Early Granite melon

August 15th update keep beds full, cucumbers tomatoes and melons, save seed, make compost, insect covers, store onions

Early August has been unusually warm here, night minimum temperatures averaging16C/61F and day maxima averaging 27C/81F. Growth is fast as long as one waters – we usehose, which takes time while using less water. Sometimes we water in bright sunlight, and that is fine.

However, since 13th we have much wetter, less hot and gloomy weather. It’s ideal for late blight! I would harvest remaining potatoes soon, and see no advantage to leaving them in the ground.

No dig

I have been hearing of drought in the east of England, especially Norfolk. One gardener wonders if a compost mulch is a good mulch when so dry. By the way, compost is a mulch, and works in dry conditions.

Another gardener in Norfolk wondered about spreading his autumn compost now, to increase mulch thickness. I would say that can work, from my experience and also following feedback from dry places such as Arizona and other arid areas. See more about no dig in dry climates on our Testimonials page.

More sowing and planting

There is plenty of sowing to make still, see the timeline. We sowed more spinach yesterday, while the sowings of 10th August are just showing first leaves. I find that 14-18 days is enough time in the greenhouse, for seedlings to be ready. During the hot weather, I was watering twice a day.

Clearing to replant

Because days are now shortening rapidly, I sometimes clear vegetables before they are quite finished cropping. to have clear space for new transplants. My second online course has a lot about this.

Weedkiller in compost

If not affecting you, please skip to next para.

However there are many gardeners suffering this horror, and I quote one from You Tube to illustrate the problem:

I had stunted growth of my chilli plants this year with curling leaves, I repotted them in a different compost and they shot up afterwards although I think it’s too late and I won’t be getting a chilli harvest from four plants this year.

I didn’t know that weedkiller in compost was even a thing. I’ve had this problem a few times and always thought I’d done something wrong with watering or not keeping my plants warm and in fertile soil. (Michael Skelton, engineer).

If you complain to the UK government HSE, they ‘empathise’ and pretend it’s your fault. Still worth letting them know, otherwise “there is not a problem”. Please do report any problems to [email protected] and [email protected] headed “Pyralid contamination”.

At Homeacres I have a dying and probably dead plum tree and sea holly, where I spread some compost I had been given to try, but shall never know the exact cause, and can prove nothing!


In dry conditions, the best use of water is to help new plantings establish, say every 2-3 days for a week or two: as with the chicory below right.

Also water fruiting plants, to enjoy more harvest. I did not water climbing beans until 10 days ago, when their pods start to develop and swell, We water celery (my new video), which needs water always. On the other hand, best not give more than maintenance ration to celeriac, until it really starts swelling in a week or two.


Cordon cucumbers are a main harvest from undercover growing in summer. My cucumber and beef tomato plants are cropping magnificently, however my cherry tomatoes are poor. Perhaps they dislike the heat more than tomato plants for large fruits. Outdoor tomato plants look healthier than the polytunnel tomatoes, while greenhouse tomato plants are in good shape.



The recent warmth has helped melons growth a lot. I grow them up strings to save space but find it makes them crop later. This can be a problem in the UK, with our normally cool summers. So far I picked just two from the Early Granite, super tasty. All these are from Real Seeds.

All plants were sown mid April and transplanted third week of May. Compost mulch and no feeds given. We are making a video about training and side-shooting them, for Course no. 3 releasing next February. Note there are no supports for the heavy fruits – another myth!

How to know when a melon is ripe? The aroma… you will know!

Augergines, watermelon

These love heat as much as melons. I save seed from last year’s Early Moonbeam watermelon, and it looks promising now.

The black aubergines have cropped well, but I lost one plant with leaves going limp, and brown blotches, from Erwinia I think.

The aubergines started as plug plants from Delfland Nurseries near Ely. They are organic and seasonal, worth a look if you miss sowing dates.

