surfnsun
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Cantaloupe/Watermelon Seeds???

Hi all, I'm brand new to this forum and to gardening in general. So far I'm really enjoying learning everything so far. Recently I have started growing some green peppers from seeds in my house and they are doing well. Since these are doing so well I decided to try my luck with watermelon and cantaloupes. I am going to start these inside like my peppers, but I have a very elementary question. How many seeds per peat pot should I put in there? Secondly after these start growing (fingers crossed) is there a possibility that they could cross pollinate, and if so how far apart do they need to be to eliminate this risk?

Thanks everyone, and sorry for the inexperience
-Nathan

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Kisal
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They are in the same family, but are of different genera and species, so they do not cross-pollinate. It's a good idea not to grow them side by side, though, because they are subject to a lot of the same diseases, which can spread readily between the two.

I understand that cantaloupes are more subject to certain diseases that affect the leaves of the plants, but the diseases will readily spread to nearby watermelon plants. I don't know that there is a specific recommended distance they should be kept apart, though.
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hendi_alex
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Cross pollination rarely affects the fruit of the current years crop. It can be a factor were the crop is a seed. Corn for example will cross and give you strange results, like when white and yellow cross and give you mixed colored ears. Also, peppers will cross and can cause a mild pepper to get very hot. For the most part, a cross only affects the plant and its fruit, that would be grown from the particular seed that resulted from the cross of the previous season.
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applestar
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Recently I have started growing some green peppers from seeds in my house and they are doing well. Since these are doing so well I decided to try my luck with watermelon and cantaloupes. I am going to start these inside like my peppers...
That's terrific that you are enjoying growing from seeds. Peppers (and Tomatoes) are two most often grown from seed. Make sure to give you seedlings supplemental lighting with fluorescent lights -- tubes or CFL's at close range about 4" above the foliage for best growth.
... but I have a very elementary question. How many seeds per peat pot should I put in there?
Watermelon and Cantaloupes, unlike peppers, are not as easy to start ahead of time, even though they readily germinate. They need heat and light to grow, and they don't transplant well because they "don't like their roots disturbed." I see you might have heard of this -- perhaps the reason you intend to use peat pots? Unfortunately, there is a general consensus that peat pots actually don't allow the roots to grow out, holds too much moisture, molds, invites fungal damping off desease, dries out the seedlings if miswatered, etc.

It's easiest to plant the seeds directly in the ground after it's warm enough. They should be planted at about the same time as peppers, when night time temp remains 60ºF or more. By then, the daytime temp, especially in the sun, will be high 80's~90º or more.

If you still want to try sowing the seeds indoors, make sure to plant in minimum 4" pots. The number of seeds would depend on expected germination rate, usually noted on the package, but I would sow 3 best looking seeds in each pot.

surfnsun
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Thanks you guys for the great replies! I will let you know how all work out.
-Nathan

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Greywolf
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This is going to be my second year growing mellons, so I'll give you some of the ideas I arrived at from my experiences and the tips I have picked up.

Cantaloupe is a vine that will not tolerate cold weather, and yet it also should not be grown in a spot where they get direct sunlight all day. A shaded area with lots of indirect light is supposedly best, according to the hints I got from "WEEKS SEEDS"

(I'm growing their giant varieties of both watermelon and cantaloupe this year)

Watermelon does well in full sun, Honey Dew (like cantaloupe) is best planted in a shaded or partly shaded area.

Common knowlege seems to say plant them in groups (or "Hills') of about five or six, but the best way is to set the seeds about a foot apart in a row, and train them to grow at right angles to the row, something like the teeth of a comb. Spacing the plants apart a bit allows the roots more room so they don't compete with eachother. I also think it makes the best use of available space.

You can expect the vines to be around ten or more feet long when full grown, fifteen wouldn't be unusual.

My plan for many of my melons is to plant them along the northern border of my lot, and let them grow towards the sun (southward) which they will try to do anyway. For the ones needing shade, I have a treeline to the east that I will put the Honey Dew and Cantaloupes next to.

Plastic sheeting is a good idea for the vines to lay on, because it will keep the bottoms of the ripening mellons dry so that there is less chance of them rotting. Vines like these are almost impossible to weed around too - so the plastic also gets you around that problem. YOU DON'T HAVE TO TILL UNDER THE WHOLE SHEET - just the part where the roots of the plants will be.

You can spread mulch on top of the plastic, or bury the edges, or place landscape timbers around the edge to hold the plastic down. Or some combination of all three - you don't want the wind to get up under a big tarp! It will take off like a large sail...

Another reason for doing it this way is so that it's easier to see the vines and melons. At the end of last year when I thought the melon patches I had were completely done, I found about eight more mellons hiding here and there, several of them I nearly ran over with a riding mower!!!

"MELLON" by the way is also correctly spelled "MELON", it doesn't seem to matter which :roll:
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Kisal
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Greywolf wrote:"MELLON" by the way is also correctly spelled "MELON", it doesn't seem to matter which :roll:
Warning! Off-Topic post ( ;) ):

Actually, it does "matter which," presuming that one wants to spell words correctly. The preferred spelling of a word is commonly shown first in a dictionary. If there are other accepted spellings, they will be listed afterward.

