Picasso Melon Benefits, Care, Facts, Cultivation…

Picasso Melon (Cucumis melo) is a unique variety of muskmelon, there are not many fruits as aesthetically pleasing and delicious as the Picasso Melon. Picasso melons, also known as Santa Claus melons, are a delightful and attractive flavour of melons.

What is a Picasso melon?

Picasso Melon is a unique variety of melons known for its vibrant colour and sweet flavour. This type of melon is known for its juicy, bright orange flesh, which offers a sweet flavour reminiscent of cantaloupe. Edible seeds add a pleasant crunch and nutty taste to the melon.

Origin of Picasso melon

Picasso melons have been part of Spanish culture for centuries. Originating in Murcia, Spain, they were initially known as ‘pintails’ or ‘painted ones’ due to their distinctive appearance. Over time, they were renamed ‘melones Picasso’ (Picasso melons) in honour of the artist’s bold colour combinations. During the Age of Discovery, these melons spread across Europe, gaining popularity in Italy and beyond.

Common NamePicasso Melon
Scientific NameCucumis melo
FamilyCucurbitaceae
Plant TypeVine
Mature Size3-5 feet (height); 6-10 feet (spread)
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeWell-drained, fertile soil
Soil pH6.0 – 6.8 (slightly acidic to neutral)
Bloom TimeSummer
Days to Maturity80-90 days
Flower ColourYellow
TemperatureWarm, with average temperatures between 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C)
Hardiness ZonesUSDA Zones 4-11
Native AreasOriginally developed in Israel, now cultivated in various regions globally

Description of Picasso Melons

Picasso Melon Fruit
  • Roughly spherical, with an average diameter of 10-15 cm (3.9 – 5.9 inches).
  • The rind displays a captivating mix of yellow and green, adorned with irregular stripes and spots.
  • The flesh is bright orange, juicy, and tender.
  • Flavor-wise, Picasso melons taste similar to cantaloupe, with hints of honeydew, citrus, apricot, and watermelon.
  • Edible seeds add a pleasant crunch and nutty flavour.

Picasso Melons Benefits

Rich in Nutrients

Picasso Melon is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and dietary fibre, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet.

Hydration and Refreshment

With its high water content, Picasso Melon makes a refreshing treat, especially during hot summer days. Consuming foods rich in water content helps keep the body hydrated and promotes overall well-being.

Digestive Health

The fibre content in Picasso Melon supports digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Including fibre-rich foods like Picasso Melon can help to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Immune Support

Vitamin C in a Picasso Melon plays an essential role in supporting the immune system, helping the body defend against infections and illnesses. Regular consumption of vitamin C-rich foods can strengthen the body’s natural defences.

Enjoying Picasso Melons

  • Slice and savour the juicy flesh on its own.
  • Create refreshing fruit salads by combining Picasso melon with other seasonal fruits.
  • Blend into smoothies for a burst of flavour.
  • Pair with prosciutto or cheese for a delightful appetizer.

How do I know when a Picasso melon is ripe?

To determine if a Picasso melon is ripe, follow these steps:

  1. Colour: Look for an orange-yellow hue on the skin. As with cantaloupe, the melon’s green rind will take on this creamy yellowish colour when it’s ripe.
  2. Texture: Gently push on the melon’s end opposite from the stem. If there is a slight give, the melon is probably ripe.
  3. Aroma: The flesh should emit a sweet aroma. If picked too early, you won’t experience the full flavour of the melon, as it needs more time to ripen.

How to Grow Picasso Melon

  • Start seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date.
  • Use seed trays or pots filled with seed-starting mix.
  • Keep soil moist and provide warmth for germination.
  • Transplant seedlings into well-prepared garden beds or containers after the frost has passed.
  • Provide full sun exposure for optimal growth.
  • Ensure well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0 – 6.8.
  • Space plants 2-3 feet apart to allow for sprawling vines.
  • Give support such as trellises or stakes to help vines climb and keep fruits off the ground.
  • Water regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases, and take appropriate measures for control.
  • Harvest mature melons when they develop a sweet fragrance, and the stem begins to dry and turn brown.

Caring for Picasso Melon Plants

In its most basic form, caring is the nurture, focus, and attention for all gardeners, From planting to harvest, understanding the specific needs of these melon vines is essential for successful cultivation.

Soil & Sunlight

Providing adequate sunlight is crucial for the healthy growth of Picasso Melon plants. These sun-loving vines thrive in full sun exposure, receiving a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight all day. When selecting a planting location, choose an area that receives ample sunlight and has good air circulation to promote strong growth and fruit development.

