It’s always fun to try a new variety, so this season “Earli Dew,” a honeydew melon was added to the potager. SeedsNSuch was the source, because I only wanted a few seeds at a low price. Their catalog described it thus: “Earli Dew Hyb. 79 days. Extra-early. Ideal for Northern gardeners who will appreciate these round, 2-3 lbs, 5-6″ melons with tasty lime-green flesh inside a smooth, green-gold skin. Crisp texture and sweet flavor. Wilt resistant. (8-10 seeds, $1.99)” It sounded perfect. There’s only two of us, so I don’t want big melons. I planted 2 seeds in pots in the greenhouse in early May, and transplanted them the end of that month.
Both vines grew abundantly (but all of the vine crops have attempted to cover the earth with all the rain we’ve had this year!) and not only covered their trellis, but most of a 6′ x 6′ bed as well. The photo shows them in June. There are just 2 plants, but there were so many side shoot vines, that I trained most of them up four strings, and let the rest meander through between kale and pepper plants already in the bed. Soon, there were 15 melons happily ballooning on the vines.
I wasn’t quite sure when to pick them, and once the raccoons started eating the Minnesota Midgets, I worried they would ruin my first Earli Dew, so as soon as I could detect a slight aroma, I picked it and brought it to the house. It did not have a golden skin, but a totally white smooth one, so I put it in a brown paper bag with an apple for two days to ripen more. It was as good as any honeydew I’ve purchased at the store, so I was satisfied. It did weigh over 5 lbs. and could have passed for a volleyball; certainly larger than described. I let the 2nd and 3rd melons stay on the vines a bit longer, until they did have a golden cast. They both weighed nearly 5 lbs. and were a bit sweeter than the first, without any brown bag time required. I gave the 4th, 5th and 6th ones, all over 4 lbs. to neighbors and friends because our refrigerator was filled to capacity with the potager’s bounty. Everyone said they’d be happy to take any surplus Earli Dew off my hands! The photo above is lucky number 7. After reading another seed catalog that assured its readers Earli Dew was unusual for a honeydew because it would slip from the stem like a cantaloupe when ripe, I waited for that to happen. As you can see above, the skin is very golden and slightly streaked on the surface.
Inside, the thick flesh is a delicate pale green. The seed cavity is rather small for such a large melon. That’s a soup spoon, not a teaspoon, and again this melon weighed over 4 1/2 pounds. It was definitely the sweetest, best honeydew melon I’ve ever tasted. Now that the raccoons have moved onto the sweet corn in the area, and seem to be passing by the potager, I’ll wait until the melons slip from the vine (with just a little pressure from my thumb.) I let #8 wait until it slipped from the vine on its own, and judged it overly ripe, because it actually had cracked on the underside and the ants were enjoying it! After a good rinse, we still ate it, but the flesh was a bit softer than I like. I’ll definitely grow Earli Dew again next year, but give it the larger trellis over the south bench, and let it meander in the interior border and on the fence. Because they are so prolific, I’ll plant one vine, and wait three weeks to plant another. If I were a market gardener, Earli Dew would definitely be a moneymaker! Try it! I bet you’ll love it, too!