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Watermelon Wackiness

Posted by securitysweetums COS 5 (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 9, 08 at 0:40

Hello all!

This past week, a watermelon was auctioned in Japan for the amount of $6,100. It was a Dasuke watermelon, with a black rind, and exceptionally sweet flesh. The auction is a regional thing, with the monies raised used to help subsidize local farmers, hence the high amount, but these particular melons sell in that area for about $180-$233 each. Talk about exotica!

Being somewhat weird when it comes to offbeat things, strange varieties of vegetables are a fascination for me. I did a web search, and found a black rind, seedless watermelon from Park Seed, and ordered a pkt. yesterday. I hope they arrive by the end of the week!

Now, having gotten carried away (yet again!) back in April, I've already killed a half dozen strawberry plants and the two tomatoes I planted for this year, so perhaps it is a bizarre form of "empty-nest" gardening syndrome...These melons are 80 days to maturity, which will put me into early to mid September for harvesting. It will be pushing the envelope a bit, but should be one heck of an adventure.

I found a LOT of wonderfully helpful information here at GardenWeb, so I've joined to thank Skybird and the Waynes, and others who have shared their experiences, knowledge, and encouragements.
I will take photos of my Wild Watermelon Wackiness as I find out if there is still enough of a growing season to harvest my exotic black watermelons. And I'll post updates along with links, so you can share my adventure with me.

Nice to meet you all!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Watermelon Wackiness

Oh, I'm excited for you! I love watermelon, in fact, it is my most favourite food ever. When my father was a baby, he had acute nephritis and was in hospital for a year. The only thing he really ate/enjoyed was watermelon, but, this was Canada! My grandparents paid more money than they could afford just to have watermelons imported from Texas. I always thought that was a fascinating link seeing as how I am so fond of that fruit.

I had a similar thing happen once back in California. My grandpa brought some Giant pumpkin seeds home from the senior center but the date for planting had long since past. Didn't matter, we tried anyway and wound up with about four tiny pumpkins! He was so happy!!


RE: Watermelon Wackiness

Well, here I am at Day 5...
Not being a big gardener by nature, this stage is a major project, and boy, is my lower back ever telling me about it!

I have a "photo album" going, for anyone wanting to see how non-gardeners tackle projects they are clueless about. The link is at the bottom.

Day 1 was just clearing the 6-8" of mulch off the old bed.

Day 2 was pulling up the weed-barrier fabric, and starting to break up the rock solid dirt underneath. My spade was very slow going, so I watered it for a bit, and used a garden pitchfork to break it up. Tiny baby cutworms and garden centipedes abound in the dirt. YUCK!

Day 3 was off to Lowe's for soaker hose, black plastic mulch, topsoil, and steer manure to make "clean soil" areas within my mounds.

Day 4 saw the Beloved Hubby Unit (BHU) take a half day off from work to help my poor sore back out. He got the first long mound shaped, and the 3 center row mounds started. My seeds arrived today, so I carefully nicked them on the round end, and am soaking them in water for 24 hours. I've read that some people soak them in tea, but since I only have green tea macha, and some Lipton's Instant Diet Peach tea, I figured I'll just stick with plain ol' water...The seeds had a packet of 3 Sugar Baby melon seed as the pollenator stock, so I will have a few of them, too. I wonder what the successful germination rate is for these Everglade Hybrids...I'll find out.

Day 5 is basically a lazy day for me. My poor back is saying it needs a break, or else. I'm going to be planting the now-soaking seeds in Jiffy-7 posts, the disk things you soak in water, that expand into little growing lumps. I'll be putting those into slightly larger peat pots, which will then be put into amended soil in the center of my mounds. The lip of the peat pots will help deter the damn cutworms, hopefully. I'll be putting cut plastic milk jugs around those to deter the little nasties a bit more...

While I envy gardeners who know what they are doing, I gotta admit the excitement of challenging something so (for me) out of the ordinary is very invigorating. Half the fun, I think, is the envisioning/fantasizing of a garden full of round, black, bowling balls. Even if I only end up with a handful of tiny black softballs, they will hopefully be nice and sweet!

Question: I will have soaker hoses on both sides of the mound rows, 1" under the soil and black plastic mulch. How often should I water, and for how long? I thought daily for about 15 minutes in the morning, since the plastic will help keep the water from evaporating, but is that too much? It's only about a 10'x10' square, which will have 13 melon plants (oops, 14, Park sent me 11 Everglades instead of 10), IF they all germinate. I don't want to drown the poor things before they get a chance to be attacked by all the other things watermelons are susceptible to. Any suggestions will be appreciated!


Here is a link that might be useful: Melon Madness Photo Album

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