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Always a Challenge

October 19th, 2011

Growing melons is a challenge here in the north where the summers are usually too cool for them. That hasn’t stopped me from planting a few each year, though I never seem to get a watermelon bigger than a tennis ball.

This year, I planted some Rainbow Sherbet Watermelons from Renee’s Garden. Most of the vines got choked out by weeds when were on vacation. I did find the one above watermelon when I was pulling tall weeds. One vine, however was planted in an heavily mulched area and didn’t have much competition. The boys from the farm pointed out that it had a nice little melon on it when we got home. I harvested it two weeks ago.

I was wondering which color it would be when I cut it open since the seed pack contained three different varieties of melon (one of the great benefits of buying seeds from Renee’s). When I cut it open, it was a beautiful golden yellow, which means it was a ‘Yellow Doll’ watermelon.

It was nice and sweet, small, and provided two perfectly sized servings. Someday, when I have a much larger garden, I want to experiment with growing melons in low tunnels (like the ones I use to overwinter crops). The farmer’s at the market tell me that’s the way to do it here in our area. They have also recommended a few varieties of heirloom melons that do better in cooler climates. That’s one great thing about shopping at the local farmer’s market, they’re more than willing to give you advice on what to grow and how to grow it best in your area. The local farmer’s market can be a wealth of information for the home gardener!

Where do you find the best gardening advice for your particular area?

17 Comments to “Always a Challenge”
  1. Misti on October 19, 2011 at 6:06 am

    I’m curious how you can tell when a melon is ripe. We keep picking them just slightly under ripe!

    Reply to Misti's comment

    • Susy on October 19, 2011 at 10:58 am

      I’m curious abou that as well, I picked this one because cold weather was coming and I didn’t know how it would survive in the garden. I’ll have to do some research on that, perhaps ask around at the market.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Jennifer Fisk on October 19, 2011 at 8:28 am

    My best advice comes from a friend who began homesteading during the Back To The Land movement of the 70’s. Her farm is part of the land the Nearings purchased in Harborside, ME. She has a wealth of hints after all these years.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  3. daisy on October 19, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Those little melons are the kid-sized perfection! Love the color on the yello one.
    I rely on our extension center and local gardening blogs.

    Reply to daisy's comment

  4. mavis on October 19, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I too am unable to grow large melons… But that does not stop me from trying every year. If I could just grow 1 moon & stars melon I think I’d be happy for the rest of my life.

    Congrats on your melon. :)

    Reply to mavis's comment

    • KimH on October 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      I wish you many many moons & stars! :)

      Reply to KimH's comment

  5. goatpod2 on October 19, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Gardening books or the internet.


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  6. Donna B. on October 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I read gardening blogs! Hee hee~ ♥
    It’s funny, you are now the third person I’ve read about that also bought that same collection of watermelon from Renee’s and the only fruit that matured was the yellow!
    I grew some this year, and they all failed miserably – on my part, hehe.
    In 2010 of the four vines I grew, two small-ish melons, about the size of a wiffleball and they were both of the yellow variaties! Very, very sweet and tasty though. Totally satisfying!

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  7. MAYBELLINE on October 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Old timers in the neighborhood and a local radio program with local gardening hosts are great sources.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  8. Sincerely, Emily on October 19, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Beautiful melon both inside and out! I love talking to a few neighbors that have had gardens for 20+ years and also a local organic gardening radio program on the weekends.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  9. Marcia on October 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I live by the advice of my Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond , my mom and I also talk with the farmers at my farmer`s market. This blog has also really helped and introduced me to heirloom gardening.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  10. Estelle on October 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I agree, I love the surprise factor from Renee’s seeds! I like the heirloom lettuce mix and next year I’d like to plant some surprise tomato plants.

    Reply to Estelle's comment

  11. Melissa on October 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Even being in the hot South, I’ve had issues with growing melons! I’ve had plenty of tiny ones like your first pic– those do work to juice them and make watermelon lemonade- just have to add a little extra sugar. Going to have to do some serious research before next year.

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  12. Sierra on October 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    My best advice comes from you! :) That little melon is so cute. We tried growing some melons for fun, but they didn’t work out.

    Reply to Sierra's comment

  13. Michelle Wells on October 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Looks just like my favorite watermelons that are grown around the Finger Lakes region of New York State by Mennonites. They are truly sweet and wonderful. I tried a small sugar baby type watermelon a couple years but the most I got was a baseball size melon.

    Reply to Michelle Wells's comment

  14. KimH on October 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I’d say you & Google are my best sources for gardening information Occasionally I’ll ask a question at the garden center I go to, but not often. Daves Garden, an online site is one I go to occasionally too.

    I’ve been gardening one way or another almost all my life, and grew up in gardens and large agriculture fields, so I pretty muchly just use common sense in most things. If I have a question, I Google It.

    Other times, you just never do know, so ya just plant it & see what happens. Seems thats the kind of gardener I am & my plants dont know that they arent supposed to do something or you cant do that here, but they do anyways.. Funny how that works. ;-)

    Its nice to have gardening buddies. I learned much in my 20s when I was on my own from the neighboring old timers..along with books from the library & a few from Rodale too.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  15. WendyM on October 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Same problem, pick one SugarBaby at 4lb almost ripe.Watermelons are ripe when the tendril were the melon attaches to the stem is dry. This is the best indicator and the tendril must be fully browned and dried. If only half will be not complety ripe as mine was. The second time I waited the extra 2 weeks and was ripe completely.

    Reply to WendyM's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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