Richard mix, grex experiments - Melons

I want to do an update of my melons, sharing my thought about them after I ate most of them. There are quite a few things that I had not considered, and now they are quite important for future breading or selection of my melons. I think I am not quite there to do various landraces, but I will keep the traits in mind. I also want a steady harvest of melons through all the season, and I want my winter or long term storage melons.

0- Variety/diversity. I like my plants to be different, to have many forms, flavors, colors, shapes, textures, sizes, smell and patterns. I do not mind if I have to plant a lot of seed if I want that diversity. Most of my melons are crosses and I will continue to cross them.

1- Flavor. I think is the main important factor, when you find a very sweet one you want to eat more of them.
My rating ( 0 to 3)
I got like 3 melons very sweets <1%. It is a 3.
30% super nice. It is a 2.
30% its a melon. It is a 1.
30% inedible. It is a 0. It could also be that it has worms or split.

2- Vigorous plants. This has two meanings. Plant produce harvest of a melon an then the plant die. And can be the plant produced more than 1 melon, two to three. Also the plant has to withstand the heat and local conditions.

3- Long term storage. Some of the varieties are suited for storage, is historical that the people here saves melons for long term storage. It is difficult to eat all of them when harvest time, and I want to eat melons in winter.

4- Earliest fruit. Smaller fruit takes less time to form? And you get an earliest harvest. I prefer both but I see the advantages of 3 smaller melons instead of a bigger one.

5- Melons continue to ripen when harvesting and melons changing colors when harvest… One thing is when you harvest a big melon because you do not want to go bad and found it that is not ripen and you found sponge or cork flavor.

6- Melons that not split for a sudden storm, inconsistency watering or sprinkle time. All my orange melons got splits and the bugs got inside.

I call this Island of fire. They like volcanic soil and dryness. I think one of the parent is “melon amarillo canario”.

1- Favor, most of them were a “it is a melon” or “inedible” and the bigger melons were supper nice. I think most of them did not make it to the ripeness stage and the flavor suffer a lot.
2- I got a lot of smaller melons and a lot of seeds, the seeds are big compared to the others melons. They like it in my context, I think it was the most productive variety this year.
3- They are kind of in the middle for long term storage, they are not spoil earlier but can store more than a month.
4- I think most of the plants only got one melon and then the plant dried.
5- They do not change colors when they are ripe, maybe they become yellow but you do not see the ripeness.
6- They were very resistant to split when inconsistency watering is present.

I was going to say that the melons with some of the green skins were crosses, but there are the smaller ones and can be even more unripe.

I call these Passion Chip. I think one of the parents is “melon arizo”. I do not have any photo of the earliest ripen melons.

They were the earliest and because I had more more seeds available I planted a lot of them.

1- Flavor. All of them were super nice.
2- They kind of like it in my context. I needed to replant a lot of seedlings, I got quite a lot of holes in my lines.
3- I ate all of them so I did not test the long term storeability. But I feel like they got bad less than a month.
4- The firsts plants produced 2-3 melons each throughout the season, but the yield decrease. I did not need to plant more seeds, but in the same space I got less melons. Most of the melons were small, less than 15 cm / 6 inches.
5- They change color when ripen and they ripen kite fast. I like a lot this feature, it not a priority to have, but I like it.
6- They got soft skin when ripen so I recommend to harvest them when you see to starting changing colors to avoid bug damage.


That was interesting.

Interesting you have them store so well. I haven’t had any that would store much more than a week from full ripeness. If they were picked before ripeness, they would first ripen and then again store about week at most. So with ripening indoors stored few weeks from picking at most. If they were picked much more than a week from ripeness they wouldn’t taste as good even with ripening indoors. I stored/ripened then in cool room temperature, around +20C at most. I haven’t found information that cooler temperature would be better for storage so it must be a trait. Would be useful if they stored even a little bit longer so that there isn’t a need to process them immediately.

No, size, if it’s a trait, doesn’t affect that much ripening time (from flower to ripe fruit). Even the world record squash take about same time to ripen as smaller fruits, they just grow a lot faster ( tens of kg per day). There might be some difference in average, but it’s negletable. It’s possible that smaller fruited might be little more easily compact plant and thus flower earlier which would make ripe fruits earlier from seed, but I wouldn’t say that’s certain. Small fruits might however ripen faster when they stay small from stressful conditions (and would normally grow bigger), but that’s not something to look out for. Those that have lower temperature treshold would ripen faster in cooler conditions, but that’s not size thing. Although small fruited are often chosen to be grown in northern climates. Maybe that’s partially from assumption that small fruited would be faster, and partially that those small fruited might be those that flower earlier.

