Sombody, Please Talk Me Out of It!

August 12, 2007

I have a little gardening dilemma on my hands and I’m worried that I might make a decision that I’ll be regretting for a very long time!

Here’s the deal… Being the self-respecting intensive veggie gardener that I am, I’m always looking for more space to grow another edible plant. There were tomatoes and eggplants in containers, cucumbers and beans up a trellis, and an assortment of herbs growing in a planter or strawberry jar.

Intensive Growing in a Cold Frame

Summer Cold Frame GardenSo this year my bright idea was to use an empty cold frame to grow a few extra vegetables and fruits during the summer months when the cold frame usually sits unoccupied waiting for the fall growing season. In went a couple of Sunburst summer squash, Japanese cucumbers, heirloom muskmelons, and a watermelon plant or two.

Everything worked great and I even harvested a few cucumbers and squash from the plants sprawling all over the inside of the cold frame. I haven’t harvested any melons yet, but those plants are growing rapidly as well. That’s were the dilemma comes into play.

Trapped MelonThis evening I noticed a dark green, half-grown, muskmelon growing between the side of the cold frame and the rails of the deck. I was excited about the discovery and figured I’d just slip the fruit under the rail and let it rest where it could finish growing and ripen on the deck.

What I Wouldn’t do This Season for a Ripe Home Grown Melon

Well, there was no such luck. The fruit had already grown to the point that it was lodged tight, with no chance of setting it free from its cell between the side of the cold frame and the rails of the deck. Normally the situation wouldn’t cause much anguish, but this has been a difficult season for melons thanks to the groundhogs who decided the green ones were good eating.

There are a few melons still growing in the garden that have a good shot at maturing and ripening, but I’m treasuring every cantaloupe that’s left standing, including the unfortunate fruit that’s trapped on the deck.

Melon RescueSo here’s my dilemma… I am sooo tempted to cut through the deck and saw that baby free before it splits open. Somebody please talk some sense into me and tell me that this really isn’t a good idea!

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  • I feel your pain when it comes to the cantaloupe. Something just ate 6 of mine yesterday and I only planted on small bed with cantaloupe. There are only about eight left and I’ll bet whatever ate the first ones will be back for the others.

    Maybe I could build a quick fence around them. That’s a better solution to my problem than the sawing down your railing idea is for your problem.

    Getting the melon stuck in there is something that would happen to me too. Good luck with that.

  • Are you sure it is going to split open? I have grown squash and melons in forms to shape them and have never had one split. Here are a few examples:

    I would probably leave the melon to see what it does. Once it is ripe I would cut the melon (not the deck).

  • Kenny Point

    Marc, I saw all the damage that was done in your garden and couldn’t believe it.
    Joe, you’re probably right and the melon would have conformed to the avaliable space, but I was afraid of it doing some damage to the side of the cold frame. Fortunately I was able to lift the frame just enough to get the melon out of there. So all is well with the fruit, the cold frame, and the deck, so I’m a happy gardener now!

  • Kenny, glad to hear that all’s well that ends well…although I have to admit…if you’d sawed up your deck, it would have shown a high commitment to gardening. A very, very high commitment…

  • Kenny Point

    Yeah, and I may have found myself being committed somewhere without a garden!

  • amz

    You’ld only have to cut that one peice out and slide it up and out right… or maybe you could get away with removing some rind to get it out… still… you could just cut it out when it starts to spilt it should be ripe by then don’t you think?… I feel for ya and good luck.

  • Kenny Point

    Fortunately I was able to get the melon out of there without damaging it or the deck. I’m not sure what I would have wound up with had I left it where it was wedged.

  • Faye Perkins

    Well, good grief. I found your site and read the mellon & the deck delemma. I was just about to send in my two cents oppinion when I noticed the dates on the replys (2007). So now the question is…What “did” you do. I would of cut the deck. By cutting the deck you have a wonderful story and memory of the pized mellon that was wanted so badly. Or the mellon that almost was. Adventures are a lot more fun than safe. So what did you do? How did it do? Was the taste worth the taste? Please share the story.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Faye, you can reply to a post at any time as many of them stay active and some readers subscribe to the comment threads that they are interested in. Fortunately I was able to twist, bend, and push the melon and the cold frame until the fruit was freed from its captivity. So, you would have cut your deck… and I thought I had it bad! 🙂

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