Rooting For Melons

There are more than two hundred and fifty types of melons now cultivated around the world but every single one with seeds in the center is descended from the same species of musk melon originating from the Fertile Crescent, or what we now call the Middle East.

Melons will not continue to ripen once they are picked, so it is necessary to leave them on the vine until the very last moment. The fact that most large-scale melon growers use frequent applied-watering methods and pick their melons early in order to facilitate long-distance transport is why it is almost impossible to find a superlative melon in a supermarket. A melon culling foray to a local Farmers Market or roadside farm-stand at the height of the summer season should be the goal of every worthy melon lover.

Melons are desert plants so the best method of cultivation involves dry-farming techniques.The problem with the frequent watering methods employed by most commercial melon growers is they result in significantly lower Brix levels. Brix is a term that describes more than just the measure of a plant’s sugar content. It also indicates the presence of amino acids, oils, proteins, flavonoids, minerals, and other tasty and nutritive elements in the fruit.

The point of the dry-farming technique is to enrich the soil early in the spring and then apply water sparingly throughout the growing season. This serves to urge the plant’s tap root down into the soil where it can find the moisture and nutrients it needs in order to develop its full flavor potential.