Friday, 14 August 2009

Oh My Gourd!

I'm growing shark fin melon (also known as fig leaved or malabar gourd) this year. I'd been advised against this, as the vines can grow up to 4m(!), but being one to pack as much in to the patch as I possibly can, I threw all caution to the wind and begged for some seeds (can't buy them in this country - nearest online place I found them was in Germany). Unfortunately, the seeds didn't germinate, but FIL came to the rescue and gave me about 5 seedlings from his garden. FIVE! I picked the two strongest ones to plant out to grow over the arch (space saving, see?), and cut down the weaker one once it looked like one would survive.

It doesn't take much looking after - the vines indeed do have a life of their own, and I swear that the tendrils wrap themselves around whatever it is I've freed from them, the minute my back is turned!

The melons themselves also grow by the hour. This is a baby melon just a couple of days after making its first appearance (28.07.09):

A week or so later(07.08.09):

And today:
I decided to cut it down today rather than let it get any bigger, because the other baby melons that were on the vine have stopped growing and are starting to shrivel up. I'm not sure if it's the same principle as courgettes whereby the plant stops producing if you leave a courgette to grow on? This size will be more than enough for myself and P anyway, although, I had wanted to save some seed but have just read this on the internet:

"The fruits are only properly ripe if they are left to run their full course on the vines until they are cut down by frost". Ack. Hope another one develops.

Oh, also trimmed and cleaned up all the garlic bulbs that I harvested last week and cut the chillies off the chilli plant. I've left a few on for decoration. I still have some in the freezer from the first de-chillifying... Hmm.. curries and chillies on the menu, ad infinitum?

1 comment:

  1. hi, i come across your blog as i am looking for shark fin melon seeds. where are you in oz? can you spare me some seeds?