The Year of the Melon (pictures)

blujen_gwJuly 13, 2008

This is my 3rd year of the garden at my new house. I enlarged quite a bit, but not enough, i'm already planning next years enlargement.

Wide Angle (sorry for distortion)

I made teepees as you can see, for cantaloupe and cucumbers.

(Marketmore Cucumber)

I'm also growing Burpee's Butterbush Hybrid Butternut Squash

I'm growing 3 kinds of watermelon - Orangeglo, Blacktail Mountain, and Missouri Yellow Flesh

I have two baby Blacktail Mountain Melons set already:

I'm growing six different kinds of cantaloupe: hale's best, thayer, kansas, minnesota midget, oran's melon, and missouri gold (all from Baker Creek)(they're on teepees, but I can already see the teepees are FAR too small.

Oran's Melon

Minnesota Midget

So far, only Minnesota Midget is throwing out fruit

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plant-one-on-me(MI 5b)

Very nice...good luck with the melons. Makes my mouth water. Kim

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 5:14AM
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sprouts_honor(5, southern shore of Erie)

Nice garden, blujen. You're enlargement comment made me laugh. It's never big enough!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 9:34AM
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seedsilly(4)

Blujen,
Great Garden!

The blue tubs in the background, do those have tomatoes in them? And are those the tubs that are quite large, usually have white handles on each side, fairly inexpensive? How do you use them? I imagine you put drainage holes in them? How quickly do they dry out? You may have given me a good idea of how to utilize the one and only spot in my whole yard that has full sun. The spot runs along my driveway, and is on the border of my property line. The space that I presume to be on my property line is only about 3 feet wide and slopes down to the street as well as slopes drastically to my drive way. We get some erosion there and so far only weeds grow there. I wonder if I could dig some pots into the side of the hill for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, meanwhile curbing the erosion a little? I could start a ground cover (I have lots of sedum) on the soil which would slow erosion also. Hmm. I spent a day jotting down sun levels all around my yard on Friday, and out of about 25 different planting areas, that is the only one that doesn't get large amounts of shade for a few hours (lots of tress and lots of structures). In fact it gets no shade, maybe that'd be too hot. Well, ya sure got me thinking here. I'd love to try Mel's mix in some pots, this would give me a chance to try it. Thanks from me, and no thanks from DH who thinks I have enough garden on my hands already!!!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 12:27PM
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blujen_gw

Thanks for looking everyone!
Yes, the blue tubs are the dollar-store special versions - I drill four drainage holes in them, on the sides near the bottom, with one of those funny looking drill bits that drills about a 3/4 inch circle into them, and i put hay in the bottom as filler, about half full, it keeps the buckets light enough to move, but if you use mel's mix i'd imagine you wouldnt need to do that.

I did it last year with peppers, and the peppers were great, I tried tomatoes this year, and the tomatoes are plentiful but somewhat spindley, and i'm not sure if its because of the odd weather or the fact that there isn't dirt all the way down for them. Next year i'll do potting mix all the way down in some, and not in others and see how that works!

As far as water, They definitely need water every 2-3 days if its hot, but its not too hard to keep on top of - better than daily anyway! I think next year i'll also invest in one of those $20 drip irrigation kits from wally world or some such, that runs drip to about 10 locations. I have 8 plants right now, 2 roma and the rest various heirlooms, and that's enuf for the 2 of us to have WAY too many, and all of our friends to wish they had more =D

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 12:44PM
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vgkg(Z-7)

Very nice, but why use buckets when there's plenty of good earth right below them? Even when I transplant my extra tomatoes into large pots like that I find 3 disadvantages -that the sun heats up the sides and can cook the roots, once the plants are large they require daily watering, and blossom end rot occurs more often than not. Try an experiment and transplant one of them into the ground, bet you see improvement on that spindly problem.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 12:59PM
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blujen_gw

Well, i planted in pots for a couple of reasons - MOSTLY because i didnt have enough room prepared in the ground, and they were the most likely to survive the pots. I also was curious about how they would do in the large pots. Next year, i will have the bulk of my crop in the ground for sure, but i will probably still try a few in the pots, to see how they do!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 8:10PM
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weirdtrev

Have you grown Minnesota Midget before? This is my first year growing it and mine are the same size as yours and growing fast. I have them in an EarthBox and they are covered in fruit. I figured it would be a good variety for the EarthBox since it is supposed to be rather compact.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 10:08PM
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blujen_gw