Seed saving

This is a good time for saving many seeds, or being ready to. Remember the four vegetables for which you need only one plant to save seed from, they do not need or ‘suffer’ cross pollination. French bean, tomato, lettuce and pea. We have harvested pea seeds, and lettuce from the polytunnel, but not outside. Find out more in my Saving Seeds video.

Compost making

I love the options for compost making in high summer. Yesterday Martin turned the heap we finished in mid May, and commented on how soft and crumbly it is already.

We now have many crop residues, such as beetroot leaves, tomato and cucumber prunings, onion tops and clearings of lettuce, beans etc. Plus grass mowings, with some old wood chips mown as well, a bit of soil, paper and cardboard. More details are in this video, and it seems a fair few people are now making variations of Homeacres compost bays. See their measurements on this page, and more descriptions + videos in online course 1.

There are many unnecessary worries about what you can and can’t put in heaps. Here is an example from Mr Fothergills newsletter, about blackspot on roses

“At this time of year roses are more prone to black spot. If you discover it on your foliage, cut away and remove from site. Do not place on your compost heap, as this can encourage it.”

At Homeacres I put all diseased material on the compost heap. except for onion white rot (also club root if I had it). I add blighted leaves, mildew, blackspot and rust. No problems have ensued, even from adding diseased leaves in winter, when heaps are not hot. Diseases mostly need living tissues to survive on, not compost or soil.


In dry weather, I keep noticing healthier and lusher growth of plants on bed edges, near to the paths. Having no wooden sides and weed free paths, ensure full use of path moisture, and nutrients as well. I explain a lot about paths in course 1, because they are not dead space just for walking.

The stand-out exceptions are my two beds with wooden sides (the trial). Plants near to the wooden sides go limp faster than ones in the middle.

Removing insect covers

Yes you can! once plants are growing strongly, especially if their height means a gap at the sides, which would allow insects in.

Here I was also expecting the weather change and these plants grow so large in the damp warmth of late summer. For caterpillars I spray the Bacillus thuringiensis every 18-20 days. Sorry if it’s hard to find in the UK.


Already we have garlic and onions hanging in the conservatory, I want to try plaiting a few onions too, we shall see!

Potatoes can store in sacks, as long as they are dry when you sack them. I keep Charlottes in my shed, which is currently very warm, and they keep well. The potatoes and squash growing on compost heaps do not make a significant difference to nutrients in the heap, from what I have observed. Compost is rather more about biology than chemistry.

63 thoughts on “August 15th update keep beds full, cucumbers tomatoes and melons, save seed, make compost, insect covers, store onions

  1. Hi Charles
    We are growing two types of cucumbers in our polytunnel – white wonder and market more. The first few harvests from both were delicious but the later white wonder fruits are extremely bitter. And now we are finding a few mildly bitter marketmores. Both are producing prodigious amounts of fruit but nothing we do eliminates the bitterness and some of us get stomach ache if we do eat them. We have watered regularly and evenly and I can’t see any cause of stress to the plants. The tomatoes they are growing alongside in the exact same conditions are doing brilliantly. Is there anything we can do to save the remaining crop which will likely be huge? Thanks so much

  2. Hi Charles,
    nearing the end of the first No-Dig gardening season here I´d like to mention that most worked out quite well. Seems that the compost I applied in octobre 2019 was too sterile. Fertility gained momentum after june (and a little blending with a grubber).
    “Lerchenzungen” (like your pronunciation in the latest video 😉 after first early potatoes is going to be a mega-harvest!
    I´m very glad I´ve found your Youtube channel.
    Soon it will be time to read your books again and start the 2021 planning.

