Sometimes know as Eden’s Gem. This melon was selected/created from the old “Netted Gem” variety and introduced in the Victorian Era. Rocky Ford has a fine-grained sweet flavored green flesh. A firm melon with a fine melting quality and choice spicy flavor. Heavily netted and slightly ribbed. Fruits average 2-3 pounds and keep for a long time. Excellent for the home gardener and market grower. Highly resistant to rust.
1903 Maule’s Seed Company Catalog says about Rocky Ford Melon…”Rocky Fords are famous in the fancy markets and great sellers. The are of convenient size and their firmness and shape favor them as shippers. As to quality, the appeal to the taste of epicures everywhere and hence are in brisk demand and find a prominent place on the counters and shelves of fashionable fruit stores and market stands. ….a most appetizing flavor and aroma. Flesh is both tender and firm; tender enough for the table and firm enough to stand shipment. The rind is elastic, but not hard.”
1924 Portland Seed Company Catalog says about Rocky Ford Melon… “The fruit is oval, slightly ribbed, densely covered with coarse netting. Flesh thick, green, very sweet and highly flavored. The fruit is wonderfully uniform in shape and quality. A favorite with market gardeners everywhere.”
The fruits contain Vitamin C, betacarotene, potassium, pectin and several beneficial phytochemicals, including lycopene and zeaxanthin.
Sun: Full Sun
Height: 12 – 18”
Optimum Soil Ph: 6.0-7.0
Days To Maturity: 75 – 90 Days
Sowing Method: Directly Outdoors
Can be direct sown in warmer climates after soil temperatures reach 70, plant 3-4 seeds 1/2” deep in hills 3-4’ apart on rows 5-6’ apart. Once established, thin to two strongest plants. For cooler climates we prefer to start in pots in the greenhouse and transplant later when night time temperatures stay above 55 degrees. Start seedlings 3 weeks before last frost. Once seedlings are 4” tall and soil temperatures are 70, plant in rich loose soil.
Keep well watered until fruits are tennis ball sized and then water only if absolutely needed. (We know organic farmers that never water them and grow amazinging melons, but a great deal depends on your soil.)