Grow your own watermelon…

I’m always on the look out for slightly unusual or interesting plants which I can grow, normally which are fairly inappropriate to the weather conditions in England! I haven’t got a greenhouse yet so growing anything vaguely exotic is sometimes a problem. Tomatoes just about work but at the mercy of the weather and the famous British summer.

This year, I randomly tried planting 6 watermelon seeds. I didn’t think they would germinate but 1 of them did! It took 2 weeks for the shoot to appear above the soil and was fairly slow to start, but so far it has grown well. I planted the seeds around mid-May and now, at 20th July, it has already developed maybe 7 flowers and what look like a couple of fruits!

There has also been an interesting leaf shape change from the first dicotyledon leaves, through various stages of increasing complexity. The newest leaves are quite rough and spiky with longish white hairs. The edges are crinkly and variegated and there are loads of tendrils which the plant uses to support itself.

I have just planted it out so we’ll see what happens. I’m hoping slugs and snails stay clear of it as it is only the very thin stem which is in contact with the soil, with the rest of the long plant supported above the soil using its tendrils which have wrapped around garden sticks.

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Image from: http://kidstimepass.com/2-uncategorised

Who knows where this will lead…?

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Cornwall camping: day 5…

As starts to the day go, this wasn’t the best!

Packing up all our stuff into a very compact car while it was raining and getting stuck in the mud on the way out of the field – how does that sound? Being pulled out of the mud by a cool tractor was good and the boys loved that bit.

The idea for the last day in Cornwall was to pack up early and drive straight to St. Austell and the Eden Project, for as long as we could get there. After the first shower, it was clear skies and some sunshine which was fine for Eden, which has exhibits and landscaping & attractions both inside biospheres and outside in the surrounding landscape.

Since Claire and I went about 7 years ago during its first year open, it has changed a lot – grown up in many ways, with more facilities, bigger exhibits and lots more parking! It’s essentially an ecological and horticultural theme park, with the huge tropical biomes being the main attraction.

The boys loved it there and we saw all their favourite fruits – apples, bananas, mangoes and lots of cool play areas both inside and out, including an amazing bamboo and metal house on stilts in the main tropical biome. We made it to the top of the biome even though it was very very hot and humid inside.

Highly recommend it and was managed to get back home safely, through some more torrential rain on the motorways!

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Jac cup cakes…

Some great coconut and dried fruit cakes made by Claire and Jac.

They didn’t last long though!

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Jamie’s castle-monster…!

A bit of a splurge on some semi-educational toys, games and books.

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The main thing was a wooden castle, with some wooden figures. The idea with this is to try and get the boys to share and play together more, as it sometimes just descends into bickering and squabbles. There’s enough space around it and they’ve already had fun playing some games, like¬†Jamie’s ‘castle monster’! This basically involved the castle eating all the fruit and toys till it was full up!

There was also some wooden fruit, which are split into sections with Velcro pads holding the sections together. This can be usd for teaching fractions, colours, shapes, food, cooking and imagination. There’s also hand-eye co-ordination with the cutting and putting back together.

Finally, some science and things to do type books which will give us some creative ideas. There were also some Grimm fairy tales and the Just So stories.

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Jamie’s fruit convoy…

Tuesday morning is fruit box day… The boys always get excited about all the lovely fruit which just appears at our door. We also get juice and milk.

Before Jac woke up and started taking a very keen interest in what he was doing, Jamie was playing a cool fruit convoy game.

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Tree pruning…

Major garden progress over the last couple of days…well, maybe not major but it’s a good start. We’ve been focussing on the house for a while now but this is the right time of year to prune fruit trees, before they start to bud in late Winter / early Spring.

Bit of a severe hair cut for the apple tree and Elder Berry tree, but it should promote a lot of new growth lower on the tree, which will make it easier to pick. You can just see Jamie in one of the pics holding the orange-handled branch loppers.

Also going to have to look at the fence this year as it’s doing it’s best to imitate a certain tower in Pisa!

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