pickupguy07
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I have 30 ft of Watermelon Vines but Few Watermelons. Why?

I have a question...
I planted watermellon this year..
I have vines that run 30 feet... lots of vines, few mellons.
I am guessing I have so many vines that all the production is going into production of the vines, and very little going into making the mellons. I had 5 seeds come up to make plants,.. and I think I can only see 5 mellons.

So whats your suggestions. Next time should I cut the ends off the vines and keep them shorter or what. Is it too late to do it this year..??
What is the max length they sould be for good mellon production.
this year they have just taken over my garden; and I planned ahead to avoid this problem..

If I can do something this year.. cool.. If not I want to find out what to do for next growing season.
THANKS
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
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Fig3825
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I'd be interested in hearing the answers to this question as well, as well as some other questions...

I have 4 watermelon plants growing in my garden which consists of 4each of 4x10' raised beds that sit about 5' apart making an array that is around 25 x 13' and then a fence about 3' around the entire perimeter. They just started to take off with regard to vining. A couple inches at least every day. If what pickupguy07 says is true, I may be in a world of hurt myself if they cover 30 feet!

Can they be pruned to keep them more compact of does that hurt their chance of producing? I've heard of trellising and bagging the fruit for support, but if vines are 30' long, there's no trellis for that!

I do have the option to simply train them across the fence and then grow them across the yard. Shouldn't be too much of an issue unless something decides to eat them up..

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stella1751
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First, I should let you know that I am by no means an expert on watermelon, just a northern gardener who would like to grow them despite the odds :lol:

When I tried them and pumpkins for the first time last year, one of the other members gave me this great website, [url=https://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010137veg.roots/010137ch31.html]ROOT DEVELOPMENT OF VEGETABLE CROPS[/url]. The last paragraph in the watermelon section begins as follows: "Pruning the vines, as with sweet potatoes, is a harmful practice and not in common use. Any injury to the food-making portion of the plant probably results in a diminished root growth and smaller fruits."

I hope that helps!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

mmmfloorpie
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stella1751 wrote:First, I should let you know that I am by no means an expert on watermelon, just a northern gardener who would like to grow them despite the odds :lol:

When I tried them and pumpkins for the first time last year, one of the other members gave me this great website, [url=https://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010137veg.roots/010137ch31.html]ROOT DEVELOPMENT OF VEGETABLE CROPS[/url]. The last paragraph in the watermelon section begins as follows: "Pruning the vines, as with sweet potatoes, is a harmful practice and not in common use. Any injury to the food-making portion of the plant probably results in a diminished root growth and smaller fruits."

I hope that helps!
That's what I always thought. I don't like screwing with the vines of watermelons because it's a sign of a healthy plant to me! New blooms also grow on the new vines so that's good for pollination purposes.

I have a spaghetti squash plant which is over running everything too and I refuse to prune! All of the squashes are near the ends of the vines too for some reason.

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Fig3825
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Maybe I can roll my hose reel over to the garden and start winding my watermelon vine around it as it grows. :wink:

While joking, this has got me thinking about getting one of those huge telephone cable spools and sitting it near my watermelons in the future so I can train them to grow in circles around it.

pickupguy07
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Someone said something about pinching the blooms off of plants to help them product bigger fruit.
My vines had 50+ blooms on them a while back.. still has some out near the ends.. but only getting 4 or 5 mellons from 5 plants seems like thats a very few. I know my Dad used to grow big fields of watermellons on his farm to take to the market, and got LOTS from each plant. Just wondered if I was doing something wrong.

NEXT year I am gonna plow me up a 5' x 5' patch JUST to plant watermellons in about 20 feet away from my garden. at least that will solve ONE problem.
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
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stella1751
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mmmfloorpie wrote:I have a spaghetti squash plant which is over running everything too and I refuse to prune! All of the squashes are near the ends of the vines too for some reason.
Last year, one member, I think it was Engineergarden, said that fruit size was proportionate to leaf surface. He gave some formula for surface of square feet to pounds of produce. I can't remember the formula, but I think about it with my watermelons and pumpkins. I pruned tertiary vines on my pumpkins last year; this year I am just letting them do their own thing, even though they are now crawling out of the bed :roll:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

PepperManiac
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I'm having a similar issue with my watermelon plant - vines all over the place, but virtually NO melons. In fact, the peppers in my garden aren't really producing either, but we have been experiencing a drought in Texas, so that might be the reason. It's hard to keep up with the watering.

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TheWaterbug
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Pinching off blooms to make bigger fruit makes sense. Pinching off vines makes no sense.

Fruits are made of sugars, and green stuff is what makes sugars. Leaves make sugar; fruits use it. More leaves-->more fruit mass. Fewer fruit-->more mass per fruit.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

mmmfloorpie
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TheWaterbug wrote:Pinching off blooms to make bigger fruit makes sense. Pinching off vines makes no sense.

Fruits are made of sugars, and green stuff is what makes sugars. Leaves make sugar; fruits use it. More leaves-->more fruit mass. Fewer fruit-->more mass per fruit.
When you say pinch off blooms, I assume you mean just the female blooms?

pickupguy07
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how do you even tell the difference.. :shock: :?: :?:
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
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MaryDel
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All vine and no fruit is a classic symptom of over fertilizing, or fertilizing too early. Try waiting to fertilize until after each plant has formed 3 or four softball sized melons.

MaryDel
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pickupguy07 wrote:how do you even tell the difference.. :shock: :?: :?:

The female flower has a small watermelon attached to it, the male does not. I would not recommend picking any blossoms unless you think you have too many watermelons.

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Gary350
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I have a friend that grows those giant 1st place winner water mellons that you see at the county fair. If you want GIANT water mellons then you only want ONE vine and you cut that vine short so it has only ONE water mellon on it. And you water it every day.

