Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Growing Melons in Sub Irrigated Planters (SIPs)

These melons grew on our roof a few years back and they were little rock stars. People couldn't believe how happy they were, hanging by their sturdy ropey threads. Melons are mostly water and they love sub irrigation, greedily drinking the reservoirs dry by the time they reach this size.

I seeded our melons this week, happily a day before Chicago became a high-wind inferno with temps around 97 yesterday and more of the same over the next two days. We have five selections this year, all thanks mostly to Debbie swapping me some nice varieties in our seed swap: 

Mexican sour gherkin
   Japanese icebox
   Korean ginka
 Golden midget

I promised myself this year that earlier in the season I'd switch out the SIPs that have been growing greens since March. Often I let them go to seed and we love to make seed, but the lazy (and late) gardener knows these SIPs can be quickly dispatched and replanted. 

Pull off the shower cap, pull out the greens and remove the fertilizer (sending all down to the compost bin)...

...and top up with potting mix and fresh fertilizer. Ready, boom, for five types of melon.

I even re-used the plastic shower caps with multiple holes. You can plant more greens than melons in a 5-gal SIP. We plant four melon seeds and hope for good germination, culling to leave the two strongest seedlings. For all planting in a 5-gal SIP, cut in half the amount you're instructed to plant in a standard-sized Earthbox (the link has a pdf showing how many of most veggies will grow well).

Here's a friend getting ready to enjoy one of the 2011 Golden Midgets. Come back, JT (and Alex too), when this year's melons ripen!


Debbie said...

Little Green Girl and I are growing Golden Midgets this year too!

Look forward to seeing some of your Tigger Melons since we weren't too successful with growing them last year.

H2 said...

Having some germination problems with the melons. Perhaps it's too hot and windy to the keep soil moist, but I've been watering every day.