    Kind regards,
    O. Ramdohr, Northern germany

  3. Hi Charles,
    in your 2020 calendar you write: “In late August, sow spring onions and spring cabbage to overwinter small”…
    What do you mean with spring cabbage? Kohlrabi? white cabbage? red cabbage? calabrese? cauliflower?
    From Bingenheimer Saatgut, I bought onionseeds “Ischikrona” and Onionseeds “Stuttgarter Riesen”. Can they be multisown for clumps as spring onions?
    stormy regards from Germany

    1. Haha it’s stormy here too!
      So we call “spring cabbage” any varieties bred to overwinter as small plants then head up or make greens in spring. It’s cabbage and not any other brassica.
      Those onions may work, a better one is White Lisbon if you can find it. Your winters can be colder which perhaps means it’s not common in Germany to try. I would though:)

      1. Okay, I will try too, because…….: on the claytonia package the text said: cold-germinators…..so I put the seeds, two weeks ago, in multimodules in my little greenhouse…..it was at least 34 degrees “cold”…..and the seeds are cheerfully germinating in corona-ignoring cosy friendshipclubs in every little module, even tolerating bittercold 38 degrees temperature… tomorrow I can plant them out……so I´ll do the same with the onions. But, sorry, what varietys of cabbage make nice heads in spring?
        heartly afterstormregards from my garden, AND: All sunflowers have survived the storm and stand upright!!!,

        1. Haha no dig quality in sunflowers.
          Clayton becomes a ‘weed’ if you let it…
          Spring cabbage here is Duncan and Advantage both F1, also April and Durham Early, plus Spring Hero F1

  4. Hi Charles,

    I’m always encouraged by your blogs and find something new to try, thank you for that.

    For the last 20 years, at least, I’ve grown late harvest purple sprouting broccoli which turns in very nicely after the last of the late crop Brussels sometime in March.

    I sowed and planted the usual date, method, rotation, and watering. Beds composted as you teach. Plants protected with insect and pigeon proof net as usual. Visually they are no different than any other year. To my amazement and horror three of the ten plants are producing full sized spears.

    Not wanting waste I’ve cut and cooked them – last thing I want to be eating in this season. I’m now concerned that I’ve now lost a large part of my hungry gap foodstuff next early spring.

    Do you thinks it is drought stress that’s caused them to crop so very early? I’m in Hertfordshire and we’ve had long very hot spells with no rain although I was giving the plants a weekly deep drink. There’s no point taking them up, and I wonder if you think they may crop again in March?

    1. Wow that is poor.
      I suspect the wrong seed is in your packet – which company, and variety name?
      I don’t think they will crop in spring. Maddening.
      And it’s not drought stress.

      1. Hi Charles,

        I sow mid to late April and plant out roughly six weeks later. By now the plants are usually around ¾s of their final size.
        This year for the first and last time I purchased from Proseeds. I thought you’d like to see their reply to my complaint. By the way next year I’m going to try the Claret F1 you recommended, and perhaps sow later?

        New message from: proseeds_uk
        Hi – sorry to hear that your have had a growers problem.
        Your plants should only be 4-5 inches tall and ready for planting into their final site.

        However, it appears that your plants have already bolted due to a localized stressful condition.
        Premature bolting can affect any vegetable crop and is caused by stress – forcing the plant to reproduce by producing flowers and seeds.
        Sprouting Broccoli routinely comes under stress in the spring when it produces the purple flowering spears prior to seeding.

        It is possible that you could find plants for planting right now and still have a winter/spring crop to enjoy.
        Regards, Alec

        1. Hi Hilary.
          Gosh that is a fob off. Beware Proseeds! “growers problem” just a small put down.
          They must recommend sowing July, for plants to be 4-5in tall now. Sowing needs to be by end of May, for decent – size plants before winter.
          Cheeky of him, and sorry your garden is so stressful. 😅

