Melons and Zuchs taking over

mrsrossMay 15, 2011

Hello all -

I have a 5x5 raised bed garden. i have tomatoes that grew out of the cage and are sprawling everywhere. But my question is about my zuchs and cantaloupes. It looks like a wild jungle! Can i cut some of the zucchini leaves back? or will it ruin them? This is my first year with a successful garden, so i'm feeling my way out...My cantaloupes have a LOT of flowers...they are growing out of my bed onto the ground. Do i need to do anything with them? Thanks for helping!

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haname(z9 AZ NE Phoenix)

Melons and zucchini need lots of room. If you can, just let them ramble and enjoy them!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 12:17PM
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mangledmind(AZ 9B)

we prune the inner (older) leaves on our zucchini and squash ... but be stingy with the pruning, as nature provided this "protection" for a reason ... as soon as it's BLAZING hot these leaves help the plant retain moisture and provide cooling natural mulch ... as for your melons: sounds GREAT to me ... had one last season that took off about 15-20' in all directions ...

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 12:18PM
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Zucchini take a minimum of 3'X3' and 4'X4' is not uncommon. Next year you may want to plant in a corner of your bed so the leaves can spill out the sides. Melons tend to start out producing mostly male flowers. Therefore you are not likely to get many melons close to the base of the plant. Some people cut the vines but only after they have produced enough fruit for their liking. If you do it before then you are going to severely limit your fruit production. My melons and butternut squash are planted in a 3' wide raised bed. At this point the cantaloupe and butternut have already outgrown the beds by 8'-10'. I expect they will keep growing as will the watermelons and casaba. If you are really limited for space you should consider growing one of the Bush Melon varieties. There are several that grow on short vines.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 1:17PM
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I plant squash so they can sprawl outside the beds, because they take a lot of room.

I also have some planted in a mesh compost bin, and it will trail down the sides.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 10:30AM
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thanks everyone! my melons are totally spilling over and i'm hoping will produce a lot! now i know how much room they need for next year. i pruned the zuchs a bit - but not too much.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 11:11PM
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One plant should fill a 3'x3' bed?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 3:11PM
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mister_gin(z9 AZ)

And 6 watermelon plants should fill a 10x10 bed and then some ;-). This is what I planned for but I don't know what I was thinking with my squash plant placement. It's way in the back blocked by a melon plants, sunflowers and a trellis. I won't be doing that again. From Garden Pictures 5/21/2011

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Wow! you have a great bed though! i'm learning placement myself...trial and error :)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 11:22AM
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I was just saying to my dad that when I move to the country in a couple years I know I need a lot more than a 20x40 foot garden because each melon can take half of that!
Wish they didn't take so much space because I love winter squash and all kinds of melons.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 5:52PM
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tracydr if I could recommend just one book to you it would be The Vegetable Gardener's Bible. It has lots information on how to grow more food in less space including melons. I don't want to talk about the techniques used because people will say it can't be done and I don't want to argue. Reading the book I said it myself. Many times I found myself saying... "Can you really do that?" "I don't think you can do that." "I was told not to do that." This is my first year with a real garden in Arizona. I have 540sqft of raised beds and lots of space for vines to roam and 5 trellises. I will have more trellises for peas in a few more months. I expect to get better at this each year. As things are when my wife came home from the grocery store the other day. She said she was in the vegetable section and was amazed at the prices. Then she said it hit her and she said to herself. "I don't have to buy vegetables anymore." Fruit anymore either but she did not get that far.

Next up is rabbits and pigeons for meat crops.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Vegetable Gardener's Bible (10th Anniversary Edition)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 8:20PM
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im gonna check that book out!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 11:00AM
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