This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
These melons mature very freely in this locality, under ordinary culture, while the maskmelons, similarly treated, fail entirely. My plantations, however, have been subjected to the same discipline as the muskmelon, in every respect, with this exception, that the intervals from the center of the beds were increased from six to ten feet. The fruit has certainly possessed the finest flavor in the estimation of no indifferent tasters. The melons cultivated were "Imperial," "Florida," and "California;" the two latter I have so named to designate them.
The "Florida" was grown from seeds brought from Florida by Mr. Skally, my gardener of last year. It resembles the "Spanish," and probably is one of its varieties. The fruit is oblong, of medium size; skin deep green, striate with white marbling; flesh bright red, solid, very tender and delicious; seeds sparse and small, in different samples black, red or white. The largest specimen weighed 25 pounds.
The "California" seems to be another variety of the Spanish, sustaining an intermediate form between it and the Imperial. It was matured from seeds received from the "Auriferous tract" last year. A. G. H.
Newburgh, N. Y, Oct. 15,1851.
The foregoing record of a careful course of experiments in melon culture - continued during three years - by our scientific neighbor Dr. Hull, will be read with much interest. It should be borne in mind by our readers, living on the warmer and lighter soils of New-Jersey and farther south, where fine melons are "grown with as little care, almost, as cabbages," that the soil about Newburgh is a strong clay loam - naturally by no means so favorable to the melon as the warm sandy loams of the former localities. It is therefore necessary to take far more pains to grow a fine crop of melons here, than in other and lighter soils.
As to Dr. Hull's success, we frankly confess it surpassed all precedent here. We examined several times his melon patch, 40 by 180 feet, which produced the enormous number of sixteen hundred melons, and tasted the products, and are bound to say that we never saw so large a crop on so small a space, or tasted larger or finer melons. Looked at merely as a matter of profit, the outlay of preparation would be satisfactory - though of course much more was expended in the process of making the different experiments than would be needful to carry any one of the modes of manuring out, on a scale suited to general culture. The flavor was very distinct in the different beds - those in the beds of burnt turf being to our taste the most sugary and rich, while those with the superphosphate of lime were the most juicy and melting. Ed.
Muscatine Island, Iowa, is the most famous place in all the Northwest for this delicious fruit. I asked a farmer upon that large island how many acres of water-melons were estimated to be there. His answer was one thousand, and his neighbor said that was probably an under-estimate. The island is a large, level plain of sandy land; hence its adaptation to melons and sweet potatoes. The melons grow large, and of the sweetest and best quality, mostly a variety called Black Spanish, large, round, dark green, red core, and very sweet. They are well known in Chicago, Omaha and St. Paul, and have been sent to Duluth, Denver, Buffalo, New York, etc. Their weight is 10 to 20 pounds - sometimes 40. They sell by the wagon load at $8 to $10 per 100, and market declining to $5. One hundred make a good two-horse wagon load, filling.a wagon with side-boards, that will measure 50 bushels. They retail by our fruit men at 10 to 15 cents. The way to eat them is to cut them in two halves equatorially, then four persons to each half with spoons in hand, making sugar water of all of it but the hard rinds.
They are usually satisfied for hunger and thirst with one melon after dinner.- Suel Foster, in Country Gentleman.