-sweet, perfumed orange flesh. Adaptable to most climates including cooler zones, these divine dark gray-green melons are quite rare yet are the top pick in melon taste tests. (OP.)

Packet of 20 Seeds / $3.55

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#3190 Sweet Beauty Watermelon: 80-85 days
This tasty beauty pageant winner is widely adaptable, productive and quite easy to grow. Weighing in at a svelte 6- to 9-pounds, it has an attractive oblong shape and is cloaked in a deep green rind with paler stripes. It has exceptionally sweet, crisp-crunchy red flesh with a brix measurement of 12% to 14% sugar content. (F1.)

Packet of 25 Seeds / $3.45

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#3195 Sugar Baby Watermelon: 70-80 days
The original ‘icebox’ melon, this heirloom produces perfectly round, 10-pound melons with super sweet, fine-textured flesh cloaked in a dark green rind. Drought-tolerant and disease-resistant, Sugar Baby is a reliable easy grower. (OP.)

Packet of 40 Seeds / $3.25

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