Sunday, August 26, 2012

Melon Experiment

This is the first year I've been able to grow anything for real, and outside. I decided to try and grow melons (watermelon, canteloupe and honeydew) and they worked surprisingly well. I went with two types of watermelon, red and yellow.

A friend asked me if I were planning to grow a square watermelon... When I said just trying not to kill them was goal enough for the year, he made me a "watermelon box" and told me to try it. I have engineer friends :) I put one of the small yellow watermelons into the box....

On July 30th, after about two week in the box, the yellow watermelon looked like this:
View from the stem end, about two weeks after being put in the box

And view from the back, where the melon is already growing against the plastic sides...
 But a few weeks later (Aug 20th), there was trouble!:
The melon is escaping! The box was glued and screwed together...
I left it on the vine another week, and this is what it looked like when I brought it to the patio:
It only got worse over the next week...
The box had deformed so badly, power tools were required to open it. When viewed side by side with a "non-boxed" watermelon from the same vine, it appears pretty obvious what happened:
Boxed (top) and non-boxed (bottom) melons from the same vine, plus a tape measure...
Both melons were about 9 inches high, but the non boxed melon (bottom) was almost 16 inches long, while the box constricted the other one to about 9 inches long. It does look pretty cube-ish though:
It's kind of like a cube...?
So maybe a bigger box (or stronger box?) would work? Maybe next year... but I'll either have to make a new box, or get someone to make me one, because this one is toast!
The remained of the box... the pins were so deformed they couldn't come out...
But still a pretty cool experiment! Hopefully they both taste good... except I'm wondering what I'm supposed to do with two huge watermelons now...


  1. I recommend inviting friends over to view and eat the results of your boxed v.s. free range watermelon experiment.

    1. We did exactly that, complete with observations of one vs. the other... A key observations was that the the boxed melon had a lot thicker rind that the un-boxed kind, but was much easier to cut up! A tradeoff, I guess, although I'd have to repeat the experiment to make sure it was the box that caused the thicker rind... (this is what happens when engineers garden :))

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. I hope you don't mind, Renee, but I found this kind of hilarious. I've seen pictures online of those square watermelons. I guess you need either a stronger or a slightly bigger box to grow it in. I've heard you can do this with lots of other fruit too.

    1. I don't mind at all, because I thought it was hilarious too! Especially since my friend who built the box didn't believe that "just" a melon could break it! If I grow melons again next year, I will definitely try a bigger box... or a smaller melon! Thanks for you comment!


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