  5. Hello, Charles, I know that you already heard it thousand times, but I have to add to all praises of your followers that your posts reads and videos sounds like most exciting books in the world, and are full of inspiring ideas for everyone. I am a part-time gardener, being born and raised in a big city, more than 30 years ago moved into a Chicago’s suburbs where my father-in-law set up a small (25’X maybe 30′) garden for me and I have been gardening since then and I love it, (even weeding) despite having a full time job and having raised 3 kids. I was directed to your video by my oldest daughter early this year in June, and since I have seen so many of your videos and read many of your posts. I fell in love with your ideas especially because you are so encouraging and your advises save so much time.
    I have a few questions though. At the time I saw your first video (early June) my garden was already set up for a season, with the exception of small area which I usually left for next planting of cucumbers (until this year, my first sowing of cucumbers usually dried up after two months and stop producing so I used to saw my cucumbers every 4 weeks to have fruits throughout the entire season). So I immediately covered this area with cupboard and compost, at the bottom I put composted manure and on the top – mushroom compost. All together maybe one inch to two inches of compost. Then I sowed some leeks in it and I transplanted some leeks which were already growing in my garden. My leeks sprouted but are not growing, and transplanted ones are also not growing – they look healthy and green but not growing. Do you think it is caused by too little compost? Thinking that this may be a problem, on the other part of a bed which was still not occupied, I put some more composted manure and sowed lettuces, and they sprouted and seem to be doing a little bit better but still very slow in growing. One fact is that here in Illinois, this year is very hot and dry, all together in June, July and so far in August we probably have had like no more than 5″ of rain fall. Also, have a question about your parsnips. In your video you stated that you do not directly sow parsnips – how can you then have such a success with transplants (I saw your harvested parsnips which look gigantic) – I have tried to transplant root parsley which, I think is very close vegetable to parsnips, and obtained a very poor result. Another question regarding compost – what do you think about putting not very ripe compost in the fall on beds to prepare for Spring planting? Is it ok or should I wait until Spring to do so. My compost bin is being filled through the entire season, because I do not have a space for another one, so I thought that I will stop filling in sometime in middle of September and then whatever it is in my compost bin I am planning on distributing on beds so some of compost may not be older than month or two. Is it ok or not? Thank you for all your thoughts.

    1. Thanks Urszula.
      I suspect you did not need cardboard at all and it stayed a bit undecomposed, went on mid season, perhaps the compost too.
      Are you happy that the manure is free of that horrible pyralid weedkiller? Sorry I have to ask that!
      I am sure I did not say that about parsnips – I always direct sow them. Another misunderstanding!!
      May your summer continue well.

      1. Hello, Charles and so thank you for your quick response, I was busy at work so could not reply earlier. However, my plants do not show any other issues, they look healthy and strong, except they are still small, but since you indicated that it may be pyralid problem, I checked bags of my mushroom compost and it does indicate that some of horse manure was added. And you are obviously right because few days ago I sowed directly some root parsley into a different kind of compost (it said composted manure and it was the cheapest kind on the market) and was surprised that parsley sprouted in few days – usually I needed to wait two or three weeks to see anything. Thanks again. Can you also confirm that in fall I can put unripe compost on my beds? I do not plant for winter – Illinois is zone 6A so nothing would overwinter. Thanks again.

  6. Hello Charles,
    I have mustard to plant from modules. The area I have in mind to put them has only a thin layer of last years compost on the surface. Should I lay new compost down before transplanting in a couple of weeks and pot on the mustard ? No rain and hot for weeks in Kent.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Hello Michael, you are drier than here, but it looks from the radar that you will have rain by midday today.
      I would spread some new compost now, though not vital (am not doing that here) and I would not if it has many weed seeds, at this point before planting.
      Or plant now, no new compost. Options.

  7. Hello Charles
    Thanks for the inspirational blog, as ever. A question, please, regarding courgettes. I was given a couple of plants which unfortunately produced toxic fruits. I removed the offending plants and replaced with red cabbage plants to grow on in that area. As I did not remove the roots, will the toxicity now transfer to my cabbage plants and other vegetables nearby, do you think? Cheers, Linda

    1. Hi Linda and no worries there. The poison is in cucurbitacins, only in the courgette plant(s) of that variety, badly bred.
      There is never any stand-alone poison, least of all in the soil.
      Sorry you suffered it, hope the seed company apologised.

  8. Thanks Charles, that’s encouraging and I’m hoping you prove right. Swede are a newbie for me this year. Everything else really good – except for those weird courgettes! Eliza.

