Last year, I grew “Golden Crown” watermelon (78 days) which was a 1991 AAS winner. Because I grow in raised beds, and I don’t want vines spilling across the paths, so a compact melon works best. And, there are only 2 of us, so I don’t want a large melon that fills up the refrigerator and is too much for us to eat. As you can see, on the right, this melon is a lovely golden yellow on the outside, and a “personal-sized” melon at only about 4-5 lbs. The flavor was sweet, and although it only produced 1-2 melons per vine for me, I was happy with the flavor, and the fairly small space it required. However, my 91 yr. old mother said, “Can’t you find a small melon with fewer seeds next time?” So, the search was on…..
I’d heard about a new AAS winner for 2017 called “Mini Love,” (80 days) which is also a “personal-sized” melon. Described as 7-9 lbs. with a deep red flesh that is super-sweet, “Mini Love” is touted as being semi-seedless and much easier to germinate than the seedless varieties on the market. In addition, it is said to be somewhat resistant to powdery mildew, with 3-4′ vines, and produces 6 fruits per plant. Although 5 seeds were $2.00, I thought is was worth a try. Once again, I duplicated the planting, location, and growing conditions of both varieties in order to get a good comparison (as in the tomato comparison post.) I picked both melons on the same day (Aug. 12) because they both sounded “hollow” when thumped. The “Golden Crown” weighed 4 1/2 lbs, the “Mini Love” (on the left) weighed 4 lbs. As you can see, they both have nice thin rinds, so there is not a lot of waste. The “Mini Love” has a slightly finer texture, and was just a bit sweeter. However, I may have picked the “Golden Crown” a bit early. Although it was lusciously sweet as well, as you can see, the seeds were a light brown, not black as they should be when fully ripe. Flavor-wise, we were happy with both. Now the down-side….. I cut a 1″ center slice of each melon and removed the seeds from each slice. If you look carefully, you’ll see that basically, the “Mini Love” has 41 seeds. Its rival had only 28, even including the very immature ones which were still white. Also, the “Mini Love” was the only melon on that vine, while the “Golden Crown” vine is producing two. We’ve had a lot of rain, which may have impeded pollination, but I’m pretty sure there will be no more “Mini Love” melons on that vine because it is wilting. We’ll see if production improves on other vines planted slightly later, with less weather interference.
My space is valuable, as is my time and energy, so I want the most productive, best quality produce I can grow. I’ll grow “Mini Love” again next year, because I received 60 free seeds from a recent GWA event, but I must say that at this point, I am a bit disappointed that the expectations set have not been met.