Saturday, July 16, 2011

watermelon, pumpkin, cantaloupe and squash

Over the winter we read Amy Goldman's books on growing heirloom varieties of tomatoes, squash and melons. Featuring gorgeous photos and detailed descriptions of growth habit and fruit size, dimension, color and use, these books are garden porn for small growers like us. We want to help our native bee population healthy, and what better way to do it than planting a variety of things native to this part of the world! Some varities from other parts of the world too.

The tomato plants look great with lots of green fruit on them. This week we have a couple of red tomatoes, which means next week a few more and August a flood! Collecting glass jars for canning.

We studied a lot about how to get maximum production on the squash and melons. We have 4 kinds each of pumpkins, cantaloupe, winter squash, summer squash and watermelon in the ground. Our greatest challenge isthe bugs that love to eat the stems of these plants, so we keep an eye on them and plant after the bugs lay their devouring babies. Because we grow for a CSA and are not racing to be first to market we don't feel the push to plant early and spray insecticides, organic or other, to keep the bugs at bay. Many of the fruit from these plants keep for months in a cool place, so our efforts go into keeping plants healthy and not having early crops. We can eat much of these all winter long!

The flowers are the beginning of the fruit. There are male and female flowers, and tons of bees buzzing around. Under the hoophouse where there are tomatoes, cucumbers and lots of different melons and squash you can feel and hear the buzzing. Look closely and you can see the melon forming at the base of this flower:

and the flower full of bees..not honey bees by the way, the melons ans squash are filled with bunblebees and squash bees:
and a short list, from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed, of what we have on order..

New England Sugar Pie


Howden


King Of Mammoth Pumpkin


Rouge Vif D' Etampes Pumpkin


Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin


Musquee De Provence Pumpkin


Jack Be Little Pumpkin


Seminole Pumpkin


and from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange:

Costata Romanesc
Wilson Sweet
Table Queen Acorn
Sugar Baby WATERMELON
Black Tail Mountain WATERMELON
Northstar (Planet and Stars) WATERMELON
Small Sugar PUMPKIN
Yellow Crookneck SQUASH
Green-Striped Cushaw
Tender Grey zucchini
Delicata Zeppelin SQUASH
Benning's Green Tint SQUASH

and the list goes on..banana melons and more!

3 types on cucumber, that are up on the trellis, thanks to Jerry's help. And while we were sleeping, they were growing..

2 comments:

  1. I see two bumblebees and what seems to be a squash bee (http://bugguide.net/node/view/83553) inside that flower. I have been collecting squash bees for a Cornell University project. It is backbreaking for me. I won't volunteer again next year. Ouch!

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  2. yay for the bees! We rarely see honey bees in the squash, pumpkin, melon, cucumber, tomato..it seems the honeybees prefer clover, buckwheat, sunflowers and such.

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