Careful selection of early-ripening melon varieties makes all the difference, and the surest route to a healthy patch is to plant cultivars with built-in disease resistance. The number in brackets indicates days to maturity from transplants.
The familiar orange-fleshed netted fruit; sometimes called muskmelons.
- ‘Athena’ (78 days): Oval fruit up to two kilograms; tolerant of powdery mildew and fusarium wilt.
- ‘EarliChamp’ (72 days): Medium-sized, oval fruit with small seed cavity, sweet flesh and good disease resistance.
- ‘Earliqueen’ (65 days): Medium-sized, oval fruit. Bred to take a bit more cold and usually the first to ripen.
- ‘Earlisweet’ (65 days): Small, plentiful fruit; productive even in cooler, short-season areas.
- ‘Passport’ (73 days): Medium-sized, round fruit. Looks like a cantaloupe on the outside, but has the light green flesh and exotic flavour of a honeydew. Earliest of its kind.
The big, elongated southern blimps are not for most Canadian gardens. Instead, look for the smaller, round types with red, yellow or orange flesh.
- ‘Jade Star’ (74 days): Round, four-kilogram fruit with black-green rind and red flesh. Reliably productive.
- ‘Orange Orchid’ (72 days): Round, three-kilogram fruit with light orange flesh and few seeds; does well in cooler conditions.
- ‘Tiger Baby’ (80 days): Round, three- to four-kilogram fruit. Striped rind and pinkish red flesh; vines resistant to fusarium wilt.
- ‘Yellow Doll’ (68 days): Round, 2.5-kilogram fruit with light-and-dark-green-striped rind and crisp, yellow flesh. Good for short-season areas.