how late for watermelons?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by trixiwick, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

    Messages:
    4,389
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    This is my first time growing watermelons, and I'm getting anxious that they won't ripen before the weather gets too cold. I have about eight melons of various sizes, but the largest of them is maybe 9" in diameter. They have been getting plenty of sun and water, and just seem to be growing painnnnnfullly sloooowww. Can anyone tell me if this is normal? I planted the seeds way back at the end of April! :(
     
  2. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

    Messages:
    6,244
    Joined:
    May 11, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    No, that's not normal. Hmmm... They like alot of sun, you said they have that. They also like loose soil and lots of room to spread roots. Did you give them any compost/fertilizer?
     

  3. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

    Messages:
    4,389
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    They do have plenty of sun, though it has been a less-sunny summer than usual, as well as less hot, so that might be part of it. The soil is very good, and I use bunny poop as fertilizer, which seems to work well for everything else. I am drowning in tomatoes! But still, eight little watermelons plod along and look like they might freeze before they ripen. I wonder if I might have stepped on some of the vines and damaged the plants, even though they don't look damaged?? Maybe I'm reaching here, but I'd like to figure out what I did wrong so I don't do it again!
     
  4. Wilbur

    Wilbur Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    150
    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Taxachusetts
    can I cover the melons with some kind of protective plastic or something to give them extra time and heat. I have seen it done when plants are put out early but didn't know if it would work at the end of the season.

    Mine are in a similar situation to yours (I am in MA) and I fear I am running out of time! But I didn't know if a protective cover of any type would need to cover the entire plant versus just the melons.

    I welcome any ideas!
     
  5. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Are you sure none of them are ripe? I had two kinds this year & the yellow meated ones didn't get near as big as I thought they should. I kept waiting for them to get bigger but finally I got tired of waiting & cut one & it was already too ripe.
     
  6. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    890
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Location:
    Clarksville TN.
    You may have the same problem as me(what ever that is).If so there probably ripe.This year and last i grew several cantaloupes and water melons that where no bigger than a base ball.They ripened at that size.For some reason they just will not grow big.I assumed it was the lack of rain or fertilizer last year.But they had plenty of both this year.I assum they need something that is something missing from the ground.The grounds looks rich,had plenty of rain this year,direct sun.every thing else did well but not the melons.

    Humm you said April.Now i did plant mine very early both years.Actually had to reset the seeds last year.Im a bit impatient when it comes to waiting to plant.The melons where sets this year.But they might have still been stunted by the cold.I cant remember if they where set out out when we had all that crazy weather or not.It snowed on some plants this year(or was that last year humm).No didnt set them that early on purpose it was a very late snow. :D
    Anyone think it could be that we set them to early?
    I didnt lose any plants to frost this year.So im getting smarter.LOL

    Speaking of plastic im going to try that next year.Might work might not.But im thinking if you layed plastic over say tomato plants/sets (early girls) or even a hill of seeds it would keep the frost off and help heat them and the ground up in the day time.Also would sweat and water them. Like tobacco sets i assume?
    Wonder how that would work?
     
  7. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Insanity,
    I think you may be right about something missing in the soil. I had 2 yellow meated ones that were normal sized & then the rest just wouldn't grow. That's why I was waiting for the others to get bigger. Maybe the first 2 used up all the nutrients and the later ones didn't have enough to grow like they should. Watermelons are heavy feeders, or so I have heard. It's awfully hard to add fertilizer later with vines everywhere though.
     
  8. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    890
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Location:
    Clarksville TN.
    Not to sure whats in it.But i even tossed some blood and bone meal around them before they began to fruit this year.Made them bloom like crazy but not much fruit.

    Had to sneak it away from the wife when she wasnt looking.Makes her roses bloom like crazy also. :D
     
  9. Kygardengal

    Kygardengal Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    344
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I have grown a lot of melons over the years. I am in zone 6 and I start my seeds indoors at the end of April. I transplant them to the garden usually 2 week in June. Melons like really warm soil. A melon that is planted in cool soil will either produce small fruit or no fruit at all. Just my 2 cents....
     
  10. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

    Messages:
    4,389
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    OK, I'll cut one open today and see what it looks like. The stem end is brown, so maybe it's ready. As I said, this is my first time with watermelons. I felt somewhat better going to the Amish market down the street on Friday and seeing that their watermelons aren't much bigger than mine.
     
  11. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Watermelons have little curls on the side of the vines. They are about 2 inches long and look like a light green blade of grass, only more round and are curled. look at the one closest to where the melon stem hooks to the vine. If it is green the melon is green. If it has turned brown and dead looking, find two more of them within a foot or two. If they are dead, the melon is dead ripe. Don't pick any that don't have at least the closest curl dead.
    Size is not an indicater of maturity.
     
  12. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

    Messages:
    4,389
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    Well, look at that - a mighty tasty and ripe watermelon! Too bad it's so small. Other than hoping for a warmer summer next year, any suggestions for bigger melons next year?