If you’ve been waiting for an update on our winter melon fruit, here it is. No, the fruit did not grow as big as its momma – as I understand from Novice Gardener, that was about 2 feet long. Our winter melon is tending towards a more “watermelony” shape. It’s 16cm long and very stout, about 13cm wide (approximate measurements because it’s difficult getting exact numbers from a rounded object). I don’t know if we affected the shape when we put it in the hammock to hold it up horizontally, because it’s supposed to be long and look more like a cucumber, right?
This hefty fruit is also single-handedly causing its trellis to die a slow death. Admittedly, I didn’t plan properly for it. I had NO idea the fruit would be so heavy, and unfortunately chose the wrong materials for the trellis. Although they were metal sticks, they were not strong enough, and the trellis first began to lean sideways, and when I added supports, the poles then began to bend under the weight of the fruit! I was simultaneously impressed by the fruit and appalled at the trellis.
Anyway, the fruit doesn’t seem to be growing any bigger, and the vine looks exhausted from maintaining the fruit, despite lots of fertilizers and careful watering on hot days. So, it’s time to harvest the Little Monster. The outer skin is hard and still has some of the hairy bristles. If not for the tired appearance of the vine, I would have left the fruit there to develop more. At this point, though, there’s no guarantee that the vine will want to keep growing because it really, really looks tired! However, in the hopes that it decides to go through this arduous experience again, I’ve prepared a stronger A-frame trellis over the existing one, and will transfer the vine to it once it recovers (I hope) after the harvest.
At the least, I guess I can consider a success with the winter melon – we’ve gone from seed to plant to fruit, and harvest!