Hey everyone. I'm wanting to grow giant watermelon this summer, but am very leery of catalogues advertizing giant anything. Does anyone have any proven watermelon giants? Thanks for the help!
I'm not an expert, but the only giant watermelon I've heard of is Carolina Cross. I grew them about ten years ago and they produced regular-sized fruit.
However, they got no special care. They certainly would have gotten larger with better soil and more water. Not sure what is reasonable to expect with proper care.
Tomatillo: I've grown Carolina Cross 2 years running now. The first year I got a 37 and a 47 pounder, from "stock" seeds I bought from Reimer. Last year I bought a special seed from P&P seed and got a 63 pounder -- I culled everything else on that one plant. They really grow quickly. I'm not too sure about the flavor though. The 37 pounder was actually quite good, but my 63 pounder was a little bland. I think I picked it too early -- it was a tough call because the tendril had broken off.
I'd buy the seeds from P&P -- they have proven stock there. They are not cheap -- you're going to pay $5 or $10. But they are prizewinners.
In terms of planting, dig down really deep -- 3 feet. I like to dig a hole 3x3x3 and fill it with lots of compost and great soil. I watered mine like crazy last year -- 2 gallons per day. Hand-pollenate the female flowers, but cull any that are misshapen -- they should look like little watermelons. Get 3 or 4 going, and let em get to 7-10 pounds each. If any are not forming in a perfect "Hindenberg" shape, cull them. You want to measure the length and circumference of each melon each day, track this, and pick the fastest growing one to keep.
Best of luck and let us know how you do.
Just curious. Does anyone know how far out to set fruit in order to get a 200lb monster?
Believe it or not, the guys who grow the real monsters don't do anything. They have a huge field of a couple acres and grow a few hundred plants. I saw a video once about this. It was disgusting. For someone like me who babies their plants. They were actually carrying this 200+ pound monster out with a tarp and they dropped it. Then they said "oh well" and sat down and sliced it up, and then went out in the field and brought out a few more 200+ pound monsters.
I would surmise that 5-7 feet out is probably where they would be. But who knows. Last year I achieved a 63 pounder and it was about 4-5 feet out. I think, just like giant pumpkins, genetics play an important role. go to P&P seeds and get seeds from a 200+ pounder.
Those that grow a field of watermelons are playing the numbers game but they also know what they are doing(The Brights). I know some growers that only grow a few plants giving them the best of care. They always grow 200lb plus melons. So no matter how you do it only grow what you can properly care for. Later Gianty.
I don't debate that the Brights know what they're doing -- the results speak for themselves. But I gotta say that seeing someone drop a 200+ pound watermelon and then go out there and get a few more makes me pretty jealous....
I'm growing 2 CC vines this year. They seem to be doing well, but no female flowers yet. My other watermelons have females. Hoping it'll happen within a week or so.
It's interesting. I bought seed from P&P and these plants have REALLY big leaves, much bigger than the CCs I grew the last two years. Some of the bigger leaves are almost a foot long. Hope that the fruit is similarly outsized.
Hey Wayne, thanks for sharing th info. I hope that your leaves mean something. Post some pics. Mine are just about 5-6 inches long, very average size. I am using seeds from a 168 lb (a CC), a 72.2 Privitera 2005 (168 Shymanski X self, another CC), and a 207.5 lb Canadian record from last year (also a CC). I am experimenting with the 168 lb CC by planting it in a small 5 gal container. (I will do this year after year) I saw a guy who grew a big one in Alaska using a big container, but I am trying small containers. I think there are a lot of urban gardeners who would like to grow something that is above average size. So a variety that can be grow in container is very desirable here. (I see that you are also in Zone 9)
GiantEggPlant: where abouts in CA are you ? I'm in Morgan Hill, just south of San Jose.
Just pollenated my first female flower this morning. It's looking good -- nice Hindenberg shape. I used 3 male flowers from the same plant and immediately taped it shut. There were no bees out yet (about 9:30 am). I'm hoping to save "pure" seeds from these watermelons to try next year.
By the way, I'm convinced that the shape of the baby watermelon will tell you alot about its shape when it reaches maturity. If you start off with a female flower that is slightly bent or misshapen, the fruit will always end up that way -- at least that's what I've observed. I think that it doesn't really hurt to pollenate every female flower you get, and just let 'em grow. By one pound you should be able to tell which ones have the potential to be prizewinners, and cull the misshapen ones. After that, the goal is to find the "fastest growing" watermelon, by making daily growth readings for about 7-10 days. I was culling some that were 8 pounds last year.