Nope, all i've grown before is Hale's best and Charleston Grey watermelon. I grew a bunch of melons as a teenager, but no idea which those were =D. I'm so excited about the melons, i can hardly wait - i'm driving DH nuts, checking on it about 4 times a day!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 10:20PM
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blujen_gw

Are you trellising them or letting them sprawl out of the EB? I'm finding that they are just DEVOURING the trellis i set up - That pic was Saturday, and today they're across the top and headed back down halfway down the side of the gate!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 11:34PM
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weirdtrev

I bought the EB trellis this year specifically for the melons. The Thompson & Morgan catalog says the vines are semi-trailing and are about 3 feet long. But it is early in the season and the vines are over 4 feet long. One vine has 9 melons on it already that are growing significantly each day. I am very pleased with them so far, I hope they are tasty. I don't think the trellis is big enough, I really don't want to prune the vines because they are so healthy.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 12:12AM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

I grew Minnesota Midget last year. They were awesome! I never liked melons outside of watermelon but this variety changed my mind. The fruits only get to be about the size of a softball but a lot of great flavor is packed into that little package. They are the perfect size for one or 2 people to eat at one sitting.

They are in the garden again this year and about ready to be eaten. Can't wait!

Michelle

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 6:48AM
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blujen_gw

The melons are racing to the finish - at the moment hale's best has the nod, but minnesota midget is hanging in to the finish!

I think i did something wrong with the blacktail mountain - or is this right? (it was ripe, tendril dead, soft "sweet spot" on bottom, fully mature seeds inside)

More shots of my garden, just because!

I'm having fun with the teepees- they're not big enuf, but it sure is entertaining!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 12:03AM
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fearlessem

Looking forward to hearing how you like the minnesota midget. I tried them two years in a row here and I wonder if we must have gotten rain at the wrong time, since while they riped up beautifully, and were good and juicy, they just didn't have much flavor... Hopefully you'll have better luck and maybe I'll be inspired to try them again!

Emily

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 12:24AM
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weirdtrev

I took a picture of some of my minnesota midget melons. I think I will grow them again even if they aren't the most flavorful simple because they are neat little melons.

blujen, is that your minnesota midget in the second picture? If it is it has way more ribs than mine do.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 8:06AM
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blujen_gw

Yep, the melons in order are Hale's Best, Minnesota Midget, Oran's melon (hanging), and OrangeGlo (hiding under some half-dead sunflowers ). I think i'll be able to report on flavor sometime midweek next week - i hope!
The midgets seem very prolific too - i have at least 6 melons close to the same stage of ripeness, with lots of babys hanging on too!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 8:16AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

blujen

Just a thought about your teepee trellises, which you say are too small. Well, not the trellises themselves but the wire on them. Cucumbers will develop inside the teepee, so how will you reach them? The holes are obviously too small to get your hand through. I'd suggest some nylon or other string trellis material with large holes if you have to replace the metal ones!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 9:02AM
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blujen_gw

Hi Anney - I only have the wire on 3 sides, from the north I can reach in and grab anything growing on the inside, so i think i'm okay there - I say they're too small because the melons have reached the top, and are complaining that there's nothing higher to climb on!

next year I think i'll probably just build fences for them to climb, but maybe leave one teepee, just for the novelty!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 9:31AM
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watboy

err ummm nice melons

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 10:23AM
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cateyanne(zone 5/6 Northern Ohio)

LOVE those garden shots! Everything is just gorgeous! You're making me want watermelon... and then you had to add a bottle of Corona! Excuse me while I run to the fridge :)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 10:29AM
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stacey_l

Nice melons. THat's cracking me up. I'm also amused about the bottle of corona being used as a size reference.
Alas, I only have one 4 inch long half alive melon plant. I think its just too darn cold here.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 2:34PM
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blujen_gw

Yes, believe me, the DH misses NO opportunities to make a nice / big melons crack either =D

I needed to give some sort of size reference, that we could all relate to right? I thought i showed amazing restraint really (its UNOPENED corona!)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 2:48PM
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blujen_gw

I got a picture of a ripe Minn Midget - They are much much sweeter than the Hales' best i've harvested so far, but not quite as melon-ey tasting (which is good or bad depending on who I feed them to). I sent one home with a melon-hater friend, for her hubby, and she described the smell as peach-like, and I think I agree:

On to other fronts, these are pretty clearly NOT Quadrato D'Asti Giallo, wonder what they are?

Back to Melons, I went to adjust the sling on my Kansas melon, and somehow managed to break the vine (Graceful, i am NOT) Do you suppose it will ripen up? It's 7lb 9oz right now...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 11:17PM
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