PDA

View Full Version : Need Advice On Growing Melons.



BigDon
2015-Jul-01, 02:38 PM
Decided to try my hand at fruits and vegetables.

Went with what I like to eat that grows in a single season and planted watermelon, cucumbers and tomatoes.

I've never grown any of these before.

My question is about the watermelons. I now have ten vines coming up nicely and have no clue as to how many melons this is likely to produce if all goes well.

The tomatoes and cucumbers won't be a problem because only one tomato and two of the cukes came up.

profloater
2015-Jul-01, 04:39 PM
No hope of melons here but my guess is lots of water and sunshine and a neat support underneath to keep the melon off the ground, now if you need help eating them, I can definitely help!

Solfe
2015-Jul-01, 05:07 PM
My kids at school are great at growing things. My best guess would be 2-3 per plant based on what I've seen them do.

BigDon
2015-Jul-01, 09:06 PM
Thanks Solfe, that is what I was looking for.

I can eat that many. A clean colon is a happy colon. :whistle:

arakish
2015-Jul-05, 05:13 AM
No hope of melons here but my guess is lots of water and sunshine and a neat support underneath to keep the melon off the ground, now if you need help eating them, I can definitely help!

As said. LOTS of water. And, I mean, LOTS. Once melons start growing, you will need to "flood" water the patch at least once per day. "Flooding" means to just let the water run through a "soaker" attachment on the end of the hose until about one to two inches of water is standing in the patch around the roots. The base of the plants should have been planted in a "mound" so as to keep the base of the vine from rotting when "flooding" the patch. The melons themselves should NEVER be in the patch you water, else they will also rot.

What I did when I grew watermelons and cantaloupes, I made a patch that was about 3m x 3m. I built up six mounds, three for watermelons, three for cantaloupes. Around this patch, I also built about a 15 to 20 cm dike to hold the "flood" watering. Any melons that began to form within the dike, I dead-headed. I only allowed melons to form outside of the "diked" patch. This way, I could "flood" water the roots, but not the melons. Remember, you only need to water where the roots are located under the base of the vines. Never where the melons are.

Hope this helps.

rmfr

Solfe
2015-Jul-05, 05:17 AM
Next week we are transplanting our tomatoes, moonflowers and shasta daisies outside. We have a few other items ground in our classroom to move. We grow grass for planting at the edge of the sidewalks with heavy traffic. I believe we sent all of melons and cucumbers home with the kids for Father's Day.

arakish
2015-Jul-05, 05:47 AM
As said. LOTS of water. And, I mean, LOTS. Once melons start growing, you will need to "flood" water the patch at least once per day. "Flooding" means to just let the water run through a "soaker" attachment on the end of the hose until about one to two inches of water is standing in the patch around the roots. The base of the plants should have been planted in a "mound" so as to keep the base of the vine from rotting when "flooding" the patch. The melons themselves should NEVER be in the patch you water, else they will also rot.

What I did when I grew watermelons and cantaloupes, I made a patch that was about 3m x 3m. I built up six mounds, three for watermelons, three for cantaloupes. Around this patch, I also built about a 15 to 20 cm dike to hold the "flood" watering. Any melons that began to form within the dike, I dead-headed. I only allowed melons to form outside of the "diked" patch. This way, I could "flood" water the roots, but not the melons. Remember, you only need to water where the roots are located under the base of the vines. Never where the melons are.

Hope this helps.

rmfr

Also forgot these important tips for melons. To prevent the "yellow" spot, every other, or every third, day you should turn the melon. However, do not turn it too much, else you will break, or crack, the stem the melon relies on for water. My suggestion, turn the melon no more than 30 for the first turn, then turn it 30 back in the reverse radial direction of last "turn". Otherwise, "yellow" spot can be a point for the melon to rot. Especially if the soil on which it is sitting stays wet for more than a couple of days.

