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Old April 28, 2011   #1
recruiterg
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Default Growing Watermelon

I have some watermelon seeds someone sent me. I would like to grow them, but don't have a ton of space in my garden. Can watermelon be grown on a trellis or a tall tomato cage? Variety is Blacktail Mountain.

Any other suggestions for a newbe to watermelons?
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Old April 28, 2011   #2
organichris
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Quote:
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I have some watermelon seeds someone sent me. I would like to grow them, but don't have a ton of space in my garden. Can watermelon be grown on a trellis or a tall tomato cage? Variety is Blacktail Mountain.

Any other suggestions for a newbe to watermelons?
I've heard of people growing cantaloupe (muskmelon) on a trellis, but I doubt you could do a watermelon that way very easily, perhaps if you pruned it to only grow a couple at a time and had a very strong support system.
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Old April 28, 2011   #3
Tania
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You can certainly grow it on trellis, as long as you have a good way of tying the fruits.

In my zone, the only way to mature a watermelon is to grow it in a cold frame that gets open just a bit during our 'hottest' summer hours (72-80F). It stays closed all the other times. I also start the seeds indoors, growing in 4" and then in gal pots then transplant in mid June (be careful, they do not like their roots disturbed). Seeds put into the soil directly will not get me a ripe watermelon here.
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Old April 28, 2011   #4
Tormato
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One year I had a vine grow up one of my shrubs. The watermelon had to be hung in a sling.

I start seeds in gallon, or so, sized pots one month before transplant time. It takes about one week to germinate, with temps best at about 80 degrees. Three weeks of growth in the pot is the max, before transplanting.

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Old April 28, 2011   #5
brokenbar
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Okay...here is my watermelon growing technique:

NEVER EVER EVER start watermelons earlier than 6 weeks to plant out. Watermelon have the longest tap root of any fruit and they HATE having the tap root disturbed. Use peat cups that can go right into the ground.

Dig a hole 3 feet deep with a hand-held post hole digger or tractor auger. Fill the hole with a mixture that contains equal parts of the following:

Sand
Peat Moss
garden soil or planting mix

Allow melons to grow and set fruit and then keep the vine lengths to no more than 10 feet and no more than 3 watermelon per plant. Placing black plastic or black tar roofing shingles laid beneath ripening melons speeds up ripening (as well as trying to keep the developing fruit uncovered from the shade of the vines.)

We grew watermelon in Wyoming successfully when most other people coukd not. We even grew some of the bigger varieties like Rattlesnake, Charleston Grey, Black Diamond. We also successfully grew Moon & Stars.

We mulched each plant with straw and used soaker hose to water. They take a lot of water.

You might be able to trellis a smaller variety like Sugar baby but you would need a heck of a "sling" tied to the fence to support the weight. They do have bush varieties of watermelon and that might work better for you:
Watermelon 'Bush Sugar Baby'
Citrullus lanatus
Watermelon 'Sugar Bush'
Citrullus lanatus

Hybridized by Burpee, 1977 Watermelon 'Bush Snakeskin'
Citrullus lanatus
Watermelon 'Bush Jubilee'
Citrullus lanatus
Watermelon 'Bush Charleston Gray'
Citrullus lanatus
Watermelon 'Bush Baby II'
Citrullus lanatus
Watermelon 'Bush Desert King'
Citrullus lanatus
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Old April 28, 2011   #6
strax
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fyi blacktail mountain is a small early ripening variety.
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Old April 28, 2011   #7
recruiterg
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Brokenbar-

Great advice...

Do you need a heat mat to start the seeds?

Why do you prune so extensively? Is it to make the fruit grow larger? What growing zone were you in?
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Old April 28, 2011   #8
Worth1
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Some people put the smaller melons in nylon stockings.
If you are a man just don’t tell the store clerk you are putting your melons in them, ‘it won’t help one bit.


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Old April 28, 2011   #9
lowlylowlycook
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Some people put the smaller melons in nylon stockings.
If you are a man just don’t tell the store clerk you are putting your melons in them, ‘it won’t help one bit.


Worth
Well, they'll probably direct you to the bra section so that shouldn't be too far from the stockings.
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Old April 29, 2011   #10
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Quote:
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Brokenbar-

Great advice...

Do you need a heat mat to start the seeds?

Why do you prune so extensively? Is it to make the fruit grow larger? What growing zone were you in?
I use heat mats on everything but watermelon seed sprouts pretty easy so you should have no problem without a heat mat. I prune a lot because you want all the energy going to the developing fruit. In shorter growing season areas like Wyoming, none of those smaller melons that develop beyond 8 to 10 feet are ever going to obtain size and ripen anyway. I know it goes against our psyche to cut off a lot of that great looking plant!
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Old April 29, 2011   #11
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Quote:
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fyi blacktail mountain is a small early ripening variety.
I know it's smaller but not as small as Sugar Baby or some of the others and I am just not sure you could trellis it effectively. I think maybe you could trellis some of the larger varieties but you would need a really strong wire/fence to tie the slings to. It would make an interesting experiment.

And Worth is right...nylon stockings make great slings and when you are finished growing, you can pull one over your head and go rob a produce stand stealing all the vegies that the
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Old April 29, 2011   #12
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Be aware that if you opt for bush varieties, the seed for all but Burpee's Bush Sugar Baby doesn't seem to be available for purchase. I searched for bush varieties of both melons and watermelons this year and found seeds for only one watermelon and one cantaloupe.
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Old April 29, 2011   #13
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We're trying both Blacktail Mountain and Katanya watermelon this year because of the shorter growing time needed, we shall see.

Katanya:
http://www.underwoodgardens.com/Kata...uctinfo/V1191/
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Old April 29, 2011   #14
dereckbc
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Well if you have ever been to Disney Orlando, then you know it can be done. You just have to have a very well built trellis and use slings. Also if you have a form, you can grow melons, pumpkins, squash in the shape of Mickey's head.
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Old April 30, 2011   #15
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It is hardly a compact or bush variety, but just for melon size, Mickleylee is an excellent watermelon which I grew a couple of years ago. The melons were slightly smaller than a cantaloupe and had excellent flavor, especially compared to Sugar Baby which I did not like at all.

With melons as small as Mickleylee, they could be trellised and the melons suspended in slings.
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