Friday, May 24, 2013



Here are some notes to myself on the history of some melon varieties I'm trying to grow this year.

Pineapple Melon

Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, 1766-1824, ed. Edwin Morris Betts (Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Inc., 1999), p. 208, lists pineapple melons planted in 1794.

MM. Vilmorin-Andrieux, The Vegetable Garden: Illustrations, Descriptions, and Culture of the Garden Vegetables of Cold and Temperate Climates (London: John Murray, 1885), p. 328:
Red-fleshed Pine-apple Melon (Melon Ananas d'Amérique à Chair Rouge).—A vigorous-growing, branching plant, with medium-sized or small, entire, roundish leaves of a slightly glaucous green colour. Fruit very long stalked, with slightly marked ribs, and of a delicate green colour, very plentifully dotted with blackish green; the furrows between the ribs are very shallow and of a clear-green colour, and the ribs themselves are slightly netted when the fruit is quite ripe; rind thin. The fruit is from about 3 to 4 inches in diameter, and from about ten ounces and a half to over one pound. The flesh is red, rather firm, sweet, juicy, and highly perfumed. In this variety the central cavity seldom exceeds the size of a walnut.

Green-fleshed Pine-apple, or Jersey Green Citron, Melon (Melon Ananas d'Amérique à Chair Verte).—The principal difference between this and the preceding variety is in the colour of the flesh, which is of a pale green, with a yellowish tinge in the vicinity of the seeds; the leaves also are somewhat larger and lighter coloured. The plant continues growing for a longer time, and the skin of the fruit is rather more netted when ripe. Both this and the preceding kind will readily carry and ripen from six to eight fruit on each plant.
Pl. XXVII of [Pierre Joseph] Jacquin, Monographie complète du melon (Paris: Roussellon, 1832), see no. 3 (Melon Ananas d'Amérique):

Early Hanover Melon

William Tapley et al., The Vegetables of New York, Volume I, Part IV = The Cucurbits (Albany: J.B. Lyon Company, 1937), p. 63 (under muskmelons):
Extra Early Hanover. Ref. 133.

Extra Early Hanover was introduced in 1895 by T.W. Woods & Sons of Richmond, Virginia. The variety originated in the vicinity of Richmond and its listing as an early sort has continued to the present. It is reported to have attained "immense popularity" and in the region of its origin, is noted for the sweet and sugary flavor of the flesh which can be eaten to the very thin skin.
Ref. 133 on p. 92 is "Tracy, W.W. U.S.D.A. Bul. 21: 226-241. 1903," i.e. W.W. Tracy, Jr., List of American Varieties of Vegetables for the Years 1901 and 1902 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903 = U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bulletin No. 21), where Extra Early Hanover is on p. 231 with the notation "Wd WS," which according to p. 15 (in "List of Abbreviations of Names of Seedsmen") refers to "T.W. Wood & Sons, Richmond, Va." and "Wood, Stubbs & Co., Louisville, Ky."

Georgia Rattlesnake Watermelon

Mentioned in Publications of the Georgia State Department of Agriculture 13 (1887) 60, from Circular No. 91 (Crop Report for the Month of June, 1887):
COLUMBIA.—On the line of the railroad some have found watermelons quite profitable....Some raise the Georgia rattlesnake watermelon seed for sale and sell to dealers in Augusta, concluding they can use an average melon and then get ten cents for the seed. J.J. WALTON.

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