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Carborendum

Victory Garden

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2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Duuude... your watermelons GREW FAST!

Okay... so interestingly, my experiment this year is growing a watermelon in a square foot garden.  I don't know anything about watermelons.  I planted the watermelon seedling with only 3 leaves on it on May 13.  This is what it looks like today:

watermelon.jpg.f659b1e7473f061ba9419a59773ab61d.jpg

Square foot gardening?  With a Watermelon?  Are you kidding?  That ain't gonna work. 

2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

It's that little vine in the corner.  I'm making it spill to the side so the watermelon spreads outside the box instead of taking up space in the box and getting blocked by the zucchini.  As you can see, it has grown a bit but it's still small.

Here's the rest of my tiny garden.  I don't have much space because my small urban backyard is divided into the party area, the chicken run, and the dog run.  That blue bin on the side of the pond there is the remnant of my aquaponic lettuce garden that I'm redesigning... I might get that going this summer, if not it will have to wait for next year.  

garden.jpg.290c8e0ba7ebc2b51a7c0ba53866653f.jpg

Cool.

2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

This is the chicken coop which is my very first construction project:

coop.jpg.4fa0135798de169a78e821688a6269d5.jpg

Nice work!

2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

This is my office that displays my blooming orchids.  The red cups on the shelf on the back have avocado seeds I've been trying to grow (no success yet) and the rest of the shelf holds my starter seeds that are going to be planted in the garden.  The red bins on the side by the fence (I think only one is visible in the picture) are my potatoes - I basically just grow them in the bins for a few months and when the plant dies off I dump the bucket onto a tarp and get potatoes and start over.

deck.jpg.dc8f68dae7c6c7a292ba8623b9996619.jpg

I have never been able to get potatoes to grow.  Kudos to you.

2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

And this is my orchid corner that is strategically placed in the dog run to discourage squirrels (they eat the blooms!).  One of my dogs is a squirrel chaser.

682440999_orchidcorner.jpg.531d48a54df9928e4b6b8c5ffee3e606.jpg

One of these days, I'm gonna move out of this urban setting and have a proper homestead with my tiny house... dream dream dream...

Yeah, yeah.

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1 hour ago, anatess2 said:

I got the idea from this gal's watermelon!

Those look like the size of cantaloupes or musk melons, more than watermelons.  I bet she only got one or two melons off the entire plant.

Here are the challenges to using square foot gardening with a watermelon.  And you may note that she did some things to overcome them "a little bit".  But she just didn't mention what.

  • Contrary to popular belief watermelon roots spread about as far as the vines and leaves do.  So, if I were to dig under my plants, I'd see a network of roots for the entire 12'x24' area.  So, you have to place it in such a way that the roots can spread.
  • Watermelons in their own wide open space are extreme resource hogs.  They require
    • Lots of sun.
    • Lots of water.
    • Lots of fertilizer (10-10-10).
    • Lots of minerals.
    • So, to plant them where their roots can go into areas populated by other plants will mean a lot of competition.
  • You have to be very careful about the companion plants (almost a necessity in square foot gardening) due to conflicts with many different plants.

If you can get around these issues, then have fun.  But I've had enough problems with both watermelons and sq ft gardening that to combine the troubles of both is not something I'm willing to do.  But if you really want to, go for it.  And I guess, with the small available area, you kinda have to at least try.

I also have to admit that I have yet to produce the "prize watermelon" yet.  I'm hoping I will be able to do so this year.

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12 hours ago, Carborendum said:

Those look like the size of cantaloupes or musk melons, more than watermelons.  I bet she only got one or two melons off the entire plant.

I got icebox watermelons.  The fruit is supposed to average 8 inches in diameter and a brix of 10.  One plant only produces 3 melons max.

12 hours ago, Carborendum said:

Here are the challenges to using square foot gardening with a watermelon.  And you may note that she did some things to overcome them "a little bit".  But she just didn't mention what.

