When we put in the vegetable garden this year, we also made an east facing bed for a flower garden. This garden is about 16 feet wide by 9 feet deep.
It was too late in the season to start the flowers from seed, so I planted a pot of heirloom sugar baby watermelon vines from Bonnie Plants. They carry this brand at our local home improvement store and I have had good luck with their peppers and tomatoes. The peat pot container had four seedlings in it. I planted this in the center of the garden and then added zinnias and portulacas along the perimeter.
Young watermelon vine June 09 2017
watermelon vine 6-19-2017
Young watermelon. The young melons are a lighter green with pronounced stripes. 6-19-2017
Looking into the garden from the front 6-19-2017
Watermelon patch 7-01-2017
Almost mature watermelon. The skin has gone from bright green to darker dull green. These only grow to 8-10 pounds.
As the watermelons grew, the chickens found them more interesting especially as the watermelon vines ran outside the fence.
The chickens enjoyed the escaped watermelon
The first melon we picked was not ripe. The little curly tail on the vine was dry but the leaf off the stem next to it wasn’t. There are all kinds of ways that are supposed to tell you if it is ripe. I think the signs vary with melon variety and other factors. The one below is the only ripe one we have gotten so far. It was very sweet and the texture was good. I think if we had left it any longer it would have had the grainy texture.
Unfortunately our watermelon patch looks to have a deficiency or a type of viral leaf wilt. we may not get too many more melons, although there are about 9 good size ones growing at the time of this post. The temperature has also been in the upper 90’s for the last couple of weeks and petty much everything is suffering from the heat. This could be another factor.
Overall it has been a fun experiment. I will research more about watermelon vine diseases and types of melons for our area. We have found that they require a lot of nitrogen, water and space and that no matter where I put the fence, the vines want to grow on the outside of it. 😉
I spotted a bit of blue among the watermelon leaves and found this bright blue Damselfly.
Damselfly – taken with Olympus E-PL5 using 19mm lens, f2.8.
I’m watching you, lady! Taken with iphone 5s.
Late this winter I started seeds in the house. I planted some of my favorite vegetables and flowers. The seedlings were looking great, but as time passed, I realized that I had started them too early. They did not get enough light and were just very unhappy plants. ( this photo is before their unhappy demise)
During this time we also decided to make a proper garden area. This involved bringing in soil and installing fencing. We are on limestone which made digging holes for the fence posts a challenge, but we persevered, and in a short while we had a garden site. The soil is not perfect and we are adding organic matter to it as we go. One area is doing great. It was the old compost area and has our mystery squash growing in it.
I also decided to take a chance and get some plants in the ground early. Historically, the last frost date is around March 20. I planted the garden February 26, 2017. It was a risky decision, but I was optimistic because we had a mild winter. I also had very early spring fever and wanted to see growing things.
This is the first photo I took on February 26, 2017. I planted seeds and plants.
This is a view from our porch.
We were lucky and there were no freezing temperatures for the remainder of the winter or early spring. The photo below is from April 09, 2017.
This is the garden layout. Click the image to enlarge the photo. There are labels to indicate what the plants are.
We are already getting some vegetables.
Dragon Pepper – Cayenne
Sweet Million cherry tomatoes
Hopefully we continue to have good luck with this years garden. Updates on the mystery squash next month.
Last year I started a compost pile in a re-purposed kennel that was given to us when we took in some chickens in need of a new home. During the fall and winter we allowed our chickens to forage in the compost area. They helped aerate and fertilize the compost, plus they enjoyed finding tasty treats of the insects and worms that also came to the compost.
This spring I noticed that we had some plants sprouting in the compost. They looked so healthy and strong, I couldn’t bring myself to turn them back into the pile. So I decided to let them grow. I am fairly certain that they are some type of squash. What kind of squash is still a mystery.
The young mystery plant March 27, 2017
A very happy plant(s). April 07, 2017
It has escaped the kennel and is climbing a tomato cage that is outside of the garden area. The small plants at the bottom left of the kennel are bush beans. They are benefiting from the compost too.
One of many small fruits on the vines
Click on any of the photos to enlarge.