woolfenstien
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Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:48 pm

Watermelon splitting and rotting on the vine

Hello green thumb peoples....
I have an issue I hope you can help me out with....
I have fruit rotting on the vine.
Pictures show the issue:

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The above is a small watermellon, that just a few days ago was a nice shape and healthy. Then I noticed it was misshapen and i picked it up and found the bottom to have rot.

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The above however was the first one on the vine to sprout. it has been growing nicely for about 3 weeks and all of the sudden the same day I found the first one I found it, I picked it up to look for rot and found that it had split wide open on the underside.

I don't know what the deal is.
I built this raised bed garden at the beginning of the year. I used untreated pine 2x8 lumber for the sides. At the shallowest point it is about 14 inch deep, at its deepest it is about 28 inch deep. I filled the whole thing with top soil as my local gardening store suggested then put another type of mix of which I cannot think of on top filling in the final 4-6 inches.
I have 3 extremely large tomato plants (one of which is well over 6 foot tall {is a big beef type}) 14 pepper plants (banana and bell types) then on the side the water melon is on I have a horrifyingly large squash plant, the watermelon and two strawberry plants.
I watered it every day, but I work full time and also go to school full time sometimes I would forget so I rigged up a nice little self watering system. It has a timer at the water outlet connected to a garden hose that goes to the garden, then I made a PVC sprinkler system to shower the garden. It comes on at 7pm every night after the sun has crossed over and the garden is in complete shade. The garden gets watered for 15 minutes before the timer shuts the flow off.
The garden is built on a bit of a hill - reason it is not the same depth all around - so I imagine it has decent drainage.
I have not feertilized or fed the garden as yet because one of the two types of soil had fertilizer in it that was supposed to last 3+ months. The 3 months is running out about now, but I don't see that as being the culprit.

Also.... what do I do about bugs... especially worms eating into my fruit and veg? my squash is getting killed...

the following are pictures of the garden layout when it first got planted: All plants were pre started when bought.

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This is the garden with the watering system attached:
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Thank you for any and all help.
Woolf

Edited to add labeled picture:

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Watermelon splitting and rotting on the vine

I'm wondering if you live in one of the southern states since you implied the sun sets at 7PM? Corresponding hot temp during the day?

I suspect you are watering too often and not enough, and at wrong time of the day using wrong method.... :wink:

Yeah that sounds harsh and I didn't mean it that way but wasn't sure how best to say it simply. Let me explain:

- At the depths you mention I don't see how 15 minute sprinkler delivery would be sufficient to thoroughly deep water the bed and soil underneath and surrounding soil. Which means any moisture in the bed might be just sucked away.
- I suspect that's why you are watering every day, though I realize in hot areas sometimes you do need to water every day.
- but shallow watering may be drying out by day, and the inconsistent moisture levels may be causing calcium uptake disruption, resulting in blossom end rot. This can also cause splitting due to a drought-soaking cycle (did it rain recently?)
- cucurbits are susceptible to fungal disease, so you want the foliage to be dry by nightfall.
- One way to avoid that is to use a soaker hose buried under mulch so there is no water spraying up into the foliage.
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woolfenstien
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:48 pm

Re: Watermelon splitting and rotting on the vine

applestar wrote:I'm wondering if you live in one of the southern states since you implied the sun sets at 7PM? Corresponding hot temp during the day?
I didnt mean to imply the sun was set at 7, only that the garden was in shade because the sun had moved over the trees that are just west of the garden. And yes, I am in SouthEastern Tennessee in Chattanooga.
applestar wrote:I suspect you are watering too often and not enough, and at wrong time of the day using wrong method.... :wink:

Yeah that sounds harsh and I didn't mean it that way but wasn't sure how best to say it simply.
Not harsh, blunt. Not offended but thankful I have someone replying to my issue and not tip toeing around the issues.
applestar wrote:Let me explain:

- At the depths you mention I don't see how 15 minute sprinkler delivery would be sufficient to thoroughly deep water the bed and soil underneath and surrounding soil. Which means any moisture in the bed might be just sucked away.
- I suspect that's why you are watering every day, though I realize in hot areas sometimes you do need to water every day.
- but shallow watering may be drying out by day, and the inconsistent moisture levels may be causing calcium uptake disruption, resulting in blossom end rot. This can also cause splitting due to a drought-soaking cycle (did it rain recently?)
- cucurbits are susceptible to fungal disease, so you want the foliage to be dry by nightfall.
- One way to avoid that is to use a soaker hose buried under mulch so there is no water spraying up into the foliage.
Yes actually it did ran the day before I found the water melon split.
Ok, so instead of installing a soaker this late int eh game with the roots already established, you think changing the time the garden is watered from 7pm to 6 am and watering for 30 minutes every other day would be better?

ButterflyLady29
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Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: Watermelon splitting and rotting on the vine

30 minutes isn't long enough. It should be the equivalent of an inch of water at least once a week. I've found that it usually takes about an hour or so. Or you could lay the soaker hose on top of the ground. I've done that since I dump loads of compost on the beds in the fall and spring. That buries hoses real fast.

And yes, too little water when the fruit was formed then a whole lot of water all at once. Happened to us one year when the cantaloupe were just about ready for harvest. 3 inches of rain in a couple hours, split nearly every single melon in the garden.

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