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OUT IN THE GARDEN: Ambitious melon project

There really is something quite wonderful about waking up to see snow covering the countryside, children throwing snowballs, and parents acting as huskies pulling their children along on a sled as they giggle loudly.

It’s amazing how beautiful Mother Nature can make our world look in the depths of winter.

Within the household this week we had a bit of a disaster – the freezer broke down and stopped working.

Melons (44441608)
Melons (44441608)

So rather than throw everything away or consume vast amounts of oven chips and several bags of peas dating way back to the early 90’s, we put everything into a covered box and left them outside the back door, just until we could source a new freezer.

I wrapped the hairy rug from the front room around me so that I could release my inner caveman... I tried to convince my wife to join in but she was too busy watching Celebs Go Dating!

On this occasion we were quite fortunate Mother Nature was with us and with a little ingenuity we were able to solve our problem and it’s the topic of ingenuity that brings me on to this weeks’ gardening question.

On Wednesday I was messaged with a query on how to grow melons.

Melons. I thought this is February in the UK not the Caribbean, but as I read on it became clear that this man was thinking outside of the box in his attempts to propagate and grow melons.

Within a seed tray inside a propagator he had managed to germinate 20 melon seeds which is a feat in itself. He’d also purchased a light unit to provide red and blue light to the seedlings for photosynthesis.

The challenge he now faced was how to keep them healthy until the end of May at which time he could plant them out into his greenhouse.

Now my advice would be to sow more seedlings but wait until April before sowing them in a propagator as the levels of ambient light at that time of year will be sufficient to sustain the germinating seedlings.

Also, by the time the end of May comes, the melon plants will naturally be ready for transferring to the greenhouse – after all, melons are a tropical fruit so therefore need a tropical environment to grow.

Now maybe with a hydroponics set up with humidity control and heaters you may be able to emulate the conditions needed indoors to grow melons now, but that’s not my area of expertise.

What does strike me is sometimes no matter how ingenious you are Mother Nature always has the final say.

That’s not to say he should stop attempting growing melons entirely, no, but if he works with Mother Nature I really think he’ll succeed.

I’m looking forward to seeing photographs of his growing melon fruits in the summer as they ripen in the little hammocks which he’ll have to fashion to support the swelling fruits.

These will be the celebrities of the fruit world, pampered and cosseted until the day he’ll be able to harvest his first melon and on that day I know he’ll feel the most enormous sense of pride.

All I hope is that on that day, he wears the most outrageous Hawaiian shirt and flip flops, while drinking a Pina Colada.

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