  9. Hello Charles,
    I’ve a very small garden and have established no dig in the flower beds.
    I’ve room for a ‘dalek’ sized compost bin to which I add the 50-50 ratio of green/brown mix. I’ve not added anything else but newspapers and cardboard no other used compost.
    I turn it out, around every 6 weeks or so, but it doesn’t seem to make loads of crumbly compost. It seems to be a yellow straw like mulch.
    Do I need to wait longer and ought I to leave turning it out? I did buy a compost accelerator.
    That said, I did use it earlier this year around some new fruit bushes as a mulch because we had a dry Spring.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Carolyn, and yes six weeks is optimistic for compost!
      For that size bin and ingredients, 4-6 months is realistic.
      However as you say, it can be a mulch!

  10. Charles

    My kale and purple sprouting broccoli both coped well with the really hot weather recently but my previously very healthy and well growing swede are now plastered in grey/white aphids on the growing shoots. They are in a sunnier position than the kale and purple sprouting and on a few days I had to put a sheet over the mesh to shade them as the leaves were collapsing from the heat. I watered as much as I could but the large leaves just ate it up in the heat. Will they recover or will the swede now not grow any more? They were coming on so well. We have had rain the last couple of days but not sure this will help now.


    1. Hi Eliza and I reckon that this rain and cooler weather will see them rebound. Mine certainly look renewed.

  11. Hello Charles,
    You speak about removing insect covers but here in east France (near grenoble) we’re still invaded by flea beetles and cabbage bugs and if we remove fleece or mesh right now all our oriental leaves, chinese cabbage will be immediately eaten. Don’t you have any flea beetles still around your garden?

    1. I do but those are still seedlings in the greenhouse, I sow them later to avoid those pests and they will be under covers. I meant covers on larger cabbage, kale, Brussels, sorry

  12. Hi Charles I always enjoy getting the blog and look forward to learning some more for the veg plot.
    With the pyralid problem still ongoing, have you come across any compost that you feel safe using. At one time it was thought that “Dalegold” with the use of sheep wool and bracken was good, it now seems there have been problems with them. Is Moorland gold one still to be trusted?
    I’m looking forward to your new calendar with the details of the seeds.
    I have tried multi sown for the first time this year with good results for onions, beetroot and peas. The turnips were mixed with some of them growing long and thin, others were great.
    My radish was a failure they bolted, should I have given them more water?
    You mentioned about the rain in the last couple of days. Here in Newton Abbot it has been frustrating, we could hear lots of thunder and see the dark clouds but it was Dartmoor that was getting a hammering. Oh well that’s life.
    Best wishes Peter

    1. Hi Peter, and sorry you missed the rain, in Devon! We had 31mm so far or 1.2in.
      Radish bolted probably from sowing too late. Best dates to sow are before about 10th April, and after mid August, i.e. now, or earlier for large ones.
      Yes Morland Gold is last man standing. Melcourt also but variable nutrient profile.

  13. Mulch in a dry area: I have noticed many folks at my allotment site using wood chips on certain beds to help preserve moisture. I have not done it myself this year yet, as I am in Year 1 of a new plot and I want all the horse manure to be exposed to both the air and the worms, but those at the site I have talked to about it feel that it is a very good way of retaining moisture underneath, as well as providing a ‘compost tea’ every time it rains as the wood chips slowly rot down. Folks tell me that you should compost well in autumn and let the winter rains get the ground well saturated before putting the wood chips on top.

    Vegetables doing well in NW London this year: Red Alert tomatoes in the soil have been magnificent: I watered 2 gallons per plant every 10 days if it didn’t rain (much of the time it didn’t!) once flowering started and we are half way through the best harvest I have ever had from soil tomatoes. The pot-based tomatoes have for some reason done less well using the same compost that the Red Alerts got.

    Courgettes have been great, so have beetroot (especially at my new allotment where planting out clumps 4 months after laying down horse manure and cardboard has given me by far the biggest beetroot I have ever grown), and despite really suffering early on, the onion crop has been surprisingly good, teaching me the absolute importance of getting watering right for onions.

