This is my first year growing watermelons!
I planted two varieties, Moon & Stars and either Crimson Sweet or Sweet Baby (I would have to check the seed pack). I started them from seed, but it took about 10 days longer for me to get them transplanted once they were ready, so they have been running a bit behind. I think there are 2-3 M&S that survived the transplant and 2-3 of the other.
We are using a hugelkultur (mound garden) for the main area, where we have 3 purple tomatillos and 4 yellow pear tomato plants (two of the YP remaining), 1 very sad cantaloupe plant, basil, zucchini (which succumbed to the evil SVB and are all gone), plus the watermelon vines.
We got a ton of rain here in Kansas during the mid-summer, just a few weeks after I transplanted the melon seedlings. They grew slowly to begin with but the constant rain for weeks made them go a bit crazy as far as length and secondary vines. We lost several "baby" ones to rot (I am guessing because of all the rain).
We have harvested two nearly twenty pound M&S -- sooo good -- and two very small ones of the other variety, also very sweet but immature in color, I think.
Two of the second variety and one of the M&S have been growing, but very slowly, since the first fruit set, and are still on the vine. They have gained little in size in the last month, but are definitely not ripe and continue to make very small increases each week.
After harvesting the ripe ones, we didn't have any more fruit set for about a month or so (it was hot and dry). Then, late-September after a good weekend of rain, about four new ones started to grow. And then six more. Now we have about 10-12 watermelons in various sizes from golf ball to tennis ball to cantaloupe-sized, plus the original three which seem to be nearing ripeness -- and the frost date is near!
One that popped up last weekend went from ping-pong size to cantaloupe size in about 6 days -- it is huge already for the amount of time it has grown -- and another had grown nearly that large in about 4 days. Some are smaller, but almost all are doubling in size each day.
My question is this: what can I do (organically) to help these little melons grow faster and ripen quickly? Should I pick off any of the smallest fruit (the golf ball ones) and leave those that seem to be really growing? Should I quit watering? Water more? Fertilize? Eek -- I just don't know!
We may be getting freezing temps at night sometime in the next two weeks here and I don't want them to die yet!
Also, will a blanket or sheet help at all when the temps get so low? Thanks so much for the help.