RIDGEWAY CANTALOUPE is a variety so special it is celebrated here in North Carolina with its own festival every year. Served at New York City's famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the early 20th Century, but when a succession of wet summers ruined crops in the late 1950s, the melon was forgotten. Now, there are less than 40 families that grow the unusually sweet fruit in Ridgeway, an area settled and farmed by Germans and African Americans in the 19th Century. The golden, heavily netted fruits have very sweet, deep orange flesh that is juicy and full of flavor. Good producer. 80-90 days. 15 seeds.
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.