Posts Tagged ‘watermelon’

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sugar baby watermelons from the garden

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

I have been busy sucking on watermelon seeds and nibbling on watermelon rhines and thoroughly enjoying our little sugar baby watermelons from the garden. After all the work and care and watering of the 4 plants that we grew from seed and trellised, we have managed to harvest 3 watermelons so far. And they are delightful.

sugar baby watermelon

I could eat an entire melon in one sitting.

I plan to savor every last bit of summer for as long as I can. And it doesn’t get any better than sugar baby watermelons straight from the garden.

Go get a watermelon. Now. And eat it with wild abandon. Get messy. Spit the seeds. Embrace stickiness.

And give summer the hearty salute it deserves.

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here’s to a fresh start

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Last week was really rough for me. I had a terrible time transitioning back into work. I was grumpy, sleep-deprived, anxious, and pretty miserable all around.

But I did manage to squeak out 4 great runs last week. And that makes me happy. I will build on that this week.

I also got an amazing haircut and am very happy I broke down and finally did it.

after haircut

My head feels much lighter now. And I finally have my layers back!

I bought calimyrna figs for the first time on Friday, and they make the most delicious snack.

Craig and I dogsat this weekend for his sister’s pooch, and it was really fun to cuddle up with a dog. It was neat to have a little shadow.

I also harvested our first melons from the garden!

watermelon sling

The watermelons kept popping out of their slings and finally came off the vine.

cantaloupe and sugar baby watermelons

Organic cantaloupe and sugar baby watermelons!

We went to a fantastic housewarming party on Saturday night for two of our good friends, and we had a blast seeing everyone. I hadn’t been out in ages, and plus we had been away for 3 weeks. So it was reaffirming to catch up with our friends and just chill out eating summer BBQ foods and having tasty beers. We stayed out very, very late. But it was worth it.

Today we visited my parents and caught up with them and showed off vacation pics.

And tonight I washed our sheets, cleaned the kitchen, and made a batch of zucchini and summer squash soup for our lunches this week.

I am feeling more optimistic. This is good! This week I hope to tackle planting new lettuce and baby spinach seeds. And more sugar snap peas.

And I WILL run, of course. Now if I can just work on peaceful, restful sleep I will be golden.

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wrapping up july in the gardens of plenty

Friday, July 30th, 2010

When July began, we were inundated with lettuces. Everywhere. I couldn’t pick them fast enough! That is why they became the July banner. And the fireflies were out every night. Along with the heat. And humidity. July has been HOT. 90°F+ for many, many days with very little rain. I don’t remember the last time July was this hot.

Who’s looking forward to getting their water and electricity bills in August? Yeah. They’re gonna suck. We have one little tiny AC unit that we broke out to use in the bedroom, and I can’t believe how many nights in a row we used it. Eesh. And the near-daily garden waterings. Plus trying to save our lawn, which was a failure. Our grass took its bow at least a few weeks ago. Craig is psyched though—mowing is awesome when you don’t have to do it.

July has been a month of learning for me. I delved deeper into blogging and talking to other bloggers. I started participating in more online discussions with other writers and really focused on visiting other blogs that are incredible. I plan to organize my thoughts more and share, share, share! Soon!

I also started to dip my pinky toe into being more social online and getting to know other gardeners. Stepping out of my comfort zone has been awesome. Even if it was slightly anxiety-ridden for me at first. I get shy. But I also gain confidence. I am learning so much, and it is so rewarding to share information and swap life and garden stories with ilk! And not just other gardeners, but other amazing women and men out there who are invested in self-discovery, in mindfulness, in celebrating the simple pleasures of each day. I love this.

On the gardening side of things, all of this interaction has really helped me, too, because my little plenty this year has been suffering quite a few setbacks. And other gardeners have been awesome with sharing their advice. First there were the squash vine borers. Then there were the red leaf lily beetles. And now I’m battling some sort of tomato fungus that I don’t think is late blight, but rather septoria leaf spotting.

Ick, again.

After 3 years of awesome gardening, I have really had to step back and think about what I am doing. I know you can’t prevent all pests and diseases, but I somehow thought I was immune because I garden organically. Not the case! Turns out I should have been more vigilant, especially last year, to look for signs of pest and disease. Well, silly me… I was far too busy planning my wedding and then enjoying the first weeks of newlywed-dom and then went off to Europe for my honeymoon.

