Ellen's July 24 Blog - Melons

Ellen's July 24 Blog - Melons

Another superb fruit to try is melon. If grown in the right conditions you can be harvesting melons from mid to late summer right here in the UK!

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The sun arrived, the automatic vents are being put to work and finally…the Rhino Greenhouse is full of the scents of summer! The tomatoes have put on some excellent growth, full of flowers and fruits. Cucumbers, aubergines and chillis are all growing really well and microgreens are filling the shelving with carpets of nutrition. Thank goodness for the sunshine.

I experiment every year on the allotment growing all kinds of vegetables and fruit that many might think we are unable or tricky to grow in the UK. It’s been surprising over the years just what does grow well and often outside without cover or of course in the greenhouse. My favourite experiment was probably chickpeas followed closely by soy beans. These did grow and were harvested in abundance!

Another superb fruit to try is melon. If grown in the right conditions you can be harvesting melons from mid to late summer right here in the UK! Preferably in a greenhouse or polytunnel for heat and humidity, there are some varieties that can be grown outdoors. Grow them similarly to cucumbers and support the vines along with the growing fruits as they can get quite heavy. If we have a long hot summer, a cover may not be needed for some varieties when grown outside. When the fruits form and begin to swell I would recommend removing some of them. It might seem sad to remove a few but this means the plant will be able to put more energy into growing 4 to 6 fuller, sweeter melons per plant.

If you do grow them outside it may be beneficial to use a cloche or cover and to support the melons so they are raised off the ground lifting them from sitting in the soil which can cause rot. I use a brick and gently lift the vine with the fruit on top of it. They will need a warm, sunny and sheltered place to grow. Make sure you can access them easily to be regularly watered and a mulch will help to retain moisture. As a tender annual they will die back when the temperatures drop in autumn.

I have grown both cantaloupe and honeydew, the latter being better suited to undercover and cantaloupe outside such as Cantaloupe ‘Alvaro F1’ and Melon ‘Outdoor Wonder’.

Enjoy experimenting in your garden or on the allotment, it makes gardening even more fun!

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