Fall planting Watermelon & Cantaloupe?

bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)August 1, 2010

Does anyone plant them as a fall crop? There is certainly enough days here in zone 9 to mature a crop but I would imagine the problem is mildew and bugs? Had a very successful spring planting of both and was thinking of trying it in the fall but don't want to waste my time if there is a reason it does not work???

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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I'm surprised nobody has responded yet BR. I know watermelons are though of as a summer crop but I've often thought they would be easier to grow in the fall here due to less rain/mildew and pest problems....


    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 3:41PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


I goggled the question and have found little information on it. I don't see why it would not work.....we shall see, I planted both just a bit ago. Same watermelon I planted this spring which was awesome (strawberry) and planted Gandalf cantaloupe that Silvia sent me......we shall see.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 4:43PM
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I tried growing them in the spring inside my screenhouse last year but they didn't pollinate well without bees.
I grew both of them them for last fall with good success outdoors(not in the screenhouse)but I was still using my earthboxes(not in the ground)and I planted the seeds taken from fruit bought at a local roadside fruit stand on HWY41. So I'm no help as to the variety they were, but both the cantaloupes & watermelons reached full maturity. I will be planting them again for this fall(I'm leery as to when to start them with all this dang heat we've been having) Let me know when you will start yours for the fall. I did not plant them this spring in my screenhouse as the runners go everywhere.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 4:46PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

I did not plant them in the fall last years because all my space was full, I go by that. But maybe now that I have some spaces open maybe I will try a fall crop, it probably works. We can only learn by trial and error because I found out that there is not much info out there. One thing is to talk about it and other completely different is to show a garden with results.

That is why is good that we can try and compare results here, real crops real people.:)


    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 5:28PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I read an article somewhere a few years back that they actually did better here in the fall due to less mildew and pest problems; I guess it all depends on how much night/morning dew you get in the fall vs. excessive moisture from the summer rains. Sure wish I knew why the farmers here don't bother with them this time of year, folks not buying them in the fall/winter? Decreased production? Better selling crops for their land use?


    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 6:32PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


I planted them today. Glad to hra it worked for you last fall.


I agree, does not hurt to try.


I wondered the same thing.....you would think the farmers would plant a fall crop.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 7:22PM
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I planted some about 2 weeks ago. For the first week I provided some screening for shade and bug protection. They are fine with the heat. No disease evidence yet. I saw some minot insect damage and killed one tiny worm. We shall see.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 7:40PM
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OK sounds good, I will start some tomorrow morning. I was holding off because of the heat, but I still have plenty of seeds to start up a few 6 inch pots of each and see how they do before transferring them to the earthboxes.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 8:04PM
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I planted sugar baby at the beginning of July, I have several flowers on it and so far no issues with powdery mildew or bugs. Haven't seen any fruit set as of yet, but I hope to soon.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 8:32PM
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trbloco(Zone 9)

Hello all!

My first post here. Glad to have found this thread as I have also planted some watermelons this fall (along with some pumpkin and volunteer 'compost' cantelopes!)

My question/concern is: I planted my seeds on July 24, and have had good success with flowering, bees, and fruiting. However, in the last week or so, I have not noticed any further growth. I have one melon that is as round as a tennis ball and 8' long. This is about the size I got them last time I tried watermelons before they started to shrivel up.

I laid out black weed cover as a 'mulch' before planting, which seemed to help a lot as the seeds came up really fast.

Both the watermelons and pumpkins leaves are yellowing (a lot more on the watermelons). I think I water them pretty good, and I read to let the top 1' - 2' dry before watering again. I am wondering if I should take the 'mulch' cover off to allow the soil to dry more.

I am attempting to fertilize with by a specific schedule according to some info I found online (but some say more potassium when fruiting starts, other say more phosphorous).

Anyway, sorry for the long post. I am at my wits end as I can't find any specific info online, and don't really know anyone here in NEFL who grows them successfully.

Thanks in advance!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Blog

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 10:34AM
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Well shoot, if I had a watermelon that was eight feet long, I'd be pretty proud of it, myself! :)
I don't think the black weed cover could be hurting anything - watermelons usually have mostly just one long taproot, going straight down from where the original seed was planted, so if water can get in right there, that's probably good enough. Have you tried spraying with anything fungicidal? I think if you take the mulch cover off it might hurt more than help, because they're so darn susceptible to molds and fungi picked up on the leaves from soil.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 1:29PM
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trbloco(Zone 9)

^^Ha! Yeah, that would be quite a feat! Chalk it up to bad typing habits...

Thanks for the info, Karen. I am trying to use as few chemicals as possible, so I have not used any fungi- or pesticides, and so far, haven't really needed them. I am kind of flying by the seat of my pants, and whatever info I can find online and in books, but nothing is consistent (and nothing specifically for Zone 9. :P ).

If anyone successfully grows them in NE FL, I'd be interested in meeting up to compare notes.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 8:33PM
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