CHARENTAIS MELON (Cucumis melo) is simply one of the finest heirloom melons you can grow. I have grown it for years. Of French origins, it originated in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France, in the early 20th Century. The smooth round melons mature to a creamy grayish-yellow with green stripes and are wonderfully fragrant. Typically the size of a grapefruit weighing about 2 pounds, so perfect for one or two people and small gardens (or large crowded gardens) because you can easily grow vertically or container grow (with support). The flesh is dense, deeply orange, incredibly juicy, and so sweet and flavorful! Because of their size, you will not see these in your grocery store. Specialty growers know they are a big hit at farmer's markets. 75-90 days. 25 seeds.
TIPS ON WHEN TO PICK: The Charentais do not "slip" the vine (another reason why it is so great for trellising), so the only way you know it is time to pick is when the color mellows and the fruit becomes fragrant. Then you can snip the stem and enjoy! I like to put a sling on mine anyway just to ensure they get as big as possible without stress, as shown.
GROWING MELONS: Melons are heat lovers and heavy feeders, so pick a sunny spot and spend some time preparing the soil with rich compost and creating hills for the vines to trail down. Wait until soil temp is 70 degrees to direct sow, or start indoors and harden off. Keep the beds mulched with straw as weeding will becoming impossible once the vining gets underway. The straw will also help retain moisture in the soil and melons need lots of regular watering. Once the blossoms have set, use fish emulsion as a side dressing. Some smaller varieties are suitable for trellising.