By: Amy Grant
Canary melons are beautiful bright yellow hybrid melons that are commonly grown in parts of Asia including Japan and South Korea. Interested in growing your own canary melons? The following canary melon information can help with canary melon growing, harvesting, and care as well as what to do with canary melons once they’re picked.
Canary melons (Cucumis melo) are also referred to as San Juan canary melons, Spanish melons and Juane des Canaries. Named for its brilliant yellow color that is reminiscent of canary birds, canary melons are oval with vibrant yellow skin and a cream-colored flesh. Melons may weigh 4-5 pounds (2 or so kg.) when ripe and are around 5 inches (13 cm.) across.
Like watermelons and pumpkins, canary melons flower prior to fruiting. The male blossoms flower first then wilt and drop off to reveal the female blooms. Once pollinated, the fruit begins to grow beneath the female blossom.
Vines of the canary melon can grow to about 10 feet (3 m.) in length and individual plants to 2 feet (61 cm.) in height. They require plenty of heat to reach maturity and a growing season of 80-90 days.
Start seeds indoors in peat pots or sow directly outside after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm. To sow in peat pots, start seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Sow the seeds ½ inch (1 cm.) under the soil. Harden off for a week and then transplant into the garden when the seedlings have their first two sets of true leaves. Transplant two seedlings per hill and water in well.
If sowing directly into the garden, canary melons like a slightly acidic soil from 6.0 to 6.8. Amend the soil if needed to bring the pH to that level. Dig in plenty of organic material to provide the plants with nutrients and good drainage.
Sow the seeds into the garden when all danger of frost has passed for your area. Sow 3-5 seeds in hills that are 3 feet (just under a meter) apart in rows 6 feet (nearly 2 m.) apart. Water thoroughly. Thin the seedlings when the first two sets of true leaves appear. Leave two plants per hill.
Like all melons, canary melons like lots of sun, warm temperatures and moist soil. Water each week with 1-2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) of water depending upon weather conditions. Water in the morning so the leaves have a chance to dry and don’t foster fungal diseases. Increase irrigation to 2 inches (5 cm.) per week when the vines set fruit. Cut the irrigation to 1 inch (2.5 cm.) per week when the melons begin to mature, usually three weeks prior to canary melon harvesting.
Fertilize the vines every 2-3 weeks with an all-purpose food, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Canary melons are known to be incredibly sweet with a taste that is similar to honeydew melon. Like honeydew, canary melons are eaten fresh as slices or added to fruit platters and salads, made into smoothies, or even made into delicious cocktails.
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Canary melons are a type of muskmelon, found in the same cultivar group as the honeydew. These melons are easily recognized by their bright yellow skin and elongated oval shape. The sweet, juicy flesh of the fruit is white or light green, with a soft texture and tangy taste. These melons are popular in parts of Asia and are also grown in Mexico. Yellow flowers are either male or female and attract beneficial pollinators.
The Tweety F1 is a hybrid canary melon with signature yellow skin and a pale green inside. Resistant to several common melon diseases, it will mature quickly, making it a great choice for growers with short summer seasons. Each fruit is around 4–6 lbs.
To grow successfully and produce fruit, melon plants need three key ingredients. Firstly, they require a decent amount of nutrients and for this I apply liquid tomato feed once every week or two during the growing season.
Secondly growing melons require bright sunshine so if you’re going to get the best results possible aim to give them the sunniest spot that you possibly can.
And lastly, of course, they require as much warmth as possible. While I have tried a number of varieties over the years that claim to produce fruit when grown outside in normal conditions I have always been disappointed.
So when growing melons now I use my greenhouse. In the absence of a greenhouse a cloche or cold-frame can be used or – worst case scenario – grow them on your windowsill at home. That said, a properly cared-for melon plant will grow fast and will attain impressive proportions so it’s important to realize that a melon grown on your windowsill may try to take over your home if you let it!
When growing melons you should be aware that they are climbing plants and typically grow straight up so some support should be provided for them. As melons themselves can be pretty heavy for such a thin-stemmed plant, this support can be doubly useful for preventing damage to your beloved plant.
Rather than simply providing a single support for my melon to clamber up, I get the best results by placing a number of supports around each growing melon plant and weaving garden twine between them to create a “net” or “mesh” of garden canes and string to provide a strong support.
In the absence of a greenhouse, where one needs to make do with a cloche or cold-frame, your melon plant will “ramble” over the soil’s surface.
As your melon plants grow, try to keep it under control by gently feeding any new stems back into the support that you’ve created, leading to a dense yet carefully-controlled plant. I have found that keeping my plant under control like this not only makes it easier to spot and harvest the fruit but also reduces potential damage due to the weight of a fully-ripe melon.
Canary melon is a type of melon with bright yellow and smooth skin
The Canary melon has bright smooth yellow skin, an oval elongated shape, and has a mildly sweet taste.
The name of this type of melon comes from the fact that the yellow skin resembles the canary bird.
Slicing a Canary melon in half reveals soft light green or yellowish flesh that is similar to a pear but tastes much sweeter. Some people describe the flavor as mildly tangy when compared to a honeydew melon. When this type of melon is ready to eat, the flesh will be extremely juicy and succulent and not too sweet.
Similar to honeydew melons, all the salmon-colored seeds in this golden melon are in the center of the fruit.
You know when a Canary melon is ripe when the melon looks bright yellow without any hints of green on it. Also, check the rind as it should have a waxy feel to it when fully ripe.
Canary melons grow to about 4 or 5 lb. (1.8 – 2.2 kg).
I don’t know about you, but after all those melons – I just want more.
If your tastebuds concur, I highly recommend Amy Goldman’s lovely book, The Melon, which is my personal bible for expanding my knowledge on the many different cultivated varieties of these fruits.
This book is both an excellent gardening reference and a beautiful coffee table book. A warning though – the photos may make you drool!
If you need ideas for serving up your melon harvest, this book also includes some mouthwatering recipes. You can find it at Amazon.
And now it’s time to make your selection. Which of these tempting fruits are going to appear on your short list?
Are you leaning towards the warming spice flavor profiles or, like me, those that are more tropical and floral? Do you have any other favorites that I neglected to mention? Let me know in the comments section below.
And if you’re not done cultivating your melon knowledge, here are some more articles that will come in handy:
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Kristina Hicks-Hamblin lives on a dryland permaculture homestead in the high desert of Utah. Originally from the temperate suburbs of North Carolina, she enjoys discovering ways to meet a climate challenge. She is a Certified Permaculture Designer and a Building Biology Environmental Consultant, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kristina loves the challenges of dryland gardening and teaching others to use climate compatible gardening techniques, and she strives towards creating gardens where there are as many birds and bees as there are edibles. Kristina considers it a point of pride that she spends more money on seeds each year than she does on clothes.