Watermelon, Watering & Bugs

| July 26, 2012 | 7 Replies

Watermelon, Watering & Bugs are preoccupying me these days. When my watermelon patch (about 6’x6″ with seven plants of baby watermelon) started showing fruit, I could count at least 50 little green balls emerging. Now, it seems like things are amiss. (I’ve since learned that vines put out a lot of little ones, but they shrivel up to put all their energy into a few getting big. Also, some of the female flowers just don’t get pollinated! You can learn a lot in two years!)

Watermelons, watering & bugs-misshapen

Misshapen melon

Several watermelon are misshapen. (I only have about ten round ones. I ate the first, and it was pretty good.)

Watermelons, watering & bugs-mishapen2

Another odd-shaped melon

Or shriveling up before they develop. There were four potential melons on this vine that dried up.

Watermelons, Watering & Bugs-shriveled vine

Shriveled melons on vine

Could be inconsistent watering (I am rather stingy with water in water-strapped L.A.), or possibly a bug, though, I haven’t seen any.

Watermelons, Watering & Bugs-hole

Hole in melon

Speaking of bugs, this metallic blue dome looked like a drop of liquid blue paint, till I got down beside it and could see legs. About half the size of a regular ladybug, it’s evidently a lady beetle as well. That’s my fingertip for scale.

Watermelons, watering & bugs-lady beetle

Halmus chalybeus, family Coccinellidae lady beetle

Update 2014: I captured another blue metallic lady beetle which now resides in U.C. Northridge insect collection. It is “Halmus chalybeus, family Coccinellidae.  It was introduced from Australia over 100 years ago for biocontrol of scale insects,” according to Dr. Jim Hogue, Professor & Manager of Biological Collections at Cal State Northridge.

I went to check the tag on my blueberries to see how long they produce (since I’m not getting any) and opened the tag to find this cabbage worm. It was already nestled in webbing in the folded card. I didn’t realize I was focusing on the back end.  Soon, it started moving from the other end. Sorry to disturb! You’ll see this worm in action in a future episode of “Late Bloomer.”

Watermelons, Watering & Bugs-larva

Plant-eating larva

As I was capturing the cabbage worm, this critter ran up to see what was going on. I saw a photo like this on internet, but, it wasn’t identified. Know what it is? It was about a half inch long. It got away before I could squish it.

Watermelons, Watering & Bugs-bug

Bug or beetle?

Some good news: loads of tomatoes on the way! Since corn, tomatoes and watermelon (see all three episodes!) are my favorite summer vegetables, this takes the sting off the watermelon issues.

Watermelon, Watering & Bugs-tomatoes

Tomatoes ripening in the Late Bloomer garden

Hundreds of cherry tomatoes, on my one plant.

Watermelon, Watering & Bugs-cherry toms

Red Cherry Tomatoes

Have you had success growing watermelon? Please leave me a comment. Thanks for reading and please share! – Kaye

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Category: Critters, Fruit, Pests, Warm Season

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  1. Watermelon Update « latebloomershow | August 30, 2012
  1. Lois says:

    I think your misshapen melons are rather cute!

    • Lois, my next-door neighbor found a half eaten watermelon of mine at the front steps. It was chomped and in pieces. I guess it was a raccoon. I’ll have to take some measures tomorrow to protect the few that are going to make it. Thanks for reading and writing a comment! – Kaye

  2. Cat says:

    Loving the posts, Kaye! I’m having difficulty with white flies at the moment. Hoping some organic soap stuff will run them out of town. Or I might try ladybugs, but have to do some research on that. Best of wishes with your watermelons!

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