Here is another pointer: If you are turning a melon and the stem seems to break off by simply touching the melon, the melon is ready. Take it inside, grab that 1m slicer knife and enjoy. :D

I only say 1m slicer knife because I have been known to use my katana to slice a watermelon, especially the Empire Congo, which can be up 70cm long with an oblate spheroidal equatorial radius of up to 11cm (22cm diameter).

You may also need to "train" the vines to grow in the direction, or location, of your choice. "Training" only involves moving the vine to grow in a direction you desire.

Additionally, the best soil to grow melons is an acidic-based, sandy soil. For some reason I have never ascertained, melons tend to be sweeter and more flavorable in acidic based, sandy soils, than any other soil. In a basic-based, silty, clay soil, such as that in ABQ, I have found the melons to be sweet, but without much flavor. Does that make any sense?

Is there any flavor in a watermelon except sugar? There is. Trust me. I have grown watermelons and cantaloupes in about seven different types of soils.

Wilmington, NC area.
Fuquay-Varina, NC area.
ABQ, NM area.
near Yakima, WA area (these were pretty good, they grew in Mt. St. Helens ash).
Florida (it's all almost the same)
Nicaragua
Honduras
southern Durham County (right now) [The first one was scrumptious as my sister tells me. I am renting a small patch from them on the grounds they water as I text. Yet, they never invited me over to try the first one. :confused: ]

Ooops. That's eight. I can list some more...

rmfr

Spacedude
2015-Jul-05, 01:39 PM
What variety of watermelon are you growing Big Don? Growing them isn't too difficult (they do eat up garden space) but judging when they are at their peak of ripeness for picking can be a challenge. I plant mine in rows rather than hills, each plant is separated by at least 3ft in the row, rows are 4ft apart. Right now I have 12 plants and 12 maturing melons and generally 2-3 melons per vine for the large varieties (25lbs), maybe 4-6 for the smaller varieties (5-8lbs). I find it best to hold off on watering once the melons approach ripening as some could split open with too much water at that stage. As mentioned above a full direct sunny area is best for good melons, >8 hours/day. I use a well balanced mostly organic fertilizer such as Espoma Garden Tone worked into the soil prior to planting. Be glad to post my picking tips when the time is ripe :)

Trebuchet
2015-Jul-05, 02:53 PM
No hope of melons here but my guess is lots of water...


As said. LOTS of water. And, I mean, LOTS.

Don unfortunately lives in California (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_in_California#Drought). Will the law allow it?

Solfe
2015-Jul-05, 03:04 PM
Don unfortunately lives in California (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_in_California#Drought). Will the law allow it?

Depends on the municipality. If that is an issue, I suggest purchasing a small tub for the sink and use it to rinse your dishes then use that to water the melons. Grey water recycling.

BigDon
2015-Jul-08, 08:53 PM
Thank you for all the tips Arakesh. I didn't know most of it.

Treb, I just moved here to a new town in April. I haven't established a baseline for yearly water usage to conserve from yet. :) Though as a life long resident of the SF peninsula I lived through about four decent droughts and don't waste water as a matter of course.

What galls me are youngsters who don't know the difference between using water and wasting water.

Noclevername
2015-Jul-08, 11:09 PM
Growing melons?

Hormone injections work for some, and there's always surgery....

(ducks and runs)

BigDon
2015-Jul-09, 02:54 AM
Growing melons?

Hormone injections work for some, and there's always surgery....

(ducks and runs)

You'd best.

arakish
2015-Jul-16, 05:14 PM
For ripeness, the best trick I have learned is to curl your middle finger and thump the melon with the second knuckle. if the melon returns a "hollow" sounding thump, then it is ready. Enjoy it.

For cantaloupes, watch the rind. While it is green below the beigish mottling, it is not ready. When it starts to turn orangish, it is almost ready. Pick it and take it inside and set it in a window that receives a good amount of sunlight. When it starts to smell "sweet" and has an orange color, it is ready. Enjoy it.

