Friday, May 21, 2010

Garden Sprawl Friday

Today, I'm just putting up these sprouts.

They are Minnesota Midget melons. Cantaloupes, or more correctly, musk melons. The melons only get about as big as a very large baseball. They're good for northern climates and have a relatively quick maturing rate. They are open-pollinated, not F1 hybrids. I try to limit myself to open-pollinated varieties only.

I grew them last year and the largest of them all only reached the size of a large golf ball. In all other regards they were perfectly sweet and tasted like cantaloupe - with the exception of a couple bland ones.

I saved the seeds from them all, and made sure to keep the seeds from the largest in a separate envelope. So, this year on April 27th. I sowed some from the original store-bought package from last year, some from the collection of the ones I saved, as well as the seeds saved from the Large One.

I sowed them in the greenhouse with no bottom heat or any other source of electric heat. I don't have any of that stuff anyway, nor want it. On certain nights at the end of April the night temps dropped to frost/freezing in fits. The first sprouts to come up were from the seeds I saved from the Large One. It is acclimation, which just gets better every year you sow from what you saved.

I sowed more the other week, and all together there are twenty of them up. This year though I'm not going to transplant them into containers (mistake!) but into the good old ground.


ukok said...

Paul, since you are more experienced than i at gardening, can i ask how deep the roots of squash go down? I am working hard on my garden and the only place i have left for my squash to go is in the rather naff debris filled borders with horid soil. However, i have some long garden planters about 4ft x 2 ft and about 6- 8 inches high, i could fill these with good soil/compost and plant the squash in them...but would they be okay root wise? I have about 6 of these planters so the squash could spread quite easily.


Paul Stilwell said...

Debbie, I would try and plant them in the borders, given that they would then be in the ground.

Unfortunately, I don't think the squash would do very well at all in those planters. They are definitely wide enough, but if I remember right, squash vine roots go down quite a ways. BTW, what variety of squash are they?

In the borders, you could possibly make mounds with the good material you have, then plant the squash in the mounds.

Or perhaps the squash would get in the way of the walkpath then. Let me know what you decide

ukok said...

Paul, thank you so much for your speedy response. This is my first year of growing fruit and veg and as a novice i have a great deal to learn and although i frequent various gardening forums on the internet, sometimes it is easier to just ask people 'you know'. We know one another 'kind of' don't we :-)

At present i am trying to grow 2 varieties of squash:

a) Patty Pan
b) Cobnut Squash

I have a fairly small garden and limited physical ability to garden due to breathing difficulties (blah blah blah) so i am growing most things in raised beds and other containers which i find easier to work with.

The squash might prove a bit of a problem for me, but i am going to heed your advise re; building up mounds of earth and planting the squash on them.

The other thing about the squash is that i thought 1 seed = 1 squash (told you i know nothing about gardening) and now i have been reading that more than 1 squash grow from it than that.
Should be interesting, with my limited garden space.

Another question, if it is not too tedious for you to banter with me about tis some more...could i grow any of these varieties of squash vertically?

I'm just thinking if i could maybe rig up something for them to climb, do you think it could work? I'd still use the mounds of earth, but then try to get them to grow vertically rather than horizontally?

Perhaps the squash would be too heavy for that though...hmmm, unless i picked them when they were reasonably small?

What think you?

ukok said...

Don't mean to be a pest, but could you email me a response if it isn't too much trouble ?(I wish this great post of yours had the option to view follow up comments, but alas it does not) No rush for a reply though.


Paul Stilwell said...

Debbie, I don't have your email and couldn't find it, so I'm posting the response here.

I have no problem with gardening banter between us. I'm interested in how your gardening goes (I'm always learning myself) so don't feel that you're being a pest if you want to drop an email or comment. :)

I would definitely try to trellis the squash! The patty pans are smaller ones, so they shouldn't be a problem, but even with the other ones that are bigger, if they seem to be causing too much tension on the vine, the weight can always be taken off in ways. Like, for instance, an old stool or small table put under the squash, or loosely tieing the squash itself (in addition to the already-tethered vines) to the trellis.

There are people who grow large melons vertically and the melons hold on fine. But I would not harvest the squash before maturity. I remember harvesting an immature pumpkin for cooking and the taste of it was no good.

Also, one seed = one vine. One vine = numerous squashes.

A good number of seeds to plant per mound is three. If it gets to be too much as they grow, you can always remove some (I know, that would be hard to do once you see them growing!). Maybe plant a few more than what you think you need. Better than being late in the season and wishing you had planted more.

Hope all goes well with them!

ukok said...


thank you for getting back to me. The only reason i asked about the email thing is (well, there are two reasons really).... because i am a lazy sod ....and also because i check my emails regularly on my phone as i always have it with me...whereas i tend to sometimes not check my blog for days at a time lately.

For future reference, if you ever do want to email me you can do so at katholicos at (@)

I did used to have my email address on the blog but i got quite a lot of spam and also some nuts writing to me, so i removed it.

Thanks muchly for the advise, it is very much appreciated. The weather here is crap. We had blistering heat the other day and now snow is forecast in some parts of the UK and the temps here over the past couple of days have been really quite low so it's quite unpredictable and inconsistant (What's new?).

I don't have a greenhouse per se, but i do have two tall 5 tier plastic 'growhouse/greenhouses'. I'll put a pic on the blog in the week as i intend to get another post up before too long.

At the moment, though i take the squash and toms out of it in the day if it is warm, sometimes i just open the plastic door and let the air circulate when it is cooler. I'm looking forward to getting everything in thei beds and in the ground, but from the UK forums i frequent the general consensus seems to be not to plant out squash until the end of June.

Rightio, will push off now. Many thanks for taking the time to help me out in this...i really like the idea of growing the squash up a trellis as this will make excellent use of space and will also enable me to be more economical re, purchasing growing medium because all the borders will not have to have every last inch filled with compost/soil improver/whatever it is called.

Ciao for now.