Author Topic: Growing Watermelons  (Read 2747 times)

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Offline WooferHound

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Growing Watermelons
« on: April 01, 2012, 11:20:33 am »
I grew watermelons as a teenager in the 70's and had the plenty of the best watermelons that I have ever eaten. Now I'm all grown up and have been trying to grow watermelons for 10 years now with really poor results. They seem to start out really good and produce plenty of fruit but only a few of them grow up good enough to eat and the flavor is not wonderful.

Over the winter I talked to a coworker that is known as the Watermelon King and he is suggesting that I add Ammonium Chloride around the plants to get them to grow up healthy and sweet. I have mentioned in another thread that my soil is not the best but I've been working it for 7 years and it is getting better but still much like clay.

Are there any tricks you guys are using to get big juicy sweet watermelons ?

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Offline DBCollen

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2012, 11:30:50 am »
Granite dust also helps with making sweet mellons.
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Offline A of J

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 04:29:48 pm »
Potash

Offline madlabs

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 11:27:34 pm »
My recipe:

Grow on a mound, at least 12" high.
Lots of horse manure. Melons like friable soil. I use oyster shell due to my soil pH.
Plenty of water until fruit reach the size you want, then cut back.
Lots of nitrogen fert early, then cut back. I like chicken manure.
Thin out the fruit as soon as they set.
Use a hoop hut if you aren't in a warm enough area.

Good luck! I love a perfect melon.

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Offline WooferHound

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 06:30:26 am »
Thanks for the help guys  ! !
I tried to find Granite Dust at Home Depot but all I saw was Granite Soil. I have a good garden center near me and I'll go over there to try and find Granite Dust, Ammonium Chloride and Potash. I think I can find Potash anywhere that has pool supplies.

I decided to make big changes in the soil in the bed that I grow the Watermelons in. Yesterday I dug in 4 bags (2 cu. feet each) of Pine Bark Mulch. I tilled it in 3 times and now the dirt is real fluffy the 3x10 foot bed is raised up about 3 inches from before the addition of the mulch. I had already added more than 1 bag of mulch to that bed 2 weeks ago.

I'll give it a couple of weeks to settle in and then plant my seeds.
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Offline tomw

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2012, 10:07:11 am »
Might try lawn clippings for organic matter. But so many chemicals on lawns now not sure I would do it.  I did this back in the '70s and it was nice. You need to let them cook in the plastic bags awhile and / or let them rot in a pile awhile or the green clippings rob the nitrogen from the soil and plants don't do well once they do their rotting the nitrogen goes back but is in use while rotting.

Leaves, too. Not walnut tho it has something in it that seems to stunt other plants.

It is all about organic materials rotting over time since that is how soil is made at the factory.

Just more rambling on the subject.


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Offline klsmurf

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2012, 11:16:21 am »
Tom,    If I remember correctly, tannic acid is the problem in walnuts. There is also issues with pines. Don't remember the problem with them, but you you will notice not much will grow under them.
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Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2012, 11:52:19 am »
Pine needles are very acidic, this it the tree's natural way to knock out competition for resources.
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Offline WooferHound

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2012, 12:40:36 pm »
But pine bark is ok, it's the main ingredient in potting soil.
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Offline RichHagen

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2012, 10:21:08 pm »
Composted pine bark is frequently used for planting medium in green houses.  I have a container garden on the roof of a couple of buildings.  I've never managed much luck with watermelon from containers though.  I don't think the roots like the heat of the midsummer sun that heats up the containers they are in.  Not sure, but I've gotten fruit to start or set, but when it gets really hot it kind of shuts them down and kills the vines.  No problem with tomatoes and cucumbers though.
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Offline tomw

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2012, 07:50:36 am »
@RichHagen;

I think tomatoes love warm soil. At least here they don't really start to go till the roots warm up regardless of how long they are in the ground.

I always wondered how roof gardens deal with that hot container bit.

We have used containers on the ground and had problems with heat and drying out quick unless you used a wick water system and religiously kept water available. I suppose in the city it is about the only open space with full sun, assuming no taller buildings nearby to the south.

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Offline RichHagen

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2012, 06:07:08 pm »
Yes Tom, my observations agree, the tomatoes thrive in the heat up till the upper 90's Fahrenheit and the peppers too.  The main issue for me is keeping it watered when it gets really hot - even with the sub-irrigated planters I build, a full grown tomato plant can empty  out the reservoir in one day.  I have planned to add automatic watering, but it is one of many unfinished projects at this point. I had posted images from a few years ago at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/richhagen/

 

Jalepeno peppers seem to thrive. 


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Offline Poorboy

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Re: Growing Watermelons
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2012, 08:53:24 pm »
Sounds like you got plenty of good advice already. especially the thinning out late fruit. That way the plant puts all it's effort into those fruit that you want to harvest. Watermelons like slightly acidic soil so don't use any lime. Might try different varieties too. There's tons of them. Check out rareseeds dot com. Also check your ag extension site to see what does best where you are. That goes with growing anything.