Monday, August 24, 2009

Charleston Grays in Houston

2 of the Charleston Gray watermelons developed blossom-end rot at the same time. We've had some really heavy rains, so that may be the cause. I didn't want to just throw the melons away after the long wait even though they were far from the projected 25 pounds. David was put-off by their ugly appearance, but I persuaded him to give the melon a try. We cut one open and it looked like a normal watermelon inside, but the taste was disappointingly bland and dry. We both stopped after one bite and tossed the melon in the garbage.

The second melon sat on our kitchen counter for a week because I didn't have the heart to throw it away. Yesterday I decided to cut it open just to collect the seeds, and I was surprised by how much redder and juicier this melon was. Despite my unpleasant memories of the first melon, I gave this one a try and it tasted significantly better that its sibling. It was fresh and sweet, with a nice crispy texture. I sliced it up, and sent slices over to the neighbors' house.

My theory about the improved flavor of the second melon is that it benefited from a week of maturation in the house. I had to pick the melon prematurely because of the rotten end, but it needed that extra week to develop its sugars and tasty watermelon flavor. The third melon that is about the same age as the two I harvested still looks great, with no signs of blossom-end rot, and I'm going to leave it to mature on the vine as long as possible. We also have a fourth melon, which is small but already black on one end. This will probably have to be cut soon.

Melons are turning out to be quite a challenge, first with pollination and now with surviving our tropical weather. This may not be a fruit we grow again next year, although I'm saving the seeds just in case I change my mind.

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