    Early potatoes were rather poor, due to insufficient rain and getting carrots out of the ground without digging has been a Labour of Hercules. Luckily, we just had 3 inches of rain the past 36 hrs which has softened the ground up considerably.

    Dwarf and French climbing beans have been good so far, but not a single runner bean yet as the nights here have been too hot. I now see growing one wigwam of runners and one of Cobra climbing beans in effect as a weather hedge: hot and sunny, great Cobras. Cooler and wetter, great runner beans. Hopefully the cooler weather until the end of the month will allow runners to start to grow well.

    Outdoor cucumbers have been great – I was given a plant by a neighbouring plot holder in exchange for a couple of squash plants and I have been regularly harvesting monsters. I just let the plant meander where it would and in the end it became at one with the Crown Prince squash.

    Finally, I seem to have set up the first bee sanctuary at the allotment site by sowing a 3m*2m bed of phacelia in early June: now they are in full flower I saw over two dozen young bees gorging this afternoon. Most of my pollinators attract one or two, but that bed seems to have attracted half a hive.

    Finally, I can say with authority that Charles’ advice about growing squash and potatoes the first year after laying new beds is absolutely spot-on: I have never grown better squash than after laying cardboard and horse manure on an area of cleared jungle: huge Crown Prince fruits, many many Red Kuri fruit as well. My Desiree and Sarpo Mira plants look wonderful and the only reason I am not yet taking Charles’ advice about harvesting now is that I only planted them on May 9th and there is no sign of blight here yet.

    1. Hi Rhys. you sound so dry and hot there compared to here – until very recently!
      Interesting about the wood chip. I hope it does not lead to any woodlouse problems.And would be difficult with close planted crops.

      1. Yes, the people who are using woodchips tend to create a bed with it on top and then plant things like courgettes, squash and pole beans. BIg plants which go out quite late and finish before it tends to get damp.

        I think it is also partly that the site has a relationship with a tree surgeon so plenty of free woodchips become available. I have used plenty for creating paths so far.

      1. Hi Beverley

        Got one at the Denham Allotments opposite Smiths Garden Centre – much quicker entree than with LBH.

        Happy to show it off to you sometime if you fancy a jaunt down the A4020.

    2. Interesting update, Rhys. Thank you.

      I always enjoy reading everyone’s comments questions and the replies. Sharing in this way is one of the nicest aspects of gardening.

      Wishing everyone a long, sunny and fruitful autumn

  14. Thanks Charles,
    So generous as always in sharing your knowledge.
    I know you dont advocate sides on beds but I have mobility issues and would appreciate less bending. My question is on what is best to fill the beds with? I have been told mushroom compost but I wonder if it needs mixing with soil? I have very stony, Cotswold soil and also lots of bindweed on the plot!
    Thank you for any thoughts on this

    1. Julie it depends how high you want.
      Base layer is best as soil, then the top 15-20cm compost, any kind and walk on it to press down firm.

  15. On the weedkiller in compost issue, I did the broad bean test with some Country Natural Composted Stable Manure and all 4 pots with a 50% mix of that and 50% multipurpose showed terrible wilting compared with 4 pots of 100% multipurpose which grew strong and healthy. I called the manufacturers and they said probably I was unlucky and had a batch that had “too high ammonia content”, or the manure mix was “too strong”.. the garden centre also suggested “too high salt content”. It sounds like BS to me but I didn’t know enough to argue! Does that sound possible?

    Thanks for all the invaluable videos and blog posts, I’m putting my first year of veg growing success down to those and your books!

    1. Yes Peter that is classic BS, 100% lie! They do this to everybody, pretend they are growing experts, also say “You are the only one.
      I wonder how much poison they have put on the land.
      Well done on doing the trials at least and please report the product to HSE?

      1. I thought so! I have just sent an email with photos to both of the contacts you gave the addresses for above.
        I want to make some more no-dig beds this winter, I think I will avoid horse manure and try spent mushroom compost (my soil is very sandy and slightly acidic so hoping this is the right choice).

