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Tiny Watermelons.

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Tiny Watermelons.

Post  jwbryson on 9/14/2010, 4:48 pm

I planted 2 watermelon plants around late May perhaps as late as the 1st week of June. I have 6 baby watermelons that are smaller than a baseball and have been this size for about a month without any apparent growth. The maturation time on these said about 90 days, so I was expecting full grown watermelons by the end of August.

Anybody have a clue why they stopped growing?

I had one that split in 1/2 which I removed and threw away.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks!
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  quiltbea on 9/14/2010, 11:37 pm

I'd love to hear the answer.
I got 4 nice watermelons from my plot but have several more that are like yours, small and round and not seeming to be doing any growing.
Why????

Here are 3 of them, all Sugar Baby that should avg 8-10 lbs. The front two are 6.5 and 7 pounds and the biggy is 15 pounds.

This is the 4th one, a 14.5 pounder. Very sweet and delicious.
But why aren't my other ones growing?
They remain green and round and very small in comparison yet they were all growing near each other and get the same sunshine and feeding.
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  SFG in Chicago on 9/15/2010, 12:35 am

I grew 1 watermelon plant, a Sugar Baby. It had a lot of problems. I started it indoors and transplanted it, which I hear watermelons don't like. I planted it too early and it had frost damage. It recovered somewhat but was never a vigorous healthy plant. It did produce exactly 2 blooms and 1 watermelon. After the watermelon started growing the vine got some kind of fungus I couldn't seem to beat. In the beginning the watermelon was growing very fast but it stopped at about baseball size. A couple of weeks ago I decided the vine was all but dead so I harvested my baby melon and ate it. It was tasty, all 2 spoonfuls of it. I will try again next year.

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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  jwbryson on 9/15/2010, 10:05 am

So you can actually eat the small ones? I just assumed that they would be sour and not good at all.

I put some fish emulsion on mine last weekend and I'm hoping that may help. Very frustrating. The vines look good, but the fruit just stopped gaining size for some reason.
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  quiltbea on 9/15/2010, 3:17 pm

I read that the last 10 days before harvest you do NOT want to water or add any food to the plants.
They will start to make their sugars at that time.

I tried that and my watermelons were all very nice and sweet so I guess it works.
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  SFG in Chicago on 9/17/2010, 11:33 am

@jwbryson wrote:So you can actually eat the small ones? I just assumed that they would be sour and not good at all.

I put some fish emulsion on mine last weekend and I'm hoping that may help. Very frustrating. The vines look good, but the fruit just stopped gaining size for some reason.

Well in my case I figured there was nothing to lose by cutting it in half to see what was going on. When I cut it and saw it was mostly red I decided to eat it. It really was no more than 2 bites of watermelon!

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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  jwbryson on 9/17/2010, 11:40 am

Are there any SFG "teachers" or "experts" on this forum that can answer this question for us? Thanks!
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  AZDYJ2K on 10/1/2010, 2:25 pm

I am in Phoenix, AZ USA. I planted some Sugar Baby watermelon seeds in mid-June. One vine survived and has 1 watermelon on it. There were several female flowers and I tried hand pollinating all of them, however, only the one has survived. It has been on for about a month now and was a prolific grower for the first few weeks, however, since then it has slowed down. Current size is about the size of a softball and probably weighs less than a pound. The rind is still very dark with very little distinction in the stripes.

Does anyone have a growth chart for these types of watermelons? ie, should it be this size about a month into it or is it just going to be a runt watermelon? Thanks.
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  quiltbea on 10/1/2010, 3:00 pm

Here's a comparison of Sugar Baby.

This one was large and weighed 14 pounds. Was very sweet.


These were front to back: 6.5, 7, and 15 pounds Sugar Babies.
All very sweet and good.
Avg size on the packet was 7 lbs.

I left them in the garden for 10 days without watering so they would sweeten up. It must have worked because all were lovely, both small and large ones.
The stem did not turn brown on any of my melons but there was a curly brown thing about 4-6 inches from the stem. I also went by the size and the underside. I also thumped the melons checking to see the differences in sound from the small ones and those that I thought were ripe. There is a distinction. If it was turning a bit white on the underside, I picked it. It its yellow I'm told it's overripe.
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  AZDYJ2K on 10/1/2010, 3:54 pm

quiltbea, do you know how long they were on the vine until they got to that size? Very nice melons.
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  quiltbea on 10/1/2010, 9:27 pm

AZDY....
I planted small seedlings on June 1st and on Sept 1st I harvested the 1st one at 14# and the other 3 on Sept 3rd.

