Who would have thought that a fruit that is so full of water is growing at this time of year. Although we have had some rain, July and August are usually the worst times for a desert gardener such as myself.
Because I do not plant a lot of different veggies in the garden (in the summer) and 800 square feet is a lot of space to fill; I plant melons. They trail around and take up a lot of space. This acts as a ground cover to protect the soil a bit. Add that to the fact that I have an awesome shade contraption that Steve built for me, and I have a green lawn of watermelon.
I do not get as much fruit as I would like, but I do get fruit. I know that it is started from heirloom seed and organically grown. So that makes it important to me.
The challenges that I face? Pill bugs. Roly Polys, sow bugs (whatever you call them). Where the melon sits on the ground the bugs will eat away at the bottom. I do not know how conventional farmers do it. (Pesticides?) So right or wrong-here is what I do. As soon as I see a fruit growing on this tangled web of vine, I cut a thick sheet of card board about 1 foot square and place it under the melon. I will carefully lift the melon every few days to make sure that the cardboard is intact that the bugs have not gotten past it.
The other thing that I do is to watch for peck marks. The birds seem to know exactly when this melon is sweet enough. They might do a few exploratory pecks. But once they know that they know, your melon will be gone before you can say “Dog gone birds!”