Melon #2 French Charentais Savor Melon


#PrettyGirlButNotSweet #ServeUsRight #BewareOfExpiredSeeds

Note: This post is purely based on growers' observations, your results may vary. No part of this can be reused without written permission from the blog writer.

First and foremost, the stronger plant of this cultivar grows fastest among the batch. 50% of the seedlings have very healthy vines while the other 50% look kind of sick. 

Unlike the Japanese Sunrise Melon which has very similar behaviour and outcome for all plants, this cultivar has seedlings which are pole apart, either very good or very bad.

We have grown sub variants of this cultivar (Anna's Charentais)  previously with very good results. We suspect this weird behaviour is probably contributed by us using near expired seeds. Will have to acquire new seeds and give it a go again.

Journey Of Growth

#Seedings #InitialGrowing #Cisbay #AGNLite #GartenlandSeeds

We used Gartenland seeds from eastern Europe gifted by a friend. The seeds germination rate is about 60% as we have kept them for too long. Viable seeds sprouted mostly by week 1. The seedlings are ready for transplant by week 3, pretty normal for all melons.  We use 10cm pot and put about 3 seeds to one pot.

The planting media are treated with goat poos and water with soil enzymes #AGNLite one week before transplant. Soil enzyme is again applied when mass flowering (week 8 ) and when fruits are growing rapidly after successfully pollinated ( week 9-10)

Most vines started mass flowering with female flowers from week 8 onwards as shown in picture above. Good pollination window is between week 8 to 10 from seeds. Good and healthy female flowers appeared from node 16 onwards. Vine length from surface of planting bag to the flowering nodes (node 16) is about 1.2m to 1.5m length.

Journey Of Pollination

#ChoseTheRightFlowers #NodesMatters

We chose to pollinate all female flowers available from node 16 onwards. For this cultivar, healthy female flowers are available but not plentiful. Hence, any female flower spotted will be pollinated. We experienced 75 to 80% success rate using at least 2 male flowers to 1 female flower.

If pollinated successfully, 3 to 5 days after pollination, there will be one dominant flower that will have the fruit double in size and growing very rapidly. There may be a second fruit that grows bigger too but at much slower rate. We are not able to get this for most of our plant. Effectively, we only get 1 fruit per plant. One of the plants did have 2 fruits but unfortunately, the second fruit is not sweet at all and hence not edible. 

The picture below shows a successfully pollinated fruit at the end of week 1 from pollination ( week 9 from seed) with very pretty distinct green sutures.

Pruning And Trellis Support

#NeedTrellisToClimb #GoodPruningMatters

The trellis height must be about 1.5 to 2m if you intend to have straight visible vine for easy spotting of nodes and melons. 

Prune off all side vines below the first successfully pollinated fruits as well as between the first and second fruit. As long as there is sufficient space for the vines to spread out, we keep some sides vines beyond the second fruit. Prune off the tip once we have sufficient leaves. At least 30 healthy leaves.

Eventually we need the full trellis length of about 2.5m to cover the full length of the plant before snapping off the tip, leaving about 30 good leaves. 

Ripening Journey


The fruit takes about 5 to 5.5 weeks from pollination to be fully ripen. It will need support from week 2 of pollination onwards. Pretty rims on skin appear right on week 2 of pollination. The skin turns from light green to light yellow from week 3 onwards but the rims remain green as shown above.

The size is pretty fix from week 3 of pollination onwards, it is probably just spending time developing the flesh itself.

When fully ripen, the fruit will be pale yellow in color and when ready, dislodge from the vine and it smells so so good. You will not miss it. The vine will dry off slightly too.

The final fruit has light green/yellowish skin with distinct green sutures, bright orange flesh, mildly sweet and very juicy, the flesh is on the soft side but firmer than the Japanese Sunrise Melon. Very thin skin too. Average size is 1kg as specified by seed vendor. Our biggest is 1.25kg.

Best to put the fruit on tabletop for a day, chill in fridge, slice and serve chill. 

Uniquely For This

#IAmUnique #YieldNotGood #SweetnessNotAtBest

We are actually quite disappointed with the sweetness and yield of this cultivar this round. 

First on yield: Seed vendor specification is as high as 5 fruits per plant. However, we have never been able to do that in tropical hot and humid weather. 

We used to be able to get 2 good size (1kg and above) melons or 2 good size and one smaller melon (600 to 700g) per vine without compromising the taste for Charentais Anna. So it is kind of disappointing this round.

Then the taste: it is mildly sweet. Taste like what it should when having it at restaurant with ham. However, we used to have better tasting melon since it is vine ripen. 

The vine of this cultivar is as expected, well behaved. Slight bushy compared to the Japanese Sunrise melon but manageable. Will need more space for vines to crawl about.

Our Learnings & Plans Next Round 


Other than the constant rain this round, the aged seeds plus the way we prune the vines, we feel, could have an impact on the less than desired outcome. 

For next growing, we will cut back further on watering, 2 weeks before harvesting. Use a new batch of seeds as well as adjust our vine pruning methodology.

When we last grew Charentais,  we have limited space hence all vines are cramped together and no way for us to count the nodes. We basically just let the vines go laterally on a netted wall of 1.2m height and 1.2m width. Once it reaches the top of the net ( 1.2 m), we just let them go wild and spread out to another horizontal overhead space of 1.2x1m area. 

Fruits after vine length of 1.2m were pollinated and side vines before 1m pruned. 

We are likely to try again, just let the vines go in all directions, prune only those leaves that are diseased or to improve ventilation, then observe and learn from there. 

We have a strong feeling that this melon has different pruning requirement compared to the Japanese melon since they do not follow the 1 vine, 1 fruit rule.

Will be glad to learn from any experts that has experience growing good Charentais melon with good yield. Any pointers appreciated.

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