Minnesota Midget Melon
Seed Count: Approx. 20 seeds
Days to Maturity: 60-75 days
Description: The Minnesota Midget Melon is an early producing heirloom muskmelon introduced back in 1948. This cute, miniature, palm sized melon grows to about 4 inches across, and produces good yields of round golden yellow-orange fleshed fruits that are edible all the way down to the rind! The flesh is very juicy and succulent, with excellent flavor and a high sugar content. Each melon is great for a healthy sized single serving, though I suppose you could also share lol. The Minnesota Midget Melon grows on a compact vine that rarely grows over 4 ft. long, and can easily be trained up a trellis to maximize space. It is also resistant to fusarium wilt. This variety is a great option for Northern gardeners, with short seasons, since it is an early producer, however, it can be grown anywhere. It's also a great option for container growing and small spaced gardens as well.
How To Grow
Sowing: Wait to plant melons until the soil temperature has warmed to 70-80 degrees F. Melons thrive in heat, and don't do very well in cooler conditions. Start your seedlings indoors only 2-4 weeks before transplanting. If the plants get too large, they have difficulty adjusting when transplanted. Sow several seeds 1/2" deep in each peat pot, and keep them at 75 degrees until they germinate. Thin seedlings to the strongest plant in each pot by cutting off the others. Avoid pulling out the seedlings to keep from disturbing their roots. Gradually harden off the seedlings to the outdoor temperatures by setting them outside during the day, for a couple hours a day, and slowly increasing the length of time left outside, until they are acclimated to the weather. Transplant them to hills 4-6' apart with 2-3 plants to a hill. Since I have a small space and keep everything planted in a containers, I plant my melons and pumpkins in 25 gallon containers (2 plants per container), and train them to climb up on a trellis to save space. For companion planting benefits, plant melons with peas, pole beans, bush beans, onions, leeks, chives, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, kale, okra, spinach, sunflowers, lettuce, and brussels sprouts. However, avoid planting melons with potatoes.
Growing: In cooler climates, melons may benefit from black plastic to keep the soil warm; mulch also helps to conserve necessary moisture, control weeds, and keep the melons clean. Adequate moisture is particularly crucial as the vines begin to develop. After midsummer, when melons have set, pinch off blossoms and smaller fruits in order to direct the full energy to the larger fruits; the smaller fruits will not have time to ripen before frost, and it's best to do so. Melons are also heavy feeders, and water drinkers, so make sure to give them a good composting and the right amount of water as the fruit develops. When melons are close to ripening, I decrease the water a bit, so they ripen sweeter.
Harvesting: As the melon ripens, it will turn a slightly golden color and become fragrant; the stem should fall off easily, and the blossom end should be slightly soft. The melon will keep for several weeks in a cool place. When saving seed from melons, keep in mind that they will cross pollinate with other varieties of melon but not with watermelon, cucumbers, or squash. Melon seeds are mature when the fruit is ripe. When you cut open the fruit, put the pulp that contains the seeds into a bowl. Work it with your fingers to separate the seeds from the pulpy fibers. Add enough water so that the pulp and the hollow seeds will float. Remove the floating material; all of the viable seeds will remain at the bottom of the bowl. Rinse the seeds well, then spread them out to dry completely. Store your seeds in a cool, dry place for up to five years.