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question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

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question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/28/2013, 3:04 pm

So when I went to earth day, I traded some plants/seeds for some seeds I don't have. I put them in compost but had intended to separate them into individual pots, as I put 2 seeds/per container. I know it isn't a problem to separate tomato seedlings that have grown together, but I read that squash, melons and cukes are much more sensitive to having their roots messed with, and I have several of those kinds of plants.

So here is the dilemma, the seeds emerged practically overnight, so I didn't have time to separate them. I decided to go ahead and wait and see if both seeds in each container came up before doing anything. Possibly a mistake on my part, but I'm new and don't know what I'm doing. (Not intended to be an excuse, it's just a fact.) Now that both seeds have come up in most pots, should I go ahead and separate them into their own container, even though they don't have true leaves yet? Or should I wait? My fear is the longer I wait, the more developed the root system will be, and the more I will have to disturb them.

Also, I used a very small amount of compost (less than one half per pot), since I was planning on separating the seeds anyway before they were allowed to sprout. In my defense (and ignorance) I will add, the seeds were in DRY compost. They weren't even moist. Not the tiniest bit moist. So I honestly had absolutely NO IDEA they would sprout, under those conditions! Live and learn! :|

Here are a couple of pics, so you can see the size. (the leaves are actually quite large on all but one plant.)



Any advice is greatly appreciated. Smile

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/28/2013, 3:17 pm

I would clip the smaller one in each pot so as not to disturb the root of the other one. I know, I know...easier said then done. I just it to did 4 squares of beets today. Sad But some things just can't be messed with.

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  brainchasm on 4/29/2013, 1:53 am

I started cucumbers and melons in a seed tray, thinned to one per cell, then transplanted to peat cups, and then finally outside.

Biggest mistake of the season for me.

Cucumbers got leggy, some of the melons did too, and a complete failure to thrive. They were all transplanted to their beds a MONTH ago, and other than a few extra leaves, and some stupid-silly-early flowering on the cucumbers, I got nada to show for all of it.

So, I direct-seeded some cuke and melon seeds a week or two ago. They've already sprouted, and if they perform as expected (it's really warmed up lately), they should pass the transplants within a month.

The only ones that did hook in and go out of the transplants was a pair of late melon sproutlings that came up after I thought I cleared out the coir. I didn't pot them or anything, and they were only a day or two old as sprouts. I just pulled them out carefully, washed off the coir, and put them straight in the bed.

Now, I don't know how big they should be at this point since it's my first year, but THOSE two late plants got nice thick stems (like my pinky), have nice big dark green leaves (compared to the transplants), and in general look like they "hooked in". The other plants are spindly, and can't even put up with a decent wind without some support.

So, if you made it this far, here's my advice: if the weather is warm enough, get them out of the cells NOW and transplanted. Once they start getting their true leaves out, the root system seems to get much more extensive, and much more sensitive, setting you up for problems like me.

P.S. jazzycat - just checked out the forecast for your area, and if it were me, I'd put those plants out in beds tomorrow evening if possible. The next day weather will be nice for them, and the humidity and rain should help them overcome any transplant shock.

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  HiDesert on 4/29/2013, 2:30 am

I would like to use your thread to ask a question about Cantaloupe transplants. If i bought transplants and in the pot were 3 vines coming up from the soil would that be considered 1 plant or is it 3 separate plants?
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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  brainchasm on 4/29/2013, 2:59 am

HiDesert wrote:I would like to use your thread to ask a question about Cantaloupe transplants. If i bought transplants and in the pot were 3 vines coming up from the soil would that be considered 1 plant or is it 3 separate plants?
I would bet it is three separate plants. Again though, cucurbits don't like their roots messed with, so try to transplant them complete. They will complete for resources, but if they get good mix and plenty of water, I would think they'll be ok. The upside is, fertilization is pretty guaranteed with three plants all getting jiggy with each other! Laughing


Disclaimer - I am a first year gardener, and first year SFGer; I may be completely wrong about any and/or all things.

But I don't think I am.

