Your local market probably carries only honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon, but it's the heirloom melons of the world that contain both remarkable succulence and the critical germ plasm that may ward off future plant diseases. Amy Goldman's tribute to the magnificent family of melons, Melons for the Passionate Grower
is both a celebration of the rich gifts of these fruits and a cautionary tale of how many of these treats nearly went extinct.
Before you get too caught up in the gorgeous photos and fascinating histories of these gems, note the seed company list at the end of the book--you can try to grow all the plants you read about. The introductory section includes detailed instructions on hand pollination, ripening, and a few recipes like watermelon salad with onion, pepper, oil, and vinegar in addition to the sweet melon.
The pages that fall in the middle are mini temples devoted to individual melons. Often romantic histories are included next to the glossy photos--who can resist tales of the Hungarian noble who wrapped her beloved sweet melons in her furs? With varieties like the slender, crunchy Snake and the astonishingly sweet Bidwell Casaba, learning about these glorious fruits will keep you fascinated for the rest of your gardening days. --Jill Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
There's more to the world of melons than just the cantaloupe and honeydew, but this may not be true for long: many varieties are "on the brink of extinction," according to cultivator and collector Goldman. This handsome volume documents unusual types of melon like the Collective Farm Woman (originally from Ukraine) and the serpent-shaped Snake melon with lavish color photos and playful descriptions. Goldman also instructs readers on how to pollinate, grow and harvest these plants; includes a list of commercial sources; and throws in a few recipes and plenty of trivia ("the Chinese grow more watermelons than anyone else but... they eat the seeds and often discard the melons").
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