Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Study Time

I've never grown watermelons or pumpkins. My garden guru, Alphagal, who can plant a bare stick and have it bloom, has tried to grow pumpkins and not seen success, so I have some learning to do.

I learned that with both varieties not unlike my not-at-all-successful  tries with zucchini and  squash experiments back in '09, that the male flowers will bloom first followed up my the female flowers, I also learned that on the pumpkin plants at least, that each vine can produce a number of fruits - which is great, I see a lot of the male flowers and no mature female pre-flowers at all. There are some little very undeveloped bud things here and there that might be female blooms but I'm not seeing the tell-tail ovary. I have been down this male dominated road before with the squash. But, these pumpkin plants are much happier plants then the squash plants ever were-and are hopefully more in touch with their feminine side.

In the pumpkins and my favor, they grow very well in NC soil and they don't suffer much from predation from bugs or animals and they are fairly disease resistant as well. In my reading I saw that I of course did not plant the pumpkins in the way the literature says I should have. Nowhere did it advise to dump your pumpkins over the wall and then dump dirt on them and then after a while break them up with a shovel and dump more dirt on them. This is not how I was supposed to do it. I was supposed to plant them in rows no less then six feet apart and then they should be mounded. In my favor, the dirt was mounded, on the downside the sprouts were at most about six inches apart. The fact that they are as pretty and green and lush as they are is probably a miracle and there still is not promise that they will produce anything other than lush foliage. Thinking positive thoughts, I read that they can cross pollinate so I could end up with  tortie pumpkins.

Any pumpkins at all would make me joyful.

On the watermelon side, they are so young that there isn't much going on with them yet.

 I've shifted this plant and its vines too keep them from attacking the peas and beans. I'm not that this was an all together wise move. But why can't it grow to the other side? The side where it won't attack anything?!

unshifted, not in attack mode.

really far behind the others.

 My reading taught me that transplanting seedlings as "old" as the  specimens that  I removed from the pumpkin patch, is not wise move that does not end well in most cases and clearly these plants are much, much smaller than the plants that started out here. I still have hope though.

I do need to keep a close watch on bugs because unlike the pumpkins, the watermelons  are a  nummy treat. There was also a lot of column inches dedicated to keeping them weeded - not a problem for me as I use weed barrier but since it don't mention WB at all, should I not use it? so far it doesn't seem to be bothering the plants any and they are growing and maturing. I have some fears that they may grow and develop into the tomatoes and there is a very good chance they will take over the beans and peas.

Again, upside, peas and beans have a shortish season and I don't think that there will be a lot of negative over lap.  I do fear that even with only three plants in a space that could support  six peppers or tomatoes, that I'm not going to have the space that they need. The plant in the satellite garden space is doing okay


 ...but there is something in that bed that is a voracious and brutal eater and I am really worried about how anything I have planted there is going to fair. This is depressing because I had some  hopes for that area taking on a lot more active role as a garden space in the future. In that future maybe I need to use weed barrier the space to block both weeds and pests ,as thus far, I have no such problems ( knock wood, please Jesus!) in the main garden.

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