What can be planted next to each other?

adellabedella_usaJune 25, 2010

I'd like to plant watermelons. I already have yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, cantaloupe, and pumpkins. I'm worried about cross pollination and ending up with weird fruit. Thanks to the kiddos, I have a huge pumpkin planted near the yellow squash. I'm not sure if that will be a problem. The rest of the veggies are planted in different parts of the gardens and shouldn't cross pollinate. Where can I plant the watermelon? I might have room near the cantaloupe or near the pumpkins.

Thanks!

Adella

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Adella,

Within the Cucurbitaceae family, there are several species. It is within the species that different varieties might cross, but crossing between the species is very rare. Regardless, any cross-pollination that occurred would not affect this year's fruit. If cross-pollination did occur and you saved seed from the cross-pollinated variety, then when you plant and grow out that seed you might (or might not) have crossed veggies. I think often cross-pollination is blamed for 'weird fruit' when what people are seeing is weird fruit for other reasons, like cucumber mosaic virus, for example.

So, you can plant your watermelon anywhere you want and, assuming you had good, uncrossed seed to begin with, you'll get the expected fruit of that variety. (Unless you've got a variety with a relatively short DTM, though, you're looking at the possibility of not getting melon before the first fall frost, especially if there is an early first frost.)

Watermelon is Citrullus (species) lanatus (genus) as is citron melon, so different watermelon varieties and citron melon varieties could cross with one another, but you wouldn't see the results of that cross unless you saved seed from this year's fruits and planted that seed in a future year. This melons only cross with eavh other and not the other species.

Melons belong to Cucumis (genus) melo (species) and all members of C. melo have the potential to cross-pollinate with one another but not with members of the other species found in the Cucumis family. Again, though, you wouldn't get weird fruit this year. You might get it next year if you save and plant seed from crossed fruit from this year's crossed fruit, if any of them cross.

The C. melo family include true cantaloupes, muskmelons (generally erroneously referred to as cantaloupes in the USA), honeydew, casaba, vine peach, Asian pickling cucumber, Armenian cucumber (snake melons) and pocket melons.

Cucumis sativas is the cucumber species. All members of cucumis sativas have the potential to cross with one another, but not with C. melo (melons as described above) or Citrullus lanatus (watermelons). See a pattern here?

Some pumpkins and squashes within the six species (C. moschata, C. pepo, C. mixta, C. agyrosperm, C. ficifolia, and C. foetidissima)found in the genus Cucurbita will cross with one another, but there again, it is only an issue if you're saving and replanting seed. They won't cross with cucumbers, melons, or watermelons. Within the genus Cucurbita, varieties within each of the six species cross easily with each other, but crosses between the various species are very rare to almost non-existent. As with all the others, you'd see results of the crossing in the next generation if you save and plant seed, but not in the current generation.

Hope this helps.

Dawn

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 1:18PM
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marcy3459(6a NE OK)

And that concludes our botany lesson for the day. Class dismissed. ;-)

Dawn, you are such a gift. God bless you.

Marcy

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 2:51PM
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adellabedella_usa

Thanks!

My mom tried to plant cucumbers when I was about 5 years old and I planted watermelon in the same area. Whatever developed was weird looking and mom pulled them all up. We used to save our seed back then so it was probably already contaminated. My kids are doing the cross planting these days.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 4:33PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Adella,

You're welcome

Marcy,

There was a junior college in the city where I grew up. It had a Horticulture Department. I wish I'd taken some classes there. I distinctively remember a bunch of us looking at their beautiful new horticulture building and greenhouses (which I'd kill to have nowadays) and laughing and saying "Who'd want a degree in horticulture?" lol It just goes to show that I didn't know anything when I was 18!

Dawn

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 4:44PM
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crm2431(7 -Tahlequah)

Dawn,,
just to be clear, if Cucumbers and cantelope are planted side by side will the fruit of that harvest be affected?

Charlie

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 5:55PM
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wlburgess(7)

Charlie,
I'm sure Dawn will answer, but nope :) I had an idea to plant watermelon / cantaloupe along the ground in the tomato bed as a ground cover. Has anyone ever tried to grow them among taller plants as a ground cover and had good results?

William

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 10:31PM
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soonergrandmom

You might need to keep a path open to get to the tomatoes for picking because melon plants are vines that spread everywhere.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 12:01AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Charlie,

No, cucumbers won't cross with melons. Cucumbers can cross with other cucumbers and melons can cross with other melons.

William,

I've done it and how successful it is just depends on how much the taller plants shade the watermelons. If the taller plants shade the watermelons too much, you won't get many melons. I think the year I did it, I got about half as many melons of the vines as I usually would.

Dawn

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 7:55AM
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