I worked one summer at a 40 acre water mellon patch in Griffin Indiana. Vine grow long 30 ft is normal. When I grow mellons in the garden I turn the vines and make them grow in a circle I don't want the vines all over the whole garden. Mellons need full sun. If you want large mellons then you need LOTS OR ROOTS on the plants. Mix about 50% sand with soil in a 3 ft circle 1 ft deep. If you have sandy soil already that is what mellons love.

Mellons need lots of water if you want large mellons. The 40 acre mellon field at Griffin Indiana is next to the River, water is just a few feet below the surface, the soil is a very fine grain sand probably 25 times finer than play sand. They plant in rows 1 seed every foot rows are 15 ft apart. Roots grow down into that sandy soil to find water and it makes large mellons. They have several roads across the field so they can pull wagons, roads are about 150 ft apart. Pickers have to carry mellons 75 ft to the wagon they only pick to the center. Roll the mellons over and look at the bottom, if it has a yellow bottom pick it, if it is white role it back over.

When I grow mellons I give each plant 1 gallon of water every day. To keep the mellons from getting rot on the bottom they need to stay dry. Sand is perfect for keeping the mellons dry. I pour sand on a board and set the mellons on them.

My friend that grows mellons says, if you want your mellons extra sweet water them with sugar water. I have no way to know for sure if it really works. I tied this once, I didn't know how much sugar the plants need. The mellons were very sweet but I had nothing to compair it too to see if they were sweeter than other mellons in my garden.
Last edited by Gary350 on Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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TheWaterbug
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Do watermelon plants grow extra roots along their vines like pumpkins do? If so, that's another reason to let them grow.
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TheWaterbug
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MaryDel wrote:All vine and no fruit is a classic symptom of over fertilizing, or fertilizing too early. Try waiting to fertilize until after each plant has formed 3 or four softball sized melons.
Once the fruit has set, what type of fertilizer should we use?
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

pickupguy07
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I don't think watermellons grow "extra roots" like certain types of grass to. I can pick my vines up, and move them around. They DO grow these little runners and attachment themselves to other near by plants.. but I don't have any that root into the ground.
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
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MaryDel
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TheWaterbug wrote:
MaryDel wrote:All vine and no fruit is a classic symptom of over fertilizing, or fertilizing too early. Try waiting to fertilize until after each plant has formed 3 or four softball sized melons.
Once the fruit has set, what type of fertilizer should we use?

I use 5-10-10 if I have it, 10-10-10 if I don't, but about half as much. It's hard to say how much is best, it's kind of a trial and error thing. I'd start off with about a tablespoon or 2 sprinkled in a circle around each plant. Keep it off of the vines and foliage.

mmmfloorpie
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MaryDel wrote:
pickupguy07 wrote:how do you even tell the difference.. :shock: :?: :?:

The female flower has a small watermelon attached to it, the male does not. I would not recommend picking any blossoms unless you think you have too many watermelons.
Well I don't want so many that it takes twice as long for the fruit to ripen because it's growing a dozen melons at once...

Thought I'd post some pics of my plants...

Here's my watermelon:

[img]https://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm113/drew4allyou/0719111856-00.jpg[/img]

Not much fruit on it yet...

Here's my cantaloupe:

[img]https://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm113/drew4allyou/0719111855-03.jpg[/img]

And my biggest fruit:

[img]https://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm113/drew4allyou/0719111855-04.jpg[/img]

pickupguy07
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I got 6 or 7 mellows about the size of a soccer ball (I looked tonight) Couple about the size of a baseball - don't know if they'll make anything or not. Watermellon has been plantes since 4/27.. so it hadn't quite been 90 days yet.
But I don't see them increasing in size very much.. even if given another month. am I wrong?
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

BP
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For the question "how do you tell the difference" from male to female flower. This is a female watermelon flower
[img]https://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb9/BP991/garden%202010/015.jpg[/img]
Notice the tiny melon behind the flower, a male won't have that. The question about does a watermelon vine reroot? No they do not.
Can't believe this hasn't come up yet? What are you fertizing with? Go ahead and use a higher nitrogen fertilizer at the beginning of growing, but cut the nitrogen and go to phosphate once the first flower appears.
As for pinching off blossoms.................. Not really worth it unless you are growing one of the giant varieties. Hope this helps.

ROCK
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Re: I have 30 ft of Watermelon Vines but Few Watermelons. W

YOU GOT TO REMEMBER THERE ARE 7 MALE FLOWERS TO EVERY 1 FEMALE FLOWER. IF YOU don't HAVE ENOUGH BEES TO CROSS POLINATE FLOWERS YOU WILL NOT GET THAT MANY MELONS. JUST A FACTOR TO CONSIDER

imafan26
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Re: I have 30 ft of Watermelon Vines but Few Watermelons. W

I only plant sugar baby. It is an icebox watermelon and a perfect size for a couple of people. Watermelons get mealy if you can't eat it all at once. The vines only get about 6 feet. I will actually get a few female flowers but only 2 watermelons will mature because it is all a 6 foot vine can support.

I did try to grow a Tahitian squash and a standard water melon before. They both took over half my back yard and tried to go through the fence and claim the neighbor's yard too. The vines were over 50 ft long. I haven't done that since. I do grow gourds which get that long but it does produce a lot of fruit and I can trellis them. Although, one of the vines did bend the poles on my trellis.
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dobro13
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Re: I have 30 ft of Watermelon Vines but Few Watermelons. W

I’ve got the ice box ones too. I figure that fertilizer recommendation would be the same or am I missing something? I had the same issue due to overfeeding tomatoes.



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