The growing season is short here in the north country, but I can still grow cantaloupes and water melons from seed in the garden, and they're fabulous.  This one (from last year's saved seed) is bigger than a softball and growing. 

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Here's my Sugar Baby that I grew in a pot & transplanted.  I picked it on 8/16/14 and was disappointed in the taste.  It may have been over ripe, as I noticed it had a dry tendril for at least a week before I picked it.

It was 6.7 inches in diameter.  I was wrong about seeing the dry tendril for a week.  I first noticed it 3 or 4 days before picking.

Looks great, Idaho.  I've been growing them for a few years--usually get maybe half a dozen.  I find the flavor agreeably subtle and mild, but they're really juicy and really sweet.

Is that 6 to a plant Don?  I've only found one on mine.  But, as small as they are, another one may be hiding.  I've noticed melons are good at hiding.

Maybe the taste of Sugar Baby is just too mild for my 73 year-old tasting apparatus.  

I've also tried an Orange Tendersweet watermelon I grew this year.  It was good, but still not as good as I remember watermelon tasting when I was young.

The Orange Tendersweet had a hollow spot, which I've been told means it's over ripe. What do you think?

Well, with white seeds I wouldn't call it "overripe."  Some melons just crack--maybe too much water or hot weather at the wrong time.  That one sure looks good to me.

I usually just plant a "hill" or two; that is, two groups of maybe three plants, and I get maybe a melon or two a plant.  This year I planted a 75-day cantaloupe--Olympic Express--which has produced five melons so far.  They're pretty small still, not a whole lot bigger than tennis balls.  My butternut quash are looking great.

Thanks.  I didn't even notice that the seeds were white.  It's probably going to take me time to get it right.  This is only my second year trying watermelon.

I've been reading more about telling when they are ripe, and everyone seems to agree that when the tendril is fully dry & brown, they are ripe.  That is all except Sugar Baby, which don't play by the rules.

They say that you should wait for Sugar Baby melons until about 7-10 days after the tendril is fully dry & brown. 

There is also the yellow underside to take into account, as well as the sound when thumped.

In any case, I'm not going to try Sugar Baby again until I get more land.  I have such a small garden, I'm not going to waste space on a melon that doesn't work for me.  I've got one muskmelon and 6 watermelon varieties growing this year, and will try fewer next year.  Just the couple that impress me this year.

I think one of my problems is that I've not rotated some of them.  I have the muskmelon and 4 watermelon growing in the same place as last year, so disease may be a factor. 

The two kinds I have in a new spot are looking much, much better.  Lots more leaves and lots more melons per plant.

Next year, I will grow my melons in an entirely new place.  I'm preparing the soil there now.

If the vines are long enough, I put my developing melons up on overturned black plastic nursery containers--quart or half-gallon size.  (I used to use bricks.)  That way they're up off the ground, and they get good warmth from underneath.  Also, you can turn them a little to get them to ripen more completely.

Sounds like a good Idea Don.  I put black garden fabric over the entire area to create more warmth, and the melons rest on that. 

But I have a problem with inspecting them and turning them because I haven't yet developed a way to get to them without tromping on the vines.

Where I'm planting them next year, I've got a path of sand next to them where I can walk, and will try to head most of the vines away from that.

I plant in raised beds, so there's some space in between, but you kinda hafta pick your way.  With a lot of plastic

sheeting I can get slugs.  I like the black nursery pots because they get the fruit up above the greenery.

This is pretty inspirational for trying again to grow melons.  I wanted to this year but with work and illness and other things coming up, did not try everything I wanted.

Last year I tried to grow a few melons and was not successful except one tasteless one.  My climate is mostly cool, short summer, with a burst of heat in the middle.

This year I've succeeded, in a limited fashion, with heat loving, long day loving, okra.  Via heroic efforts.  If I can grow okra, short season melons should work.

Here's my 2009 harvest--no great shakes, but delish (crisp, juicy, and really sweet) all the same.  I've been growing them from the saved seeds ever since. 

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