The Best Varieties of Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melons for Your Home Garden

Are you looking to add some sweet and juicy melons to your home garden this season? Cantaloupe and honeydew are popular choices for those wanting a tasty treat straight from the vine. Growing your own heirloom melons from seed will give you the best and most flavorful varieties available. Learn more about the different types of melons and pick your favorite to grow.

honeydew and cantaloupe melons

Cantaloupe, Honeydew, and Muskmelon

All melons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and gourds. Melons are typically divided into watermelons and muskmelons, with cantaloupe and honeydew falling into the cucumis category. Despite being in the same family, melons are separated into different genera. Watermelons are part of the Citrullus genus, while other melons like cantaloupe and honeydew are part of the Cucumis genus. In total, four main genera encompass different types of melons, such as wax gourd and bitter melon.

Honeydew and Cantaloupe melons have a long history of cultivation, and it's no secret why. These sweet fruits are bursting with flavor. Even after thousands of years, there is nothing like a home-grown cantaloupe. The flavor and sweetness of these melons are unmatched. With their soft yet firm flesh and delicious taste, they will surely be a favorite among melon lovers. So why not give them a try?

orange cantaloupe cut open

Heirloom Melon Varieties to Grow From Seed

The question that really matters when growing cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew is what does it taste like? Different types of melons will have their own distinct color and texture. Knowing the various types of cantaloupe and melons will help you pick your favorites to grow.

What we call cantaloupe and sometimes muskmelon, are the melons that have a netting texture on the rind. Honeydew and canary melons have a smooth rind. When ripe, all cucumis melons should have a soft but firm texture. Melons in the Cucumis category are juicy with a smoother, more dense texture than watermelon. The interior colors will vary depending on the melon type. The color can range from creamy green to bright orange. And each variety of melon will have its own distinct flavor. The variety of colors and flavors is what makes homegrown melons so appealing.

These are some of our favorite heirloom cantaloupe and honeydew melon varieties to grow.

Hale’s Best Melon

Hale's Best Melon is an heirloom favorite from the 1920s. It is also called a muskmelon and has a thin rind with heavy netting. If you’re looking for a traditional cantaloupe with a silky texture and super sweet orange flesh, Hale’s Best is the melon variety for you. It thrives in hot weather and is somewhat drought tolerant, although you want to ensure consistent water for best growth. Mature melons of this variety can weigh 3 to 5 pounds.

Honey Rock Melon

Honey Rock Melon is a vigorous cantaloupe that produces 5-7 melons per vine in about 80 days. Mature melons are six inches in diameter. The thick outer rind has a coarse netting and is like a rock covering the sweet and tender interior. Honey Rock melons are resistant to fusarium wilt and are an AAS winner. The sweet and subtle flavor pairs well with prosciutto. These melons typically weigh 3 to 4 pounds.

Honeydew Melon

We say it a lot at Sow Right Seeds because it is so true —There is nothing like the flavor of homegrown! Honeydew from the store is usually disappointing. The flesh is too firm, often crunchy, and the flavor is hardly detectable. A perfectly ripe honeydew melon has the most exquisite taste. The light green flesh is succulent and firm with a subtle honey-like flavor. There is no comparison! Honeydew is cool and refreshing when eaten alone and can also be added to fruit salads or smoothies. If you only plant one melon in your garden, grow honeydew.

Juane Canary Melon

A delicious summer treat, Juane Canary melons are a winner. They grow fast and can be ready for harvesting in about 80 days. Each melon typically weighs 4-5 lbs. The outer rind is bright yellow and protects the juicy cream-colored flesh within. This prized heirloom canary melon grows 10' long vines that reach 2' tall. The sugary flavor is sweet but won’t raise your blood sugar.

green melon cut open

Growing your own heirloom melons from seed will give you the best and most flavorful varieties available, from the silky, sweet orange flesh of Hale’s Best Melon to the honey-like taste of homegrown Honeydew. Each variety, including the vigorous Honey Rock Melon and the fast-growing Juane Canary Melon, promises a unique and exquisite taste. Experience the unparalleled flavor of fresh, homegrown melons. Don’t miss out – buy your melon seeds today and enjoy the sweetness of the season straight from your garden!

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