A Melon Summer
Posted: Apr-27-2004 at 8:33am
Word thru the grapevine out at Skokomish Valley produce growers, is that this will be a "melon summer", and they recommend cantaloupe. I dont know how they figure this. All I know is that every time I try to grow melons, they succumb to mildew before they ever produce.
Now, this could be (most likely is...LOL) attributed to my lack of knowledge on the best varieties to grow in this climate, but they recommend Hales Best.
Just for the fun of it, Im surrendering my zuchini/squash bins for melons this summer. My friends also tell me, for melons, lots and lots of manure!
I put in a few seeds....we'll see what develops!
Posted: Apr-29-2004 at 1:21pm
The latest 30/90 day forecasts from the Climate Prediction Center is saying warmer than normal but it will be tough to beat last year's summer. You can check out the forecast maps at:
13th Month Seasonal Climate Predictions
In South Olympia, we try to start transplants (3" pots)by about mid-May and place them in the ground after three weeks. Most Junes that still means under a cloche. Last year one of the two hottest days (94F) of the summer occured two days after transplanting.
Trav has an article(s) on his site and somewhere there you can see some of his last years crop.
Posted: Apr-29-2004 at 10:29pm
Yeah last summer was great! I'd love to get another like it, although it's pretty hard to predict (no offense meant to your produce growing friends).
I gotta wonder, though, about their pick of "Hale's Best". That's not a particularly good melon for THIS side of the Cascades, in my opinion; it being an OP and all. Territorial has a lot of good ones, and I love Johnny's earlier ones. Gary have you tried Hale's?
But back to the photo - I took it in early August, I think, and used it for my site's logo for a while... but I've went back to the Trionfo logo for the moment. Wish I had Deb's talent for photography! I'll get good ones on occasion, but usually they're pretty bland.
Anyway, here is the logo that used the melon photo
Posted: May-04-2004 at 10:10am
Yep...your right, trav! I was reading in Steves book about "Hales best" not being a good choice for us wet enders, but I bought some seed, and im gonna give it a whirl, anyways. I have 3 plants that have germinated indoors, and perhaps with his suggestions of covering the hills with black plastic to keep it warm, it might work. Im not going to transplant them until summers' really on, hoping that will help too. Its just an experiment really, as like I said, I have always had crummy luck with melons...LOL!
Next year tho, will be a different story! Knowing now what I learned this year from the book, I feel like I will make better choices in the seed I buy, the varieties I choose, and definately getting my seed earlier and from better sources. No more "picture packets" LOL!
Posted: May-04-2004 at 6:48pm
Have not tried Hales. We have eliminated Earlydew and Earligold may be next. This year we are doing Passport, Fastbreak, & Burpee Early Hybrid from past experience and trying Ambrosia and one other I don't remember.
I am concerned about your early starts because our 93F June 6/7th last year are quite unusual. Some times we may not see an 80F until July which means that you will need to follow Trav's advice and use cloches.
The other Trav, Steve, etc., advice you'll need follow is how tender the roots are on your melons. I only keep them in my Speedling 3" plug tray for 2-3 weeks before I put them in the ground. If I didn't use that "air-pruned" plug tray, I'd use peat pots as Trav suggests and still transplant them before three weeks has passed.
In other words with your early start, I think that you should get them in the ground before long with wall-o-waters, cloches, or both to increase your heat. To back yourself up, you could sow seeds under milk bottle hotcaps at the same time.
You may not need to remove the cloches until you see female blossoms and then you may put them back on after you get some fertile fruit.
Posted: May-06-2004 at 10:40am
Good thinking! I do have the seedlings in peat pots too! I have seen thos wallowaters at Walmart, and Ill pick one up for these melons. What do you think of the black plastic suggestion in steves book also,,,about warming the soil and such?
I saw those great varieties of melons in the TSC book, and am really curious about the Ambrosia. let me know how that turns out.
I have alot to learn yet, and have made alot of mistakes, but I certainly do appreciate all of this great neighborly advice! I will do alot of things differently next year!
Posted: May-06-2004 at 11:08am
It's probably worth mentioning (again) that all curcurbits resent transplanting; so holding them in pots too long is not a good idea. If it were me, I'd transplant under a cloche as soon as the plants are "the right size for the pot", and pray for an early summer - plus consider starting a second set in the next week or two (since I think the odds are against the ones that were started so early).
Posted: May-07-2004 at 9:19pm
OK trav....can do. These seedlings are about 2 weeks old now, and are beginning to get roots growing out of the peat pots now. I seem to be having alot of dampening off problems in the greenhouse, and have resumed heating it to a constant 72'. I have lost most of the cukes and basil,and Im sure if I put out the melons....theyre gonners too.. but all of the flowers, annuals and perrenials are thriving.
I pretty much figure that I will just direct seed my cukes and basil after it warms a bit, and I also plan on direct seeding a few cantaloupe under hotcaps as a backup.