Virginia Di Ioli’s garden is beginning to take over her backyard.
She lives just off Louise Avenue near the Tidewater Bike Path in Manteca and grows tomatoes, zucchinis, bell peppers and watermelons, etc., right there.
Di Ioli, who shares the house with her 57-year-old son Steve Wilson, began to see her watermelons and heirloom tomatoes grow to ginormous proportions.
“I was amazed at the 50-pound watermelon we picked (last week),” she said. “It was very sweet.
“We and we still have a few more on the vine close in size to that one.”
The average weight of watermelon found in stores is usually between 20 to 25 pounds. The heaviest one is listed at 350.5 pounds, according to Guinness World Record. That record watermelon belonged to Chris Kent of Tennessee, who had it verified by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth back in October 2013.
Di Ioli, 74, and her son are thrilled to see the generous yield of their backyard garden. They started it about two years ago shortly after Di Ioli retired from her job in Southern California.
The first year produced modest crops.
She also works part-time at Home Depot and was well-aware of fertilizers and nutrients necessary to help the growth of the garden.
Di Ioli added blood meal and bone meal to her heirloom tomatoes this year. “I have four plants with tomatoes that are gigantic,” she said.
Yet Di Ioli couldn’t explain the growth of her watermelon. According to her son Steve, he didn’t add any special nutrients when he began planting some three and half months earlier.
As of Monday, the patch that began in an old fire pit has produced seven or eight watermelons similar in size to the 50 pounder found earlier, with plant growing wildly – about a car-length in both directions – from the bed to the lawn.
As for the one picked earlier, she cut up with the fruit placed in sandwich bags for storage.
Di Ioli assured that the watermelon will not go to waste.
“We love watermelon. We’ve bought hundreds of them from Costco over the years,” she said.