As Spacedude said, you can plant watermelons in a row. However, remember it is important to either build a mound or row that will be at least 10 centimeters above the "flood" watering. The "base" of the vine must remain dry. You only need to water the roots, thus the "flood" watering.

And to reiterate, it takes LOTS of water. Once the melons begin forming, you have to "flood" water the vines at least once a day. Never go more than three days without "flooding." Else the melons will be smaller than normal. However, there is something about not watering the melons everyday. Sometimes only doing it once every two days can actually make the melons "sweeter" tasting. The sugars will form in the melon without it actually getting too huge that it tastes bland.

Once I was out of the Navy, I experimented many years with growing watermelons. I found it is a tedious battle to find the right combination of watering to get the sweetest taste. However, it still depends on the soil. as said, the best soil tends to be a "sandy" based soil that drains well and yet also holds water for the roots.

rmfr

P.S. - Remember, do not let any melons form where you water the roots, else they will rot before they mature.

Buttercup
2015-Jul-16, 05:43 PM
I was going to give advice...about growing pumpkins. But the caffeine hasn't kicked in enough apparently, and you're asking about melons. I need a vacation.

BigDon
2015-Jul-17, 04:03 PM
SpaceDude, According to the seed pack "Jubilee Improved". I don't even know if that's a big variety of not.

Squirrels have been helping me out with the garden. I have five out of ten melon plants left after my last post. The squirrels like the prepared soil to plant crops of their own. But at least the rest seem big enough not to be casually uprooted.

The water issue isn't one. All I need to do as a private person on their own property to meet full requirements is to only use hand watering with a on/off capable nozzle on the end of the hose. My "yard" is a 40 by 20 foot patio with a two foot border of soil and a high fence around it. I think I got it covered. :) Plus two private balconies, front and back. Plants are on there already.

BigDon
2015-Jul-17, 04:12 PM
Arakesh, my mother was farm raised in melon country up in Eastern Oregon. I may not know how to grow them but my mother taught me how to pick out good ones since I was "this many".

Wow. I just had a vivid memory of my mother back when I was small. (I was small once.) My mother would tsk and shake her head if the price of watermelon was more than 3 cents a pound.

arakish
2015-Jul-17, 04:36 PM
Wow. I just had a vivid memory of my mother back when I was small. (I was small once.) My mother would tsk and shake her head if the price of watermelon was more than 3 cents a pound.

And they are now $4.99/lb here where I live. Tsk, indeed.

rmfr

arakish
2015-Jul-17, 04:39 PM
The water issue isn't one. All I need to do as a private person on their own property to meet full requirements is to only use hand watering with a on/off capable nozzle on the end of the hose. My "yard" is a 40 by 20 foot patio with a two foot border of soil and a high fence around it. I think I got it covered. :) Plus two private balconies, front and back. Plants are on there already.

Good. Then no rehash of needing LOTS of water. :D

rmfr

BigDon
2015-Jul-17, 05:02 PM
Good. Then no rehash of needing LOTS of water. :D

rmfr

I have a reminder system that works for me so far. I have a large fuchsia in a hanging basket on one of the balconies. It gets sad at three days and wilts at four. I don't like seeing it sad. Whenever it needs water, the melons get water.

I take a lot of anti-seizure meds and sometimes "out of sight" is "out of mind" unfortunately. I water the fuchsia, look down, and there are the melons. They like it so far.

Any idea how big these melons might get with at least a modicum of the right care?

Spacedude
2015-Aug-01, 09:10 PM
Hi Don!
Jubilee Improved is a Biggie melon fer sure, the pics on google make me drool. It'a a large oblong melon heavy at 20-25# or more under good conditions.
Here's my list of picking tips below, I've already harvested around 15 melons (Raspa & Gold Strike) which are also big melons.