  • Contrary to popular belief watermelon roots spread about as far as the vines and leaves do.  So, if I were to dig under my plants, I'd see a network of roots for the entire 12'x24' area.  So, you have to place it in such a way that the roots can spread.

😱

 

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3 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

I got icebox watermelons.  The fruit is supposed to average 8 inches in diameter and a brix of 10.  One plant only produces 3 melons max.

OK. That makes sense.  

You have to understand that I've got a big family.  An 8" watermelon will feed two people.  Not worth it.

In the meantime, a couple of my melons are getting to be the size of a large zucchini.  I'll wait until this weekend to post an update photo.

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1 minute ago, Carborendum said:

OK. That makes sense.  

You have to understand that I've got a big family.  An 8" watermelon will feed two people.  Not worth it.

One of these days my garden will actually be sufficient to feed my family... dream dream dream.

But now that I think of it... I CAN build a garden in the backyard sufficient to feed my family if I get rid of the grass - basically change the priority from "hanging out" to "feeding".  I'm sure if things hit the fan and everything shuts down I'll have enough experience to grow food in the backyard sufficient to feed us.  Hmm... I gotta start thinking of storing seeds....

1 minute ago, Carborendum said:

In the meantime, a couple of my melons are getting to be the size of a large zucchini.  I'll wait until this weekend to post an update photo.

I am very interested in the progress... this is the first time I've heard of a Bradley watermelon!

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2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

icebox watermelons

People still have iceboxes?

My dad used to use the term "icebox" in reference to the refrigerator. I'm pretty sure he had an icebox growing up in the '30s and early '40s, maybe even after his widowed mother moved the family to Provo in '43. A rather quaint utilitarian idea, and effective enough. Home refrigeration has really changed the kitchen dynamic of the American household in ways we of today would find hard to imagine.

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35 minutes ago, Vort said:

People still have iceboxes?

My dad used to use the term "icebox" in reference to the refrigerator. I'm pretty sure he had an icebox growing up in the '30s and early '40s, maybe even after his widowed mother moved the family to Provo in '43. A rather quaint utilitarian idea, and effective enough. Home refrigeration has really changed the kitchen dynamic of the American household in ways we of today would find hard to imagine.

I thought icebox is the cooler you take to the beach... so it kinda makes sense it's called icebox watermelon because the watermelon is so small it fits in a cooler!

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3 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

I thought icebox is the cooler you take to the beach... so it kinda makes sense it's called icebox watermelon because the watermelon is so small it fits in a cooler!

Before refrigerators were invented, our grandparents only had an "icebox".  It held a place in their homes that was very similar to how we think of the refrigerator/freezer.  They would periodically pick up fresh ice to replenish the cold.  The places nearest the ice were for freezing stuff.  Places farther from the ice was for refrigerated stuff.

As a child, I didn't know how an "icebox" worked.  It was difficult for me to fathom why they used the term "icebox" to refer to both the refrigerator and the freezer.  So I just had to take it by context.

"Put the milk in the icebox," meant refrigerator.

"Put the ice cream in the icebox," meant freezer.

But you are correct, today's meaning of icebox is indeed what we call a cooler.  However, I'd have to look at the origin of the term "Icebox Watermelon" to determine if it referred to a cooler or a refrigerator.  Either way, I believe it had to do with the size of the melon rather than the function of the icebox.

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Picture Taken Tuesday and Today.  Compare.  Sorry no scale for the Tuesday photo.  But it was about 3" long.  The one today was about 10"

466596518_TakenMay30th.jpg.8e0792a33accd96d74f046a512c0da9c.jpg2120677612_Jun5-4.jpg.059b7cc3b3d7c5f177d69bc099dc67d0.jpg

This is the same one I posted on the 30th.  It was about 7".  Today arout 15".  The curly-cue is nowhere near browning yet.  There is another one in the garden just a tad larger.  But it is difficult to get to.  So, I couldn't take a picture.

