Watermelon & Melon growing 2020


#1

I thought we needed a thread for the new year. This year I am back to melons, Crimson Sweet and Petite Gris.
What is everyone else growing, anything new and exciting to try, any melon that was particularly a bust last season?


#2

I’m going to hijack this thread for a minute. I’ve tried several times to grow short day watermelons in my greenhouse. i leave the doors open in the summers in there. i get good vine growth but the fruit barely develop. any tips on soil and nutrients to grow them? id just like to at least get a few to eat. thx.


#3

Hijack away!!! The twists and turns of a thread are what keeps my interest.

I cannot grow melons in my greenhouse either, I don’t know what it is, I can grow onions, tomatoes, grapes, but both cucumbers and melons defy my abilities. The cucumbers have an acid/sour flavour and the melons struggle. I had one successful Orangeglo from my greenhouse but the darned thing took over and I only had one melon to show for it, granted, it was grafted onto pumpkin rootstock but I picked it at the wrong time and it was over ripe.

The only trick to melons for me is a very early start. They need to be in 1/2 to a 1 gallon pot and blooming before I set them out beginning of June. They go into a bed with lots of well rotted manure, and black plastic or weed cloth to keep the heat in.


#4

I will plant my favorites again this year. Orangeglo, Jubilee, Blacktail Mt, WhiteWonder/Orangeglo cross from @Mountain_Donkey. Trying new this year: Royal Golden from Baker Creek. It was an impulse purchase with my seed order - since the rind turns yellow when ripe, maybe I will actually be able to pick a melon that is perfectly ripe!
I get a lot of good ones, but also miss a lot too, some over- and some under-ripe. :smirk:


#5

i guess ill try starting some now. :wink:


#6

I think what’s lacking is pollination. It sounds like you need to hand pollinate. It’s not that hard. Easiest in the morning when it’s above 60F about an hour after good sun. Most varieties pollinate themselves but need bees or hand pollination to set fruit.


#7

Have to say it even though its a non-sequitur. Orangeglo reminds me of a story. We were entering orders for two newborn girls in the hospital where I worked and getting their meds ready. One was named Lemongelo and the other Orangelo (seriously) We found out later that they were named for their mom’s favorite desserts. (lemon jello, et al) You cant make this stuff up. How funny:grinning:


#8

I usually get a few good Blacktail Mountain and New Queen watermelons every year, but would like my plants to be healthier and produce a little more. I might try the square foot gardening method this year for melons. Has anyone had good luck with this?


#9

wow, for real??? I was never tempted to name any of my kids after food. Good thing I didn’t start growing Orangeglo until AFTER they were both born! :joy:


#10

Melon growers:

I am going to give the watermelons a try this year. I have space between the rows in my young orchard (not big enough to shade the melons). I am wanting to use black plastic/landscape fabric to cut back on weeds. I also want to run some irrigation underneath. Question

  1. how wide should the plastic be to reasonably cover the growing area
  2. what spacing should I put the melons? I am hope in to both watermelon and cantaloupe.
    I have a 100 ft row about 15ft wide to plant into.

#11

4’x4’ spacing should be adequate, that’s what I use. Last year I experimented and planted only one plant per space, and found no reduction in production. Obviously melons don’t like any competition,
even from just one other plant. But you must have adequate irrigation, especially when the plants are young. Without it, it’s a hit or miss proposition.

Although the following link is for SC, it should work anywhere.
Watermelons | Home & Garden Information Center


#12

i leave my 2 big doors open all summer. i find bumbles in there all the time. my other plants all get pollinated. i don’t think I’ve got my soil right with them. i grow them in 5 gal fabric pots. what additives do watermelon like in their soil?


#13

Found this thread now. Thank you for setting it up! :grin:


#14

More soil and lots of nitrogen. 5 gal isn’t enough soil to grow much of a melon.


#15

i have 17 gal ones.


#16

Do you have a fertilizer you use? What ratio of N?


#17

On my soil growing melons outdoors, the only fert needed is nitrogen. I apply as much as needed to keep the vines growing. They set as long as they grow. If I do everything needed that allows melon set for many months. Harvest of high quality melons can be June to Sept on the same vines.


#18

Here in Zone 7a, but the edge of 6b, black plastic and drip irrigation last summer helped my plants, all started from seed outdoors, produce 29-lb melons on average (of the first 37 melons I picked). The plants were planted at two-foot spacings. The largest was 41 lbs. I didn’t weigh any of the “second crop”, those produced after the first two-three were picked from the plants, but they were naturally smaller.

I learned a lot from reading the posts of people like @rayrose above.

This year, I’m planting Gold Strike, Raspa, Black Diamond, and a fourth variety that I haven’t chosen yet. Heck, maybe I’ll just plant those three. I thought about planting a Truck Buster or two–my kids would love it!


#19

Has anyone grown the Mini Love compact watermelons? I wrote a note to my garden list last year with the name only, and it most likely came from a comment here.


#20

I’ll be planting 10-15 varieties of melon again this year inbetween trees in my orchard. Last year that worked well for me! I did notice some of the varieties I didn’t care for early season, ended up being good late season, so I haven’t yet really worked down to exactly which varieties to not grow yet.