Yeah, well, turns out there were a ton of warning signs going on in my garden that I was clueless about! Wedded ignorant bliss!

If I had payed closer attention to my squashes last year, I might have noticed the onset of squash vine borers. I think I had them last year, but the case wasn’t crazy severe. They overwinter in your soil, though, and so I have had these icky buggers on hand for quite some time. And thinking back, I am pretty sure I had a septoria problem last year, too. But I just chalked it up to crappy tomatoes because New England had sooooo much rain last summer. Slugs were the biggest garden problem! So I just thought my tomato plants were waterlogged and hangin’ in the best they could. I have most likely been harboring septoria in my soil.

Ewwww. Makes me feel like a bad gardening mamma. I got distracted. I got a little too giddy about my success. I failed to read, research, and take preventive measure like rotating my crops and turning my soil.

Just like life, eh? It is so easy to get carried away, get distracted, forget to practice gratitude and be humble. Well, now it has caught up to me, and I am paying for it with a subpar harvest thus far this summer.

It is okay, though. I can take it. It happens to the best of us.

I am experiencing so much, and I feel so present to be able to learn from my mistakes. And not all is lost, which is the best part about the garden. It WANTS to grow. The garden WANTS to flourish. Like the kid in class who knows the answer and has her arm strained up to the sky, begging for the teacher to call on her. Ain’t nothin’ gonna break her. So I take so much comfort in the tiny little garden successes these days. They are amazing.

Here are a few worth sharing as we wrap up July in the gardens of plenty.

first cantaloupe

Here is my first cantaloupe! This is my first year attempting to grow melons.

trellising watermelon with slings

My sugar baby watermelons are big enough to sling. I am using old knee-high stockings to cradle and support them.

watermelon sling

So exciting to see them grow bigger and bigger! This sugar baby watermelon is the furthest along.

july corn

My 4 corn stalks are right on schedule!

july corn

One is way taller than the others, but here’s hoping...

july corn

Here comes an ear!

ripe roma

After waiting and waiting, my first roma tomatoes are finally ripe!

ripe romas and cherry tomatoes

Romas and cherry tomatoes

first tomato harvest

We had our first real tomato harvest this week.

me and romas

bush lake beans

Our bush lake beans are still producing in full force.

cucumbers

Our cucumbers have been doing very well.

me and cucumber

sugar snap peas

The vines are withering in the heat, but we are still picking sugar snap peas.

zucchini july

Don’t call it a comeback! Despite the collapse of most of my squash plants, a few are still hanging on. We have new zucchinis growing.

All in all, it could be worse, right? I am thankful for the good and the bad. It is summer, after all, which is simply wonderful.

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progress and proliferation

Friday, July 16th, 2010

It was just a little over 2 months ago (yikes! already!) that I planted most of my organic veggie and flower seeds. And so far I have been quite encouraged by what I’ve been able to harvest: cilantro, green onion, radishes, broccoli rabe, garlic scapes, lettuces, baby spinach, sugar snap peas, zucchini, and beans.

Everything else is still a work in progress, but coming along with a hit or miss here and there. I’ll get to my misses in more detail in a future post, but let’s just say that my carrot tops and peppers are being obliterated by some sort of munching pest. In fact, I think my carrots might be done for. I wasn’t paying them any attention when perhaps I should have been.

Not gonna dwell on carrot misfortune right now. It’s Friday! And I want to focus on all the great things happening in the garden!

Here’s a good example of excellent garden cheating. Had to do it with my corn. I originally planted 8 seed groupings of two, but only 3 plants came up.

corn

So I broke down and bought some corn starts to supplement the corn that either failed to germinate or got eaten by chipmunks. I prefer to blame the chipmunks. They are still burrowing deep holes between the freshly planted new stalks.

corn

I hope the newer starts will still produce even though the corn I planted from seed is much further along. I think we’re in good shape. Unless the un-mowed lawn keeps taking over. Then we’re in trouble. This weekend! This weekend! Craig, my most bestest favoritist person, will mow this weekend!

growing cucumbers

All the rain we had the other day coupled with frequent watering is helping my cucumbers along.

growing cucumbers

Craig says it’s in that looks-like-a-pickle stage.