1881155235_Jun5-1.jpg.d8c73d662f44238fa711da2070fc3087.jpg282416794_Jun5-2.jpg.9b984d6942615ba2ff90fedfd28ef003.jpg

This is the one I posted on May 29th.  I actually took the photo on the 28th (about 3" long).  Today, it is about 6" diameter.  Still not ripe. Explosive growth.

586157979_Jun5-3.jpg.bdabc90342bfbb82d4ddc27ed341e85b.jpg

Edited by Carborendum

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I thought I'd share this:

Pear.jpg.74bd06e1e130cb48dc24dfba3b5419a8.jpg

Many plants in the cucurbit family (melons, squashes, cucumbers...) go through this stage where they are shaped something like a pear.  I hadn't noticed previous plants producing any melons with this shape.  But apparently melons do this as well.

One of my two big ones maintained the bi-diameter shape until very recently.  It is still a little bit lopsided.  But I think I'm the only one who notices it because I've been keeping an eye on it.  Not all of them do this.  Most have had the "capsule" shape throughout their development.  We'll see how this one develops.

Edited by Carborendum

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@pam

You may want to think about coming over next weekend (around the 19th or so).

I just saw some initial browning of the curly-cue on several of the melons.  I am going to harvest one this weekend to see if they are anywhere near sweet.  I figure if the fully ripe one is REALLY sweet, then the melon plucked a week early may be "pretty sweet".  We'll see.

If it is not very sweet at all, then I'll have to wait until the curly-cue is dry all the way down.

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6 hours ago, Carborendum said:

@pam

You may want to think about coming over next weekend (around the 19th or so).

I just saw some initial browning of the curly-cue on several of the melons.  I am going to harvest one this weekend to see if they are anywhere near sweet.  I figure if the fully ripe one is REALLY sweet, then the melon plucked a week early may be "pretty sweet".  We'll see.

If it is not very sweet at all, then I'll have to wait until the curly-cue is dry all the way down.

I have to see if I'm going to be scheduled that weekend and I won't know until Saturday.  

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19 hours ago, Carborendum said:

@pam

You may want to think about coming over next weekend (around the 19th or so).

I just saw some initial browning of the curly-cue on several of the melons.  I am going to harvest one this weekend to see if they are anywhere near sweet.  I figure if the fully ripe one is REALLY sweet, then the melon plucked a week early may be "pretty sweet".  We'll see.

If it is not very sweet at all, then I'll have to wait until the curly-cue is dry all the way down.

Can I come too?

I'll go ask my mom if she's ready to exit her suite...

 

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26 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Yeah, come on over.  Are you in Houston, now?

I was supposed to be there 2 weeks ago to pick up my mother but she's not ready to come to FL yet.  I was supposed to swing by LA to pick up her sister too.  These 2 women can't make up their minds. 

Anyway, here's some update on my garden:

The watermelon is getting bigger but no flowers as of yet.

watermelon2.jpg.635b87a4dd431ae1e0fbfe0e809380e8.jpg

The zucchini is throwing out a dozen male flowers but no females yet.  The squash is doing better.

squash.jpg.3d4ced6a83c6dcbe7f5c721ea0d53db0.jpg

This bucket of potatoes is out of the soil, so harvest should be in early September.

potato.jpg.7fece8dc1c2a66baaf771be148be6283.jpg

And out of 11 avocado seeds, I got 2 to root!  That's exciting... first time I made it this far.

avocado.jpg.d406d08876aae4b5231a91e17a6837d3.jpg

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So, here is the first pick.  It is approximately 20" long.  Weighing in at 27 lbs.

IMG_20200612_110733652.jpg.f9ccec610de9623e720b219827eaa4dd.jpg

I opened it and was somewhat disappointed.  But it was actually a success.

