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Single Packet of 30 Seeds
Grow heirloom Tigger melons from seed this season as a delicious and strikingly colorful alternative to muskmelon and honeydew. Don't let their exotic stripes fool you: If you can grow watermelons, you've got this!
The Tigger melon—named for the beloved A.A. Milne character, but also called "tiger melon"—is a Cucumis melo (cantaloupe) variety. It's believed to have been developed by artisan market gardeners in Armenia, and of course as a heritage species it's non-GMO. As with all melons, you'll want to order your Tigger melon seeds in plenty of time to get a head start on your garden as they take up to 90 days to mature. The Tigger melon itself rarely grows larger than a softball, weighing about a pound. We'd say that this alone makes them the perfect single-serving snack, but it's the white, creamy insides—which taste like the very best cantaloupe you've ever had—reinforces the old saying, "great things come in small packages".
Here's another appropriate saying: "You can't have your Tigger and eat it too!" When they reach ripeness, the mottled gold stripes against a deep orange or red background look too gorgeous to slice. That's probably why the fruit emits an enticing, mouth-watering fragrance throughout your home when you bring it in from the garden.
This variety has aggressive tendrils, perfect for trellising. Or you can go with the traditional mound-and-moat arrangement. Select a spot that receives full sun and that has plenty of room for the vines to spread or climb.
You'll likely want to start your plants indoors to get a head start. Tigger melon is a late-maturing variety. If you plant outdoors, mound up 3' diameter hills (6" to 10" tall) and plant a trio of seeds three inches apart (in a triangle) at the top of each mound. Mounds should be 4' to 5' apart, measuring from the centers. Shore up "moats" at the bases of your mounds for irrigating established plants.
See "Growing Conditions" for helpful soil amendment information.
Tigger melons are long-season vegetables technically suited to USDA zones 4-10 and need heat to thrive. They're more drought-tolerant than most other melons, though we recommend watering them every few days. Tiggers and most other melons need heat and complete drought in the week leading up to harvest to concentrate the natural sugars as the fruit ripens. Some gardeners withdraw irrigation up to two weeks.
Melons are heavy feeders. Give them a balanced liquid fertilizer every 3-4 weeks. Keep the soil warm and weeds at bay with black plastic mulching, and put a layer of straw under developing melons to keep them dry.
Tigger melons may be small, but they're prolific. Each vine may bear as many as 20 fruits, though you may wish to thin baby melons, leaving one for each 18" to 20" section of vine to ensure the best flavor.
Wait until the vine tendrils turn brown and the melons nearly separate themselves from the vine before you pick them. You'll smell their sweet, pineapple/cantaloupe aroma as soon as you enter your garden. Tigger melons continue to sweeten after harvest. Keep them in the refrigerator for about 10 days after harvesting.