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Gary350
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Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

I have been told several times over the past 35 years, if you water your melons with sugar water the melons will be sweeter.

Is this true for false?

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RamonaGS
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

I'm not sure about it's effect on the sweetness of the melons, but I would be worried about sugar water attracting troublesome insects to your fruit, and possibly other pests. Plus I would wonder if sugar in the soil would increase the growth of fungus. I'm ot sure about other melons, but I know the key to growing sweet watermelon is heat. My Grandpa always had super sweet melons, and he said it was the heat that made them so sweet. On top of Grandpa's advice I used this article as a reference when I started, but it is about watermelons in particular.

https://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/6 ... atermelons
~~Ramona mother of fur babies~~

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!potatoes!
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

false.

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PunkRotten
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

I have heard that when a fruit is close to ripe to stop watering for a week or more and it will get sweeter. Is that true?

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hendi_alex
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

Well......hmmmmm??? You can make a watermelon more alcoholic by injecting vodka or grain alcohol. Why not not just inject the melon with your sugar water. That would be much more efficient and wouldn't waste nearly so much sugar. Of course I would think that one benefit of growing melons would be for a more healthy treat in one's diet. Refined sugar would make most any big three list for bad things in a person's diet. So why not look for natural strategies to get sweeter melons, melons with their own grown sweetness.

My first approach would be to investigate varieties, as some surly tend to sweeten up easy or more intensely than others. My second approach would be to investigate optimal growing conditions. For example, too much water (especially when the fruit is ripening) and growing too quickly could give a watery, less than sweet flavor. Also, some attention should be given to harvest. Cantaloupe are easy, because sweet ripe is usually indicated by 'slip' stage, where lifting the melon or very slight pressure causes the stem to easily release. Water melons are a bit more tricky. The best indicator for me is via inspecting the bottom. If the bottom is white, it is too early. If the bottom has turned a slight yellowish to cream colored bottom, then the melon should be fully ripe.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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Gary350
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

I know what makes fruit and berries sweeter, I read it in my Wine Making book. There are several different enzymes that occur naturally in all fruit, grain, berries. Starch in the fruit and berries is converted to sugar by the heat from the sun. One enzyme converts starch to sugar at 112 degrees, another enzyme makes sugar at 122 degrees, another enzyme about 130, and another at 145 degrees F. When the fruit becomes ripe starch builds up to the maximum amount and the sun converts the starch to sugar over a period of a few hours to a few days. Sugar reaches its peat then drops off maybe as much as 60%. Picking fruit at the correct time is very important for maximum sweetness.

My Grandmother use to pick the smallest strawberries and leave the large berries on the vine. She would also pick berries before it rained not after it rained. She said, the small berries have the best flavor, berries picked after a rain are full of water that reduces the flavor.

There are several types of sugar. Table sugar is sucrose. Sugar in fruit is fructose. Sugar in corn is dextrose also known as corn sugar. You can convert sucrose to dextrose by boiling table sugar in a pan of water and adding a tablespoon of vinegar or juice from a lemon or lime.

When I lived in TN I had a terrible time growing melons. I learned to put the melons up on a cement block to keep them from rotting in the wet soil. That is when I accidently discovered all the melons up on cement blocks were sweeter than the melons laying on the ground shaded by the plants. Maybe melons get sweet from enzymes too?

After high school I picked melons one summer. We were told to roll the melons over if the bottom is yellow pick it. If the bottom is not yellow roll it back over.

I wish there was some sure fire way to know the exact minute a melon has reached maximum sweetness. I hate it when the melons are picked too soon or too late. TN melons seemed like sometimes they never got sweet.

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jal_ut
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

I wish there was some sure fire way to know the exact minute a melon has reached maximum sweetness.
Aw, there is: look at the point the stem of the melon attaches to the vine, you will see a tendril growing there. If that is still green, leave the melon, when that tendril is brown and dry, the melon is ripe.

You can thump them, roll them over and look at the bottom, yet the best indicator is that tendril.

Leaving the melon on the vine until it is ripe increases the sweetness. Perhaps heat does also, but here it never gets hot, so can't say about that.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

veggiedan
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

I'm pretty sure that watering melons with sugar water will make them sweeter, but only if you eat the outer rind. As noted, watering with sugar water (or even fruit juice) will attract insects. Mainly ants.

There is a common old-wives tale that watering plants with apple juice or soda pop is good for them. Fact of the matter is that plants are not adapted to absorb sugar water, and the sugar actually makes it hard for the plants to pull water out of the soil. The most sugary drinks, like Coke, are actually pretty toxic to plants.

Some people spray sugar water on plants to attract bees, but I don't need bees on my leaves or stems!

Sugar in the soil can help grow microbes -- both good ones and bad ones.

So if you plan to eat the outer rind of a melon, just sprinkle sugar on it before you do. There, that was easy!

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RamonaGS
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

You know Gary, putting the melons up on the cement probably heated them up more than the ones on the ground in the shade. The article I posted also said to water consistently, until the plant starts to bare fruit, then it says to cut back and water just enough to keep the leaves strong and from wilting, but not that much. Kind of goes along with what your Grandmother did with her berries. This is my first year growing my own watermelons too, but I always was voluntold to help everyone else in their gardens and such, so I'm just doing what we did in everyone else's gardens. :)
~~Ramona mother of fur babies~~

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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

From my understanding of biology I do not believe this could work. Plant create sugar from photosynthesis, they do not absorb it. There roots are not able to absorb that big of a molecule. That is if you are talking about regular table sugar, ie sucrose. But they can absorb simple sugars such as glucose and fructose.

However many plants do rely on symbiotic relationships such as underground fungus to survive and remain healthy. These fungus are able to absorb sucrose and will benefit both species. Although I do not know if melons are in this relationship.

Another interesting point; I wonder if you went to the whole food section and got pure sucrose or glucose and used that to water the plants. I would like to see that experiment!

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jal_ut
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Re: Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?

Quote: " Does Sugar Water make Melons sweeter?"

Well, it might if you slice the melon then pour on the sugar water.

Pouring sugar water on the ground is a waste of sugar. Sorry.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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