29. May 2019

Growing melons in my garden

Melons everywhere! That's my dream for this summer. I just love growing melons!

Två meloner växer på en ranka i tunnelväxthuset.

We had 8 plants in the polytunnel last year and got to harvest just as many melons.

 

My family absolutely loved the melons I grew last year, kids and grown-ups were equally excited about them! Just imagine enjoying a refreshing smoothie made with melons from your own garden. For us up here in the north, melons feel kind of exotic. They make me think of warmer and greener countries. But it's actually completely possible to grow melons here in zone 3 too.

 

pluggbrätte med groddade melonplantor

I grow my melons in a plug tray with deep cells.

 

More about sweets from the garden: My flowering peach tree

 

I'm growing several different varieties of all in all 50 plants this year. I think each plant will produce one melon each. With my kids and their friends on summer holiday, I don't think we will have any issues eating all of the melons, even if we were to get more than we expect.

 

En rad med platta melonfröer

The melon seeds are flat. I plant them vertically so that the water doesn't pool on top of the growing melons.

 

The plants grow quickly

I sow my cucurbits just a few weeks before I plant them in their final spot. If I sow them too early, then I need to replant them in bigger pots as they grow larger. Cucurbits (cucumber, melon, pumpkin, squash) grow really quickly and they can start looking a bit worse for wear if you leave them in the pots too long.

I sowed this batch at the beginning of May. I made sure to keep the sowing reasonably moist on the heated floor (it's been so cold this spring!) in the bathroom. Cucurbits need warm soil to grow properly. As soon as most of the seeds germinated, I put the entire trough in a plastic crate with holes in the bottom. Then I carried it back and forth between the polytunnel in the daytime and the heated floor at night.

Ett pluggbrätte med melonsådd.

I'm growing melons in a plug tray with deep cells and enough space for 35 plants. You can easily push the plants out from underneath when they are large enough.

 

Double rows

I'm growing these melons in my polytunnel and I'm counting on planting them in around two weeks, or at least before they grow too large for the plug trays. I will plant them in two rows in each bed, around 16 inches (40 centimeters) between each plant. Eggplant, bell peppers or lettuce will grow between the rows. All of the plants will be growing upwards and not along the ground. I could never fit them all if I let them grow like this.

After I plant my melons, I need to give them some extra care. I prune them but I don't hand-pollinate them. There are plenty of insects in the polytunnel that can help me with that.

 

En plastback på flis.

My little homemade greenhouse for the cucurbits. I drilled holes in the bottom and the lid to help get rid of any condensation.

 

The varieties

These are the varieties I'm growing this year:

  • cantaloupe melon, Minnesota Midget
  • cantaloupe melon, Herma
  • cantaloupe melon Sweet Granite
  • water melon Yellow Cutie F1
  • water melon Sugar Baby
  • water melon Janosik
  • honeydew melon Honey Dew F1
  • honeydew melon Petit Gris De Rennes
  • mangomelon Queen Anne's pocket melon
  • Emir F1
  • Charentais
  • Jenny Lind

 

En uppskuren mogen melon på ett fat.

The goal is of course to grow ripe, juicy melons. The melons will ripen at different times and I can hopefully harvest melons for several weeks. Growing melons is so fun!

 

If I get a big harvest this year, it's really not going to be a problem. You can freeze the melon! I like freezing smaller pieces that I can put in a smoothie. All you need to do is cut the melon, put it on a baking paper and then get it into the freezer. Blend the melon pieces with berries on a warm summer day, yum!
/Sara Bäckmo

 

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