  16. Hey Charles!

    Thanks for including the bit about how well compost works as a mulch in dry weather. Our summer are intensely hot here in Ontario and I was beginning to have doubts.

    Would love to see a video on how you grow corn. We did no dig corn this year and it went incredibly well but I did find I had to add blood meal, which I know you don’t do. So I’d like to see how you grow corn.

    I’ve seen this in all your videos and always wondered, why are all your tomato plant leaves cut. I noticed you cut off the leaves up to and between bunches of tomatoes stems but even though some are still unripe. What’s the rationale behind this method?

    Looking forward to purchasing your course in a few months while hiding out from our super cold Canadian winters.

    1. Thanks Akosua.
      I shall make a quick IG video Monday on corn. My videographer is away just now. Don’t normally grow it because of badgers!
      Lower leaves of all plants do less ‘work’ than the top ones, by some margin. Removing them improves airflow, reduces blight, makes picking and pruning easier.

        1. Thanks Akos, that will keep you busy 🙂
          I remove lowest leaves once there are little fruits, and up to that truss.
          It’s not obligatory though! More about how you like the plants to look and be manageable.

  17. Charles
    All reassuring as usual but I have three grafted aubergines, from Defland, in the greenhouse and so far they have only produced 4 fruits, it seems they are very slow this year and I am really not sure why. I have seen lots of flowers but they seem to drop off. Do you know what I am doing wrong?

  18. Thank you, Charles. Very helpful, as always.
    One query: Can I REALLY remove insect covering now? My broccoli and kale look great and could do with more height but I am still seeing cabbage white butterflies in the garden. Won’t they rush in and lay eggs?

    1. Yes but sorry it’s more when plants are too tall for the mesh + you are not spraying Bt.
      The change in the weather will be reducing butterfly numbers…

  19. I now have melon 🍉 envy lol 😂
    Thanks for the tip about not having to support the fruit. After our ridiculously hot week in Kent I do now suddenly have some melons so they definitely seem to like the heat.

    1. Nice to hear! I lived in Gascony SW France and it was so easy to grow melons there! So tasty too, and ready from late June.

      1. They take a long time unless it’s hot. Look for browning of the little tendril closest to the fruit’s stalk.
        Also tap with a knuckle, it should send hollow.

  20. All looks incredibly lush as usual!

    Just a quick Q about Crown Prince, and to an extent other winter squash. My two CP formed a fruit each early on which grew to normal size. Practically all flowers since have been male, with the few females’ fruit turning brown at marble size to a max of golf ball size. Would this be because of the cool indifferent July, or because it’s ‘job done’ at the now mature fruit and they’re aborting others? If so can chop most of new growth off and plant something else there.

    How did you get on in the heatwave Rhys?

    1. May I add to the Crown Prince question. I have reasonable size fruits but all of the foliage has died back as if it we were in late September/October. We use them for soups in the Spring so wonder if they should be left in situ to harden the skins for storage.

      1. And why not John, in sunny Exmouth!
        If the necks/stalks are dry, I would bring them to a warm place in your house. The skin will soon be hard. So early!

    2. Jan, that’s exactly what’s happening with both my crown prince and kuri squashes this year, as well as the patty pan summer squash. Last summer I had 13 kuri ripening on 4 vines, this year it’s one per vine (can’t compare for CP as it’s my first year growing that), and 20+ patty pans from one plant (compared to one so far this year). I’m in Edinburgh, we’ve had a terribly wet and cold July (August warmer and drier but still just around 20 C..) compared to last year so my feeling was that it was weather-related but if anyone has any further ideas I’d be interested!

    3. Jan – my squash plants were certainly looking like they were getting ‘heatstroke’ a bit during the 34C days, but luckily we got 3 inches of rain the past 36 hrs so the squash are now looking magnificent. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I almost wonder if I should start harvesting the fruit in the middle of August! I only planted them out the end of May. It has been an astonishing growing season for squash.

      I have been watering each plant 2 gallons every week or ten days during the warm dry periods which seemed to be enough to make them do well.

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