We'll see how things go this year but I'd really like to grow a big one. At the end of the season I'll be getting a load of composted horse manure from a friend of mine who owns a ranch. I will dig a couple of much bigger holes for the watermelons and AG pumpkins, something in the neighborhood of 5x5x5 feet each. The plan would be to get that soil prepped this fall, "seed" with lots of earthworms and continue to add compost and other stuff throughout the winter, in search of the BIG ONE next year.
This year, I'll be ecstatic if I can grow a 100 pound CC, and if I get any AG at all. My AG plant has had a hard time of things but seems to be recovering. Time will tell.
I was woundering when I should plant giant watermelon. I was told that it is to early plant them here is this true? Acouple of months or so ago I transplanted some out and they haven't done any thing so I was hoping that so one could tell me when I should plant them to get some watermelon this year.
thanks for any help.
Melissa: I think it's too late right now, not too early. I'd direct-seed in early May for Indiana, I think. I find that it takes about 2 months before the vines are big enough to sprout flowers, and then you get watermelons about 2 months later. July+4 months = November! May + 4 months = Aug/sept.
Wayne, I am in San Jose. :-) I am a graduate student at SJSU. We have the same weather and so we should be able to help each other out with any problems, or at least compare notes.
This is my second year at watermelon and first year at giant watermelon. I am hoping just to get a fruit like last year, but anything over 40 lb is a great achievement since I have terrible soils, a small space, and a lack of sunlight. (My backyard is shaded by a fence and trees)
Right now I am letting my 207.5 climb up the top of the garage. That's a 7 ft climb. It will get plenty of sunshine up there. But there is a female about 5 ft off the ground. I think I am not going to keep it because it is small than normal due to only 3 hrs of sun it gets each day.
I have one watermelon from the 5 gal container experiment. It's hand pollinated, about 7 lb at about 21 days old. I don't expected much but a regular size fruit at this rate.
It's amazing to see how small the plant is and how small the container is and get one or more watermelon from it.
GiantEggPlant: we should hookup at some point. I would leave the 5 foot up female alone and let some other melons get pollenated before culling it. You never know -- that may be the only one the plant produces...
My first year I got a 37 and a 47 pounder, possibly from the same plant. Last year I culled down to a single 63 pounder. This year I'm growing 2 CC plants and will cull both down to a single melon.
I really think you've done the right thing buying quality seeds that have known genetics. My 2004 attempt was with generic seeds and both melons were misshapen. One wasn't too bad although it did look a little like a giant strawberry. The 47 pounder was really weird looking, kinda round, with one side slightly recessed. Last year, when I used proven seed, I got a Hindenberg melon. Those are the ones that have the potential to grow big -- just look at the shape of all the prizewinners.
Something I've noticed that's kind of strange. If you look at Giant Pumpkins, there is this community of growers who are like a big family. They share lots of information, get together often, and help each other. The watermelon community doesn't seem to be like this, I think. Is that just a misconception ? do you know of any good online resources or books on growing giant watermelons ?
You got mail.
I used to raise giant watermelons and pumpkins but haven't for a while so for next year I bought seed from a good grower from a 209 pound watermelon, also got carried away and got cantaloupe seed 50 ponder,and northern giant cabbage from P & P ,also zeppelin cucumber,not much competition for these. 400 pound squash seed,giant celery seed and looking for Kelsae onion seed but can't seem to find it. I'm gonna be a busy,busy boy next year!But I can't wait.
HELP!! I'm just starting off, and can use all the advice that I can get growing watermelons. I live in Rancho Cucamonga, Ca, and it ususally gets pretty hot here during the summer. My cousin just sent me some giant watermelon seeds from Hope Ark. at my request, but after reading all the comments from the different growers, I see that it is going to be more to it than just putting them is the dirt. So, can someone, or everyone please give me some growing tips on how to even start. I'm not even sure if it's too late to start this project. I hope not, because I really want to do this now. Please help. Thanks in advance.
As for giant watermelon, go with the Carolina Cross. This is the type of melon that holds the world record for largest watermelon ever.(weighing somewhere around 250 pounds) the thing with this melon is it keeps growing even after its ripe. if you grow it really good you should at least be able to grow it to 100 pounds. if your going for the largest melon possible you will need to cut off some fruits and focus on very few of them.