Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Watermelon that Could

 Back on Memorial Day weekend, Tom and I cooked out. He brought a fresh watermelon that we sliced and ate on the edge of the porch, spitting seeds into the grass. That's late in the season (05/28) to be planting melons but I kept a few of the seeds, planted them in the garden and marked them with a small flag.

 On July 2, this is what I found  ...

 The melon Tom brought was certainly low in seeds and I expected it was some sort of hybrid where the seeds wouldn't sprout, and if they did, who knew what they'd turn into to. But by the first of July there was not only a vine, but the first melon set.

 I took a picture of the leaves to make sure we had a watermelon and not something strange. Yep, looks like a watermelon.

 On July 8, the tiny melon was already expanding and showing a few green stripes.

 By July 13 - my birthday - things were really changing. I was watering the garden regularly

 By 9/7 I saw another small melon beginning.

 The original melon, by 9/25, was about a foot long.

 On October 4, I found a second large melon as the leaves began to fade.

 The first melon to set was quite large and appeared ready-to-eat on 10/4. But, was it?

 Yesterday (10/22) Tom and I picked the three melons. This is the original. It felt solid and ready for the plate.

 Tom has a unique cutting device that slices a whole watermelon at one time. You have to cut each end off so the melon sits flat and then you push the cutter down through it. We took it to the sink to make the initial end cuts. As Tom carried the melon outside to use the cutting device, the melon split. I suppose it was due to water pressure from the recent rains (we had 1.88" late last week).
 Most importantly, we could see that the melon was ripe.

 And here it is after the cutter dropped down through it. Each slice is thin enough to hold and eat. But we cut the melon from the rind and placed the slices in a container for easy storage.

 Here's the result. Beautiful, sweet red flesh ... perfectly ripe. It took less than three months to go from seed to this. We've been lucky that there has been no frost and the melon has been able to stay in the garden this late in the season. I've covered the vine with a sheet twice but neither time did we have frost.

We'll have to try this again.

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