Archive for the ‘Melon’ Category

From another world Sunday, August 8th, 2010

The Hub has been the great forager / waterer / weeder and general wrangler of the garden. We’ve established sort of a hand-off. I start seeds, pruchase plants, plant, water, thin, weed and then he takes over mid-summer, with watering, weeding and the wrangling. I like the dirt, the first tiny weeds easy to wipe away with a scuffle hoe and the planning process, but I hate the sticky grasses that jump up over night in the heat of the summer, the mosquitoes and trying to wrangle a tomato or pumpkin vine resembles something like putting pajamas on an octopus – I get overwhelmed and flee. I think we make a pretty good team.

So, today The Hub announces the first spotting of a Charentais melon. It was the slowest grower of my vining crops but I’m excited to see if it will come to fruition. Since I was out in the garden already, I did my weekly assessment – walking around, seeing what’s growing, what’s not, etc. And as I was checking out a silly pumpkin, growing off a trellis I’d hoped the beans would use (they didn’t and preferred to entangle themselves into the pumpkin vines and my catalpa) I stumbled upon this fellow

There is something so other-worldly about dragon flies, even more so than other goofy insects. The lace-like wings, helmet-shaped eyes, reed-sectioned tail and dainty legs – straight out of a sci-fi novel. This guy was especially formidable with his wingspan wider than my spread-out hand. We called the children over and they got a look. It’s a wonder what I can find in even my little urban jungle.

Singing in the rain Friday, June 11th, 2010

Singing in the rain because I don’t have to lug watering cans back and forth through the garden. We have two rain barrels and two broken outdoor faucets so I get to do it the old-school way. It reminds me of hanging out with my paternal grandmother as she toted 5-gallon buckets around the farm to water and feed chickens, pigs, etc., using a cart on only the longest walks. Good grief she was strong.

I did get a chance to glance about the very muddy garden – I stayed out of it so as not to cause compaction. All my pumpkins, gourds, melon and beans have sprouted. They will need to be thinned a bit but I’m never sure how many to keep for good crop insurance vs. having my entire yard engulfed in vines. 2-3 maybe? At least until they start producing flowers.

My nasturtiums and cilantro that I planted weeks ago and almost gave up on have also shown up. I guess they just needed a few muggy, warm, wet days. Cilantro is always tricky to keep going long enough to pair it with the tomato and pepper harvest. I’m hoping my Slo-Bolt variety and the fact that I planted it in a cooler, shadier pocket of my yard will keep it producing and not bolting (going to seed) so quickly. Other varieties I’ve tried only produce a 1/2 dozen harvestable leaves and then up shoots the flowering seed head.

Can’t wait to hear about ‘Ladybug’s’ tomato taste reviews. Please send me any and all you have!

Garden . . . planted Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I just got done putting the last of my warm season crops in, all by seed. Vine crops, except for peas, tend to be warm season crops – think melons, squash, cucmbers, etc.

In my last open area I put up a couple ‘trellis’ (the sides of a crib my son had shaken to bits a couple years earlier) and under them planted a Kentucky Pole Bean – one leftover in my collection of seed, and a Dragon Tongue Bean, a Dutch Heirloom variety I got from Baker Creek Seeds. Both can be eaten whole or the latter, shelled. Now that I look closer at the package, these Dragon ones might be a bush crop so I won’t need to trellis them. I could’ve also soaked the beans before planting them to speed germination.

Another bush crop I planted is a winter squash, a bush buttercup also from Baker Creek. The next few squash I’ll speak of came from seeds I’d also tried last year. Most of which met their demise via squash borer (think giant maggot – totally gross!) But I’m trying again and going to be on the lookout for the first signs of damage, July on.

I also planted a Hubbard True Green Improved and two edible pumpkins – Winter Luxury Pie and a cheesecake pumpkin with the French name Rouge Vif d’Etampes (now isn’t that just fun to say), it can be harvested when still small. Another pumpkin with a French name that has a dull almost pink shell is Musquee De Provence I’m guessing is not edible but very pretty for arrangements, and maybe carving for Halloween.

The last thing I planted was a Charentais melon – these seeds I got in a swap with a friend. I don’t have much info but I’m thinking it resembles a cantoloupe.

The melon, and squash were all planted about 5 seeds to a hill to ensure 1-2 plants after thinning. Planting in hills allows for quicker soil warm up and quicker drainage as well as more oxygen into the soil. Make a small area at the top of each hill flat so seeds don’t wash away with watering.