Twhgal251
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Growing Watermelons

I tried growing watermelons last year. I had several beautiful looking melons however when harvest time had come I cut open 2 or 3 very little fruit had developed. On a few that fruit did developed, very little taste. I planted Black Diamond .
I need help, what am I doing wrong?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Growing Watermelons

Welcome to the Forum! We love to be helpful, but we can be more helpful, the more information you give us.

To start with what part of the world are you in? There are hardly any garden questions that can be discussed without regard to location/ climate. What sort of season did you have last year? Where I am it was exceptionally hot and dry. How about you?

What is your soil like? How did you irrigate, fertilize?

You talked about what you found when you cut it open. So these looked like normal, full sized watermelons on the outside? So inside there wasn't much fruit inside, what was there? Was it hollow? Was it only rind?

If you will answer these questions, I think someone here will be able to help you. Without information like this, it would be only a stab in the dark.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Twhgal251
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Re: Growing Watermelons

I live in Middle TN, midway between Chattanooga and Nashville, TN. Last year weather was very dry and hot. Garden was water nightly for 30 mins (approx) I have clay soil but massive amount of garden soil, horse manure, soil amendment and some compost added. When fruit was cut open it was about half rind and light pink fruit with very little taste. I planted Black Diamond melons.
My corn turned out great.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Growing Watermelons

Yes, I'm not too far from you, just south of Chattanooga. It was a very difficult season last year, super hot and dry.

Are you sure your watermelons were fully ripe when picked?

Other than that, the weather we had may have been the main culprit. All that watering that we had to do (I was watering almost every day also), flushes nutrients out of the soil. Manure, compost, etc are all good stuff, but not very concentrated nutrients (NPK around 1-1-1 or less) and the nutrients aren't available to the plants until the compost (etc) breaks down more. In the situation of having to pour water through the soil every day, you probably needed to be fertilizing more, with something more concentrated than compost.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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Gary350
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Re: Growing Watermelons

I live in Murfreesboro TN, I had 15 nice ripe water melons last summer. Never plant in hills like some instructions says. Plant your seeds 3 feet apart. Melons like sandy soil and lots of water. Be sure to keep out all grass and weeds. I did not give my melons much fertilizer about 1 hand full of 15/15/15 for the whole growing season. Use pellet lime in the soil to prevent BER. Plant early May 1st if you can melons have a long growing season 95 to 120 day. Melons love full sun all day every day if they do not get enough sun they do not get ripe. Your TN clay soil is probably the biggest problem till in lots of organic material in a small spot where the roots are. TN soil is too wet for ripe melons to set on I put a board or brick under each of my melons to keep the bottom from rotting. Vines have the ability to grow roots every place they touch the soil I give them help I shovel dirt over the vines about every 3 feet the extra roots adds more water to the plant to grow larger melons. As my vines grow longer I keep moving the vines to make them grow in a circle so they stay in a small space about 15'x15' square. When the rain stops about mid June I water the melons not a whole lot about 1 gallon of water per plant every day. I grow seed melons they have much better flavor than seedless plus I have seeds to plant next year.

The water melons fields in southern Indiana are on the river, soil is sand and about 6 feet higher than the river. The melons have a good supply of water all summer from the river. I worked one summer during high school as a water melon picker. They told us, roll the melon over if the bottom is yellow pick it, if it is white roll it back and let it get ripe.
Last edited by Gary350 on Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jal_ut
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Re: Growing Watermelons

Watermelons? I was having not much luck with them, then one year I decided I would plant every kind I could get seeds for and out of about a dozen varieties I finally found one that would do well in my garden. It is called Charleston Grey. So that is what I plant now and always save my seeds from a few of the best melons.

