Saturday 20 January 2024

In My Seed Box For 2024 - Water Melon

In 2019 two plot holders on our allotment site Wally and John grew water melons out on the allotment and not under glass. Looking at the RHS Web site re Melons it states that there are three groups of sweet melons. Canteloupe melons, with their orange flesh are the best ones for us to grow in the UK. You can also grow honeydew types, which have firm yellow flesh, and musk melons, which must be grown in a greenhouse.

For best results in our cooler climate grow your melons in a greenhouse or coldframe, or against a sunny sheltered wall with a cloche covering them.

Now I’m not sure how a wall can be sunny and sheltered at the same time.

Last year I grew these three Amarillo Oro from one plant under a glass panel up against the boundary wall. This year I'm going to have a bash at growing all 5 again up against the wall and in one of the greenhouses. I saved the seeds from these melons and will be using them this year and sharing the love by donating seeds to my fellow plot holders.   

Sow By 2021

Sugar Baby - 40 Seeds - 99p - Happy Green Shop

Sow By 2022

Amarillo Oro - I have a few seed left from the pack I bought some time ago, however they are longer available from the original supplier. A google search found 25 Seeds for £5.51 from bonanza, but I saved my own seeds from the melons I grew last year, so I'm good to go for 2024. 

Sow By 2024

Little Darling F1 - 7 Seeds - RRP £2.99 On Sale 89p - Dobies - Packed for year end 2023 - Sow by 12/2024
Mangomel F1 - 4 Seeds - £3.99 - Suttons - Packed for year end 2022 - Sow by 7/2024

Sow By 2026

Mangomel F1 - 10 Seeds - £3.75 - Mr Fothergill's - Packed for year end Jul 2023 - Sow by 12/2026
Magia Negra F1 - 10 Seeds - £4.15 - Mr Fothergill's - Packed for year end 2023 - Sow by 12/2026


Melon 'Mangomel' is a new type of melon that has undertones of mango when ripe! Large, creamy-yellow fruit is bursting with flavour and juice, plus they are delightfully aromatic. This is a ‘Western Shipper type’ x Early Charentais. And guess what? The fruit colour visibly changes from grey/green to a creamy yellow to tell you it's ripe and ready to enjoy! It tastes delicious eaten fresh or is an exotic addition with natural yoghurt.

Developed in the UK specifically for home gardeners, this is perhaps the first melon ever to be bred for this market. It will reliably produce 5 fruits per plant in an unheated greenhouse, 2-3 fruits in a sunny spot outdoors. If planted outdoors, the spread will be about 1.5 metres so will appreciate some trimming to encourage it. Fruit weight average 1kg.

Sow in a propagator on a windowsill or in pots or trays using a good quality, moist compost in a greenhouse at approximately 15°C (60°F). Cover seed with 1cm (½") compost. 

Germination 7-14 days. 

Transfer to 7.5cm (3") pots, grow on and plant on into grow bags or large pots. Train up strings and support fruits with nets. Water and feed regularly. If growing outside it is best to cover the soil with black membrane to keep the soil warm and use a cloche to cover the plant. Pollinate by inserting a male flower into female flower which has tiny fruit at the base.


Melon Amarillo Oro produces a yellow skinned cantaloupe melon with superb sweet juicy refreshing flesh. Each of these delicious fruits weighs up to 5- 6 Ib (2 - 3 kg). Open pollinated. A pre-1870 heirloom variety from Spain.

Melons require high temperatures and humidity. In all but the very warmest areas cultivation is most successful in a greenhouse, or under cover of a cold frame.

Direct sow: February - April
Harvest: 100 days
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Temperature: 23 - 30 C
Depth: 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Plant spacing: 36 inches (90cm)


Sweet tasting and smaller fruited "Ice Box" type watermelon. Early and very productive with sweet, juicy, fine-textured, medium-red flesh and thin hard rind.

The round, 8 to 12 lb, dark green skinned melons grow 8 inches across. Ideal variety if space is limited, as this can be trailed on trellises and faster to ripen in short summers.

