Our polyhouse is mainly used as a safe haven for plants over the winter and early spring months. Come summer it’s pretty deserted as it gets too hot for most plants to cope with. So this year we are trying an experiment by planting some of our more tender tropical crops in the polyhouse to see if we can find a better use for it.
These are our ha-ogen melon seeds, just sprouting at the very end of September. Thankfully they have survived better than the first seeds I sprouted back in 2010.
Ha-ogen seedlings, 29 September 2012
They are now reaching a size where thy can be planted out. Given our relatively short growing season, sandwiched between late spring and autumn frosts, it’s a challenge to get these melons to fruit in Canberra. So this time around we’ve decided to plant two of them, one at each end, in the polyhouse.
You can see from the photo that TB has used the idea of growing them in a mesh enclosure rather than a pot.
Ha-ogen seedling planted out 16 October 2012
Given that the plants will not survive past the first cold spells (even in the polyhouse) we are OK with them putting roots down into the polyhouse’s soil floor. What is yet to go in is a sturdy trellis for the vines to grow up.
We are also going to try growing our lemongrass inside the polyhouse in a similar container. Hopefully the more humid atmosphere will encourage the development of thicker stems that we’ve managed to grow when the lemngrass has been planted out in the garden. Fingers crossed.
It’s a race against time, my ha-ogen melon bush is succumbing to mould, which is hardly surprising given how continuously wet its been this summer.
I’m still hoping to harvest two more melons which are hanging precariously from the upper stem. They may be out of the way of the slugs and snails but are in danger of falling off the weakened vine. I’ve stepped in with a trick I’ve seen on my DVD of the Victorian Kitchen Garden (era not state). Unfortunately I have no bespoke melon nets and I can only find one onion bag, so the other melon is held up with a piece of old T-shirt. Not a pretty sight but hopefully they will make it.
I have managed to harvest a second melon which only had a relatively small crater eaten out of the top of it! (I’ve taken the photo from a more flattering angle). Another one was found rotted and completely chewed on the ground.
The taste is lovely and sweet, more delicate than your average green melon. It also seems that these melons are unlikely to be good keepers, so it really is a limited season product.
Anyway as TB noted we have now collected plenty of seed from the melons, rotten or not, so we will be able to plant many more later this year.
Well it’s been a bit quiet on the blog front lately as TB and I have been suffering from the dreaded lurgy for the better parts of two weeks. Sore throats interspersed with raging head colds and runny noses. The garden has largely been seen through the windows rather than worked in.
A ‘gentle’ sortie last weekend for more blackberries yielded another 4 kilos of fruit and sent me back to bed for two days. My one consolation was that this week I at last tasted my ha-ogen melon!
I managed to stagger out to the front garden and, while attempting to dislodge the slugs and slaters, accidentally pulled the fruit from the vine. Given that we are moving into autumn I decided that this might be my one chance to taste the fruit. I cut off both well chewed ends, cleaned out the seeds (saved for next year) and scraped the surface clean. I was left with two little pieces of fruit about 10cm by 5 cm. Not quite the triumph I was hoping for but enough to cheer me up on my bed of illness. I was so out of it that I didn’t even have the motivation to take a photograph of it! It tasted well, like a very pleasant ‘green’ melon. I really don’t think I can be more definitive until I manage to get a more complete fruit to try and I’m not sure about my chances on that one. Fingers crossed!
Arrrrghhhhh! no sadly its not me practicing for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19 every year). Some slimy snail or slug has just chewed 5 of my 7 Ha-Ogen Melon seedlings into stem stumps!
These little beauties, the seeds that is, were given to me by Corinne over at the Urban Vegetable Patch, (hi Corinne). I was so pleased when I saw them all happily growing away yesterday. One consolation is that a third seed is just breaking through. Anyway I’ve planted four more seeds today and hope they will evade the slimers this time around.