Watermelon & Melon growing 2020


#41

Im trying a couple israeli strains of cantaloupe this year. Supposedly the flavor is amazing. My two plants of ‘old israeli’ already went belly up so wont be tasting those. The ‘ha ogen’ is still going strong and setting many fruits. I think its a galia type. Hope its not a splitter when it rains.


#42

Growing Petite Yellow, Rattlesnake, and Blacktail Mountain watermelons. Along with Tigger melon, and Petit Gris de Rennes melon. First year trying these.
-Nick


#43

Dad and I planted 165 hills of Crimson sweet, Jade Star, Big Stripe, Summer Flavor 720, Jubilee improved, Charleston Gray, and Black Diamond this year. I’m anxious to try Big Stripe and Summerflavor 720 this year after everyone’s pics last year. I would have gave up on black diamond, but my dad wanted some. Rasps and Janosik will get added next year.


#44

Can anyone tell me what is going on with my watermelon? They are ice box watermelons. This is my first time trying to grow them. My plants looked beautiful until we had a 71 mph wind storm. Any feedback would be welcome. Thank you!


#45

Looks like the surface has been damaged. My guess would be from twirling around in the wind and rubbing against something.


#46

I have grown Ha’Ogen for several years and really like it.
It might just be my area (Kansas), but it seems to go from not quite ripe one day to dead ripe the next. I have to check them daily or I will get over ripe ones all over.

duckhunter, just curious how bid your field is?


#47

I wish I could grow melons - adore them.
But I don’t have a lot of space and I DO have groundhogs and lots of fungus spores :joy:


#48

Not real sure how big my areas are where we planted watermelons as far as acreage. Dad and I each have a spot and the hills are planted 5 feet apart and most are 10 foot between rows. I planted a bunch of plugs this year and hail took care of half of them. I then replanted with seeds. I’m anxious to see how far behind the seeds actually are from the plugs that made it, trying to convince myself that planting and caring for trays of watermelon plugs are not really worth it in Kansas. I did notice a few melons a little bigger than softballs already.


#49

I always direct sow my watermelon seed here in my part of Kansas and don’t have any problems with getting them to maturity. I had considered starting some indoors this year just to compare with direct seeding, but ran out of room under grow lights so I didn’t do it. There are usually a few melons at the end of the summer that won’t fully mature, but by that time, we are full up of watermelon and nobody wants any more! I grow way more than we can use so give a lot of them away.
Sounds like you are off to a great start though, even with the hail damage (sorry to hear about that!) Softball sized already is great. I was really really late planting my melon seeds this year, time just got away from me, too many other things distracting me I guess, and my plants are up but only about a week old! yikes, should be an interesting year.
Looking forward to seeing pictures of your melons as they ripen.
I am growing OrangeGlow, Jubilee, Blacktail Mountain, Royal Golden (new to me this year) and a White Wonder/OrangeGlow cross I got from @Mountain_Donkey a few years ago.


#50

Wow, you are growing a lot of varieties that I would like to hear more about too. I didn’t have any problems last year with most ripening in time, I was hoping to just spread out the harvest a little and get some early ones since my dad direct seeds all of his. What part of Kansas are you growing, my spot is in Chapman and my dads is by Russell.


#51

I have had good luck trellising some of my melons them to get the vines up off of the ground. Works great with cantaloupe and honeydew types for sure. I do all of them this way now. I have had limited success with trellising larger watermelons like OrangeGlow and Jubilee due to their mature size. If I would limit each vine to just a couple melons and carefully select which ones I will keep, positioning them so they can lay on the ground but keep the vines growing upwards, I think they would do fine. They grow so fast, it can be a bit frustrating to keep training the vines up on the trellis, they keep wanting to grow along the ground and if you miss a few days, it seems like they are everywhere!


