My watermelon plants have been outside for about four months, and it’s been roughly three months since the first tiny watermelon appeared on the vines. According to the package, the watermelon reach maturity – about the size of a volleyball – in about 80 days. That means this entry should be about the harvest and should feature pictures of me eating the watermelon.
You won’t see those pictures in this entry because the watermelon aren’t ready for harvest. In fact, they’re not even close. Even 90 days after they first appeared, my watermelon are still only the size of a baseball (that one above). And so, with the chill of October upon us and no real growth in the last 30 days, I’m going to officially conclude my first attempt at growing my own watermelon.
When searching for reasons for their stunted growth, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been the most attentive watermelon farmer. In fact, I’ve been terrible. I plopped the seedlings in the ground without any sort of fertilization beforehand and waterings have been sporadic. (I relied mainly on Mother Nature to provide her tough love.) The combination of those two bad farming habits are probably why I was left with tiny, inedible watermelon.
They’ve had their fair share of other problems, too. About four weeks ago, I noticed one of my larger melons – at the time, the size of a tennis ball – had developed a large one-inch black spot on its rind (see photo on the right). The center of the spot was soft, which led me to think that an insect or bird got the best of it. After considering my options for a few days, I decided to pluck it from the vine for two reasons: 1) If it had some sort of watermelon disease, I didn’t want it to spread to the others, and 2) I was really curious to cut it open and see what a tiny watermelon looked like inside.
Turns out, the inside of a tiny watermelon looks a lot like the inside of a regular sized watermelon — only a lot smaller. At the bottom of this entry is a photo of the inside of one of my “healthy” watermelon, which I plucked and cut open last night.
After doing some research about the black spot, I’ve deduced that it might be “blossom end rot,” a relatively common condition caused by a calcium deficiency in the soil. In other words, caused by me being a lousy farmer. Oh well. Now I know what to do differently when I grow more watermelon next year!