Thursday, September 2, 2010


Prescott Fond Blanc
Today I cut free the first two Prescott Fond Blanc melons.
The first whiff of the freshly cut melon was heaven.
The first taste was beyond description.
 Because the spring rain and cool weather hung around too long, they were planted late. That first planting failed to sprout, so they got planted even later. I wondered if it was worth the bother, if it would have time to produce melons.
Believe me, it was worth the bother. I cannot wait for breakfast, when I will devour at least half of one of these 10-pound lovelies.
My luck with melons over the past two decades has been on again and off again. Mostly off.
Kansas weather is variable, to say the least. The weather is either too cold too late in the season, or too hot and dry, or too wet, or too something for melons.
But the Prescott Fond Blanc has produced for me each of the three years I have planted it. It can be argued that the last two summers were almost ideal gardening weather -- at least during the middle part. During the high heat and dry, dry weather of this past August, I occasionally dumped my dishwater on the Prescott melon to keep it going. The heat did not keep it from pollinating (many other small melons are forming on the vine) nor did it keep the melons from swelling and maturing properly. The vines are long and lush and luxurious, in spite of the invasion of cucumber beetles.
And the melons that I just cut are the sweetest, best-flavored ones I have ever grown.
Prescott Fond Blanc is a rock melon, something like a cantalope, with orange flesh, but with a thick rind. It is deeply ribbed and warty, very interesting and lovely. Even a not fully ripe melon is tasty. The seeds for this heirloom melon came from the Seed Savers Exchange. I recommend it to people who have had trouble growing melons in the past, as I have.
In spite of many troubles with melons, I always plant them, including Moon and Stars watermelon. This is another heirloom melon that under the right circumstances can produce melons exceeding 30 pounds (I have weighed them). But even smaller ones have one of the sweetest flavors of any watermelon I've tasted. And they are lovely -- dark green melons with yellow splotches of varying sizes, the moons and stars.
The foliage of this melon also has yellow splotches. The first time I grew it, I thought it was diseased, until I picked the 33-pound melon.
The moon and stars I planted this year has a couple of golf ball-size melons on it, which may or may not mature before our first frost. However, I already have picked one melon and another one waits between a cup plant and goldenrod. This vine is a volunteer, it came up spontaneously in a patch of wildflowers that previously hosted a compost heap. One of the great things about growing heirloom, open-pollinated things is that they come true from seed.
Is it breakfast time yet?


J said...

Coincidentally, I am planting both the Prescott and the Moon and Stars this year in a garden plot in the city of Chicago.

It's my first time planting either, and your blog posting is very encouraging. Thank you so much!

I am so excited about both varieties. I will plant them soon, and can't wait until harvest.


Sandra M. Siebert said...

Good luck with the melons and other gardening projects. Be sure that the soil is good and warm before planting the melons, they don't like cold.