Melon, Charentais Superprécoce Du Roc (Organic)
Cucumis melo. 70-80 days.
Green striped fruit have a heavenly aroma and deliciously sweet, firm orange flesh. Charentais is a traditional French type of cantaloupe that has long been considered by many to be the best of the best. Hybrid and open-pollinated Charentais melons tend to be a little slow to ripen in our climate, leaving us with a short, late-season harvest window. However, Charentais Superprécoce Du Roc is nice and quick to ripen. We noticed this variety was offered by seed company Graines Baumaux in France, and when we learned that “superprécoce” translates from French as “super early”, we couldn’t resist trialing it. “Superprécoce” may be a slight exaggeration, but an extra week or two of melon season is always a plus. Graines Baumaux recommends pruning plants to 3-4 fruit for larger, more flavorful melons, but we are pleased with the results of leaving them to their own devices, even if that means the fruit are on the small side. Finding the optimal harvest time is a bit of a learning curve (hint: it’s earlier than you think! – while the skin is still quite green). We cut the fruit from the vine after the tendril closest to the fruit dries out and turns brown. This is before the stem slips from the fruit and when the green skin just starts to lighten with a hint of yellow. The flavor when picked at perfect ripeness is unmatched.
Sow indoors in 2-4” pots with good potting soil mid-May through mid-June. Transplant into the garden with 2’ centers one week after sprouting. May also be direct sown when soil is warm. Melons are frost-sensitive and benefit from row cover. Protect from birds while sprouting and from insects when plants are young.
To save seed, scoop out seeds when you eat the fruit. Rinse off and dry seeds. For seed purity, isolate from other C. melo by ½ mile.