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Old July 31, 2020   #1
GreenThumbGal_07
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Default July watermelon update

Watermelons seem to be getting along pretty well, and I am learning a lot.
For one, patience. I am so used to growing pumpkins (C. pepo) and getting female blossoms right after the male blossoms. The bees head right in and don't stop. With the watermelons, however, there are many many male blossoms, and fewer female blossoms. I really have to hunt for them. There seems to be a 1:2 ratio (1 female blossom for 2 feet of vine) for pumpkins, but more like 1:5 ratio (1 female blossom for 5 feet of vine) for the watermelon.
Furthermore, the bees seem to be "meh" about the watermelon blossoms. They have visited the melons (Ha'Ogen and Madhu Ras) a few times, but they seem to just glance at the watermelon blossoms and zoom right on by.
So, I have resorted to hand pollination. My first female watermelon blossom, which I relied on the bees to take care of, ended up in a shriveled stub. The second one (pollinated with my fingertip and a Q-tip cotton bud) "took" and now it's almost two inches long and growing. Did another hand pollination (sable watercolor brush plus plucked male blossom) on the third female flower, and that one seems to have "taken" also. Variety in question is Sangria Hybrid. Next up: Crimson Sweet. Will keep an eye on this one.
I mentioned the lack of bees to a local nursery worker and she said she had trouble growing melons and ended up having to hand pollinate. She said it was a Crane melon, "it produced one melon, but it was delicious."
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Old August 1, 2020   #2
GoDawgs
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Watermelon here will be a bust this year. The melons started forming (one on each of the two plants) and then just stopped. The foliage looks stressed and, to me, it looks like nematodes at work. Earlier I lost a spaghetti squash to them real near the watermelon plants. So much for this year. I had one Black Diamond and one Charleston Gray. They'll get pulled out today so I can mow that area.
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Old August 1, 2020   #3
PaulF
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I have more vines than ever before and there may even be melon or two in the tangle. This may be the year we harvest a watermelon and a muskmelon or two. This may be the Einstein breaker year.
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Old August 7, 2020   #4
GreenThumbGal_07
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Sounds good! What varieties of melon and watermelon are you growing?
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Old August 7, 2020   #5
GoDawgs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoDawgs View Post
Watermelon here will be a bust this year. The melons started forming (one on each of the two plants) and then just stopped. The foliage looks stressed and, to me, it looks like nematodes at work. Earlier I lost a spaghetti squash to them real near the watermelon plants. So much for this year. I had one Black Diamond and one Charleston Gray. They'll get pulled out today so I can mow that area.
Yep, it was nematodes messing with both of them. The Charleston Gray was only about 12-14" long and had been that way for a while. I cut it open anyway and it was ripe and tasty. The Black Diamond is a round dark green ball about 7" in diameter. I just cut it open and it's good too so I guess the harvest for this year will stand at two melons. And NONE for the coyotes!
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Old August 8, 2020   #6
Shrinkrap
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So right about the relative shortage of female flowers.. This is my first year trying in about 20 years. Three kinds of icebox melons, and I've been helping with pollination when I get a chance. I usually have plenty of bees, but haven't seen them around the melons. I'm growing in a container, trying to train them vertically, and have a few fruit.
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Last edited by Shrinkrap; August 8, 2020 at 02:43 AM.
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Old August 8, 2020   #7
PaulF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenThumbGal_07 View Post
Sounds good! What varieties of melon and watermelon are you growing?
Muskmelons: Hale's Best and Chelsea.
Watermelons: Orange Glo, Early Jumbo and Blacktail Mountain
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File Type: jpg IMG_7968.jpg (281.1 KB, 21 views)
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Old August 8, 2020   #8
GreenThumbGal_07
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Paul, what beautiful melons!
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Old August 8, 2020   #9
GreenThumbGal_07
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Hi Shrinkrap, thanks for the great pictures.

My fruit are just getting started. I think I have some lopsided one (Sangria) that's about the size of an orange. I hand-pollinated it but used only my fingertip and a Q-tip cotton bud, not a sable paintbrush, so I guess the pollination wasn't thorough enough.

We're both in Northern Caifornia, I see. I'm in Sunset Zone 17 but not within view of salt water, so I might have a better chance. Which Sunset Zone are you in?
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Old August 8, 2020   #10
GreenThumbGal_07
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@ Shrinkrap - wait, I saw from a previous post that you're in Sunset Zone 14. You have more warmth in your zone than me. Better for melons.
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Old August 8, 2020   #11
Shrinkrap
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Yes, @PaulF; those are very nice!
@GreenThumbGal "Warmth" does not begin to capture it. It is hella hot here.

Last edited by Shrinkrap; August 8, 2020 at 06:18 PM.
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