It’s that time of year when you are planning what to put in your garden. Your favorite local gardening store or online supplier has you covered on your old standbys, but maybe this should be a year that you expand outside your normal horizons. Try out an exotic melon rather than planting the same old same old melons. Most people have tried their hand at growing traditional watermelons and cantaloupes, but there is a whole world of exotic melon choices out there to try out in your garden this year.
Yubari King Melon
The Yubari King melon is a Japanese melon that is said to be one of the sweetest melons along with some claims that it is very pricey in Japan. It is a hybrid of two cantaloupes: the Spicy Cantaloupe and Earl’s Favorite.
The Charentais melon is a French melon that some people may be familiar with as it is an ingredient in a famous model’s favorite skin cream. These melons have green-gray skin with an almost fluorescent orange flesh that is firm. They smell wonderful and taste very sweet.
The Vedrantais melon is similar to the Charentais melon. This one is a heirloom from Italy that has skin that starts out as greenish blue and turn to salmon over time.
Early Silverline Melon
The Early Silverline melon is a heirloom melon that has thin yellow skin. The skin is so thin it can be treated like an apple. Be sure to keep it on the vine until it is ripe to ensure that you get a sweet flavor. Some growers did report that this tasted more like a cucumber when not ripened before eating.
There are a lot of different varieties of Crenshaw melons, but a general Crenshaw melon will have yellowish-green skin with pink flesh. Growers may find that these sweet melons will grow better in regions that have a warm and dry season.
Sakata’s Sweet melon is another Asian heirloom melon that is prized for being sweet in taste and smell. The skin will be a creamy greenish-yellow while the flesh will green. This is one melon that will keep nicely after harvest.
Orange Crisp Watermelon
Yes, even watermelons can be exotic. Think of how surprised family and friends will be when you cut into a ripe Orange Crisp Watermelon and they see orange flesh rather than the typical red or pink. This is also a seedless melon that can make serving a breeze.
Plum Granny Melon
Plum Granny or Queen Anne melon is a little different from the other melons on this list because it’s not really grown to be eaten. It’s meant as more of a melon to be used as potpourri. It has a wonderful scent with beautiful yellow and orange stripped skin. Some growers noted that they have a bland taste, but can be eaten like cucumbers with salt.
Canary melons are so named because of their canary yellow coloring. The flesh of these tasty melons is a pale green. These melons grow in a fun oval or elongated shape.
Tigger melons are a fun melon to grow because they have brilliant red zigzag stripes, especially for children who are probably very familiar with their namesake. They are an Armenian melon with white, mild flesh. Some growers report that they can be sweeter when grown in a drier climate. These are also said to have a very intoxicating scent.
Ananas melons are a type of heirloom muskmelon. They can resemble a cantaloupe on the outside with a netted look and have juicy white flesh on the inside. Reported to taste like a casaba mixed with a honeydew.
Pike Melons are a rare heirloom muskmelon that grow well in clay soil. When grown, they are oblong with a cantaloupe look and salmon colored flesh on the inside. Sweet and hardy.
Kazakh melon is a mini melon with a lot of flavor that is believed to have originated in Kazakhstan. This is said to have a high sugar content that makes it perfect for someone with a sweet tooth that is looking to get some more healthy options. This melon is drought resistant and an early maturing.
Don’t feel as though you have to be completely stuck in the doldrums of picking the same old plants as you’ve always grown year after year. Be adventurous by planting one or two exotic melons in your garden this year to see how they do. Not wanting to go too far outside your comfort zone? That is completely understandable as most gardeners have a finite amount of space to work with, and melons can spread rather large, so perhaps try a more exotic watermelon or cantaloupe variety to spice up your life. You might find your next favorite by going outside of your growing comfort zone.