Here is the Crack Melon, Cucumis melo. This melon comes up every year on its own somewhere on our property. We don't know where this melon came from but we do grow a lot of melons from time to time so maybe it's from one of those varieties but it don't resemble any of them! For now, we are just calling it "crack melon" because it gets cracks in the rind when its ripe. Vines can get to 20 feet long and put out as many as a dozen or more fruits! Melons can range in size from 4 inches to 10+ inches long and 3 to 5 inches round. It has a very smooth lightly sweet almost honeydew flavor with a very unique accent to the flavor as well, almost tropical like. Easy to grow and fun! Open pollinated 70 to 98 days.
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Because turnip seeds are direct sown in the garden, preparing your soil early in the planning process is essential, because poor soil can negatively affect the flavor, quality and growth of the turnips. Perform a soil test using a home test kit purchased from a garden center to determine the pH of the soil in your garden. To thrive, turnips need fertile, well-draining soil with a pH range from 6.0 to 7.5. Work lime into the soil to raise the pH, or incorporate sulfur to lower it. Also, work a layer of compost into the soil to promote drainage and nutrients.
For summer crops, start turnip seeds early in spring, and for fall crops, start the seeds in midsummer, about two months before the first expected frost. Turnip seeds can germinate at a temperature as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Sow the seeds about 1 inch apart and cover them with a 1/4- to 1/2-inch layer of soil. Space the rows at least 1 foot apart. Water the soil regularly to keep it moist throughout the germination period. When the seedlings are 4 inches tall, thin them so that the plants are spaced 2 to 4 inches apart.
As the seedlings grow, remove any emerging weeds that might compete with your plants for water and nutrients. Shallowly cultivate the soil around the seedlings, and as they mature, manually remove weeds to avoid damaging the roots. When the seedlings are 5 inches tall, spread a 2-inch thick layer of organic mulch on the soil around the plants to combat weeds. This also slows soil-moisture evaporation. To prevent early pests from becoming a problem, cover the turnips with floating row covers.
It takes turnips about two months to go from seeds to root harvest, depending on the variety. Harvest turnip greens as needed when they're at least 4 inches tall, and pull the roots from the soil when they're about 1 to 3 inches in diameter. For larger roots, use a spading fork to dig them up. To store turnips, remove all but 1/2 inch of the stems and place the roots in a dark, cool area. When you're ready to use them, consider mashing, chopping or boiling them or baking them whole.