#52

Thanks! I actually have tried growing sugar baby and musk melons on a trellis and did manage to get a few fruits along with several that slipped out of their slings and ripped off :sleepy:

I gave it up for more maypop space - I found it too frustrating and “intensive” to grow vertically :relieved:


#53

I am east of you, maybe about an hour and half or so, we are south of Manhattan, Council Grove area.
I love Orangeglo! It and Jubilee are my favorites! I first heard about Orangeglo from @thecityman several years ago after reading a post and have been growing it ever since. The beautiful orange color is fun, it surprises everyone due to the novelty, but the taste is really great. It is sweet, not but overly so.
Jubilee grows 30+ pounds here and is my favorite red variety.
Blacktail Mountain did OK for me last year, but I wasn’t wowed. I am looking forward to trying it again this year and see if it is worth keeping with my regulars.
I am trying Royal Golden this year for the first time, mainly due to the fact that the rind turns yellow when ripe. See pics from Baker Creek Seeds
image
https://www.rareseeds.com/catalog/product/view/id/1271/s/royal-golden-watermelon/category/357/
No matter how many years I grow watermelons, I still stink at picking them at the right time. I thought this one would be fun to try and maybe actually be able to pick it at peak maturity!
The White Wonder/Orangeglo cross is fun too. It is a very pale yellow color. Not overly sweet, good flavor, but not outstanding. It makes a great addition to a mixed watermelon bowl with red and orange varieties. Very striking!

I can save extra seeds this year and send them to you if you’d like to try any of them, just let me know!


#54

I’m always up for trying new varieties, one that turns gold when ripe is very good. I can save you some seeds too, but I’m not sure if they will be true to type since some that I grow are hybrid watermelons. I’m not sure which ones you are growing are hybrids. Im pretty sure crimson sweet is not a hebrid. That is interesting that jubilee is your favorite. I have not grown that one but I did have jubilee improved last year. It was a very good melon no doubt, but it wasn’t an excellent tasting melon for me like crimson sweet and jade star. These two were much better than Charleston grey and sangria too. I’m not the best at picking when they are just perfect but I felt like crimson sweet were the easiest for me to tell. Black diamond was a joke on trying to pick a ripe one for me, I struggled on getting them to ever ripen up, for that reason I left black diamond out of my patch this year and let dad try some.


#55

One year I got my tags mixed up and put cantaloupes on a cucumber trellis. It worked just fine, although it came a surprise. You must have some sturdy trellises. :slightly_smiling_face:


#56

All of what I grow are open pollinated and can be grown from seed. We will see how Royal Golden does, but I will for sure save you some seed from that one, and any others.
I think Jubilee was the first watermelon seed I had ever bought. I never lived anywhere that grew good watermelons, but bought a packet of seed and forgot about it. We moved several times in the interim, ended up in Kansas. When I found that package of seed it was between 8-10 years old. I planted some seeds on a lark and had a bumper crop. Our first melon from that patch weighed 35# and I had a hard time carrying the slippery thing in from the garden! My boys were just little fellas at the time and thought a 35# melon was the coolest thing ever. They ate so much they made themselves sick! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I don’t like really really sugary sweet fruits. To me, this variety has just the perfect amount of sweetness. Anyway, good memories with this old variety and it always grows without problems, so for me, it is a keeper.
I tried Sugar Baby, Charleston Grey, Moon and Stars in the past and didn’t really like them enough to plant them again.


#57

I bet that was a surprise! Funny shaped cucs, huh? :joy:

I just use 16’ long cattle panels for my trellis anchored with Tposts at each end and one in the middle for extra stability. We had them left over from something else we did around here. By the time I scavenged them from the junk pile, most of them were bent and a bit beat up. But they do the job! I don’t try support the cantaloupes or honeydew at all. I see some folks make slings or bags for them. The vines seem to grow stronger as needed and support the melons until they are ripe. I might get a split one or two that drop to the ground once ripe if I missed picking it the day before. Not a big deal to me. I grow too many.


#58

Royal Golden is sub par. Flesh is distinctly grainy with parts that do not mature at the same time as the rest of the melon. There are some useful genetics there, but needs to be in a better background perhaps from crossing to a melon like Dixielee or Ledmon.

165 hills of watermelons could be grown on about 1/3 of an acre given that each hill needs at least 100 square feet to spread out.

I’m growing about 8 hills of Bradford watermelon this year. Look up the history if you are interested in unusual back stories. I have a few hills each of Romanian Green and Susan Healy cantaloupes.


