One of the new products that is rapidly gaining popularity among Russian gardeners is Vietnamese melon, although it would be more accurate to call it a mini-melon. Its bright sweet taste, thick melon smell and small "exotic" fruits can leave no one indifferent.
Vietnamese melon belongs to small-fruited varieties of sugar melon. This variety of melons has small round-oval fruits weighing 100-200 g. The color is bright orange with characteristic oblong yellow stripes. The pulp of the fruit is usually light orange, juicy, oily and very fragrant. The taste is pleasantly sour with a clear predominance of sugars. Vietnamese melon, grown somewhere in central Russia, in its taste and aroma not only is not inferior to its southern relatives, but with proper care it can even surpass them! During the season, 20 or more mini-melons ripen on one plant.
Vietnamese melon safely tolerates sudden changes in temperature and humidity, which is not typical for other varieties of melons - and this is its main advantage. In addition, it is more resistant to pests and diseases. In central Russia, when 3-4-week-old seedlings are planted in open ground in early June, the first fruits on the Vietnamese melon ripen in mid-July, thus, the period of fruit consumption stretches for 1.5-2 months - until the first frost. During this time, up to 20 tasty and aromatic fruits can be obtained from one plant. In more southern regions or in a greenhouse, one plant can yield up to 30-40 fruits.
Vietnamese melon varieties
Ho Chi Minh's grandfather's gift - early ripening variety, suitable both for planting in a greenhouse and for growing in the open field. Fruits are bright orange with yellowish stripes, weighing from 150 to 250 g. The pulp is creamy, oily, sweet. One plant can have up to 30 fruits, which are removed as they ripen. This melon variety is perfect for decorative purposes as a decoration for a gazebo or a fence.
Yan Jun - mid-season variety with high yield. The period from germination to flowering ranges from 45 to 65 days and depends on temperature and lighting. The scourge of the plant is rather large, up to 300-350 cm long. The leaves are wide, powerful, with pronounced veins. Fruits are round, ribbed, dark red in color with bright yellow stripes. Fruit weight ranges from 150-400 g, but some specimens reach 500 g. The pulp is juicy, with a pronounced nutmeg aroma. From one plant, you can get up to 20-25 ripe fruits.
Melon cultivation Vietnamese
Agricultural technology for growing Vietnamese melon is not complicated and is very similar to growing cucumbers.
Growing conditions... For planting, open places warmed up by the sun are preferable, preferably protected from cold winds and drafts. Like other members of the pumpkin family, this crop prefers loose, moisture-retaining and organic-rich soils. To obtain a good harvest in the fall, the soil in the selected area must be fertilized with humus or peat.
Sowing seeds for seedlings... For sowing, it is better to take melon seeds with a three-year exposure, because annual melon seeds will produce a large number of male flowers, and there will be few ovaries.
Before planting on seedlings, the seeds should be hardened. To do this, they must be placed in a cool place for 2-3 days, and then soaked in water.
It is better to sow seeds for seedlings in peat pots, which can then be planted in a garden bed. Sowing for seedlings can be done already at the beginning of March to a depth of 2-4 cm. Until the seedlings appear, the air temperature should not drop below + 23 ... 25оС.
Seedling care... It is recommended to feed the seedlings twice: the first time after the formation of the first true leaf, and the second time after another 2 weeks.
Like other types of melons, Vietnamese melon bears fruit on shoots of the second and third order. Therefore, when the third true leaf appears, the plant must be pinched to form two lashes, which will subsequently take root.
The seedlings are ready for transplanting when the plants have four true leaves. When planting in a greenhouse, the distance between plants should be at least 50 cm, in open ground - at least 70 cm.
Sowing in open ground... In more southern regions, Vietnamese melon can be grown by direct sowing of seeds in the ground. At a soil temperature of + 15 ... + 18 ° C, seedlings appear on the 3rd-7th day, the main thing is that they do not fall under return frosts.
For the prevention of fungal diseases, a glass of a light solution of potassium permanganate must be poured into the hole before planting.
After a month, 2-4 strongest lashes must be left on each plant.
Watering... Despite the drought resistance, during the flowering and ovary period, watering the Vietnamese melon should be regular. It is better to water it with warm clean water. It is important not to let water accumulate in the beds. Watering melons is best done in the morning so that the soil warms up well until the evening.
Top dressing... Plants are fed moderately every 20 days. Before flowering - nitrogen and potassium fertilizers, at the beginning of the formation of ovaries - phosphorus and ammonia. Over-feeding can lead to violent growth of leaves and a sharp decrease in the number of ovaries.
Pollination... To increase the number of ovaries, you can pollinate melon flowers yourself by cutting off the male inflorescence and applying its anthers to the pistils of the female inflorescence.
Formation... Side processes must be removed regularly, leaving 2-4 strong fruiting lashes. It is also recommended to pinch off excess ovaries, leaving 5-7 pieces on the lash. This will accelerate the ripening of the melons and significantly increase their mass.
Loosening the soil... Gentle surface loosening of the soil also has a beneficial effect on plants; it must be carried out after each watering and feeding.
Harvesting... It is not recommended to touch growing melons with your hands, because the slightest damage leads to decay and death of the fetus.
The ripeness of the fruit of Vietnamese melon is determined by the change in color - ripe melons acquire a bright orange color, lose pubescence and are easily separated from the plant. Vietnamese melons are stored for up to two weeks in the room or in the refrigerator.
If, at the time of the onset of frost, unripe fruits remain on the lashes, they must be cut off together with the stalk and put in a dark, warm place for ripening.