The Wee Watermelon

After going to the grocery store and seeing a monster watermelon (which, okay, I admit it, I bought it for the seeds), I decided it was time to pull the watermelons that were growing in my self-watering container.  That plus the fact that the leaves and stem were more brown than green.

This was back in April Cucumber_Bush_04-08-08

This was mid July07-14-08 (4)

And this was my watermelon harvest for 2008, two watermelons both a whopping 4 1/2 inches measured across the middle.DSCN1538

Sugar baby on the left, regular on the right.

DSCN1541 DSCN1539 Despite the fact that they were miniature watermelons, they tasted great.  They were fully ripe with sweet, firm flesh.

My mother-in-law has a sugar baby that’s about ten inches tall that she picked (which I forgot to take a picture of).  Her plant is growing in the ground.

So, what did I learn?  You can successfully grow watermelons in a small city lot.  You can successfully grow watermelons in containers…you may want to refer to them as diet watermelons, though, since they won’t get too big and are the perfect size for one person.

Here’s a trick to picking a ripe watermelon.  The thump the watermelon advice never worked for me.  When you pick it up, it should feel heavy for its size and the underside where it grew on the ground should be a creamy color as opposed to white.

Did you know that one cup of watermelon contains only about 50 calories and has more of the antioxidant lycopene than even tomatoes, so it really is a healthy low calorie treat.

Will I grow it next year?  Yeah.  It’s a super easy to grow plant, but it does need a little elbow room.  My mother-in-law didn’t use compost or Miracle Grow and hers did great.  I’ll still do a couple of plants in the container because they’re the cutest little things, but I’ll find someplace to grow at least one plant in the ground.

Happy Gardening!!!

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Plethora of Plentiful Planters

I recently found a cantaloupe growing in one of my self-watering containers, so I figure I’ll talk about the things I’m growing in containers instead of the ground.  The yard is pretty small and I’ve got something growing in just about every plantable  spot in the yard, so I use pots to increase my growing space.

08-13-08 (3) This cantaloupe is about the size of a softball and it’s the only cantaloupe to actually set fruit.. so far.  I was picking up around the yard and discovered it.

I have a couple of cantaloupe plants growing in the ground.  08-17-08 Lots of blooms, no cantaloupes that will grow bigger than a M&M.

Here’s the self-watering container (to be referred to as SWC) that the cantaloupe is growing in.  08-13-08 (4)And because this is my first year with the self-watering containers, I’m still experimenting with what will grow how well in the SWCs and I’m mixing a little this with a little that.

My neighbor’s friend gave me a few okra plants and I put two of them in here back on July 10 with the cantaloupe.08-17-08 (2)Okra plants are really pretty.  There’s actually one okra pod just to the right of the stem.  I swear I didn’t see a flower before this one.  The other okra plants I put in the ground are only 5 or 6 inches tall.  They’re also being shaded by other plants.

This is my first SWC that I started in early May.  05-31-08 (7) It’s got a monster cherry tomato, a sweet potato plant, and two varieties of watermelon.  (I gave the corn to my mother-in law because I couldn’t find a spot for it).  I’ve got a 6-foot tall stake the cherry tomato is tied to.  Once it outgrew that, I tied a string from the end of the stake to the house and am training in along the string now. 

Here’s how it’s doing today.  08-02-08 (44)

Only one of each variety of watermelon have actually set fruit.  The sugar baby is the one with the panty hose sling and the other is a full-sized watermelon.DSCN1508 DSCN1507I really don’t expect them to get much bigger because both vines are starting to shrivel up.

I gave my mother-in-law some watermelon plants too. Hers are in the ground and doing much better than mine.  This is her largest one.  DSCN1459

A month ago I planted this one with cucumbers,07-14-08 (12) and today it looks like this.DSCN1504It’s even got its first cuke on it.DSCN1510 

Here are the bell peppers growing in planters on the steps.  That was then… 06-30-08 (13)

… and this is now.DSCN1512 The container peppers are giving the in-ground peppers a run for their money in terms of size, and I’ll definitely plant them in containers in the future.  I think it helped a lot to keep the containers covered.  I’ve read that peppers like green mulch, and maybe that helped too.  I think this pot size is 10 inches, so I’d try larger pots to hopefully get bigger peppers.

I tried potatoes in a container too back in May.  That was then …05-31-08

…and this now.  08-13-08 (9)I had some leftover seed potatoes after I planted in the raised beds, so I tried this. I snuck a peek in here and haven’t seen one potato so far.

In the raised bed, I’m trying an adulterated version of a dedicated potato bin for potatoes that I saw on the GardenWeb web site that I’ve adapted to my raised bed.  06-30-08 (11) People have gotten mixed results, but for this one I’m not going to touch it until the plants naturally die back.  I’ll either be very, very happy with the potatoes or very, very disappointed.

A friend gave me some peanuts.  I started a few of those in a pot.08-13-08 (8) I have no idea how this will turn out, especially since I never put any more dirt in the pot.

And lastly, this bush.  04-20-08 I wanted to make room for some raspberry plants.  And since I wasn’t crazy about this bush (or the fact that I didn’t get anything to eat from it), I decided to dig it up and get rid of it.07-14-08 (11) After I dug it up, I had it leaning against a bench and thought, hmmm, that looks kind of nice there, so I decided to try to save them.  That was mid July… 08-02-08 (17) … and they’re still looking good.  No leaf loss at all.

And lastly (for real this time), the raspberries.  I acquired some raspberry plants from a couple of generous fellow gardeners.08-02-08 (20) 08-02-08 (21) With any luck I’ll have raspberries next year since raspberries fruit on second year canes.

I didn’t plant them in the ground because I want to see what will happen with them in the containers first.

That’s it for now.  (Did I hear you say finally?)

Happy Gardening!!!

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