Interesting question.
Maybe it helps on the sprouting phase and then is not that important like 5%? Or there are other factors that affects the growth of the plant in more relevant way, like 80%, and that influence of seed size is diluted.

One one thing I realized sowing zucchini seeds. I got one round variety with very huge seeds.
When I made transplants those big seeds were the firsts ones of sprouting and growing, they were the bigger seedlings.
The second bigger seedlings were the seeds from plants that I already grown in my context, they were locally adapted.
And then last ones, very small, like stunted and very poor germination were the new varieties that I wanted to include in my grex like yellow or darker varieties. I don’t know if it’s relevant but they were the smaller seeds.

The earliest fruit that I got was from a the second bigger seedlings, long zucchini not the round one. There are other factors that influence the growth, and variety / genetic of the plant is one of the more relevant.

It is complicated to arrive to a conclusion with seeds from different varieties.

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I have not yet reached the three “varieties” or lines that have been best preserved for me.
You have not had any luck with storing melons?

I think context is very important. For example, for my tomatoes “colgar” or long term storage, the same ones in three different locations.
One location after five months, September 2023 - January 2024 they look exactly the same. There are a few that have been lost, but it is a minority.
Second location, inside pantry of the house, in less than a month we had to get rid of them, they were full of worms or damage from virus or black mold.


For tomatoes this location is ideal, but for melons is a little too humid.
For pumpkins more wind or aeration would help but for now they are very good.

The one that has worked best for me for long term storage and flavor is this one.


I call these Volcanic Meteorite. I think one of the parent is “tendral negro tardio”. It remembers a lot of the long term local storage melons like these ones.

1- Favor was super nice, I did not expected it. I eat them in December. I ate them after trying other melons that didn’t taste good, so it was a nice surprise.
2- There were a later planting and I did not have much seed. I think the plants only made a melon before dried up. I save some of the seeds, but they are mixed up with other long term storage.
3- They were super long term storage, they lasted since early September to December. I’m sure they could last longer. I think is my favorite long term storage, for storeability and the flavor. I think one of them rotted with mold, it think it was too humid, but all of the other performed very satisfactorily.
4- This variety I planted later, maybe mid summer, but they were on par with other melons that I planted mid summer too. Most of the melons were mid size, so there were non smaller ones. So I like them.
5- They do not change colors when ripen, but I think they continue ripening outside the vine/plant. I did not found any of them unripe and all of them got great flavor.
6- I did not found any of them split, or damaged of inconsistent watering. They were resistant to bugs mostly worms, and I think resistant to hot and drought. The skin is more rough and probably thinker, so I can leave them on the field longer, not like other melons, that If I left there they going to get bugs.


Yes, but even small differences can make a huge difference. For example, 5% is the difference between being top-10 in men’s 100 meters and not being even in top-1000. Sometimes competition is cruel and even small differences make them stand out. Of course, it applies only if a trait is useful. This seed size came to mind last year when I noticed that there had been poor emergence rates and dug a bit to see that they had germinated, but had not made it through the soil that was hard-packed. The other thing was bug damage; I would think having more leaf area will help to recover faster. If your seedling has double the leaf area compared to others, by the time the smaller has been eaten completely bigger will still have a half left. In simplified terms. Change of course has a lot to do with which will eventually survive, but if the sample size is big enough effect of change is reduced.

My storage is what it is. Don’t have different options. Don’t think it’s too bad, at least there should be something to be done with trait selection for storing in this environment. It’s not the first priority at the moment, but it would be useful to get storing traits in the mix now so that they are spread widely once storage will have more weight in the selection.

Another type of melon that I grown this year, are some similar to these ones *not actual photo. I call these Horse melon. They came volunteering with horse manure. I put a line of manure under some tomato plants and the volunteer melon plants thrived like crazy. That horse ate nice melons. All of the melons were super big and they were suitable for long term storage.

1- Flavor was kind of nice, some better than other ones, not my preferred type, the texture was crunchy like my Fairy Shards melons. There were a couple that the flavor was not there, it is a melon, but no flavor at all.

2-The part of vigorous was there, self seeding, direct seeding, got a lot of competency between the plants, but the harvest was there. All me melons were super big, and the leaves and vines were everywhere…

3- They were appropriate for long term storage, but we eat them earlier than two months, so I did not check for more than that.

4- I feel like the melons grew very fast, but I guess like the others, since I left them unattended.

5- They do not change color when you harvest them

6- They were pretty resistant to bugs and inconsistent watering. But all the melons were exactly the same, so very inbreed, or came from the same few melon.

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An update with some of the melons that I have not eaten yet and they seem to have long term storage qualities. I see some crosses with white melon and island of fire. And also island of fire and green melon. Shapes and colors are different.

