CORVALLIS, Ore. – Growing melons takes some effort in western Oregon, but with the right methods it can end in sweet success.
With a warmer, drier climate, eastern Oregon is well set up for cultivating melons. Western Oregon isn’t as hospitable, but you can accomplish a crop by choosing the right variety and following tips from Heidi Noordijk, metro small farms outreach coordinator for Oregon State University Extension Service.
“Be discerning when you choose a variety,” Noordijk said. “Select ones that will ripen in the cooler growing conditions of western Oregon. If you’re choosing varieties for the west, you look for melons that require a shorter season – 75-100 days from sowing to harvesting. It’s a great disappointment to grow a healthy melon plant and end up in September with inedible fruit.”
There are nine different types of melons, Noordijk said, and they vary from the familiar watermelon and cantaloupe to the unusual snake cucumber, which is actually a melon. The melons are categorized into two classifications – full slip or forced slip – depending on how they come off the vine when it’s time to harvest. Full-slip melons come off the stem easily when the fruit is ripe. With forced-slip melons, you have to watch other indicators like skin color and scent (see below). The seed packet should say which category your melon is in.
Varieties that have performed well at the OSU Vegetable Research Farm in Corvallis are: Superstar, Dutchess, Ariel, Earli-champ, Sarah’s Choice and Sugar Cube.
For more information, see Melons: Cantaloupe, Muskmelon, Honeydew, Crenshaw, Casaba, etc.
Tips for growing melons:
About the OSU Extension Service: The Oregon State University Extension Service shares research-based knowledge with people and communities in Oregon’s 36 counties. OSU Extension addresses issues that matter to urban and rural Oregonians. OSU Extension’s partnerships and programs contribute to a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future for Oregon.