amazing melons

brookw_gwSeptember 20, 2012

I don't know about the rest of you melon growers out there, but this year was just awesome for watermelons. I probably had a little over a half acre and sold just around 3,000 lbs off it. I really resisted the urge to mow down and till under, and a whole new crop is ripening now. They are smaller but nicer--no cuke beetle bites or sunburn. It is very difficult, however, to determine ripeness as the tendrils near the stem are staying green.

The same has been true for the spag squash. I harvested a decent crop fairly early on, and now a nice second harvest has developed. Usually , the plants never last this long in the season. Other winter squashes and pumpkins were nearly a total failure. I try to raise 3-4 tons of butternut per year, and I'll be lucky even to get a ton this year. They somehow produced a crop but are pretty small and often misshapened.

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I have taken watermelons to a second crop and it had none of the flavor of the first. I hope it works out better for you!

I was way behind and got hammered by gophers on the first plantings of butternut.It's best to plant them before memorial day. The ones that made it from a July 4th planting had a lot of heat stress all along. Lots of them look nice, but I am afraid they will be light and dry out on the inside faster than usual. Around here they loose a lot of weight due to lack of cool humid air.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 4:04PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Our melons were really good too. We planted personal sized ones. They sold good. What was crazy, with all the heat and planting them on black plastic, the first melon we picked was 55 days after planting. I was expecting to get them in August, instead I was harvest about July 10th from a May 20th direct seeding.

If I backed up that planting next year, I will have melons by July 4th. Those would sell really well.

We had 4 plantings of melons this year, the 2 and 3rd plantings were the biggest. Now we are having trouble with possums, skunks, quail and pheasants eating them.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Good for you guys, but my melons were lousy this year. The deer ate all my muskmelons and my watermelons got powdery mildew. I had about 1/10th the yield that I should have. I also had two acres of pumpkins that made nothing - they were big plants that set no fruit. Our bee hive seems fine. I'm wondering if the greenhouse cucumbers I grew in March and April could have spread disease to the nearby field? It was either that, or the extraordinarily hot and dry summer. Melons are supposed to like it hot, but nothing likes it 105 with 25% humidity. Regardless, I think I'm done with curcurbits for at least a year to try to make the diseases die off.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 6:19PM
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My melons were early this year, and they all ripened at the same time, regardless of maturity dates. I had to move a lot of melons fast as a result. The drought also concentrated the sugars, making them extra sweet. It's true, the melons now don't have the flavor, but it's still really nice to have quality vine fruits in October. My fall raspberries are so bland I'm not selling them. They're huge and beautiful, but they have little taste. We're just eating them ourselves. On the other hand, the pears and apples were the best I've ever raised. I guess it was due to the heat, but our red apples were bright yellow this year. Only the Jonathons remained red.

Cole R--I live in fear of disease as I don't have enough room to rotate all the vining crops I plant. I know it will catch up w/me. I'm able to rotate everything else. I too had considerable deer and rabbit damage to my cantaloupes. Deer break them open while rabbits tend to nibble on every blessed one in the patch. Even the turtles got in on the action this year as I relocated 2 out of the patch.

This was the worst tomato year ever. I really lost my butt on them, considering the amount planted. Certainly, this was the oddest year I've ever experienced. I must say though that my pond got finished in perfect timing--2 days ahead of the hurricane. It's already a third full. Finally, I will have water!!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 8:27AM
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i grew 300' of melons (cantaloupes & watermelons) in a screen house (hoophouse with bird netting instead of film). they were ready well ahead of the expected time. we got 563 lbs that all sold well. this is the first year we didn't lose a majority of them to crows in a few years.
i've seen melon plants come back after putting out a crop but theres never enough time here to produce fruit before the freeze.
now upgrading the screen house to a regular film covered hoophouse for strawberry plugs.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Randy, the screen house is a great idea, I have an extra few hoops to do something with, sounds like a great idea to put the plants out into during the hardening off stage. Less sun and harsh temps.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 10:22AM
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