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watermelon spacing

Post  kbachli on 2/9/2015, 3:03 pm

Hi,
This is my first time planning a SFG garden and I have a question about watermelon.  When going vertical, the book says 2 square feet.  I'll have my trellis along the north side of a 4x4' box.  Can I plant 4 watermelon plants along the trellis and use the squares in front of them as the second square?  Or do the 2 SF need to be along the trellis, which would be planting only 2 watermelon plants. 

Also, I read somewhere not to use weed screen, so that the watermelon roots can go deeper.  Is this good practice?  

Advice appreciated!

Thanks,
Kelley
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  sanderson on 2/9/2015, 3:49 pm

Kelly, I hope some one who grows watermelons vertically will provide their experience. I grow cantaloupe and winter squash vertically at one per sq ft along 8' high trellises. All of my boxes had weed fabric at the bottom. Now they are raised with plywood bottoms. Either way, there is plenty of root space for almost everything. That's the beauty of SFG. (exceptions are long rooted veggies such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, etc.)

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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/9/2015, 4:56 pm

I read that watermelon's tap root can grow 3 feet down, so if you are going to have them planted in a bed with a bottom that root is going to want to roam.  I would give them as much space as you can spare.  Perhaps plant temporary type crops in the squares around the watermelon like radishes, lettuce and the like?
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  kbachli on 2/9/2015, 5:21 pm

Thank you for your advice.  I'm now thinking that I plant 4 watermelon plants along the trellis.  My plan was to also put a zucchini plant in the box, no trellis.  Perhaps I don't use weed screen, so the plants can go deeper.  I live in the desert anyway, so am not too concerned about weeds.  Is 4 watermelon (on trellis) and 1 zucchini plant (no trellis) too much?  Can I put in two zucchini?  This is all in a 4x4' box.
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  Cajun Cappy on 2/9/2015, 7:46 pm

I coulda swore I had a ;icture some where but I cant find it.  A friend planted 4 plants along the end of his garden box and got them to go up a trellis.  When the fruit got around the size of a cantaloupe he hung them in little hammocks he made from sac cloth.  He got several mellons and a picture of one of them hanging from a hammock made the local news Very Happy
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  sanderson on 2/9/2015, 7:57 pm

Even though you are in the desert, I still encourage you to put weed fabric in the bottom. Each time you pull out the plants, you will be pulling up desert soil into the nice MM, and losing some MM into the soil. Over time, you will no longer have the original Mix which is everything a plant needs at "arms" reach. Also, desert seeds can lay dormant for years until there is enough rain to germinate.

Four watermelons along the back trellis with 2 summer squash in the 2 front corners, spilling over the box, still leaves at least 4 squares worth to plant. If not more! Just make what ever you put in those squares can survive the heat. Audrey and I both put curtain sheer fabrics over some of the boxes when our summers hit 100*f and over. Keep us updated.

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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  kbachli on 2/9/2015, 8:20 pm

@Cajun Cappy wrote:I coulda swore I had a ;icture some where but I cant find it.  A friend planted 4 plants along the end of his garden box and got them to go up a trellis.  When the fruit got around the size of a cantaloupe he hung them in little hammocks he made from sac cloth.  He got several mellons and a picture of one of them hanging from a hammock made the local news Very Happy
Very cool!  Hopefully I have the same success!
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  kbachli on 2/9/2015, 8:21 pm

@sanderson wrote:Even though you are in the desert, I still encourage you to put weed fabric in the bottom.  Each time you pull out the plants, you will be pulling up desert soil into the nice MM, and losing some MM into the soil.  Over time, you will no longer have the original Mix which is everything a plant needs at "arms" reach.  Also, desert seeds can lay dormant for years until there is enough rain to germinate.

Four watermelons along the back trellis with 2 summer squash in the 2 front corners, spilling over the box, still leaves at least 4 squares worth to plant.  If not more!  Just make what ever you put in those squares can survive the heat.  Audrey and I both put curtain sheer fabrics over some of the boxes when our summers hit 100*f and over.  Keep us updated.
Wow, still 4 squares!!  Okay, I will use the weed cloth then.  Thanks!
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  yolos on 2/9/2015, 9:03 pm

Can't help much with spacing because I planted these in big planters.  These are Sugar Baby watermelons (refrigerator size)
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  sanderson on 2/10/2015, 12:51 am

Yolos, do you use a sling for the Sugar babies, or are the stems strong enough for the weight?  I don't use slings or bras for my cantaloupes.
Caution - unusual way to support melons:

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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/10/2015, 2:38 am

I haven't used slings for anything on melons or squash or even a pumpkin I had. I've only lost one spaghetti squash in all, and I think that was more a victim of the wire it was hung on than the weight.

My honeydew especially, hang on so slender of a vine and yet they hold amazingly well :-)
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  sanderson on 2/10/2015, 3:00 am

Me, too. Amazing, isn't it!

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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  yolos on 2/10/2015, 8:50 am

@sanderson wrote:Yolos, do you use a sling for the Sugar babies, or are the stems strong enough for the weight?  I don't use slings or bras for my cantaloupes.
Caution - unusual way to support melons:

Sanderson - The first year I did use an old T Shirt but since then I have not used any kind of sling.  But my watermelons usually succumb to downy mildew partway thru the year.
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Re: watermelon spacing

Post  AtlantaMarie on 2/10/2015, 8:58 am

Yolos, that looks great!  And I had the same problem last year with mine...  But didn't need to use any kind of sling.

Kelley - Welcome from Atlanta, GA!  Glad you've joined us.
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