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  HiDesert on 4/29/2013, 4:00 am

Thank you for your reply. So I think I have over-planted then. I bought 2 transplants for a 4ft wide row to grow up a trellis. If each transplant pot has 3 or 4 vines that is about 6-8 actual plants for that small area. I wonder if I could remove a few of the extra main vines without doing damage to the rest?
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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/29/2013, 9:50 am

brainchasm wrote:
So, I direct-seeded some cuke and melon seeds a week or two ago. They've already sprouted, and if they perform as expected (it's really warmed up lately), they should pass the transplants within a month.

I had the exact same experience with my cucs last year. My transplants never grew beyond a few inches. I had fruit on one, if that's what you call it coz it looked like a yellow golf ball which was so wrong. I'm trying only one cuc transplant this year becoz the guy I got the seeds from said that's how he does it with this new-to-me type. The rest will be direct seeded as soon as it warms up here.

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/29/2013, 12:26 pm

hmmmm. Thanks for all the info. Guess I'll have to get out and put them in buckets then, because I haven't got the bed built yet. I assumed (silly me, assuming things) they could be started indoors and transplanted out like tomatoes. I have plenty of buckets though. (Will they grow OK in buckets?) Which means... I need to take a ride to the hydroponics store for more worm castings. argh. If I put them in buckets, I can still make an arbor/trellis and have them all share it, right?

HiDesert, I don't mind sharing my threads. I always look at it like a thread takes on a life of it's own, depending on who comments. Besides, the administrators will sometimes move similar topics and combine them into one thread.

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/29/2013, 12:55 pm

Actually, it looks like it's about to rain. There is a rain forecast until Saturday, but I might be able to get out and plant one morning, or Thursday/Friday. *sigh*

I was going to brew my first batch of compost tea for my tomatoes, but because it's supposed to rain for the next week - 10 days, it seems like it would be a waste. Does anyone use compost tea before it's supposed to rain for a week?

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/29/2013, 5:07 pm

I used compost tea yesterday for the first time...and we're not forecast to see rain for over a week. Sad

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/29/2013, 9:22 pm

I actually was going to go ahead and plant two of them, and then realized, don't they need to be hardened off first? I put them outside for a few hours and then brought them back in.

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Sigh... boy did I ever mess up!

Post  Windmere on 4/29/2013, 10:26 pm

I am so sad right now. I transplanted my cucumbers and my watermelons. They are in 5" peat pots even as we speak. I see bad things in their future. Do you think it's too late in the season for direct sowing?

Live and learn.

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/29/2013, 10:46 pm

Windmere wrote:I am so sad right now. I transplanted my cucumbers and my watermelons. They are in 5" peat pots even as we speak. I see bad things in their future. Do you think it's too late in the season for direct sowing?

Live and learn.

Sad

Why do you feel sad? Did something happen to them?

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  yolos on 4/29/2013, 11:27 pm

No it is not too late to direct sow cucumbers and watermellons. I just direct sowed my cucumbers and watermellons and cantelopes this past weekend. I still have more cucumbers to plant this coming weekend. No problem. Cucumbers will bear fruit in about 60 days (depending on variety). You still have at least 120-150 days or more of warm weather left in our growing season.

Last year as an experiment, I direct sowed cucumbers on 7/20/12. I picked the first cucumbers on this planting on 9/14/12. I think the plant survived for at least another 30 days. So go for it. Direct sow some now. If your transplants survive then you will have extras or just clip off the excess.

I also direct sowed watermellon on 7/1/12 and was able to harvest at least one watermellon before some disease killed my plants.
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Death Sentence?

Post  Windmere on 4/30/2013, 10:00 am

jazzycat wrote:
Windmere wrote:I am so sad right now. I transplanted my cucumbers and my watermelons. They are in 5" peat pots even as we speak. I see bad things in their future. Do you think it's too late in the season for direct sowing?

Live and learn.

Sad

Why do you feel sad? Did something happen to them?

Hey there jazzycat,

No... Nothing has happened to them yet. However, from reading the posts in this thread, I thought for certain I had given them a death sentence.

