Anatomy of Melon Culling

Although there are about 250 types of melons currently being cultivated around the world, virtually all of the varieties you find with seeds in the center are descended from the same ancient musk melon whose origin was the Fertile Crescent, or what we now call the Middle East.

Melons are desert plants, so the best way to grow them is to use dry-farming techniques. This is no simple process. It means cultivated the soil deeply in the spring, a process too costly for most small farmers. Still, by planting in the early spring while the ground remains damp, and watering perhaps only once or twice during the entire growing season, a wise and water-thrifty farmer can urge the melon’s tap root to reach deeper into the earth for moisture. The technique, which effects a sensual delight through a sustainable practice, can be applied to many crops.

Unfortunately, most commercial growers still use frequent applied watering methods resulting in washed-out melons that never attain the high sugar-levels of a fully ripened, dry-farmed fruit. Worse still, these commercial melons are picked well before full maturity in order to facilitate long-distance shipping. Its important to remember that melons unlike some other fruit, don’t continue to ripen once they are harvested. So it is only by culling them directly from the field or finding them at the farmers market that you stand any real chance of experiencing the joy of a fully ripe melon.