Tag Archives: watermelon

July 5, 2015 Greenhouse Update

There isn’t too much to talk about today in the greenhouse update. There haven’t been any disasters that required me to fix the plastic; there haven’t been any falling fans to break off my watermelon vines, or anything of that nature. What there has been however is a tremendous amount of growth.

As you can see in the video, everything has double (or tripled, or more) in size since the last video from June 21. This is in large part to a spike in temperature for almost a week that kept it near (sometimes above) 32°C (89.6°f) which a lot of the plants in there just loved. On those days the smaller containers and the flats needed to be watered at least twice, the medium containers only needed extra water a few of the hottest days since they do a good job of shading their soil with their leaves. I only had to water the raised bed and the large pepper an extra time once through the hot weather, and that was on the day when I couldn’t get the temperature down below about 36°C (about 97°f).

I tried something new to shade the greenhouse on those hot days which seemed to work better than the tarp I had been using before. I used clothes pins to pin up strips of landscape fabric to the cattle panels in the upper south side of the greenhouse. It worked alright, but eventually I think I will have to get something that shades from the outside, but doesn’t touch the plastic so that there is a zone where the air in the shade can cool before it ever touches the greenhouse. I think this is the best option, and should help keep the greenhouse the coolest on those hot days.

Another idea I have been toying with is to grow beans up the front of the greenhouse, either on the inside, or on the outside to provide a natural shade on the structure. The only thing that worries me about that is how it would affect the plants inside, since there will always be some shade thrown on them during the summer instead of just when they need it like a shade cloth would provide. I will keep an eye on the beans that I already have in there this year to see if the idea is even plausible to try.

That’s all for this update, until next time, keep on gardening and look for a guide to how I sprout my lemon seeds faster that is coming soon.

June 21 2015 Greenhouse Update and Hand Pollination Tips

The greenhouse is doing great for the most part this year, even after a week solid of rain and mostly cloudy weather – there were a few sunny breaks, though not many – everything is growing well. Everything that is, except for the cucumbers.

The cucumbers I planted, that I talked about in the last post have grown a bit, but not as much as everything else around them. This is becoming a bit of a problem, at least for the moment because they aren’t getting as much sun as they should because they are flanked on each side by pole beans and tomatoes which have become much bigger than the lowly cucumbers.

Shaded Cucumbers

As you can see, there isn’t much sun for them yet, and that was taken at 10:30 AM.

As of right now, I would guess they only get about four solid hours of good sunlight a day. The morning sun is dappled through the watermelons and beans, especially on the plant at the back but this is something that I had planned for, as I want the morning glory’s to do that for everything on the north side to keep the temperature down a little bit for slightly longer on warm days.

What I never planned for was the beans growing so much faster than the cucumbers, and that the Roma tomatoes, and some of the door frame would block so much from them in the late afternoon and early evening. None of this will be a problem once the cucumbers start growing up the netting behind them, as for now the sunlight seems to hit just above their current height and there isn’t much of the trellis that is shaded most of the time.

Next year though, I will either moving them to one of the ends of the raised bed, or just starting them earlier so they can be more dominant when it comes to reaching the sun against the other plants. If I transplant them around the same height as the tomatoes, or even the peppers, they should do a lot better.

Hand Pollination
One of the problems with my greenhouse is the lack of pollinators flying in and out of it on a daily basis. Though lately I have had to help a few bees get back home by picking them up on a stick and bringing them out the door, so it seems the hanging basket I put outside is working so far.

I am not seeing enough activity to stop hand pollinating however, so I will keep it up for the rest of the season unless I see the number of pollinators climbing significantly.

Tomatoes and peppers are some of the easiest plants to hand pollinate that I know of. All you have to do is knock the pollen off of the male parts into the air and they will coat the female parts and you will have a new fruit. Some people use electric toothbrushes for this, but I just tap the top of the flower with my finger and it seems to work great. For tomatoes growing very tall I have seen people using long poles to tap on the flowers, but I can reach the roof of my greenhouse, so this should never be the case for me.

The technique I showed in the video for the watermelons – rubbing the reproductive parts of the male flower right onto those of the female flower – can be done for a number of other plants as well. Cucumbers, summer and winter squash, cantaloupe, and any other plant that fruits from imperfect (separate male and female) flowers. You can also transfer the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers by using a small paintbrush or cotton swab.

That’s it for this update, I hope you enjoyed it, and if you liked the video subscribe to the YouTube channel! As always you can reach me through social media using the links on this page (look for the green buttons).