Sad
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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/30/2013, 10:45 am

Windmere, I wouldn't fret too much. Just because something has happened to other people doesn't mean it will happen to you. A lot of people buy young cucumber/melon plants from garden centers, and those roots have to be disturbed to plant them. Just handle them gently and give them something to help with transplant shock. I'm completely new at this, but I believe B vitamins (?) or mycorrhiza or some other root conditioner stuff might help. (I know it's hard, because I seem to fret about every little thing that comes up.) Smile

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  camprn on 4/30/2013, 10:48 am

jazzycat wrote:Windmere, I wouldn't fret too much. Just because something has happened to other people doesn't mean it will happen to you.
This is true, however I suggest it is unwise to not listen to the old time gardeners... you will always learn something that you may not need / want to experience for yourself.

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  jazzycat on 4/30/2013, 10:59 am

camprn wrote:
jazzycat wrote:Windmere, I wouldn't fret too much. Just because something has happened to other people doesn't mean it will happen to you.
This is true, however it is unwise to not listen to the old time gardeners... you will always learn something that you may not need / want to experience for yourself.

I didn't mean not to listen to old timers. I just meant that, in this case, he may be worrying for no reason. Of course we should all listen to the people with the most experience. What a Face

Sorry if it came across that way. That isn't at all what I meant. Smile

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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/30/2013, 11:05 am

I'll echo others and offer my own lousy opinion. I feel if your weather is warm enough, and you have enough time, cucubrits fair much better being directly sown. They are quick to grow for the most part, and my experience has always been better planting from seed.

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Reassuring. This way I'll have a backup plan.

Post  Windmere on 4/30/2013, 12:06 pm

yolos wrote:No it is not too late to direct sow cucumbers and watermellons. I just direct sowed my cucumbers and watermellons and cantelopes this past weekend. I still have more cucumbers to plant this coming weekend. No problem. Cucumbers will bear fruit in about 60 days (depending on variety). You still have at least 120-150 days or more of warm weather left in our growing season.

Last year as an experiment, I direct sowed cucumbers on 7/20/12. I picked the first cucumbers on this planting on 9/14/12. I think the plant survived for at least another 30 days. So go for it. Direct sow some now. If your transplants survive then you will have extras or just clip off the excess.

I also direct sowed watermellon on 7/1/12 and was able to harvest at least one watermellon before some disease killed my plants.

Thanks Yolos. Your comment is reassuring that I have a "plan B." I will follow your advice and direct sow.
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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  Windmere on 4/30/2013, 12:09 pm

camprn wrote:
jazzycat wrote:Windmere, I wouldn't fret too much. Just because something has happened to other people doesn't mean it will happen to you.
This is true, however I suggest it is unwise to not listen to the old time gardeners... you will always learn something that you may not need / want to experience for yourself.

Camprn and Rooster: Thanks for your responses based on your experience. I may end up being fortunate with my transplanted cukes and watermelons, but like I told Yolos, "At least I have a 'Plan B.'"
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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  peachiee77 on 4/30/2013, 12:15 pm

Ok, i'm getting nervous reading this thread now! haha

I planted cucumber seedlings in egg cartons and now I'm worried that they are in too small of a container - I wont be able to plant outside for about 3 more weeks and they are already about an inch tall with 2 leaves on each (and the roots are coming through the bottom of the egg carton) - what should I do?!

I was thinking of soaking the egg carton so it gets soggy and then carefully peeling it off and putting it in a bigger pot inside and then when I'm able to plant outside carefully transplanting it there - is this a viable option or am I disturbing the roots way too much by doing this?

Thanks!
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Re: question about transplanting melon/cucumber seedlings

Post  plantoid on 4/30/2013, 8:48 pm

Peachie,
Egg fittings Laughing laughing with you not at you .

Is this any good for your solution ?
Wet the fitting for a few hours in a deep tray of water and then use a spoon to scoop the things out of the fitting and immediately transfter them into a bigger pot of very wet growth material .
Leave them in a cool place that won't get full sun during the day , don't let them dry out but don't turn them into swimmers either .


Any root system that is slightly damaged will soon re build itself
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