IMG_20200612_112828529.jpg.8c049bf55063eee57198c55b55b1c31a.jpg

As you can see, the seeds are not ripe.  The meat is pink instead of the nice ruby red that we hope for.  So, why was it a success?

  • I plucked it when the curly-cue was just yellowing rather than completely brown.  So, it was a week or so early.
  • I bit into it.  The sweetness level was about what you'd get at the store.

So, for a premature melon to have the sweetness of a regular melon is pretty nice.  We'll see for sure with the next one.

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OK, apparently I have a couple more hurdles for the Bradford.

  • Not only am I supposed to wait for the tendril to dry up COMPLETELY.  But they also recommend that the neighboring tendrils also dry up. 
  • THEN, I'm supposed to wait an entire week AFTER they first dry up.
  • AND I have to wait for the waxy coating to go away.
  • AND I'm supposed to find the ridges developing.
  • AND I'm supposed to look for the yellow specks to form, and then turn brown.

That's a lot more waiting.  I sure hope it will be worth it.  If I have to go through all this and it is no better than a store-bought melon I will be very disappointed.

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

OK, apparently I have a couple more hurdles for the Bradford.

  • Not only am I supposed to wait for the tendril to dry up COMPLETELY.  But they also recommend that the neighboring tendrils also dry up. 
  • THEN, I'm supposed to wait an entire week AFTER they first dry up.
  • AND I have to wait for the waxy coating to go away.
  • AND I'm supposed to find the ridges developing.
  • AND I'm supposed to look for the yellow specks to form, and then turn brown.

That's a lot more waiting.  I sure hope it will be worth it.  If I have to go through all this and it is no better than a store-bought melon I will be very disappointed.

Did they say approximately how many weeks that is?

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For anyone in the Houston area, it looks like the first one will be done this weekend.

  • I see several tendrils completely dry to the base.
  • One has been dry for over a week.
  • The ridges are forming on the surface.
  • The underside is turning a light green.
  • The thumping sound is deeper.
  • The shape has evened out to a nice symmetrical capsule shape.
  • Several brown flecks are appearing.

The signs that are not quite there:

  • The flower end is still solid, no "give" when pressing.
  • The vine is still very strong.  Doesn't just come popping off.
  • Only about half of he waxy coating is gone.

I've been watching this one a long time.  And I'm just going to cut it off this Thursday.  We'll have it for movie night this Friday.

@pam, @anatess2, Interested?

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29 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

For anyone in the Houston area, it looks like the first one will be done this weekend.

  • I see several tendrils completely dry to the base.
  • One has been dry for over a week.
  • The ridges are forming on the surface.
  • The underside is turning a light green.
  • The thumping sound is deeper.
  • The shape has evened out to a nice symmetrical capsule shape.
  • Several brown flecks are appearing.

The signs that are not quite there:

  • The flower end is still solid, no "give" when pressing.
  • The vine is still very strong.  Doesn't just come popping off.
  • Only about half of he waxy coating is gone.

I've been watching this one a long time.  And I'm just going to cut it off this Thursday.  We'll have it for movie night this Friday.

@pam, @anatess2, Interested?

Unfortunately this is my working weekend.  :(   

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42 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

For anyone in the Houston area, it looks like the first one will be done this weekend.

  • I see several tendrils completely dry to the base.
  • One has been dry for over a week.
  • The ridges are forming on the surface.
  • The underside is turning a light green.
  • The thumping sound is deeper.
  • The shape has evened out to a nice symmetrical capsule shape.
  • Several brown flecks are appearing.

The signs that are not quite there:

  • The flower end is still solid, no "give" when pressing.
  • The vine is still very strong.  Doesn't just come popping off.
  • Only about half of he waxy coating is gone.

I've been watching this one a long time.  And I'm just going to cut it off this Thursday.  We'll have it for movie night this Friday.

@pam, @anatess2, Interested?

Very interested.  But you're gonna have to beam it up because... I'm currently exiled by my family.

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