Mary's Veggie Garden

September 16, 2013

Harvest Monday 9/16/2013 Watermelons!

Filed under: Vegetables,Watermelon — marysveggiegarden @ 7:42 am

For the last two weeks I’ve been harvesting watermelons! I grew two varieties this year. Moon & Stars is an heirloom, named for the yellow splotches on its skin. The leaves are also spotted, making them look sick, but for Moon & Stars the spots are normal. I’ve grown Moon & Stars several times and we love it. The flesh is crisp, very juicy, and sweet without being cloying. The seeds are numerous and large – great for seed spitting contests.

Moon & Stars Watermelons, scissors for scale.

Moon & Stars Watermelons, left 18 pounds, right 11, scissors for scale.

In June I got four leftover plants from the heirloom vegetable garden at Locust Grove, in Poughkeepsie. (A benefit of volunteering.) I planted them in my Annex, my extra plot at the Vassar Farm community gardens where Moon & Stars shared a 4’x17′ bed with some direct sown Faerie watermelons, Jenny Lind cantaloupe and a big Better Boy tomato.  (The bed was already planted when I got the Moon & Stars plants, so yes, it was crowded. I wasn’t even planning to grow melons this year, after the failures of the last several years, but then I got the extra plot.)

The Moon and Stars harvest totaled 67 pounds – each plant provided one big fruit plus there were a couple smaller melons. The vines run all over, with the melons setting about 8′ out on the vines. I found two well hidden in the dried bean patch, one in the corn, and another under the tomato cage.

My second watermelon variety was Faerie, a 2012 All America Selection. The melons were supposed to be ‘family sized’, around 6 pounds. Mine were much smaller 1-2 pounds. The flavor was extremely sweet. The flesh was not crisp, more like the market seedless melons.  Maybe it would have been crisper if I’d harvested a bit earlier. As you’ll see, I probably waited too long. (I hate harvesting watermelons too early. They don’t ripen off the vine.)

Faerie watermelon.

Faerie watermelon. Note the thin rind.

In truth I had trouble growing this one. Direct sown in early June, it got off to a slow start with the cool weather. I had mulched the adjacent path with black plastic, thinking the heat would be good for melons. The plastic had puddles for days after rain and my first Faerie melon rotted on the plastic. I quickly learned to prop them up on a rock or board. The dried tendril method is the only way to determine when Faerie is ready to harvest. I should have been paying closer attention, perhaps looking at their bottoms for signs of problems. it seems like overnight they went from being perfect to looking like this:

Faerie watermelon.

Faerie watermelon.

The blemishes were only skin deep.  We ate both melons. if harvested earlier they would have been prettier and perhaps crisper.

The rest of the garden has also been producing: carrots, beets, chard, beans, peppers, and tomatoes. I harvested the last ears of corn Tuesday. Most of my tomato plants at the community gardens are almost dead from Septoria and i’m ripping them out but my plants at home are still looking fairly good. And the winter squash harvest has only just begun. But that will be a story for another day.

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8 Comments »

  1. A great looking harvest this week. We love home grown melons!! Our watermelons have been done for a couple of weeks but we are picking Crenshaw Melons now and if the weather holds we should still get another 6 or so!!

    Comment by Stoney Acres — September 16, 2013 @ 11:15 am | Reply

    • Sometimes your weather seems similar to ours, but then you get your melons so much earlier. This summer you’ve had a lot more heat than NYS.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — September 16, 2013 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  2. Nice watermelons! I’ve never successfully grown one, but I do have one this year that I am trying to determine when to pick. It really is a tough call!

    Comment by Patsy — September 16, 2013 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  3. The melons look wonderful. Well the ones at the top at least. The bottom ones aren’t nearly as photogenic.

    Comment by Daphne — September 16, 2013 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

  4. IT’s been years since I grew Moon and Stars. As I remember it was a tasty watermelon. Your’s look great!

    Comment by Dave — September 16, 2013 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  5. Great melon harvest. The moon and stars is my favorite.

    Comment by Norma Chang — September 16, 2013 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  6. Nice melon harvest, I didn’t grow any fruits this year.

    Comment by mac — October 2, 2013 @ 2:21 am | Reply


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