That is great. By the way how do you store them? Which temperature?

I am just wondering if it could a f1, I mean a first year after a cross: all melons the same, great vigor, and then next year it would be segregating. If so we will know next season.
Apart from that: excellent grow report! Bravo

This thread is fascinating, Richard! I’m really hoping to grow out some of the varieties of melons we have this year, and hearing about your Meló fei rodó storing from September to December is really exciting! I have some Jadu’i melon seeds that are supposed to be storage melons, of which we got one fruit two years ago. We harvested it probably around September and ate it for New Years (Dec. 31st). It was a bit sweet still, seeds had started germinating in it, but it was a tad spongy/grainy. Hoping to grow the saved seeds out this year and see if we can get a better crop.

I’m going to side track very briefly - are you hanging your tomatoes for storage? It looks like they’re in a nylon stocking. Is this in your pantry or in the other location? I’ve never seen this and I’m curious about how well it works.

Also, how are you determining storage quality? Does the skin feel thicker? Are you merely waiting to see how long it takes for them to start rotting/feeling overripe?

Some examples of hanging melons too. It used to be done historically in my area too. Some natural fibers to hang them. I just put them in a plastic pan, and that is it.



Really? Like a small seedling inside? That happen to my zucchini, a lot of tiny sprouts inside
My melons got something to make germination stop, I found some seed have try to sprout, and then stop, the liquid inside makes a cluster and stop the germination.

Oh, I got some of mine spongy, but for the variety, not for the long term storeability, they were like that when I harvest them.
The impression of mine long lasting melons is that they were like ripe fruit.
I have noticed that the ones that stay better are the ones that have a lighter color inside.


I commented here a little bit of my long term tomatoes.

I am still eating my tomatoes every day from the summer, probably from August.
I got a couple locations to store my this type of long term food. My tomatoes are near my melons and pumpkins.

I am in very humid weather, so ventilation is number one priority. I do not put this food in the pantry, I use a couple very low traffic site, I found human interaction makes food root, like mold, probably from breathing?

Probably if the skin is very thin the melon will not last, and usually the melons that change color do no store that well. So it is plausible that thick and hard skin helps with storeability like a pumpkin.

I usually check the melons every week, o twice a week. I touch them, and check how they are doing. I take the ripe ones and bring to the kitchen to eat in those days. Sometimes I got some moldy or with virus, and I just remove them and compost it.
Some of them start to get squishy it is time to eat them.
Now I know more or less which “varieties” (most of them are crosses) are going to last longer or which ones I should eat earlier.

All of these have qualities of long term storeability over 90%.
The “island of fire” yellow ones from before, storeability maybe 60%.

Of course, they can be f1, I don’t know the origin, so that probably can explain the vigor. This year we can know if we planted them.
Oh, when I write that I was thinking not having crosses with my others melons because they self seed very far from them.

I got various places that I store them. Here we got a very humid weather, so ventilation is key.

1- In a porch house that is super windy, in plastic trays on a big table and under it.
2- Under a sofa, I got like 10 trays full of pumpkins and melons. I leave that room with the blinds closed, with a mosquito net on the window and the glass windows open. This type of blinds:

3- At the attic, where are my hanging tomatoes, my melons and pumpkins on trays on the floor. The windows are open with the blinds closed like the place before.
4- At the entrance of my house with trays. It is very cold, the walls are super thick.

I just leave them at room temperature in places where direct sunlight does not reach with lots of ventilation.

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It is a natural twine, and then the heads of the tomatoes are sowed with regular sowing thread to that twine.

Yep, there were about 5-10 seedlings sprouting in there. I put them in some pots to see if I could keep them growing, but it got too cold in our house at night during the middle of winter. :pensive:

Wow. I’ve never seen this done. I might try that this year with our tomatoes. I usually just toss them all into a jar and blend it when it’s full to make sauce or whatnot because storing them has always brought fruit flies or they rot quickly. It would be great if this worked as a storage option for us! We also have a relatively humid climate during the summer.

These are the old’s used hanging thread, you can see the thread on the tomato “top”. I make the mistake of using polyester sowing thread. Next time I will use cotton thread and I will put in the compost directly.

We do tomato canning, and tomato salsa freezing too. My hanging tomato got “red spider” web all over it, so there are no bugs other than those spiders, and they do not touch the tomatos. Rotting is inevitable, but less than 5-10%.

This year I have more seed available to experiment on. I bought a manual seeder to direct seed. I have started with 80g of melon seeds in rows adding up to 200m / 200 yards two weeks ago and now I am seeing the first seedlings.