#59

@Fusion_power
Well that’s just a bummer to hear Royal Golden isn’t a winner. I guess I will get to experience that first-hand! :wink: Good thing I am growing my other favorites. I have read some of your other posts where you discuss plant breeding, but it is beyond me. I think the rind changing color at peak ripeness would appeal to a lot of people, so if you can marry that with even a “good” flesh, it could be successful. If you have any spare time to mess around with watermelon breeding…

I haven’t heard of Bradford, so I am going to read up on that one, thanks!

OK, I read up a little, actually watched a couple videos on the Bradford family website. It is very cool! Is that where you got your seeds? I see they are 12 seeds for $10!
I had no idea that watermelons were so valuable back in the late 1800s, early 1900s. There was a comment on a video that said something like, out of all agricultural pursuits, more deaths occurred in the watermelon patch than anywhere else, with the exception or horse thievery and cattle rustling.
It is pretty neat all the ventures the Bradford family has gotten into with this one watermelon variety. Molasses, brandy, pickles, not to mention fresh to chef sales. I have a recipe for molasses, but didn’t know how you should use it and haven’t tried it yet. It just sounded weird, but interesting too!


#60

Thanks for the tag and I’m so glad you liked Orangeglo. It really is a special watermelon. And as you said, the oddity of an orange watermelon really makes it fun. While most of us around here are into growing thing to the point we are familiar with things like that, but the general public isn’t. One year at our 4th of July event put on by the city we had a table set up to give away free watermelon by the slice. We had gotten several orange melons that year to put out and I volunteered to work the table for an hour or so. It was soooo much fun watching people come up and hearing the comments they made about orange colored watermelons. Also shocking how many had never heard or seen such a thing- I’d guess HALF the people hadn’t! People were bewildered. Was it watermelon? Does it taste like “normal” watermelon? Were they somehow colored or did they grow like that? My favorite- and there was SEVERAL of them- were the know-it-all types would come up, hear people asking about the orange flesh, and then declare with absolute certainty that some of the watermelons were orange because they had cross pollinated with a cantaloupe. These people usually would tell how they had a grandmother or uncle who had planted watermelons and cantaloupes together and had the same thing happen. Best of all they would tell anyone listening that if they paid attention they would be able to taste a hint of cantaloupe flavor in the orange flesh watermelon…and some people would suddenly “taste” it!!! hahaha. I saw no reason to argue or explain how pollination or genetics work to these people so I just passed out the melons and enjoyed the show! haha

BTW…I have grown Royal Golden several times and enjoy it for the same reasons you mention (unique). It doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Mine are always darker than your photo shows, and more orange. In fact, mine are usually just about exactly the color of a traditional jack-o-lantern type pumpkin. HOWEVER- one thing I want to prepare you for is- at least for me- RG’s are quite small. ABout the size of blacktail mountain. Obviously some people get bigger ones somewhere-I’ve seen photos like your before-but I don’t so don’t be shocked if you don’t. Also- just like the guy in your photo is showing- even the vines turn orange late in the season. So its fun to grow for the color but its a small melon with average taste. It isn’t bad and it isn’t great. It just about average as far as taste goes.

Finally, let me just say that picking a ripe watermelon at peak ripeness is something you will absolutely get BETTER at, but never perfect at. I’ve grown watermelons since I was 10 years old and my neighber gave my own little garden space inside his garden . He put a little string border around a 10 ft x 10 ft space, let me pick what I wanted to grow (watermelon, of course) and taught me how to plant, hoe, fertilize, etc. Same thing for the next several years until we just gardened the whole space together. I’ve planted watermelons every single year since then but 2 - even in college in big cites. That is about 40 years of watermelon growing, about 55 varieties ago. I say all that to say this: To this day I pick more than one watermelon every year either too late or too early. I use every single technique known to man (color of bottom, state of curly thing on stem, sheen on melon, sound of thump, how easy the vine separates from melon, and more) and yet I still don’t get it right even close to every time. In fact, I’m a little suspicious of anyone who says they always use the XYZ method and it always results in perfect timing.

See…you went and brought up watermelons and now everyone had to read another giant, wondering e-mail from me! Sorry so long.