At least, that's what I was taught in school. :)

I checked 2 online dictionaries and my faithful old Merriam-Webster here at home. According to those sources, the preferred spelling is "melon." The only reference I could find for "Mellon" was as the last name of an American financier :)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming! :lol:
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Greywolf
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Oh good! I learned something new today...
(That's what I get for trusting how things are spelled on the internet) :lol:

I don't know what to recommend for fertilizer. That's a question that I also have.

I'm 100% with applestar about the peat pots though, the only time I had plants in those I made sure to tear the pots loose, and scatter the pieces in the holes for the plants so that the roots would be freed to spread out as they should. I avoid them, and have only gotten them when seedlings from a garden center were already in them.
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Kisal
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I only tried once to grow melons, and failed dramatically. The growing season here isn't long enough, so they have to be started indoors, and you need supplementary lighting to do that here.

I don't know what a good organic fertilizer would be, except maybe worm castings. I also share Applestar's dislike of peat pots. They're worthless things. :>
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

bnew17
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Greywolf wrote:This is going to be my second year growing mellons, so I'll give you some of the ideas I arrived at from my experiences and the tips I have picked up.

Cantaloupe is a vine that will not tolerate cold weather, and yet it also should not be grown in a spot where they get direct sunlight all day. A shaded area with lots of indirect light is supposedly best, according to the hints I got from "WEEKS SEEDS"

(I'm growing their giant varieties of both watermelon and cantaloupe this year)

Watermelon does well in full sun, Honey Dew (like cantaloupe) is best planted in a shaded or partly shaded area.

Common knowlege seems to say plant them in groups (or "Hills') of about five or six, but the best way is to set the seeds about a foot apart in a row, and train them to grow at right angles to the row, something like the teeth of a comb. Spacing the plants apart a bit allows the roots more room so they don't compete with eachother. I also think it makes the best use of available space.
You can expect the vines to be around ten or more feet long when full grown, fifteen wouldn't be unusual.

My plan for many of my melons is to plant them along the northern border of my lot, and let them grow towards the sun (southward) which they will try to do anyway. For the ones needing shade, I have a treeline to the east that I will put the Honey Dew and Cantaloupes next to.

Plastic sheeting is a good idea for the vines to lay on, because it will keep the bottoms of the ripening mellons dry so that there is less chance of them rotting. Vines like these are almost impossible to weed around too - so the plastic also gets you around that problem. YOU DON'T HAVE TO TILL UNDER THE WHOLE SHEET - just the part where the roots of the plants will be.

You can spread mulch on top of the plastic, or bury the edges, or place landscape timbers around the edge to hold the plastic down. Or some combination of all three - you don't want the wind to get up under a big tarp! It will take off like a large sail...

Another reason for doing it this way is so that it's easier to see the vines and melons. At the end of last year when I thought the melon patches I had were completely done, I found about eight more mellons hiding here and there, several of them I nearly ran over with a riding mower!!!

"MELLON" by the way is also correctly spelled "MELON", it doesn't seem to matter which :roll:
i will be growing melons for the first time this year...i have some information that says to space the rows 10ft apart and each plant 10 feet apart. I will be planting them from seeds so im assuming from what you wrote i will plant each seed 1 foot apart in the row?

StorageSmart2
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bnew17 wrote:i will be growing melons for the first time this year...i have some information that says to space the rows 10ft apart and each plant 10 feet apart. I will be planting them from seeds so im assuming from what you wrote i will plant each seed 1 foot apart in the row?
When starting something new from seeds, particularly something I've never tried growing before, I've been told to plant the seeds closer together than I want the finished product. Then, as they get bigger you trim back or uproot the ones that are failing to thrive to allow more room for the "successful" ones. The problem with this is that it gives everyone less chance to survive, because of roots competing for space/nutrients/water.

I'm assuming with something like a melon it will have a lot of ground cover once they are into the thick of things, if you'll pardon the pun. As such, I would think that going a little further apart would be better to avoid competition amongst the leaves.

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Greywolf
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What I want to do this year is reduce the "TANGLE" and give each plant root space that is not shared with others, so that they can take up nutrients without robbing one another, which seems to happen when grown in hills.

All plants have an amount of root space that they need. If it is shared, the value of what they gain is devided

Seperating the seedlings normally grown in "Hills" may give them better nutrition as plants, and make best use of what is in the soil.

We have all seen how roots spread out - it is a good thing to be aware of.

That is the dominant consideration in plant spacing other than foliage spread.

Some ways in which plants have traditionally been set out have made me curious, and I wonder if it cannot be done better so as to achieve better results.

There you have my cut on it.
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jal_ut
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I have planted melons in hills and rows. Seed one foot apart in the row works well here. I never plant more than one row. Genrally the next row over will be squash or cukes, and I leave 6 to 8 feet between rows. Full sun for my melons.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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