Picayune gardeners are scratching their heads: Is it a water-loupe or a canta-melon?

Published 8:54 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Michelle and Ronald Bergeron, two avid Picayune gardeners, who live at 27 Rolling Oaks Dr., kept noticing an unusual looking melon growing in the middle of their watermelon patch.

Each year, the Bergerons plant a small backyard garden to raise some great-tasting fruit and vegetables they love to eat, and they do it as a hobby.

However, these melons — there are three — got to looking more strange the bigger they grew, says Michelle.

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Now they are 17 inches long, another one 16 inches, and the third 10 inches.

Talk about weird.

They are shaped like watermelons and have the skin of a cantaloupe.

So Michelle and Ronald turned to each other and asked, ‘What do we have and what should we call these odd melons.’

Is it a canta-melon or a water-loupe? They called the county agent about it.

The agent told them what they had was a “random hybrid,” that had been cross-pollinated last year by — you guessed it — a bee, Mother Nature.

Then Michelle remembered.

Last year she and Ronald planted Jubilee variety watermelons on one end of the garden and cantaloupes on the other.

A bee evidently cross-pollinated the flowers, and one of the cantaloupes decayed and spilled its seeds into the ground. The plants then voluntarily came up in the midst of a patch of Black Diamond watermelons that the Bergerons planted this Spring.

The big question now looming is: What do they taste like?

“All my neighbors are wondering what they will taste like, and I am wondering myself, too,” says Michelle.

So, someone told her that you can tell when a cantaloupe is ripe by sniffing it, and if it has a strong cantaloupe smell, it’s ready to be picked.

Michelle has been giving the canta-melons, or water-loupes, or whatever they are, the daily sniff test.

She also plans to try the “thumping-test.”

“So far I have not been able to detect a strong smell so I will wait a little longer,” she says.

So if it tastes great, why not produce a lot of seed and market it?

Michelle says the county agent told her that is a long, drawn-out process taking many, many cross-pollinated plants, with the process being conducted under controlled circumstances with plants that are totally isolated, costing a lot of money.

And it must taste great, too.

Next up: The taste test. Stay tuned.