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September 7th, 2010

Test Garden Update: Leslie Doyle, Las Vegas, NV

leslie_d_tnI transplanted ‘Shiny Boy’ watermelon seedlings late—on July 31— in a bed I forgot was dedicated to something else. So after they were growing for a couple of weeks I dug them up (2 plants) and replanted them in another bed. I moved them at 10 pm in the dark. I don’t think they knew what happened because they woke up in the morning and kept on growing. I guess it’s not true that melons don’t like to be transplanted!

alvaroI love the intense colors of this ‘Alvaro’ melon, left. It measured 6″ x 6-1/2″, a little bigger than expected and very sweet and tasty. I would grow ‘Alvaro’ again. The bell peppers are ‘Pinot Noir’ and are starting to come in at a larger size since the pump for the well was repaired.

melonsThe two types of melons in this picture are ‘Yellow Honey’ honeydew and ‘Crimson Sweet’ watermelon. The catalog description said ‘Crimson Sweet’ would grow to about 25 pounds, however they are weighing in at 40 pounds. I haven’t got room in the fridge for them, even when cut in half, so I am giving away a lot of watermelons. ‘Yellow Honey’ (the two yellow melons in the photo) is confusing me as the sizes are vastly different. Most weigh over 13 pounds, but this little one is about 7 pounds. What’s up with this?

The melon vines are very long and threaten to enter the house. Bill says he’s “afraid of waking in the morning with melons in the bed.” Today I trimmed their vines so he could sleep at night and so I could get out the bedroom door without wading through them.

yellowhoneyWhen Bill puts down the camera he will have to take this melon from me—I’m stuck like this and I can’t stand up while holding it. When I carried one of the 40 pound watermelons into the house last week I hurt my knee and was limping around for DAYS. I won’t do that again—and Bill is now in charge of harvesting the melons.

The melons are delicious and producing heavily but, sadly, I will have to pull them out soon to make room for my cool season veggies and garlic. Or maybe I will just trim the plants and keep one or two vines with melons, to enjoy into November?


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June 30th, 2010

Test Garden Update: Leslie Doyle, Las Vegas, NV

leslie_d_tnIt’s sizzling HOT in the desert. 108 degrees yesterday in the shade on the porch and 110 today. It is much hotter in the sun out in the garden, probably 130 or more on the crushed granite paths. My vegetables are green and lush and growing fast in the heat and I am still putting transplants into the garden.

I’ll go out in the garden about 11 pm tonight, turn on the floodlights, and make sure the soil in the beds is still moist. Then I’ll look at the backsides of the veggie leaves for insects and put in a couple more veggie plants. So far I haven’t see any whiteflies, aphids, or squash bugs. This may be due to my June planting.

In past years I’ve started transplanting my seedlings in April. This year it was very windy and I decided to wait for the spring weather to settle down. This was a good decision, because the spring insect pests hatched before there was anything in the garden for them to attack, and I think they must have starved to death or left my garden. Maybe they went to your garden? Sorry.

Because we have a long growing season in Las Vegas it is not important for me to transplant veggies into the garden in the warm days of late winter and early spring. But this has been the practice in Las Vegas and is widely taught. Not just because the farmers practice this, but because the weather has warmed and gardeners are anxious to plant, and for the most part, they can. But I am not convinced that early planting is the best thing to do, or the easiest for the home gardener, given the insect and disease issues that accompany zillions of hungry hatching insects.

So, I am watching my plants to see if I can determine if there are less insect problems this year, with my June transplanting, as opposed to last year with an April and mostly May transplanting. 

Four varieties of test beans in my garden.

Four varieties of test beans in my garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomatoes growing in my new front-yard bed over silver reflective mulch.

Tomatoes growing in my new front-yard bed over silver reflective mulch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watermelons transplanted three weeks ago between the gusty winds. The white powder is horticultural grade diatomaceous earth for cockroach and fire ant control.

Watermelons transplanted three weeks ago between the gusty winds. The white powder is horticultural grade diatomaceous earth for cockroach and fire ant control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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