Rocky Ford Melon is an open-pollinated, heirloom cantaloupe variety dating back to 1887. Also known as “Eden’s Gem” or “Rocky Ford Green Flesh,” this variety looks like a typical cantaloupe on the exterior with heavily netted, ribbed skin. But the inside reveals a rich green flesh that has a sugary flavor with a rich melon taste. Fruits average 2-3 lbs and 5″ in diameter. The dark green outer skin will turn yellow when the melons are ripe. This is a variety that stores well and is durable for handling after storage.
Melons may be direct seeded or transplanted. For direct seeding, we recommend planting seeds every 12″ along the intended row to ensure a good stand. Once plants emerge, thin plants to one every 2 feet. Melons can be susceptible to plant diseases if excess leaf moisture is present. As a result, we recommend using drip irrigation on watermelons to reduce leaf moisture and feed plants more effectively. During periods of heavy rainfall, using a fungicide like Liquid Copper can help to alleviate disease pressure as well.
Melons also perform well when transplanted. In early spring, we recommend transplanting to get a jump start on the growing season. Melons prefers warmer temperatures for seed to germinate. By transplanting, you can have plants in the ground before the soil temperature warms enough to direct seed. We recommend starting transplants 4-5 weeks before the desired outdoor planting date. Melon transplants grow great in our heavy-duty seed starting trays, where they develop a solid root ball with roots that are trained to grow downward. Plants are ready to go in the ground when they can be easily pulled from the cells in the seed starting tray. Melons are ready to harvest when the tendril near the fruit completely dries. The tendril can be found between the fruit stem and the fruit. It is usually curly and green, but will dry when fruits are ready to harvest.
Rocky Ford Melon Planting Information
Planting Method: direct seed or transplant
When to Plant: after last frost
Planting Depth: 1/2″
Seed Spacing: 24″
Row Spacing: 5-6′
Days to Maturity: 85
Disease Resistance: Rust