Owl's Acre Seed

Little Darling

2.50
little darling.jpg

Little Darling

2.50

A new variety which has compact growth and small rugby ball shaped fruit. We have tested this variety as far north as Alnwick in Northumberland in a greenhouse and it has performed very well, producing about three or four fruit per plant. The fruits contain seeds but have a rich, sweet, delicious taste which makes this variety a must for adding to summer salad recipes and deserts.

 

Cultural Guide for Watermelon ‘Little Darling’

Watermelons are heat loving plants and haven’t been widely grown in the UK because of this. Our new variety ‘Little Darling’ has performed so well in trials in the northern parts of the UK we have decided to recommend this variety for protected culture with the following advice.

 

Sowing: Although we have shown that ‘Little Darling’ can perform under UK conditions it still requires a good deal of warmth and as much sunlight as possible. It is best to sow seeds between April 15th and May 15th in a greenhouse, ideally in a propagator or in a conservatory or on a warm windowsill. The temperature for germination should be between 22°C-25°C until cotyledon emergence after which the seedlings can be cooled down to 16°C-18°C. After the first true leaf emerges the seedlings should be transplanted into 10cm pots and kept as warm as possible for another four to five weeks.

 

Planting: When the potted seedlings are well rooted in their pots they can be planted in their final positions. A guide to the readiness for final planting is that the roots are emerging from the bottom of the pot and have migrated to the side so they are clearly visible, when ‘popped-out’ for inspection. A single plant in one grow bag is probably sufficient, or the equivalent area in open soil.

The plants must be grown inside a polythene tunnel or greenhouse in order to protect the plants from the elements and maintain as high a temperature as possible. Growing in soil beds, grow bags or large (15 Litre) pots are all possible, depending on your personal circumstances.

 

Training: It is possible to allow the ‘Little Darling’ to ramble over the ground but the plants are perhaps best supported vertically on a net with individual squares of dimension 8-10 cm. A single plant can be trained vertically up to 1.5 meters and the supporting net should be 1 meter wide for each plant. As the plants grow tie the stems gently to the net to make a fan shape and watch carefully for flower development.

 

Pollination: The most critical point with watermelons is to ensure that flowers are pollinated successfully. If you have a good population of bumble bees then you do not need to do anything further but if you are in any doubt hand pollination using a small paint brush or a flower is necessary. Watermelons have both male and female flowers on the same plant so pollen from a male flower must be transferred onto the stigma of the female flower (easily identified by the small bulbous undeveloped fruit beneath the flower). Male flowers usually open first followed by the female flowers a few days later.

 

Fruit: As the fruits develop (limit the number to three to four fruits per plant) they should be supported by net ‘hammocks’ (tied to the vertical net) when they reach about 10-15cm in length. Make sure the hammock has enough space in it to support a 2Kg ‘Little Darling’ fruit.

If temperatures are warm enough ripe melons should be harvested in late August from a May sowing. The bottom end of the fruit starts to turn yellowish and when flicked with a finger the fruit sounds hollow when ripe.

 

Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Packets of 5 seeds

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A new variety which has compact growth and small rugby ball shaped fruit. We have tested this variety as far north as Alnwick in Northumberland in a greenhouse and it has performed very well, producing about three or four fruit per plant. The fruits contain seeds but have a rich, sweet, delicious taste which makes this variety a must for adding to summer salad recipes and deserts.

 

Cultural Guide for Watermelon ‘Little Darling’

Watermelons are heat loving plants and haven’t been widely grown in the UK because of this. Our new variety ‘Little Darling’ has performed so well in trials in the northern parts of the UK we have decided to recommend this variety for protected culture with the following advice.

 

Sowing: Although we have shown that ‘Little Darling’ can perform under UK conditions it still requires a good deal of warmth and as much sunlight as possible. It is best to sow seeds between April 15th and May 15th in a greenhouse, ideally in a propagator or in a conservatory or on a warm windowsill. The temperature for germination should be between 22°C-25°C until cotyledon emergence after which the seedlings can be cooled down to 16°C-18°C. After the first true leaf emerges the seedlings should be transplanted into 10cm pots and kept as warm as possible for another four to five weeks.

 

Planting: When the potted seedlings are well rooted in their pots they can be planted in their final positions. A guide to the readiness for final planting is that the roots are emerging from the bottom of the pot and have migrated to the side so they are clearly visible, when ‘popped-out’ for inspection. A single plant in one grow bag is probably sufficient, or the equivalent area in open soil.

The plants must be grown inside a polythene tunnel or greenhouse in order to protect the plants from the elements and maintain as high a temperature as possible. Growing in soil beds, grow bags or large (15 Litre) pots are all possible, depending on your personal circumstances.

 

Training: It is possible to allow the ‘Little Darling’ to ramble over the ground but the plants are perhaps best supported vertically on a net with individual squares of dimension 8-10 cm. A single plant can be trained vertically up to 1.5 meters and the supporting net should be 1 meter wide for each plant. As the plants grow tie the stems gently to the net to make a fan shape and watch carefully for flower development.

 

Pollination: The most critical point with watermelons is to ensure that flowers are pollinated successfully. If you have a good population of bumble bees then you do not need to do anything further but if you are in any doubt hand pollination using a small paint brush or a flower is necessary. Watermelons have both male and female flowers on the same plant so pollen from a male flower must be transferred onto the stigma of the female flower (easily identified by the small bulbous undeveloped fruit beneath the flower). Male flowers usually open first followed by the female flowers a few days later.

 

Fruit: As the fruits develop (limit the number to three to four fruits per plant) they should be supported by net ‘hammocks’ (tied to the vertical net) when they reach about 10-15cm in length. Make sure the hammock has enough space in it to support a 2Kg ‘Little Darling’ fruit.

If temperatures are warm enough ripe melons should be harvested in late August from a May sowing. The bottom end of the fruit starts to turn yellowish and when flicked with a finger the fruit sounds hollow when ripe.

 

Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Packets of 5 seeds