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question about watermelon plants

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question about watermelon plants

Post  binfordmj on 11/5/2012, 11:15 am

I have two sugar baby watermelons on the vine that I believe were pollinated at the same time. One has grown and the other stopped. They are one the same vine. Any ideas as to why the on is not growing? And should I remove the ones that don't grow?
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Re: question about watermelon plants

Post  BritLit on 11/5/2012, 11:24 am

Have your temperatures stayed consistently warm? If your soil or surface temps start to decline, watermelons will start to end their fruit growth in favor of storing food for plant growth. Is the larger melon growing?
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question about watermelon

Post  binfordmj on 11/5/2012, 12:26 pm

I believe it is. They were the same size a few days ago. Although it did get down into te 60's several nights ago.
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Re: question about watermelon plants

Post  BritLit on 11/5/2012, 12:51 pm

60 degrees halts their production. With your location being so far south, I would say mid to upper 60's would be enough of a drastic change to really put the brakes on everything.

I would remove everything smaller than the large one in the pic. It is a slim chance even the larger ones will make it, but it doesn't hurt to try.

Check your soil temps over the next week to determine if it is time to pull the plug for the year.
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watermelon question

Post  binfordmj on 11/5/2012, 9:09 pm

Thanks Britlit. I will check into the soil temp, and I have removed the small melons that quit growing.

I dearly hope I don't end up having to pull it.
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Re: question about watermelon plants

Post  landarch on 11/6/2012, 12:11 am

I had the same problem with my sugar baby watermelons earier in the year...several others told me it may be a pollination issue. It takes supurb pollination to produce a healthy fruit...sub-par pollination produces a stunted fruit that eventually withers and dies on the vine.

It was recommended that I use a small soft paintbrush to hand-pollinate the flowers myself while both the male and female flowers were open at the same time (in the mornings).
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question about watermelon plants

Post  binfordmj on 11/6/2012, 7:46 am

Landarch~
That is good news to hear! On closer examination, there are two that are about the size of a tennis ball now but I did remove the others that stopped growing. I check the garden every morning and I see quite a bit of bee activity. They don't seem to mind me poking around the garden as long as I don't get in thier way. I have developed a great fondness for bees. What a Face
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Re: question about watermelon plants

Post  BritLit on 11/6/2012, 9:47 am

Very well could have been a pollination issue that started the problem. Now the bigger problem might be if you can achieve harvest due to the falling temps this time of year. Even the largest in the pic has a long way to go to maturity with shorter days of decreased temps. Hopefully, by removing the smallest fruit the others will rev up growth.

I've never had to deal with pollination issues when you only have a few plants as we always grew melons for commercial production. Mostly Charleston Gray, Crimson Sweet, Sugar Babies, and the odd assortment of niche melons.
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Re: Watermelon issues

Post  Cucurbitlover on 11/7/2012, 1:05 pm

This could be virtually anything. Especially if they are right next to each other, one is going to grow faster than the other. You will notice this with pretty much any cucurbit. That is why you will typically get one, maybe two big pumpkins on one vine and the rest will be smaller.

Temperature could be an issue, but I doubt it...

A lot of people will leave the biggest fruit and cut off the rest. That way the plant will put all of its energy into that one fruit instead of several.

I'd put those melons into a mesh bag and let them grow in that. It looks like you have an upright trellis system so this should be done. If the fruit gets too heavy it will either brake off or rip the plant down.

Hope that helps!
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Re: question about watermelon plants

Post  luckypenne on 11/7/2012, 3:04 pm

It is coming to the end of the growing season (64 degrees here in Citrus County today!) I've been meaning to post this photo and double-check (one of my students, a Master Gardener from Colorado, thought it looked like rust.) Thanks for the reminder!

If you keep a close watch on the melon, especially if it's one of the smaller varieties, you may not need to add the mesh bag (or old nylons Wink ) Here's what Mel has to say about growing vertically:

-=- I originally thought I would need to design some special way to hold up and accommodate heavier fruits such as winter squash and pumpkins, but as it turned out, these plant vines seemed to understand the situation; the stem supporting the heavy fruit grows thicker and heavier as the fruit becomes larger. If you have a framework and support that will hold the plant, the plant will hold the fruit; it is as simple as that! Mother Nature always seems to know best.

Bartholomew, Mel (2006-02-14). All New Square Foot Gardening (Kindle Locations 1048-1051). Motorbooks International. Kindle Edition. -=-
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Re: question about watermelon plants

Post  luckypenne on 11/7/2012, 3:20 pm

This is the fruit of the vine above. Our frames/gates weren't in place when this melon began its journey, so its vine wasn't able to compensate for the weight when we placed it upright. We'll see how it goes next season!
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Chickmelons

Post  elwowee on 11/8/2012, 3:21 pm

We had two of the best melons of the year this time around, but didn't plant any! Seems the chickens ate some throw-away rhinds last year and planted the already-fertilized seeds for us. Two of the best ever....thanks girls. LOL We have a few volunteer tomato plants growing and producing in the chicken yard right now. Can't wait! bwaaaaaak

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