Watermelon Question

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by MsPacMan, May 10, 2005.

  1. MsPacMan

    MsPacMan Well-Known Member

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    Tennessee
    I want to grow more watermelon than I have space for in my raised beds.


    But I have plenty of land. Only problem -- it's heavy clay soil.


    So here's my idea:


    I have a tractor based post hole digger and a 12 inch auger. What I was figuring is I can put the post hole digger on to the tractor, and then digging a bunch of 12 inch holes in the hard clay soil, about 10 to 14 feet away from one another.


    Then after I've dug a bunch of these holes in the ground, I figure on getting some bags of WalMart Organic Humus and dumping the organic humus in the holes. Then take a balanced organic fertilizer (probably GardenTone or PlantTone by www.espoma.com ) and fertilizing the top foot of soil in the hole.


    Then I will plant transplants of watermelon -- specifically, the Crimson Sweet variety.


    Any reason why this will not work?


    Do you have any suggestions for improvement, etc?


    I do not want to till the entire area (which I could do, theoretically, since I have a tiller for the tractor too). This land is not completely level, and tilling a large area will leave it subject to major erosion problems.


    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Well-Known Member

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    Now that's what I call being creative. Why wouldn't it work? Watermelons do not like their feet wet. I would leave the dirt from the hole piled up and fill the volcano with a mix of good loam and well aged manure. Now run a drip line to each hill and cover with a paper or plastic mulch 10x10 would be a good size. I do a similar thing but mound my soil about 8 inches high in rows 2 feet wide and 12 feet apart, lay my water and use a roll of plastice mulch.

    Good luck, and let us know how it works.
     

  3. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    I've been thinking about the same thing for pumpkins. Please let us know how this works out.
     
  4. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    I did that one time for potatoes and it worked just fine! You might want to put down hay or straw in between for the vines to sprawl on and to keep the melons clean. Sounds like a very do-able idea to me, though.

    hollym
     
  5. suzyhomemaker09

    suzyhomemaker09 Well-Known Member

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    Ok rather than to start a new thread I thought I'd expand on this one a bit....
    I've seen mention of growing melon vines on your compost pile...has anyone done this? I had a cantaloupe vine growing on mine last year quite by accident, the fruit was small but tasty, I'm sure it was some hybrid offspring from something I tossed in there. I'd thought of starting seeds in cups with the bottoms cut out and transferring them to my compost pile (mine is one of those pallet jobs ) I planned on putting chicken wire around the inside to keep everything neat and inside, cut holes and put the seedlings in there pot and all. I have tons of wood shavings in there from brooder boxes and will probably generate tons more as we seem to keep getting poultry. I've been bitten by the container gardening bug and I'm curious to see what all will work for us. I'm planning on doing potatoes in a trash can...they say start them and just add layers of straw as it grows.
    Does anyone have any thoughts experience or ideas they'd care to share ?

    Suzyhomemaker
     
  6. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    I have potatoes in three trash cans right now. Two cans are doing great, the plants are to the top, fully mulched, we use leaves because they are free for the raking, and flowering. The third one is halfway there, only one plant, I think it didn't drain as well at first, so I punched more holes.

    I had a volunteer squash in my pallet compost last year, and it got huge, but the deer ate it before it produced squash, so we'll never know, lol.

    hollym
     
  7. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I have used the post hole idea for planting tomatoes. I only dug the holes 18" to 24" deep. I used the removed soil (nearly sand) to mix with compost and peat moss and manure for the fill dirt. While probably overkill, I always added a small amount of balanced slow release fertilizer in the soil mix as well.

    The heavy clay soil holds the moisture well, and the roots should extend into it as moisture is needed.

    I did read one time that post holes for tree planting IS NOT recommended unless you break up the sides of the hole some. The digging tends to make the sides hard enough that the roots don't penetrate well.