Prune watermelon plants to one watermelon fruit?

james1235(3b)August 18, 2013

Hi, I live in Zone 3b, and there is only one month until the estimated first frost. My watermelon plants have started to flower, and I want to harvest at least one watermelon. My question is, if i were to prune all but one watermelon fruit for my watermelon plant, would the watermelon ripen faster than it would with multiple fruits growing, and would it have enough time before the killing frost? Thanks

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

A bit faster maybe but no I don't think you have enough time left. As it gets cooler they slow down anyway. Watermelon usually produce a bunch of male flowers before the first female flower so I bet it will be at the least a week before you see the first female flower then you would need at least 6 weeks from that point? Watermelon would be tough in zone 3.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:39PM
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james1235(3b)

ah, that's too bad, is there anyway of protecting the plant from frost to give it just enough time it needs?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:31AM
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don555(3a)

Hey James, watermelon are tough in zone 3. I've tried and failed twice before, I'm giving it another go this year.

You don't say what variety of watermelon you are trying, or whether it is an icebox or a full-sized melon. I don't think clipping off other fruit will give you a melon sooner, it will just give you one large melon instead of several smaller ones.

Here's a link to a thread you might be interested in... it's one I started in the far north gardening group on growing melons in 2013 (for watermelons, canteloupes, honeydews, etc.):

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/farnorth/msg0720115729258.html?26

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 2:34AM
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james1235(3b)

The variety is Early Canada Improved (maybe they can withstand a bit of frost?) and the melons are 10-15 lbs in size.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:59AM
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james1235(3b)

The variety is Early Canada Improved (maybe they can withstand a bit of frost?) and the melons are 10-15 lbs in size.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:01PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Watermelon, Canadian or otherwise, don't take any frost. And when the average temperature falls below 60F they basically quit ripening.

To grow watermelon in your zone you need the earliest start possible and soil warming techniques. A black weed barrier and mini greenhouse over the plants in May will warm the soil and air.

I can get watermelons 4-6 weeks earlier than normal by warming soil and air in March and April. You need the right timing and same techniques.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:08PM
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don555(3a)

I used to grow Early Canada (the regular one, not the "improved" one... it was about 30 years ago) when I lived near Ottawa, ON (zone 5). It was an iffy crop there -- if it was a long hot summer I would get quite a few to ripen but if it was a cold summer I would get few, maybe none to ripen. And if they weren't ripe by early September, they were never going to ripen (as fruitnut points out about ripening temperature). They never got to 10-15 lbs. Five or 6 lbs was probably average. I don't know if the improved ones are bigger, earlier, or both. Try to make it as warm as possible for them, and good luck.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 4:19PM
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armyofda12mnkeys(7a, Philly, PA)

BlackTail Mountain is supposedly an early 70day one bred for 40 degree Idaho summer nights. I planted pretty late in July and am getting some now (growing pretty well in this less humid, really overcast/wet summer in Philly). Might want to research it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:02PM
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