The melons have pretty much been a bust this year. I have brought one into the kitchen, but the rest of what I would normally expect to harvest from the plants in the garden either never formed, were bored/gnawed into by bugs/caterpillars, or are just beginning to form now, when the vines are far enough gone with Downy Mildew that the fruits are not going to reach maturity before the vines die.
This will add another year to my de-hybridization project for the canary melons, but at least I got to enjoy one of my favorite melons this year. I am saving seed from my lone melon, with a note that it was produced in a horrifically wet, cool summer. These seeds may be useful someday.
Considering how rough the summer has been on the melons, I am happy to be able to report that the butternut squash seem to be doing well enough. From the three vines, I’ve brought in six squash, lost a few to pickleworms, and there are a few more on the way.
|Butternut changes from green, to whitish, and then to tan when mature.|
Butternut is one of the confusing category of squashes called “Winter squash.” It isn’t grown in the winter; it is planted in spring, pretty much when the zucchini go in the ground. The name comes from the way the squash keep through the winter without much special help. They just need a cool, out of the way spot to hang out, and they will be in good shape well into February and beyond.
In truth, they won’t even be that great to eat until they’ve done some of that “hanging out” for awhile. The sugars develop over time, and it can take a month or so for them to reach their flavor peak.
Soon, I will be clearing the bed that currently holds the melon and butternut squash plants, regardless of whether all the squash have matured. It’s time to get more of my cool-season seeds into the ground!