WATERMELLON! and not the fisherman

Discussion in 'Garden Tips And Talk' started by Chief, May 30, 2006.

  1. Chief

    Chief New Member

    anything special i need to do to watermellons besides plant them in good sunlight? once they pop out of the ground and get some roots should i give them the miracle grow treatment?
  2. sal_jr

    sal_jr New Member

    Ithaca, MI
    Use miracle grow after theyre up at least 5 inches.

    Also a mild bug killer 3 weeks after miracle grow.

    Far as I've done- and this is only my 3rd year, I take and when I see the melons forming I put em on a cushion of either straw or an old leaky tarp folded up nice and thick. I also give em a gentle quarter turn every few days, otherwise they form a flat spot and can rot from the bottom up.

    This year Im going to use 6 inch PVC cut into 3 or 4 inch sections with foam sprayed on the end. The idea is to keep em from staying wet oo long, as the fruit can spoil easily if not watched.

    A buddy of mine takes and snips all but one arm off of the plant, saying that fewer fruit to make sweet, makes sweeter fruit... but he's sorta a dumbass in so many other things, it is hard to believe he can hit the nail on the head even by chance. All he is good for for my purposes is someone to drink beer with and to keep the fire going while fishing.


    Remember not to yank them till the stem where it connects to the vine dries out and croaks.

  3. davesoutfishing

    davesoutfishing New Member

    Menominee Michigan
    1. Choose a site that gets full sun, is protected from chilly winds - especially in spring and fall - and gets good air circulation. A gentle, south-facing slope is ideal.

    2. Dig plenty of organic matter into the soil to provide the conditions watermelons need: a light, sandy, fertile loam that is well-drained yet retains moisture. A near-neutral pH is best, but watermelons will tolerate soil as acid as 5.5. (Image 1)

    3. Buy watermelon plants at a nursery; plan to plant them after both air and soil temperatures have reached 65 degrees F (usually two to three weeks after the last frost). Otherwise, sow seeds directly into the garden. Direct sowing is best if your growing season is long enough for the plants to mature (check your seed packet). Watermelons don't like to be transplanted.

    4. Prepare the soil well at planting time, even if you've added plenty of organic matter earlier. For each plant, dig a hole two feet in diameter and a foot deep, and add at least a shovelful of compost or well-cured manure and a trowel or two of bone meal. (Image 2)

    5. Set hardened-off transplants into the ground at the depth they were growing in their pots. Sow seeds an inch deep in hills. (See "How to Harden off Transplants" and "How to Start Vegetable Seeds Outdoors.") Water thoroughly with compost tea. (Image 3)

    6. Allow plenty of space between plants. Depending on the variety, they should be anywhere from 3 feet (for small bush types) to 12 feet apart (for giant ramblers).

    7. Apply a thick organic mulch to hold in moisture, deter weeds and keep the melons clean as they grow. Or, if you don't care how your patch looks, use a black plastic mulch, with slits cut for the plants. It will hold in heat better than any other soil covering.

    8. Cover the plants with floating row covers to keep the air warm, and give young plants an inch of water a week. (Image 4)

    9. Remove all covers as soon as flowers appear so that bees and other insects can pollinate the plants, and begin fertilizing with compost tea every three weeks.

    10. Note when the plants are in full bloom: watermelons should be ready to pick about 35 days later.

    If you live in the cooler end of watermelon's comfort range, leave the monster-size melons to folks farther south. You'll have better luck with a small variety that matures early, such as "Garden Baby" (75 days from transplanting, 7 to 10 pounds), "Cole's Early" (80 days, 10 pounds), "Sugar Baby" (80 days, 8 to 10 pounds), and "Cream of Saskatchewan" (85 days, 8 to 10 pounds, with creamy white flesh).

    Besides the classic pink, watermelon interiors come in orange, yellow and white varieties. The color has no bearing on flavor or sweetness, but many gardeners claim the nonstandard shades are more finicky and harder to grow.

    Rind color, which can be solid, splotched or striped, in any tone from gold to near-black, seems to have no bearing on either taste or ease of culture.

    If you want to save seeds for next year, grow only one variety: all watermelons cross-pollinate freely.

    Watermelons are prone to fusarium wilt, especially in the north. To avoid it, rotate crops each year, plant disease-resistant varieties, and sow radishes in your melon patch - they deter cucumber beetles, which transmit the disease
  4. elphaba7

    elphaba7 New Member

    Mo'town, WV
    Sal, that friend might just be on to something. Winemakers practice something similar to that.