Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Oh, my watermelons!

Virginia saw three melons
And thinking 'Oh how jolly'
Virginia ate the melons
What a happy doggy folly!

(with apologies to the original author)

I have tried for years to grow Moon and Stars watermelons. The vines are small, straggly and variegated, the combination making it hard to obtain fruit from them.This year has been obnoxious for growing anything - first we lived in an oven, then it rained cats and canines. However, my watermelon vines decided it was perfect for setting fruit. This in itself was a small miracle as the pollinating insects vanished during the heatwave. The second miracle was where they decided to fruit. The vine had climbed from the safety of my fenced vegetable garden over the hot fence and into the dogs' paradise.
That is what the melon ideally should end up like - mine never do. Anyway, the first baby set itself, grew to about the size of a golf ball, then suddenly deflated and died off. Cody-dog got the blame for that, being a totally curious beast.

Not deterred, the vine produced three more babies. Cody was fascinated, so I draped some bird netting over the fence to protect the melons and allow them to grow. Cody was able to watch them, which he did regularly. 'See? One. two, three. Aren't they fun? Still one, two, three...' he counted with his nose.

Then this afternoon all three now tennis-ball sized melons vanished. I was most upset and looked around for the culprit. I had an intuition it was not Cody but Virginia. Sure enough, as I picked up a piece of melon from the grass Virginia came over and politely removed it from my hand: 'Mine', and ate it. She had managed to extract all three through the bird netting and had also pruned the vine back as bonus.

Maybe the other vines further inside the garden area may produce; I don't think that one will.

I shall also have to watch out for the pumpkins, which I have had to hand fertilise. That vine is sprawling across the driveway. The dogs are under supervision when they go out there, but are most interested in the various-sized fruit developing. I now know their interest is not benign. I'll share with them if I ever manage to harvest anything - but they are not having all of it!
Portrait of Virginia by Duncan - a dog with no concept of being a sinner!

Cheers from a dispirited would-be gardener - Fliss

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