By Jannie Vaught
I am following the growing schedule and watching weather and temperatures but I am back on all of my work for at least 3 weeks. I finally have gotten to a “normal” garden season. Not withstanding the potential of more heat and cool cycles.
We are learning to meet each day on its own merit. Remember that song “One day at a time?” It is true now. I did get the tomato starts and peppers in the ground then it went to 90 degrees. I have been adding shade cloth and even using frost cloth to keep the tender leaves safe. It’s like the reverse of a freeze. Yes, we are learning about sustainable gardening on the fly. In my Silver Queen sweet corn patch, I have planted Delicious 51 muskmelon from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Cucumis melo is an heirloom 75-day melon that is resistant to powdery mildew and fusarium wilt a deadly fungal disease found in soil in very wet warm weather. Wilt and yellowing leaves, often starting on one side.
There is no cure only extreme discard the complete plant and solarize with heavy black plastic to attempt to kill off the fungi with heat and no sun exposure. Often heirloom or older variety have developed their own resistance. Plant in hills 6 feet apart following depth of 1/2 to 1 inch deep, thin to 2 plants when they emerge. Use dry hay mulch or straw under the developing melons to keep them off the soil. They like full sun and emerge in 6 to 8 days. After plants set fruit feed twice at 2 weeks intervals with water-soluble plant food. Companions for Canteloup/Muskmelon are Corn, Marigolds, Mint, and Nasturtium. Water low to the ground with soaker tape or flooding the ditch around the plant like corn avoid overhead watering after they emerge. When to harvest? When the melon slips from the vine in response to slight thumb pressure. Ripe melon develops a sweet fragrance.
At my family table muskmelon was peeled and sliced in wedges and at every supper table, along with fresh tomatoes and onions sliced thin is a bowl of cold water with vinegar salt, and pepper. or a platter of sliced tomatoes. This is why I garden. It is the tradition of homegrown fresh food presented in its peak ripeness. That’s Good Eatin’.
Growing Green With Jannie