Drought Resistant

Ready to harvest about 75 days after seeding in favourable conditions. Can be grown outside in a warm, sheltered and sunny location, but for the most reliable crops under glass is best.

Days to Germination: 5-7
Days To Harvest: 75 in warm conditions
Planting Depth:12 – 25mm 1/2 to 1 inch
Spacing: 600mm 2 feet
Light: Sunny, Warm, Sheltered Location

Prepare soil by digging and incorporating liberal amounts of well-rotted compost or farmyard manure over-winter. Watermelons thrive in a sunny, warm location

Sow April to May 1cm (½in) deep, in 7cm (3.5in) pots of free-draining seed sowing mix. Place in a (propagator, airing cupboard) and keep at a temperature of around 20-25C (68-77F) until after germination, usually 5-7 days.

When first true leaves develop, transplant into 13cm (5in) pots for a few weeks.

Plant out 24 inches apart after carefully hardening off after all risk of frost in a warm sheltered position in full sun or for a more reliable crop under glass.

Water regularly and feed with liquid fertilizer every 14 days.

Pinch out growing point at the 4 leaf stage and train the laterals (side-shoots) along the row. Hand pollinate if required.

At harvest time, tap the watermelon with your knuckles, and if it sounds hollow, it's ripe.


Magia Negra F1 - Mr Fothergills - 10 Seeds - £3.45 

Outstanding in Mr Fothergills UK polytunnel trials, this 'Sugar Baby' type watermelon is quick to mature, producing 7-9kg fruit with deliciously juicy, deep red flesh.


Little Darling F1 - Dobies - 6 Seeds - £2.99 Item Code 411045

A strong performer in the UK, Watermelon 'Little Darling' is a compact variety that matures and ripens quickly to yield delicious small oval fruits with irresistibly sweet and juicy flesh. 

This space-saving variety is best grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel, producing up to 4 fruits per plant. Once you've tasted fresh homegrown watermelons, you'll never look back! Height: 45cm (18in). Spread: 120cm (4ft).

Sowing Time - February to April Indoors. Plant outside June

Sowing Instructions. Sow seed 20mm (3/4"( deep in 75mm (3in) pots of good seed compost at 21-25C (70-77F) PLace in a propagator or seal container in a polythene bag until after germination (7-10 days). After germination maintain temperature 15C (60F) and keep the compost moist but not wet. 

Aftercare Instructions. When melon plants are well grown. transplant them at a spacing of 2 plants per growbag or 1m (3ft) apart under frost free glass. 

harvest August to October   

NEW Addition added 11th February 2024

Budgie F1

D.T.Brown sent me a pack of Budgie F1 melon seeds that have been added to their catalogue for 2024. Currently being sold at 10 seeds for £3.59

Packed year ending July/23 and Sow By date recommend on the pack of Dec/26 Melon seeds actually last between 5 - 8 years if stored correctly. 

Again another very short description for these seeds on the D.T.Browns web site that says:- 

"An unusual Asian variety with a fresh tangy-sweet flavour. The bushy plants show good resistance to downy and powdery mildew."

If you click on the Growing Tips field you get this information 

"SOW INDOORS January-April, singly into pots, 0.5cm/quarter inch deep. Keep at 20-25C/68-75F. Harden off late May. Plant out at 4-5 leaf stage to growing bags in the greenhouse, or a warm, sheltered area in the garden, spaced 45cm/18in. apart. 

Train main stems up vertical wires and remove the growing points at approx. 7th leaf stage."

Information missing from the web page but on the pack below:-

"Feed regularly when fruit sets. 

Harvest July - October. Outdoor crops from late August."

This year it appears that web authors for seed companies are being very lazy on not putting all the information on the pack on the web site pages. 

Suttons and Dobies, web pages for their new vegetables have also been lacking with them also getting the graphics incorrect for sowing transplanting and harvesting. I do give feedback to all companies when I find errors and short comings on their web pages.  

I'm really looking forward to trying these in the greenhouse and outside against my wall under a glass panel this year. 

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