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Old 3 Days Ago   #1
GreenThumbGal_07's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 209
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 3 Days Ago   #2
GoDawgs's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Augusta area, Georgia, 8a/7b
Posts: 1,464

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 3 Days Ago   #3
PaulF's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Brownville, Ne
Posts: 2,996

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.
there's two things money can't buy; true love and home grown tomatoes.
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