Ripe? There is a tendril where the stem of the melon connects to the vine. If the melon is ripe that tendril dries up and turns brown. Also like Gary350 says, the bottom should be yellow. Those are some clues, but the only real way to see if a melon is ripe is to cut it open. I have found that the so called 90 day melons take 100 days here at this elevation. Have fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: Growing Watermelons

About watering, here in high dry Utah at 5000 ft elevation we get few summer rains. To grow crops we irrigate with water from a reservoir up the canyon. My garden gets a 12 hour sprinkling (rainbirds) once a week. That puts down about 1.5 inches of water over the area. The soil is quite heavy in clay.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

jasonvanorder
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Re: Growing Watermelons

Sounds to me like they didnt get fully ripe. I didnt have very good luck last year either. Everything grew too well and crowded each other. That caused the issue of the ground staying wet all the time and that caused anything laying on the ground to rot before getting fully ripe. Lesson learned and things will have plenty of room this summer

Taiji
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Re: Growing Watermelons

Gary350 wrote:I live in Murfreesboro TN, I had 15 nice ripe water melons last summer. Never plant in hills like some instructions says. Plant your seeds 3 feet apart. Melons like sandy soil and lots of water. Be sure to keep out all grass and weeds. I did not give my melons much fertilizer about 1 hand full of 15/15/15 for the whole growing season. Use pellet lime in the soil to prevent BER. Plant early May 1st if you can melons have a long growing season 95 to 120 day. Melons love full sun all day every day if they do not get enough sun they do not get ripe. Your TN clay soil is probably the biggest problem till in lots of organic material in a small spot where the roots are. TN soil is too wet for ripe melons to set on I put a board or brick under each of my melons to keep the bottom from rotting. Vines have the ability to grow roots every place they touch the soil I give them help I shovel dirt over the vines about every 3 feet the extra roots adds more water to the plant to grow larger melons. As my vines grow longer I keep moving the vines to make them grow in a circle so they stay in a small space about 15'x15' square. When the rain stops about mid June I water the melons not a whole lot about 1 gallon of water per plant every day. I grow seed melons they have much better flavor than seedless plus I have seeds to plant next year.

The water melons fields in southern Indiana are on the river, soil is sand and about 6 feet higher than the river. The melons have a good supply of water all summer from the river. I worked one summer during high school as a water melon picker. They told us, roll the melon over if the bottom is yellow pick it, if it is white roll it back and let it get ripe.
Good info Gary. I purchased some Crimson Sweet seeds this year because of one of your posts from last year. Can't wait to try them.

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Gary350
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Re: Growing Watermelons

Taiji wrote:
Gary350 wrote:

Good info Gary. I purchased some Crimson Sweet seeds this year because of one of your posts from last year. Can't wait to try them.
If you have room in your garden do what James did plant several types of melons see which ones work best for you. One year I had ok luck with those water melons that are about 2 times longer than the diameter, now what are those called?

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imafan26
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Re: Growing Watermelons

It does sound like they were not fully ripe.
To test for melon ripeness I usually look for a few things
1. the color change on the bottom of the melon to more yellow and a tougher rind.
2. the sound and weight of the fruit. "Pink" vs "Punk" to make sure it isn't dry.
3. The tendril closest to the stem starts to dry up and the vine starts to shrivel.
4.If you know when the vine flowered then you can make a note of that and get an approximate date of maturity within a week or so. The seed packet will tell you the approximate date of maturity from germination. If you know when your fruit was pollinated then you have about 6 weeks or 45 days for it to ripen. Use a sharpie to write the date on the melon or on a calendar.

I get up to 20 small fruit appearing on a vine but usually only 1-3 watermelon make it to maturity. It is one of those things if I plant, I have to plant multiple vines on a mound and let them crawl on top of each other or decide it is better to buy a watermelon and plant gourds instead which have a much higher yield.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Re: Growing Watermelons

Gary 350, could be "Sangria"

Eureka and Crimson Sweet have a similar look.

Have fun!

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Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Gary350
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Re: Growing Watermelons

I forgot to mention I have better luck with 90 day melons than 120 day melons because they do better if they mature before temperatures hit 100 degrees every day.

jeff84
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Location: southwest indiana

Re: Growing Watermelons

melons like sandy soil, and just enough water to keep them growing. dry weather will concentrate sugars in the fruit. farmers around here will grow melons and tomatoes ins sand that is useless for grain crops. rows and rows of black plastic in sand with irrigation. and manure spread in the fall.

you can tell a difference between those who irrigated on a timer, and those who used it as needed. overwatering will produce bland fruit.

remember these came from the sands of the Nile river valley of the Sahara desert

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