Tuesday, September 23

My adventures with growing melons-Portland, OR

This year we had an exceptionally hot summer. Even as I write this post in mid September, it remains in the 90's. One great gardening bonus is that it has contributed to my bumper crop of melons. To be honest, I have never  had a melon grow to full maturity, because our summers just don't get that hot for that long. Sure, we have been known to get 100 plus weather, but never for a long stretch of time.

I bought just two melon plants this spring just because they were on sale. The second reason I bought them was to cover the bare soil in my guerrilla gardening plot. You can cover a lot of soil with a melon or squash plant, and they are so easy to pull out in the fall.

At first it felt like the plants were growing at a snails pace. I felt like nothing was happening growth wise until late July. Then there were no flowers to be found for a long time. Still, I left them in place. It was not until mid August that I noticed the first melon hiding under the massive leaves of my rhubarb. 

It almost seemed like it had appeared out of no where. My next problem has been knowing when to harvest them. My first melon was quite a disappointment. It looked good on the outside, but inside it was a pale yellow color and looked like a squash. The taste could only be described as bitter.

For the weeks following I was on an intense hunt for information on how to tell if a melon is ripe. Frankly, it just made me more confused. This week, I took the chance and cut into my second melon. I was so nervous that the second melon would be like the first that I kept putting off this task.

Now I am happy to report that the second melon is ripe and sweet. Joy! I have 3 much larger melons out there right now. As you can see, it is a yellow watermelon. I have been asked if it taste like the red kind. Yes, but less watery and more sweet.

My advice, although I am no expert as far as melons, is as follows: Wait until the area where the melon is touching the soil is the same color as the rest of the melon. There was a white spot in that area on the melon that was not ripe. After a few more weeks that white spot had disappeared. 


Hannah said...

Congratulations, it's a very nice melon. The only one I ever hd success with was Moon and Stars. At Fort Vancouver, they seem to know how to do it better, and they had quite large Moon and Stars watermelons there. This year I am trying a Park Seeds melon that is a hybrid with a cucumber, I thought that would give it an advantage since cucumbers do great for me, but it took a long time to grow even longer to set any fruit, now I see a 3" melon forming, so hopefully it will have time to mature this fall.

Michele-Sprouts said...

Hi Hannah, I will have to try Moon and Stars next year. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Mark said...

Hi Hannah, Great post and good job with the watermelon. I want to offer a photo of a water melon I grew in NE porltand this summer (2014). I did use some plastic mulch that I will reuse and a some plastic cover during the early part of the spring. The melon was 12 pounds and the best I've ever tasted. I waiting until the spot touching the ground turned from white to dark yellow and this worked for when to pick it. When in doubt, wait longer, especially in our climate. It was a red, oblong watermelon, but I'll be trying more of a PacNW varieties next year. Cantelopes were good too, and easier to grow.I'm not sure how to publish a photo of it...

Michele-Sprouts said...

Hi Mark,
Would love to see the photo.
You can email it to us at sproutgardening@gmail.com and I will see if we can put it up on the blog.

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