Picasso Melon plants prefer well-drained, fertile soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8. Before planting, prepare the soil by incorporating organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve soil structure and fertility. Avoid heavy clay soils that can retain excess moisture and lead to root rot. Conduct a soil test to determine the pH level and make any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal growing conditions for the melon plants.

Watering

Consistent moisture is essential for the healthy growth of Picasso Melon plants, especially during particularly active growth and fruit development. Water the plants deeply and evenly, ensuring that the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overhead watering, as it can increase the risk of fungal diseases. Instead, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to deliver water directly to the base of the plants, minimizing water waste and promoting efficient uptake by the roots.

Mulching & Fertilization

Applying a layer of organic mulch around Melon plants helps conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain a stable soil temperature. Mulch also acts as a protective barrier, preventing soil erosion and reducing the risk of soil-borne diseases.

Fertilizing these plants is essential for providing the nutrients they need to support vigorous growth and fruit production. Once the plants begin to develop vines and set fruit, apply a side-dressing of compost or a water-soluble fertilizer high in potassium to promote flowering and fruit development. Avoid over-fertilization, as it can lead to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.

Support and Pruning

Picasso Melon plants are vigorous climbers and benefit from support structures such as trellises, stakes, or cages. Providing vertical support helps keep the vines off the ground, reduces the risk of pest infestations and diseases, and allows for better air circulation around the plants. Additionally, regular pruning of the vines helps promote air circulation, reduce overcrowding, and redirect energy towards fruit production. Remove any damaged, diseased, or overcrowded vines, as well as any suckers that emerge from the base of the plant.

Pest and Disease Management

carefully checking for pests and diseases is essential to protect your plants from potential threats that can impact growth and yield. Common pests that may affect melon plants include aphids, cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and spider mites. Inspect plants regularly for signs of pest infestations, such as yellowing leaves, distorted growth, or the presence of insects. Consider using natural remedies such as insecticidal soap, neem oil, or botanical insecticides to control pest populations while minimizing harm to beneficial insects and pollinators.

Propagation

How to propagate Picasso Melon From Seeds:

  • Propagation of Picasso Melon plants can be achieved through seeds or vegetative methods such as cuttings or grafting.
  • To propagate using seeds, harvest mature melons, scoop out the seeds, and rinse them thoroughly to remove pulp and debris.
  • Allow the seeds to air dry completely before storing them in a cool, dry place until ready for planting.
  • Start seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date in your region, using seed trays or pots filled with seed-starting mix.
  • Plant seeds about 1/2 inch deep and keep the soil consistently moist until germination occurs, which typically takes 7-10 days.
  • Once seedlings have developed true leaves and frost has passed, transplant them into well-prepared garden beds or containers.

How to propagate Picasso Melon From Cuttings:

  • To propagate using cuttings, select healthy, vigorous stems from mature plants and cut them at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf node.
  • Remove the lower leaves from the cutting and dip the cut end in the rooting hormone to encourage root development.
  • Plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix, keep the soil consistently moist, and provide indirect sunlight until roots are established.
  • Once established, transplant the plant into a suitable growing location, providing proper care and maintenance to encourage healthy growth and fruit production.

Facts about Picasso Melon

  • Origin: Picasso Melon traces its origins to Israel, where it was developed through hybridization to achieve its unique appearance and flavour profile.
  • Appearance: Named after the renowned artist Pablo Picasso, the melon features striking yellow and green stripes reminiscent of the artist’s iconic paintings.
  • Flavour Profile: Melon is prized for its sweet and juicy flesh, which offers a delightful combination of honey-like sweetness and subtle floral notes.
  • Seasonality: This Fruit plant is typically available during the summer months, making it a seasonal delicacy cherished by fruit enthusiasts.
  • Culinary Versatility: While Melon is delicious when enjoyed fresh on its own, it can also be used in salads, smoothies, salsas, and desserts, adding a burst of flavour and nutrition to various culinary creations.

How to tell if a Picasso melon is ripe?

To determine if a Picasso melon is ripe, look for several indicators like Color, Texture, Aroma, Sound, and Stem for details we mention in this article.

What does a Picasso melon taste like?

Picasso melons are known for their sweet, juicy flesh and aromatic flavour. They often have a honey-like sweetness with subtle floral notes, making them a delightful treat during the summer months.

What is the ideal temperature for growing Picasso melons?

The ideal temperature for growing these melons ranges between 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C). Ensure the soil temperature remains consistently above 60°F (15°C) during germination for successful growth.

Conclusion

Picasso melons are not only a feast for the eyes but also a treat for the taste buds. Whether you grow them in your garden or find them at a local market, these melons offer a unique culinary experience. So, embrace the spirit of Picasso and indulge in the vibrant flavours of this extraordinary fruit.

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