My second favorite item in the garden is home grown cantaloupes. My garden is winding down and I’m feeling a little sad. So, I sooth myself when I’m closing the garden for the year by planning my garden for the next season. I spend months deciding what I want to plant and that usually cheers me up. Yesterday, I pulled my last squash and cantaloupes. I have tons of tomatoes and green beans left. As a result, I will can and freeze those next week-end. I see tomato sauce and salsa on the horizon too. Great way to use some of my garlic, basil and oregano too.
Back to my harvest, this was my first year planting cantaloupes, and I’m so glad that I did. These are Hale’s Best, which is an Heirloom seed, and they are delicious. I’ll be having fresh cantaloupes for the next few days. I started the cantaloupe plants under grow lights in mid-March and moved them into the garden in June. However, you can direct the seeds when the soil warms up. I mulched around the plants and left about 6 feet of space for them to spread. I harvested eight cantaloupe from 2 plants. Not bad for a pack of $1.00 seeds. I’ll be saving seed from these melons to plant next year.
I’m a frugal gardener, I put my garden in for pennies by purchasing Heirloom seeds and than saving the seed from year to year. Purchasing plants from garden centers can get expensive. I choose what I want to splurge on, and groceries is not one of those things. If you plan to save seed from your garden, make sure you don’t purchase or use Hybrid seeds or plants. You want the same characteristics of the parent plant versus inbreeding/cross breeding. Heirlooms are the way to go.
I planted Belle peppers, which performed nicely. After picking them off the plants, I chop and freeze my peppers. I like to get them into freezer bags as soon as I pick them off the vines. The sooner you lock in the freshness the better. Did you know that orange, red, and yellow peppers are green before they turn into these beautiful colors.
Yep, they start out green. Patience is a must if you want then to reach the red, yellow or orange stage. Additionally, there are also male and female peppers. Check out how to determine and use male and female peppers here.