Edited to add: They were my own seedlings started at home.

I probably could have had them sooner but my rows got afternoon shade from about 3 PM onwards because of a big tree at the end of the garden rows. I also was waiting for the stems to turn brown, which they never did so that fooled me. I'm sure I could have harvested those biggies earlier when they were smaller. I'll try again next year.
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  camprn on 10/1/2010, 10:07 pm

http://www.gardenersnet.com/vegetable/watermel.htm

"How to Grow Watermelon:


Watermelon plants need full sun to grow healthy vines and big fruit. Plant after the last frost date for your area.Watermelons are heavy feeders. Add generous amounts of manure, compost and leaves to your garden. Work the soil well. Make sure it drains well.

Fertilize regularly. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer until flowers form. Then, switch over to a high phosphorous and potassium fertilizer. We also recommend the use of liquid fertilizers and foliar feeding.

Watermelon plants like lots of water. There is no surprise here. Make sure to add water during dry spells. Keep the soil moist at all times.

Weeding is also important especially early in the season. Weeds will compete for moisture and nutrients."
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  Retired Member 1 on 10/2/2010, 9:35 am

Watermelons and other melons are very heavy feeders and will put on fruit and not mature it if the vine doesn't have sufficient nutrient reserves. The problem may have been that when the fruit was forming, the vines used up most of their reserves and haven't been able to build up more. Remember that the purpose of any plant is to reproduce itself, and it can do that with a tiny watermelon as well as a full grown one. You probably can't do anything this year, but next make sure to add extra nutrients to your soil or MM when you plant. One way to do that is to surround the plants with very rich compost or aged manure.

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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  Megan on 10/2/2010, 9:39 am

My watermelon failed this year... but not for lack of trying. I blame myself. I think it was shaded out by the amaranth. I thought it died at one point and was surprised to see it perk back up in September. I saw only two baby fruit and they were fingernail-sized at best.
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  walshevak on 5/20/2011, 4:06 pm

@camprn wrote:http://www.gardenersnet.com/vegetable/watermel.htm

"How to Grow Watermelon:


Watermelon plants need full sun to grow healthy vines and big fruit. Plant after the last frost date for your area.Watermelons are heavy feeders. Add generous amounts of manure, compost and leaves to your garden. Work the soil well. Make sure it drains well.

Fertilize regularly. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer until flowers form. Then, switch over to a high phosphorous and potassium fertilizer. We also recommend the use of liquid fertilizers and foliar feeding.

Watermelon plants like lots of water. There is no surprise here. Make sure to add water during dry spells. Keep the soil moist at all times.

Weeding is also important especially early in the season. Weeds will compete for moisture and nutrients."

I'm bumping this thread to ask a question about fertilizer. Is this one plant that needs nutrients in addition to the MM it is started in? If so when do you start? What about cantaloupe, are they in the same catagory on the heavy feeder list?

Kay


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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  jbh29 on 5/21/2011, 10:24 am

I'm trying watermelon and I loved this thread! I started transplants from indoors, and they are not doing too well (although I do have some mm problems I'm fixing.), but I am starting some new seeds that I'll put right into the garden after they sprout. That will be better, I'm sure.

I also want to know if this info works for other melons (honeydew & musk melon)?
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Re: Tiny Watermelons.

Post  quiltbea on 5/21/2011, 1:41 pm

It should first be mentioned that mine are grown in the community garden where we only have rows. I hill my rows so there's good drainage and the soil warms up quicker than if its not hilled.

I fed mine with fresh compost tea when the blossoming started and again a couple of weeks later. I put a trowel of compost into a 2-qt pitcher and stir it around but use it right away. I don't let it age. I try not to spill out the compost, but if some comes out, that's ok. Its good for the soil. If there's some compost in the pitcher when the water is gone, I just add more water and stir again and repeat. I only refill with compost when its all poured out.

The beds are tilled each spring and late fall and cow manure is tilled into the soil. I use compost tea for all crops, home and at the comm garden. I figure it can't hurt.

All melons require the same basic things just different amounts of space.
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