Gardeners are restricted by one main constraint: growing area. If you don’t have a lot of garden space, certain fruits and vegetables from your wish list immediately go away. But I learned that you shouldn’t judge certain summer delicacies without giving them a chance. Melons, for example, are notorious for taking up a lot of room in the garden. This is a very large pest that can destroy a whole fruit crop in just one season. The fruits are massive, egg-shaped vegetables with thick rinds and no stems. They grow on vines that spread out all over the garden, ripen to big, spherical fruits that take up a lot of room and have no stems.

Small Melons: 6 Wonderful Varieties for Tiny Gardens

1. Alvaro

One of the first melons to bloom each year, this lovely little melon is one of the earliest to mature. This Charentais-type has a short growing season of 65 days and measures only 5 inches in diameter. Its light yellowish tan skin matures to a pale green flesh, shallow ribbing that is emphasized with dark green, shallow ribs. The pale orange flesh is extremely delicious. Each plant produces roughly a half-dozen fruits. Charentais melons do not fall from the vine when they are ripe fruits; instead, look for yellowing skin and tiny cracks on the blossom end of the fruits. When Alvaro is ripe, you can tell by its wonderful fragrance; it’s unforgettable.

2. Early Silver Line

The melon matures in 75 days, just like bitter melon and autumn sweet melon. Each tiny melon weighs between 1 and 2 pounds, has a smooth yellow skin that is striped with silver lines, and is oval-shaped. The white juicy flesh of this Korean introduction fruit is extremely crisp and sugary, and it will be one of the first to yield fruits—even in northern regions.

3. Kazakh

Each 1- to 2-pound green melon becomes golden yellow when ripe, and it has wonderful sweetness. The fruits of Kazakh are perfectly spherical orbs that mature quickly in dry weather and are drought-tolerant vines that bloom early producers. After 70 days, the vines produce fruit.

sliced fruit on white ceramic plate

4. Sprite

These tomatoes are produced by a unique hybrid offspring, which creates better flavor and disease resistance in the long run. This variety is also resistant to tomato spotted wilt virus. They’re delicious grilled over an open fire or stuffed with your favorite toppings!

A single cantaloupe weighs only a pound and has a diameter of four inches. The crisp texture is similar to that of an apple, while the mild, creamy coloration hints at its creaminess. Sprite melons have a smooth white skin that becomes slightly yellow when the fruits are ripe, and they peel easily off the vine as harvest approaches. Sprite is ideal since each vine produces many fruits, and plants mature in only 79 days.

5. Tigger

This is the tiny melon to try if you’re searching for something unusual. They take longer to mature, reaching maturity after 90 days—but the unique look and wonderful taste make it worth the wait. If your climate permits, Tigger is an excellent choice because its fruits are sweeter when grown in dry conditions, but if you live in a warm region where the growing season is limited, Tigger is the melon to try.

The Ananas comosus is an exquisite melon that contains a delicious sweet flavor. When ripe, it’s a lovely bright yellow skin with white flesh and smooth skin mottled with crimson and deep orange flesh! Each fruit weighs about a pound when ripe, and the vines produce many fruits.

6. Golden Jenny 

Just like winter melon, a yellow-fleshed, short-statured variant of the traditional green-fleshed heirloom Jenny Lind cultivar, this bush-type melon is a yellow-fleshed, short-statured version of the classic green-fleshed type. Both varieties are distinctive for the knob or turban at the blossom end of each fruit. A Golden Jenny’s golden flesh is extremely delicious, and its netted green skin turns gold when the fruit is ripe.

Mature fruits also fall from the vine easily. Golden Jenny’s short, bushy vines don’t take up much room, but they produce a lot of fruit.

How to Tell if Your Melon Is Ripe?

You can also try dehydrating your own honeydew, watermelon, or cantaloupe slices for a sweet treat. You may already have had your first taste of delicious homegrown cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon if you grew them at the right time and place. Or you could be inspecting the wild vines in your vegetable garden and wondering if your melon is ripe yet. Here’s how to tell when it’s ready.

Cantaloupe: Color, Smell and a Slight Tug

The color of the netting beneath a cantaloupe (or muskmelon) changes from green to tan as it approaches maturity. A ripe cantaloupe also has a nice smell. Finally, check for any spots on the melon’s tip where it is attached to the vine. On an unripe cantaloupe, the stem end will be firmly connected and smooth at the point where it joins with the fruit As it gets riper, the stem end may rise off the fruit slightly. When the melon is ready, the stem should pull away cleanly from the fruit. The fruit might sometimes fall off on its own while ripening. That’s why it’s critical to keep an eye on ripe melons so they don’t go unpicked in the garden for too long.

Honeydew: A Soft End

Honeydew melons do not fall off the vine or give off a pleasant scent, making it more difficult to determine whether or not they are ripe. Color is the most reliable indicator of maturity for both cantaloupe and honeydew. The melon’s green rind will become creamy yellow in color. Gently push on the end of the melon opposite from the stem if the color is correct.

Watermelon: Check the Belly

The most time-consuming, but also the most reliable method, is to determine if a watermelon is ripe by its color. The tendril that grows on the opposite side of the stem from the melon is a good place to start. Dryness will cause this curly tendril to shrivel as the fruit matures. If it’s completely dry, it’s safe to assume that the melon is ready. Look at the “belly” of the watermelon, which is where it sits on the ground. Because it is not exposed to sunlight, this area is frequently white. The belly color changes from white to a golden hue as the fruit matures. It’s not unusual to see people thumping watermelons in supermarkets; however, it isn’t an especially reliable method for determining ripeness.

Time

Just like any types of melons like honeydew melon, christmas melon, canary melon, sprite melon and heirloom melon the seed package will also tell you how long your melons should be harvested for. For example, the cantaloupes on my plant list say 60 to 75 days to harvest. I know I didn’t transplant the seeds from indoors into the garden until around mid-June. Counting ahead, I anticipate my yield will be ready in late August or September. I’m practically beside myself with excitement!