Full sun, temperatures at least 70°F, and about 90 days and more will give you rich-tasting melons. Muskmelons and cantaloupes are the same thing, they are known as summer melons. Casabas, Crenshaws, and honeydews are called winter melons because they come to harvest at the end of summer.
Here are flavorful best bet, easy-to-grow melons–both summer and winter melons (added days to maturity)–divided into four categories: orange-fleshed melons; green-fleshed melons; honeydew types; and others.
Keep reading to the bottom of this post and I will give you my tips for melon growing success.
• Ambrosia. 86 days. Very sweet, juicy, distinctive flavor. Uniform, medium-size, nearly round fruit 6-inches in diameter, heavily netted, weighs 4½ to 5. Salmon flesh, thick rind; seed cavity small with tight mass of seeds. Prolific vines. Downy mildew and powdery mildew resistant. Hybrid.
• Burpee Hybrid. 82 days. Sweet, flavorful, firm and juicy, excellent quality. Round to slight oval fruit, 6 inches in diameter, heavily netted, distinctly ribbed, weighs 4 to 4½ pounds; deep-orange flesh, thick rind. High yielding vine; produces well in northern regions. Popular with home gardeners. Hybrid.
• Bush Star. 88 days. Big, sweet flavor fresh or frozen. Bush plant with fruit to 2 pounds; salmon flesh. Very good yields in small gardens. All-American Selection; Fusarium wilt resistant. Hybrid.
• Earlisweet. 68 days. Sweet flavor. Medium netted, slightly ribbed fruit to 5½ pounds; deep salmon flesh. Early variety; high yielding. Fusarium tolerant. Hybrid.
• Gold Star. 86 days. Flavorful, fragrant. Oval fruit with deep netting, weighs 3 to 4 pounds. Hybrid.
• Harper Hybrid. 86 days. Sweet, tangy flavor, rich aroma. Medium-size, round, finely netted fruit; honeydew-muskmelon parentage; firm, thick salmon flesh. Vigorous prolific grower. Hybrid.
• Harvest Queen. 89-95 days. Shipping melon keep 5 to 6 days, heavily netted, faintly ribbed, 6 inches in diameter, weight 3 to 4 pounds; firm, thick deep-orange flesh, small seed. Fusarium wilt resistant. Open-pollinated.
• Iroquois. 87 days. Sweet flavor, fragrant. Oval to nearly round, grayish-green rind, netted with ribs, 6½ inches in diameter, weighs 4 to 6 pounds; deep orange, fine-textured flesh. Fusarium wilt resistant. Good in cooler regions. Heirloom. Open-pollinated.
• Pulsar. 80 days. Sweet flavor. Medium-size round, heavily netted 5 to 5½ pounds; thick, firm orange flesh. Tolerant of powdery mildew and fusarium wilt. Good in cool regions. Hybrid.
• Saticoy Hybrid. 80-90 days. Rich, sweet flavor. Oval, lightly netted fruit, about 4 pounds; deep-orange flesh. Strong vines. Fusarium wilt, anthracnose, and powdery mildew resistant.
• Superstar. 86 days. Great flavor, aromatic. Large, round fruit, 6 to 8 pounds, coarse netting; smooth, thick salmon colored flesh. Good in eastern and Midwest gardens. Hybrid.
• Galia. 65 days. Very sweet, aromatic. Large, round fruit weighs 2 to 2½ pounds, heavily netted; yellow rind, light green flesh, small seed cavity. Vigorous grower; grows well in frames or open garden. Powdery mildew resistant. Hybrid.
• Jenny Lind. 75 days. Sweet, mild flavored, juicy; lacks aroma. Small fruit, flattened at both ends with a small knob on the blossom end, 5 to 6 inches in diameter, weighs 1½ to 2 pounds; dull brownish-orange rind mottled with green; light green flesh. Introduced in 1846. Open-pollinated.
