I’m writing my post for today before we start working as I’ll be going into the city in the afternoon for the second 10k run in the YMCA summer series in the Auckland Domain. I completed last week’s run in 1 hr 14 mins 54 secs which I was very happy with, considering it was the first run of the series and the course is more demanding than all other 10k races I’ve competed in. My goal is to reduce my time to under an hour. Races are held every week, with a break over the Christmas/New Year period. The series ends when daylight savings does in April, so I still have plenty of time to work on my goal.
You may recall me mentioning in a previous post that I sowed some “Hale’s Best” rockmelon seeds from Yates. They are now ready to be taken off the heat pad and planted into individual pots, which I will get the wwoofers to help me with today. It will free up some room on the heat pad, so I will sow the watermelon “Sugar Baby” from Yates Seeds, as well as another packet of “Hale’s Best” rockmelon seeds from Yates. When there’s a bit more space on the heat pad, I’ll sow Honeydew Melon (Yates).
Now is the perfect time to start thinking about growing melons. It took me several years to master the art of growing melons and was largely thanks to help from my gardening friend Kylie Stringer, who lives in Motueka and grows the best melons out of anyone I know. They can be a bit tricky to grow, so if you’re unsuccessful at first as I was, don’t give up. Last year, I wrote a comprehensive guide to growing melons, which you can read here: https://www.anitakundu.co.nz/blog/growing-guide-melons. I thought it might be useful to summarise my top tips.
· Melons can be started from seed or you can find potted plants in garden centres. Starting from seed allows you to grow unusual varieties, such as “Banana Melon” from Kings Seeds and “Inverno” from Franchi Seeds, both of which I’ll be sowing a bit later on
· Place seeds in a warm place to germinate. Using a heat pad or hot water cupboard is ideal
· Use a high quality seed raising mix, such as Yates Natures Way Organic Seed Raising Mix
· Don’t be in a rush to plant melons outside as temperatures are still fluctuating wildly at this time of the year. I’ve found that mid-November is perfect
· Melons need full sun in order to grow well so choose the site carefully
· Melons are gross feeders. Mix lots of compost, sheep pellets and fertiliser into the ground prior to planting
· I plant my melons into black plastic, which I lay down over the area I intend to grow them. This warms the soil and helps radiate the heat
· Space plants about 1 m apart as they need room to creep
· Liquid feed plants weekly with a good fertiliser such as Yates Thrive Natural Fish and Seaweed
· When watering your melons, try not to get water on the leaves or they may develop powdery mildew
· Melons need to be pollinated in order to produce fruit. They may benefit from being pollinated by hand, as the flowers are small and are sometimes missed by bees
· As melons develop, pop an old plate, saucer or lid underneath fruit to avoid it coming into contact with the ground and rotting
· Don’t pick melons too early or they won’t be ripe. If your melons are ready, they should slip away easily from the vine. Another way to tell if it is ready is to knock on the melon. If the sound is hollow, it’s a sign the melon is ready for picking
I hope these tips are helpful. Is anyone else growing melons this summer? Are you a first time grower or have you grown them in the past? Have you had any luck? All the best for this season!