I am definitely liking the trellis action this year. While it has given my cucumbers more growing space and it’s keeping them from spilling out onto the lawn, the watermelon and cantaloupe, however, are consuming the trellis and still going full steam ahead anywhere and everywhere the vines can go. This weekend I am going to have to go hunting for another trellis for the cantaloupe.

growing watermelon

And there she is: one itty bitty baby growing watermelon. Let’s see how long I can keep this up.

Finally after waiting and waiting, I have a summer squash starting to grow!

growing summer squash

I see more buds, so I hope the growing is just beginning.

We’ve picked 3 zucchinis so far, and I hadn’t seen any others successfully growing, so I was starting to get worried. Sometimes they start growing their little zucchini nubbin and then they turn yellow or rot. I’m sure there’s perfectly good reasons for why this happens, but I almost don’t want to know. However, after the rain I spotted new, good growth.

Hope these zucchs continue to stay healthy.

And, of course, I will end again with more flowering zinnias. They are a dwarf variety and they are pretty cute. I’m a little bummed that the flower stem part is only about 2″ long, so it kind of makes it hard to cut them for a bouquet. I suppose I could put them in a teacup? The colors are vibrant and new shades keep blooming.
zinnias

zinnias

Pay absolutely no attention to the giant weed right in the middle. This weekend! This weekend! I WILL weed this weekend.

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how to trellis those viney veggies… cucumbers, watermelons, and cantaloupes oh my!

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Okay, okay… so I realize that watermelons and cantaloupes are not veggies… but viney veggies just sounds so nice! Read on and forgive me.

I am attempting my first hard-core year of trellising. It started with my first-time trellising sugar snap peas. And well, I kinda got hooked. When you are gardening in a small space, you need all the room (and help!) you can get. Trellising my sugar snap peas has worked out very well. It is fun to watch their squirrely little tendrils reach out and wrap around the trellis. And they grow taller and healthier with the support. Last year I did not trellis, and my sugar snap peas sort of imploded by latching on to one another and getting into fisticuffs.

So with that small success, I decided to keep on trellisin’. I am growing cucumbers again this year, and I wanted to try to get them to grow more vertical.
trellising cucumbers

Cucumbers are fairly easy to grow. They thrive with regular waterings. But when they get wet and sit on the ground for long periods of time, they start to get this horrific yellowy white pale problem. I lost out on a lot of good cucumbers last year as a result. Hopefully by encouring the cucumber vines to lift off and wrap up and in the trellis, I will get more sustainable cukes!

This is also my first year attempting to grow watermelon and cantaloupe. I started from organic seed with just a few plants. I am growing Hearts of Gold cantaloupe (just two plants) and Sugar Baby watermelons (just three plants). All of my reading and research had told me that growing melons is tough because they require ample water and tons of growing space. These vines want room!!! And I don’t have a ton of garden space.

When the vines really get going, they spill out of the raised garden beds and out onto the lawn. And then I get Craig cursing me because mowing becomes an infinitely more tedious task. Whether I trellis or not, mowing is still going to become a bear because I’m also growing acorn squash again this year, and those vines reach up to ten feet. Heh heh.

My watermelon vines are already getting kind of crazy, so I knew it was now or never to try trellising. This year I opted for inexpensive wire trellising a la Home Depot.

trellising watermelon

And the watermelon vines are on!

If this works at all, I will consider investing in taller, sturdier, more heavy-duty trellises for next year. The key to trellising watermelons is that you have to support the fruit once it starts to grow. You can make homemade “slings” for the fruits to help support them on the trellis from fabric like old t-shirts. This should be interesting. I have no idea if my trellis will hold, but I am excited to find out!

The cantaloupe plants are just starting to produce vines, so I will wait a little longer to attempt to trellis them.

cantaloupe vine

But the cantelope is flowering! Progress!

It is gratifying to try new garden experiments each year. That is really how you learn, through trial and error. Wish me luck!

Have you had success trellising? Any advice or tips? Let me know!

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Posted in The Growing Season | 16 Comments »

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