Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hale's Best Jumbo - Bush Type Cantaloupe?

About seven weeks ago, Keith and I met a guy through craigslist who gave us some of his gardening stuff, including some light fixtures, florescent light bulbs, dozens of small plastic pots, and lots of leftover seeds.  He told us that he had an accident several years ago, and he took up vegetable gardening as a part of his head injury rehabilitation process.  He said that vegetable gardening really helped him a lot, but now he wasn't able to continue for various reasons and he wanted to give his garden stuff away to someone who could use it.

Of all the stuff, I was most excited about my windfall of various seeds.  Unfortunately, the germination rate of some of these seeds were terrible, probably because the guy kept them in his storage unit for a couple of years before finally giving them away to us.  Only one out of the seven cantaloupe seeds germinated, and none of the seven watermelon seeds germinated. 

When I sowed these melon seeds, I knew it was probably way too late in the season to have a realistic chance of getting any melons.  But I was curious about whether the seeds would germinate at all, so I had to sow them.  When one seed germinated, I couldn't just toss the seedling away, so I'm growing it.  I will still be sad if/when the first frost kills the vine before I get any melons, but I guess that's the price I'm willing to pay to satisfy my curiosity.

The germinated cantaloupe (technically it's a muskmelon) variety is Hale's Best Jumbo, and the plant is growing more like a small upright tree and less like a typical melon vine.  The seed envelope does not have any indications, but is it possible that this variety is a bush-type?  Do bush-type cantaloupe or muskmelon varieties really exist?  Google search tells me that they do, but I could not fine any images of bush-type muskmelon plants.  Maybe mine will be the first one on the Internet!

Bush-type Cantaloupe Plant on 8/21/10 (Day 49 after the seed was sown)

Cantaloupe flowers on 8/21/10

Many helpful readers of this blog left comments on this post saying that this is most definitely not a Hale's Best Jumbo cantaloupe plant.  Not only that, it's most likely a weed.  How the seed got into the cantaloupe seed envelope, I'll never know.  It's also possible that a random weed seed just landed right in the middle of this five-gallon bucket at the same time that I sowed the cantaloupe seeds, and this plant started growing.  We're trying to figure out the identity of this plant.  It has been further discussed in another post: NOT Hale's Best Jumbo.


Erin said...

That is crazy, LOL! How cool! I grew Hale's Best Jumbo this year and although the vines were very neat, compact and well-behaved, they certainly trailed on the ground out of the container. Can't wait to see yours develop, oh the fun of mystery plants!

Annie's Granny said...

My Hale's best always vines, too. I think you have yourself a mystery plant.

When I first tried to comment, instead of a word verification I got "Listen and type the numbers you hear". I never saw that before! Then there was a lot of background gibberish, a few numbers that I could barely hear, but most were indiscernible. I closed the window and tried again, and this time I got the word. Weird.

thyme2garden said...

Erin - I'll keep you and everyone else updated on how this mystery plant develops!

* * * * *
Granny - hmm, so both you and Erin have vining type of Hale's Best, so I'm not sure what I've got here!

I've never gotten the kind of audio verification like you described. Maybe blogger is trying out a new kind of verification method? Well, I'm glad it worked out for you the second time around, because I do love reading your comments!

Stefaneener said...

That sure looks like a sport to me. I've grown Hale's Best, and it's a vine. . . Sometimes my seeds get mixed up in a bag; maybe it's an okra plant?

Autumn Belle said...

Good luck on your mystery plant! The flower bud has just appeared.

Dan Owen said...

There's only one way to bring this to maturity this late in the season. You need someone to volunteer to take it southwards to a warm climate over the fall and winter, like the Florida Keys perhaps. If you pay my way, I would be happy to rent a small cottage down there and baby sit the plant. Just a thought. :)

Mr. H. said...

It will be very interesting to see if it stays compact or begins to branch out. The only bush cantaloupe I know of is Honey Bun. It sounds like you hit the jackpot on Craig's List, we use it all the time and often find something of value listed.

thyme2garden said...

Stefaneener - Hmm, now I'm starting to entertain the idea that maybe this is not a Hale's Best Jumbo, or even a cantaloupe, for that matter. I've never grown okra before, and there were no okra seed envelopes in my craigslist loot, so I don't know. I guess I'll just have to grow this plant as much as possible and see what happens!

* * * * *
Autumn Belle - Thank you! Flower buds are always exciting, and I'll keep watching this plant to see what becomes of it.

* * * * *
Dan Owen - Thank you for the offer! I'll have to review my finances and see if it's feasible. ;-) If yes, I'll have my people call your people.

* * * * *
Mr. H. - We love using craigslist, too. Even if (or especially if?) we end up with a mystery plant.

Annie's Granny said...

If you can't afford to send Dan Owen to Florida for the winter, it can ride in the back seat of the Ranger, along side Leona the Meyer Lemon, and spend the winter in AZ ;-)

kitsapFG said...

I have never seen an upright growing melon before and the leavesa nd stems don't match up either - I think you have something else parading around in a melon seed packet! It will be interesting to find out what you have ultimately!

Cheryl said...

It's not an okra either (I don't think). Ya might just have yourself a very pampered weed. It's going to be interesting to see what the blooms bring.

thyme2garden said...

Granny - thanks for the offer! :)

* * * * *
kitsapFG - okay, I'm ready to give up the idea that we have a special kind of melon here, and I'm really curious to know what it really might be!

* * * * *
Cheryl - now you're just talking crazy talk, but I'm kind of scared to admit that you might possibly be right about this being a very pampered weed. I really don't know! I hope these flowers bear some sort of fruit so I can figure out what it it!

Lou Murray's Green World said...

Looks like a weed in the mallow family to me. The orange flower bud is another indication of mallow. Take a photo of the flower when it opens and the green ovary below the flower and maybe we can figure it out. Great find on the other Craigslist stuff.

thyme2garden said...

Lou Murry - between you and kitsapFG, I'm really starting to wonder if this is in fact, some sort of a weed. All I know is that there's nothing remotely resembling this growing anywhere in our backyard, where there are lots of other weeds growing. We will take more pictures of this plant and its flowers when they open - please come back and help us identify this!

thyme2garden said...

Hello everyone, my "weed" plant now has open flowers, and I have posted pictures of it in a new post. If you'd like to try out your hand at weed identification, please take a look. Thank you!

NOT Hale's Best Jumbo

Anonymous said...

This is a plant in the genus Abutilon in the mallow family

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