Seed Store

Melon, Melone Retato Degli Ortolani

Melon, Melone Retato Degli Ortolani. Sweet orange flesh. Some netting similar to cantaloupe, with sweet perfumed flesh. Very sweet melon with netting of a cantalope but not a cantalope. Deep Orange sweet flesh! Known as a market or garden melon in Europe and described as the main melon used in most Italian cuisine. 3-4 lbs average weight.  ​Heirloom Tuscan melons whose wonderful perfume adds to their meltingly sweet flavor. Deeply lobed, orange-fleshed fruits on very productive vines.  Said to be the melon to eat with Parma ham. 80 or so days.

Sow in warmth in late spring in 3 inch pots, 1/2in deep (windowsill or heated greenhouse) – 3-4 seeds per pot. 5-10 days germination.,  After germination thin to strongest seedlings before planting to pot or ground.. Best grown under cover, but possible in very warm sheltered positions outside.  Can be trained to save space or left to trail.  85-90 days to harvest.

TO START EARLY INDOORS  Several weeks before last frost date, sow seeds in individual pots of seed starting mix. Keep warm and moist, and provide a strong light source until weather warms enough to transplant outdoors.

GROWING NOTES  Amend soil well with aged manure or compost. Where summers are short or cool, lay down black plastic to retain heat, and plant into holes made in plastic. Where insects are a problem, cover seedlings with floating row covers to exclude them, removing when plants blossom. Keep young vines well watered and fed, tapering off as fruits ripen up for best sweet flavor.

HARVEST AND USE  Pick melons when they are fully colored, heavy and fragrant and “slip” or pull easily from the vines. These deeply lobed melons with sweet aromatic flesh are delicious freshly picked and sliced, added to fruit salads or wrapped with prosciutto as a traditional Italian appetizer.

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