Autumn gardenjournal: horny melon harvest!

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I didn't do a post last month as not much progress was made in the vegetable garden and I was too busy to do much posting. I got really behind with my autumn garden because I was delayed by the horned melon experiment but I removed the vines and harvested whatever was growing there. Although they are supposed to turn yellow when ripe, mine didn't but that's maybe because of the colder, wet summer we had

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And the 64-dollar question: what's it like? Cut open, this is the melon and it tastes a bit like cucumber but a little tart - you remove the jelly seeds with a spoon, the rind and pith isn't edible

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The verdict: I'll grow this again, but against the back wall or somewhere like that. The high rainfall caused rampant growth and I had to cut it back constantly to stop the vines from smothering the rest of the plants. It's tough and pest resistant so well suited to my garden, there were some pumpkin fly stings but they didn't destroy the crop, as they do with pumpkins and marrows. The melons can be stored for weeks too, they don't rot easily once picked.

I'm not good at growing vegetable seedlings in trays, the extreme heat tends to either kill them in the trays and I don't get the timing right and lose them that way so I prefer to sow directly into the soil and now the melon vines are gone I sowed my winter crops: spinach and peas, which don't appreciate our summers

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The mesh is to protect the sprouting spinach from the cats and the sticks protect the peas and will act as supports later.

Peas.jpg
The sweet potatoes in the foreground and taro potatoes in the background will be harvested next month.

Excessive amounts of rain made the kale stems grow ridiculously long so these will have to be taken out, they are falling over and the long distance between the roots and leaves make them water-stressed and vulnerable to aphid attack.

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These new kale seedlings were a freebie because they had been munched by beetles in the nursery and were unsaleable. I was happy to have them, they are already recovering.

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I wanted to draw attention to the improvement in the soil - after 3 years, an unproductive wasteland is now a thriving garden after the massive task of sieving all the soil to remove a ton of rocks, stones and builders rubble. I then added lots of compost made from the remains of the huge Ombú tree I removed from the back part of the house and that has turned sand into good growing soil. Now I have a range of fresh food all year round whereas nothing grew successfully before.

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Now we wait to see what winter brings. Next week will be warm and my seeds should germinate. La Nina is projected to end around July and there will be a neutral phase, which could bring freezing temperatures again and that will then kill off the vegetables but we live in hope. The spinach is a baby variety so I should have had a harvest. We'll see...



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42 comments
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So nice to grow your own fresh veggies, Nikv. Seeing what you have done makes me anxious to put a few plants in the ground once the season warms.

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Do it! Some days I feel like gardening is the only activity left that brings joy and any sense of accomplishment in these shitty times

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Nice melons!!!

Congrats on reclaiming your soil. That sounds like a helluva lot of work but it looks like you really enjoy it. 🌱💚

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Thanks! Digging in the dirt is the only sane activity right now

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I can relate, although all my dirt-digging sanity-achievements are experienced vicariously through the crows.

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OMG i hear you on non productive wastlelands... just what we have too.. lol... clearing out tonnes of stones and composting... such a lot of work

well done

sarah

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Yeah, it's awful but it ends. I got through it by reminding myself constantly that it would only ever have to be done once

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i keep saying to myself that if i'm going to break my back doing a job... i had better do the job correc tthe first time.

I know if i don't get all the stones out... and just soil over the top of the slope... i will regret it forever. so i am doing it the best i can first time around

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Good thinking! I spent4 years digging at it piecemeal and getting nowhere before I finally bit the bullet and did it

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same here.... been here 6 years... only decided now to do it properly... 1st year here we dumped the extra stones on top so that is also creating problems for sure...

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Whoa, I never saw that type of melon before :)

Great you have sweet potato and taro. Here I love to cook them boiled or roasted to replace rice because having a low glycemic index.

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It's a traditional African plant 😁
Taro and sweet potato are also really good plants to grow

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We call horny melons dragonfruit. I had to look them up because I didn't recognize them green not yellow. I've only seen them in grocery stores. Thats great that you have successfully upgraded your soil. We did raised beds to have some decent soil. We will probably start trying to upgrade our soil and plant some in the ground. Our soil is acidic from all the pine needles, rocky and not very well drained ☹️

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This isn't dragonfruit, it's a member of the cucurbit family. Dragonfruits come from cacti.
I would have liked to do raised beds too but they don't work well on my climate everything dries out too fast. If your drainage is poor, you should probably stick to raised beds.

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Yes I'm in a different world haha. Vermont is too wet. You wish you had more water or at least less intense heat. I never really liked dragonfruit anyway 🙂

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Quite impressive results in yor garden after the hard work. Funny melons! They are full of pits and rinds which are not edible.

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Thank you! It's normal for native fruits to be like this, they haven't been altered in any way through selective breeding

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They look like green bombs from Mars! 🙀😂

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Amazing to see the garden soil rejuventated after a few years of effort. Amazing work, really! And those horny melons have the best name and best outside, but don't look that good eating except for chickens!

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It turned out to be a good use for the giant invasive tree :) I have a thing for native fruit and vegetables, I like the melons well enough, they are quite refreshing

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They must be.. nothing better than fresh watery melons on a hot day, right? I really want to get some seeds!!

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Good luck! My mum was growing some small round melons but those can be added to the list of things ruined by pumpkinfly in my garden

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You have an amazing garden! You have done a lot of work in it, and your gardening knowledge is quite extensive.

I really liked the abundance of plants in individual pots. At first it looks chaotic, but the longer I look at the photo, the more warmth and comfort it causes me! They are like children in kindergarten on a walk, all so different and bright, surrounded by care 😊

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Thank you, it's my happy place :) All the little children in pots are various succulents and cacti, some of which will go into larger pots and some into some rockeries I'm building, others be sold or given to friends and the rest will stay in their pots because they wouldn't be happy living in the ground because they need to moved to warmer or cooler spots as the seasons change

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Growing seedlings in trays is also not my thing. But tell me, @nikv, what do you do with those African Horned Cucumber? We planted one year and after that they just came up all over the place. I pop one in a fresh veggie juice but that only deals with one every day or two not a gazillion!

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I only grew 2 vines and the bucketful is the extent of the harvest. I could happily eat 2-3 a day, they could be like a juice but I think a runnier version of tomato, cucumber, onions and herbs will be good too, They will keep until they are finished.
The melons will be just like the tomato vines then, those also pop up everywhere and I'm diligent about weeding the seedlings as they sprout and allow only one or two to mature

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Charm!
I really like sweet potatoes.

It's great when there is a house with a plot of land!!!
I don’t have a house, but an apartment, so I’ll fly to plant to you to plant something 😂

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Oh that's cool! Horny melon is something I would totaly get into! Eish the rain used to always driving me nuts, getting the plant back under the patio, as sometimes it gets out of hand! You did well, lot's of work in!

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Thank you! The extremes of weather here are maddening

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I did not know these melons that taste like cucumber. I don't think I would want to plant them. But I do like zucchini.
I don't know how you can have all those pots on the floor and the cats don't make messes with them. I don't have plants on the floor unless they are the big trees.
I also have the spinach that is getting tangled up in my garden all over the place.

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they look really cool!! well when you said that they taste like cucumber it didnt really surprise me:))

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