• Passport. 73 days. Large, 6 to 7 inches in diameter; dark green skin; thick dark green flesh becomes whitish green in the center. Vigorous vines tolerate anthracnose and gummy stem blight. Hybrid
• Rocky Sweet. 85 days. Sweet, delicious with no musky flavor. Medium size round fruit weighs 3 to 4 pounds, moderately netted, with light sutures; dark green rind turning yellow then yellow orange when ripe; thick lime-green flesh. Vigorous and prolific vines. Hybrid.
• Honeydew. 95-115 days. Sweet, juicy. Broad oval fruit 7 to 8 inches, 7 inches in diameter, weighs about 6 pounds average; smooth ivory skin, no netting; light-green very sweet juicy flesh, small seed cavity, hard rind, prefers a warm dry climates, good storage. Fusarium wilt resistant. Hybrid.
• Early Dew. 80 days. Sweet, tender. Nearly round fruit 5 to 6 inches in diameter, weighs 2½ to 3 pounds; smooth green-gold rind at full maturity; lime-green flesh. Vigorous vine grows well in short-season regions. Excellent for home gardens. Fusarium wilt resistant. Hybrid,
• Honey Brew. 90 days. Concentrated sweetness. Smooth, thick pale green skin; tender, green flesh. High yield; strong disease resistance. Hybrid.
• Morning Dew. 96 days. Very sweet. Large, oblong fruit, weighs 10 to 12 pounds; thick, green flesh. Vigorous vine; Fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, and downy mildew resistant. Long season. Hybrid
• Tam Dew. 95-100 days. Sweet, juicy. Medium-large, oval fruit 6-inches in diameter, weighs 5 to 6½ pounds; smooth, creamy white rind; thick light-green flesh, small seed cavity. Downy mildew and powdery mildew resistant. Open-pollinated.
• Venus. 88 days. Juicy, sweet, aromatic. Medium-size oval fruit, 5½ inches in diameter; light golden-yellow, slightly netted rind; bright green flesh. Heavy yield. Hybrid.
Other Melons Varieties:
• Casaba Golden Beauty. 110 days. Spicy sweet flavor, aromatic. Oval to round fruit with golden-yellow wrinkled skin, 7 to 8 pounds; white flesh. Good to store. Grows well in hot regions. Open-pollinated.
• Crenshaw. 90-115 days. Sweet distinctive flavor, juicy. Oval fruit slightly tapered toward the stem end, pear shape; 6 to 6½ inches in diameter, 8 to 10 inches long, weighs 6 to 10 pounds; salmon-pink flesh. Requires a long, warm season. Vigorous productive plants. Open-pollinated.
• Honeyshaw. 85 days. Sweet. Crenshaw hybrid, 7 to 10 inches elongated, yellow, corrugated skin; salmon-pink flesh. Early to mature. Hybrid.
• Marygold. 88-92. Very sweet. Small Casaba type, bright yellow wrinkled skin, weighs 3½ pounds; green to white flesh. Good grower in warm, humid regions. Very good yield. Disease resistance. Hybrid.
Melon Growing Success Tips:
Planting time. All melons require a growing season of at least 100 frost-free days. Plant melons when the soil has warmed to 70° to 80°F. To jump start the season start seed indoors 2 to 4 weeks before transplanting into the garden.
Planting. Grow melons in full sun with plenty of air circulation. Melons must stay warm and dry to prevent disease and grow quickly and uninterrupted. Grow melons in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Prepare planting beds with aged compost and side dress with compost during the growing season. Grow melons on raised hills: 4 to 6 feet apart for muskmelons, 6 to 12 feet apart for watermelons. Thin to 2 to 3 melons per hill or fewer.
Care. Mulch to keep down weeds. Water to keep melons evenly moist; do not let the soil dry after transplanting or as fruits develop. Male flowers will appear first followed by female flowers. Give melons manure tea when fruit sets and again about two weeks later. Don’t allow new flowers to develop after midsummer; let the plant concentrate it growing efforts on fruit that can mature before the end of warm weather.
Harvest. Muskmelons and cantaloupes that smell ripe are ripe. They should come away clean from the vine little pressure. Thump watermelons to determine if it is ready for picking: a ripe watermelon will make a dull thump.