News From the Farm | May 9, 2016

On May 5th we planted some special melon seeds.  We were experimenting with varieties that we haven’t grown here before, hoping to find out how they will do under our conditions.  

Thirteen of the varieties came from Uzbekistan, collected by a friend who studies them.  Uzbekistan is something of a melon mecca. Melons are believed to have been grown there for 2000 years by farmers who are very proud of their tradition growing melons of unique taste and quality. Some of these varieties are already grown in California to a very limited degree, but mostly they are unknown here. Many of the Uzbek melons are large by U.S. standards, but extremely sweet and aromatic.

We also planted some melons that are new varieties from Vitalis Organic Seeds.  Vitalis is doing trials of their new varieties only on a few farms — in Bakersfield, Woodland and at Full Belly.  They had 12 varieties to try – new types of Galia, Charentais and Canary.

A few days after we planted the special melon seeds, staff from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company were here with some heirloom pepper and eggplant seeds that we are trying out.  These companies, Vitalis and Baker Creek, are special because they are carrying out their own breeding work and believe in the importance of seeds as part of our common heritage.

We will plant a repetition of the melon trial in June — so the melons will have a second chance to prove their worth. If they are really large, they are more likely to show up at a Full Belly  farmers market than in the CSA boxes, but we will let you know how they do.


The Melon Trial Team: Left to right – Natalie Vargo (Vitalis), Amon Muller (Full Belly) and Amy Kaplan (Vitalis) after planting the special melon seeds.  Judith Redmond (Full Belly) was also part of the team and took the photo.