Testing for Ripeness Tips

#1 : Thumping. I use the 2 hand thumping method. Place one hand open palmed cupping one side of the melon while flicking your finger on the opposite side (Like flicking a fly off a table). The sound should be dull and the cupped palm should vibrate as if it were holding a water balloon. It takes practice but if you start early you can more easily tell the difference of the sound over time as the melon ripens up. The sound ranges from "Pink" to "Punk", the lower the pitch the riper it is.

#2 : Dried Up Tendril : This is the curly thingy right next to the stem where the melon is attached. If it's still green it's not ripe, if it's brown it could be ripe. For confirmation also check the next tendril down the vine, if it's dry and brown it could be riper.

#3 : Leaf(s) on the vein nearest to the melon. If the leaf is robust, green, and healthy looking them the melon is not ripe yet. If the leaf has aged, not so robust, and a bit droopy, then the melon may be ripe.

#4 The Bottom Color : White is not Ripe. A Creamy Yellow bottom could be ripe.
Within the creamy color are mildew spots, very tiny black spots like a miniature shotgun blast, it doesn't wipe off like dirt. If you see these spots the melon is surely ripe 99% of the time.

#5 Melon Glossiness : Shiny melons aren't ripe, Dull ones may be ripe.
Note : sometimes melons can get sun scald on top where the melon color fades to white is left to do so. Turn them a bit as advised in a previous post to even out the sun exposure. These melons are probably very close to ripeness if not already.

If you have any more questions let me know,
Happy Harvesting! Don't get a hernia like I did ;o)

BigDon
2015-Aug-02, 05:52 PM
Thank you for the picking and ripeness tips Spacedude!

Another question. A small section I "hand cast" some of the extra melon and cucumber seeds. One came up. Are cucumber leaves similar to watermelon? Or do I likely have a sixth melon vine? None of the spaced out cucumber plants came up.

Spacedude
2015-Aug-02, 10:03 PM
You're quite welcome BigDon! 2 other tips I forgot to add are : Size - If the melon stops increasing in size and seems heavy for it's size it's near ripe. Also the green stripes will lighten up a bit as ripening approaches (not to be confused with sun scald). When in doubt leave it on 1 or 2 more days unless a lot of rain is expected. I try to pick a suspected ripe melon just before a rain if I'm pretty sure of the ripeness, it may split or dilute the flavor & sweetness if the rain is heavy. Beware that although I use these signs in combination there's always an unripe melon in my future, but they have decreased considerable :)

On the cuke vs melon seeds, the cotaledins (sp?) are the first leaves (not true leaves) on each plant. On the cukes they are smaller and narrower than would be the on the watermelon seedlings where they're fatter and more roundish. The true leaves of each plant are different too where the cuke leaf isn't varigated and the melon leaf is (I think my old botany memories are in there somewhere ;).

BigDon
2015-Aug-20, 10:30 PM
It is with great sadness and a whole butt load of frustration that I have to announce the destruction of my garden patch.

Sunflowers, melons and a lone tomato. Nothing left but the tomato and a hanging fuchsia.

It was rats. Drought is bringing the field rats in close and their starting to do damage and spread bubonic plague.

Right after California banned toxic rat and mouse baits.

I guess it sucks to be me.

PetersCreek
2015-Aug-21, 02:46 AM
I'm sorry to hear that, Don. I know that has to be gut punch frustrating. If life handed me such vermin, I'd looking to make verminade.

The Backroad Astronomer
2015-Aug-21, 03:15 AM
I would think you would make vermin sausages.

Noclevername
2015-Aug-21, 04:19 AM
Well, dang. We have flooding driving pests into our home but they're just small ants that do little damage.

Spacedude
2015-Aug-21, 01:26 PM
Whoa Big Don! That is sad news, a rat invasion like that would keep me up at night and not just from the gardening perspective. I had 2 more melon picking tips to pass along but sorry there's no need now :(. Good luck on this rat invasion, hope it's temporary.