Sunday, April 1, 2018

Successful watermelon growing

The most satisfying thing to grow in the garden this year was watermelons.
I chose the moon and stars watermelon because it said it had excellent taste and across the internet people seemed to have success with this variety.
I grew the seeds indoors and didn't plant them out until late November.
Four water melon plants in this bed, plus a rogue potato plant
It was exciting to see little watermelons start to grow but would they taste like proper watermelons?
I watered them regularly and the summer was a hot one.
End of January
Once they started getting big I carefully place plastic lids under them to keep them off the wet ground.
Mid February
Mid February with lego man for size comparison
It was a long wait, watching the melons get bigger.
The test for ripeness is tapping and they should sound hollow. There are some handy YouTube videos on watermelon tapping. This was the best one I found as it is short and easy to hear the difference in sound.
The other sign I used was the browning of the curly piece of stem by the ripe watermelon. Once it was brown and dead looking, the watermelon is supposed to be ripe.
The watermelons ripened in early March. We got one watermelon a plant, which in kilograms was quite a bit of watermelon, especially when one kid doesn't really like it.

They are quite seedy these watermelon but they are sweet and juicy and delicious.
Once you have cut a watermelon, it does seem best to eat either immediately or within a few days for it still to be crisp. Taking a plate of watermelon places worked well, especially when we could say we grew it ourselves.
You can also make a pickle out of the rind that is a cross between a pickle and candied peel.
We have saved seeds and this year will plant half saved seeds and half new seed to see if we can get watermelons from the saved seed.

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.