Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Attack of the melons

When I decided to grow watermelon in the raised bed, my father said to me "this is not going to work. It's going to take up too much space." I ignored him and was adamant that I would have watermelon by the end of the summer. Oh how naive I was!

I planted three small watermelon seedlings from Lowe's. They were so cute, and I didn't think they would take over like they did... But man, they are growing and taking over everything!

Below: Take a look!

These watermelon plans share a bed with some roses (mostly dead now because the season has passed), corn, and edible elephant ears. I think the official term is "called taro, but its a variety of the elephant ear decoration plants that many Southern gardeners plant. My family plants the edible variety. We plant them for food. My mom makes a spicy tomato and bean sprout soup with it.

Below: Edible elephant ears

We planted the watermelon 13 inches away from each other, and you would think that would be enough. But it's not! They are growing and starting to intersect with each other. It's like one big line of watermelon leaves. Crazy!

Does anyone have any advice on how I can control its growth? I wouldn't think allowing the vine to grow upwards would work. The watermelons would be too heavy for the vine to support it. Do I just live with this problem with no solution in sight?

Maybe the watermelon fruit at the end of the summer will be my reward.

Below: The watermelon flowers. All male...

The watermelon isn't the only melon that is spreading and taking over! The cantaloupe has grown and is really taking over too! It has a dozen or so yellow flowers.

Below: The cantaloupe (In the middle of the bed)

One good thing about the cantaloupe is that there is a tiny baby cantaloupe that is going to be formed! It's fuzzy right now, but so very adorable!

Below: The baby cantaloupe and its momma flower

So I pose the question again: how do I control these melons from going wild and taking over?


Rhonda said...

Watermelon should be planted atleast 36inches apart. In my kitchen garden I installed 3 5 foot fence posts and used heavy duty vinyl trellising. I planted the watermelon and cantaloupe at the base of the trellising and they are now growing up it. You can also use various types of fencing or even string wire between the fence posts to hold the fruits. I just recently posted about my kitchen garden, however, I'm not sure the pic on my show the trellis well. I don't what variety of watermelon you planted..I have stuck to Sugar Baby because the melons are not super huge and heavy. Your garden is looking very nice...OH...the Lime thing..that was funny, but totally understandable. Also, the blossom end rot can also be helped if you put some egg shells into the planting hole with the tomatoe plant. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency. Please don't go throwing in a lot of Lime unless you test your PH first, it is possible to accidentally get the PH too high and this will cause problems with your plants not being able to take up certain nutrients.

Anonymous said...

If you do let your melons grow up a trellis or whatever, you could cradle your melons with some type of netting. "Country folks" would be prone to use old nylon stockings. It would be easier to let the cantaloupes grow up something and cradle them as they are a lot smaller and let your watermelsons have that room. Or you could just enlarge your garden bed, just lay down thick layers of newspaper and straw over it and divert your vines, no cultivating needed for that.

tina said...

Just let it ramble. Watermelons, cantalope, pumpkins and gourds all take tons of room. But it is necessary if you want fruit. Hate to say it but your dad was right. Did you tell him yet?

DP Nguyen said...

Rhonda, thanks for the info. good advice for next year. hmm, unfortunately i think the variety will be large watermelon. next year, i will be more selective. real egg shells or minerals? lol just kidding! I will need to test the PH.

anonymous-good idea! i might have to try that on one of the watermelons and see how it does.

Tina-its so hard to admit when you are wrong and your dad is right. lol. well when and if i fail at getting watermelon, i might admit it. lol. Oh yeah, he was right. haha. i was naive.

Lola said...

Yeh, the old panty hose works great to cradle the melons. But you need to be able to tie the hose to something to keep it off the ground & to keep it from putting a strain on the plants. This can be done with any vining plant that produces fruit.
Good Luck.

Skeeter said...

Be sure to fry the egg first! Sorry, could not resist. LOL

We did not plant any melons due to space. I knew they took lots of room. I am finding out how much room gourds need as they are taking off now!

Your baby melon is soooo cute!

I am as southern as Turnip Greens & cornbread but never heard of the cradle method! Makes perfect sense to me though! Learn something new every day!

DP Nguyen said...

Skeeter-LoL! You were so right about not planting melons. I had no idea how much space they took. I mean, I knew they liked space, but I had no idea that they would spread so much. I will have to try fence post method. I have a feeling my old father will laugh at me, but it'll be fun!

DP Nguyen said...

Lola-thanks for the advice. I will try that!