Watermelon After All

Some of y’all will probably remember me whining complaining about deer eating our watermelon plants.  They did a lot of damage, but we sacrificed the last of the spring kale and moved the deer fence protecting it to the watermelon garden instead, in the hope that it would keep them out. Fortunately it did (or they lost interest as the plants grew) and now we’re harvesting watermelons.

This year we raised Crimson Sweets and Moon and Stars Yellow Fleshed.

Crimson Sweet

Crimson Sweet

Moon and Stars

Moon and Stars

Both are big delicious melons.  Crimson Sweet is the sweetest, best-tasting watermelon I’ve ever eaten. Moon and Stars is another old heirloom, but far less known.  It was thought to be extinct before a seed-saver discovered it growing on a farm in Missouri in the late 1980s.  Not as sweet as the Crimson Sweet (nothing is) it has a great texture and delicious refreshing taste.

Most of our customers want Crimson Sweets, and that is understandable.  A few who are adventurous, or who remember Moon and Stars from their childhoods, are enjoying those as well. We’re pleased that the deer spared some for us.

Watermelons like hot weather.  Once the fruit has set, too much water will diminish their sweetness.  So the cool wet weather we’re having these days isn’t helping them finish strong.  And since we don’t use any plastic mulch on our farm the weeds are out of control and they’re not helping either.

But I’ll keep searching them out and I expect to eat watermelon every day for at least another month.  It’s one of the joys of August.

 

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17 comments on “Watermelon After All

  1. Joanna says:

    We tried watermelon in our greenhouse and it didn’t work, so just curious. When do you plant the seed and what kind of weather helps them to thrive?

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    • Bill says:

      We plant seeds on the first of May. Watermelons like hot weather. It needs to be above 70 even at night for them to thrive. They need plenty of water to get going but once the fruit sets it’s best if they don’t get much, as it affects the sweetness of the melon. Lots of people these days transplant watermelon plants into black plastic mulch, which supresses weeds and keeps the soil temperature high. We don’t do that but it is the norm these days I think and would help in cooler climes.

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  2. shoreacres says:

    I wonder now if the two melons I’ve had might have been Crimson Sweet. I just looked in the refrigerator, and the appearance is the same. Not only that, when I cut the first one, I was completely astonished by how sweet it was. Just delicious.

    As a matter of fact, the first was so good, the second cost me $40. The watermelon was $5. The $35 was for a folding cart to get the thing home, since their size has been increasing — a lot! It really wasn’t a frivolous investment, since I’ve been thinking it’s time to get a little cart to haul my supplies up and down the dock at work. But it was the watermelon that was the final motivator!

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    • Bill says:

      They probably were Crimson Sweets. They’re very popular watermelons. They usually weigh about 25 lbs and can be bigger than that so the cart is probably a good idea. 🙂

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  3. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, ha, the garden always has surprises, doesn’t it. My neighbor had planted some pumpkins at Terra Nova Gardens but thought the weather with strong winds and hail had destroyed all the plants. The summer passed by and the weeds grew and the pumpkin patch had been forgotten until the vines started growing out of the weeds and the orange flowers started appearing. There just may be some pumpkins for harvest yet. Last year it was squash surprise that did the same thing. One never knows how the garden is going to end even with harsh weather conditions. Plants were designed to survive and they are good at it, don’t you think? Of course fences help. I’ll be back to building fence next week. This week is an other people’s project. Complete concrete step repair for a single gal with not much money will keep me out of trouble for a few days. Other than the labor the cost of materials is not much. Today is dog watching day for my cousin. Life is good if I just don’t weaken. 🙂

    Have a great watermelon feasting day or days.

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    • Bill says:

      Maybe the watermelon plants just needed pruning. 🙂
      I just had a few big pieces for dessert. What a great time of year for seasonal eating.
      Hope you had a good day dog watching. Stay strong. 🙂

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  4. bobraxton says:

    one early September Sunday family (Wright) reunion one person used to bring a trailer loaded with his and plunged them in large zinc coated metal tubs of ice before slicing open for the leatter part of the table spread on the lawn of my grandmothers family house (where she grew up). Near South Fork (NC) quaker annual meeting (church building) on the line between Alamance and Chatham counties.

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  5. Amy Lou says:

    Look at those! So big and lovely. I was really bummed when you told us about the deer. I’m really glad some made it!

    I planted melons quite late this year. As a first year gardener, I forgot that, in summer, something needs to go where the spinach was in spring. I’m growing these weird, small melons. One is from Iraq and one is called an Ananas D’Amerique A Chair Verte (I liked the name). I think today will be the first day we try one. I hope they’re as tasty as yours!

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    • Bill says:

      That’s a great melon. I think you’re going to really like it. We planted some last year but deer ate the plants. This year I got one from a friend and saved the seed so we’ll try again next year.

      The deer spared some of the watermelons for us but lately they’ve been feasting our winter squash. Grrr…

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  6. I love watermelons! The last few here have had… issues, but we’ve eaten six or so. I have not tried to grow the Crimson sweet. We tried three types this year : Desert King, Orange Flesh Tendersweet, and Charleston Gray. The Grays and the Kings were good. The Orange… not so much. Glad you were able to salvage them from the deer!

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    • Bill says:

      Watermelons are a great part of summer. I tried Charleston Grays a few years ago but it was a fail. We usually grow Sugar Babies along with the other two varieties but decided this year to just grow the two.

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  7. avwalters says:

    We’ve had a very cool, dry summer. Some evenings in July hovered in the high 40s. My garden is pathetic this year. Next year will be different. Unfortunately, the melons are about the size of my thumbnail! And it’s August! So I have to sit back and be a little jealous, a little in awe, at your glorious sweet harvest.

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    • Bill says:

      Sorry it’s not a great melon year for you. Every year is different and every year brings a new set of challenges. Our watermelons are OK but we don’t have nearly as many as we have had in the past. The cantaloupes are just starting to ripen, but its been cool and very wet (as in nearly 5 inches of rain) this week which is not how I’d like to see them finish.

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  8. EllaDee says:

    Even though it’s the wrong season here, I’ve had watermelon on my mind after seeing a picture of watermelon, feta and mint salad… in summer it will happen. Not the way we enjoyed watermelons as kids… al fresco, but a good idea nonetheless and watermelon is one of those wonderful summer rituals 🙂

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