watermelon question

telow(7a)September 9, 2011

After the main crop of watermelons has been enjoyed by every coon in Logan county, what do you do with the small ones that come on late. Will they mature into something the coons might enjoy or should I just plow them under?

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How kind of you to keep the animals fed in such a bad summer. That's funny, but I'm sorry they didn't share with you. LOL

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:23PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


It all depends on how late the late melons set and also on when your first frost arrives. In this case, the longer the hotter weather hangs on, the better it is for the melons.

I don't usually get much production from any melons that set fruit after early- thru mid-August because rain is so scarce and because both the intensity of the sunlight and the numbers of hours of sunlight per day are decreasing. Temperatures are decreasing as well and that works against the melons too. Melons need lots of heat and sunlight in order to produce good-sized melons with good flavor, and autumn just doesn't give them enough of those conditions.

Usually if I have melons trying to enlarge in August, I remove any blossoms that form after that so all the energy in the plant goes into the fruit that already have set. As the generally cooler weather of Sept. and Oct. arrive, the melons just sit and don't enlarge a great deal.

Here where I live, the wild things have gotten everyone's melons as the drought drags on. It is hard to get aggravated at the hungry, thirsty wild animals because so many ponds and creeks are dry that there's very few water sources available to them, but even in a non-drought year they'll hit our melons pretty hard. I grow mine inside a garden with a very tall fence and that has reduced the melon losses to the wild animals a lot, but not completely.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Thanks Dawn, that pretty much tells me what I need to know. I put a 2 wire electric fence at the top of the fence and it seems to have cured the problem. I keep a 5 gal. can of water filled at all times outside my garden (it was for my dog originally)and it now has become an nocturnal stopover for all manner of beast. I see their prints everyday. Thank God I have a neighbors pond just south of me for the winter so I won't be so obligated to keep the ice broken or take hot water to pour on it 2 blocks from the house

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome, Telow.

I put out a lot of waterers for the wild things and have been keeping them filled, and every type of wild critter you can imagine is visiting. The animals that share this earth with us are so thirsty. I've even seen whitetail deer, armadilloes and cottontail rabbits standing side by side drinking from a small wildlife mini-pond that we've been filling with the hose, and that's quite an unusual sight. As a bonus, an adjacent patch of native frogfruit has stayed green and in bloom, so that's provided the bees with some flowers in this flower-challenged year. I've always gardened for the wildlife, planting some plants just for them and not for us, but it really has been a challenge to keep enough in bloom to satisfy the bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. It is just too dry.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 6:15AM
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I had the same question. My melons put on a second harvest around mid July, amazingly. I figured I'd use the small unripe melons for fall decorations like pumpkins. I don't think they'll last as long but they are really pretty.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 9:21AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

If yours formed around mid-July, they might have time to ripen! One year in the mid-2000s, and I think it might have been 2003 or 2004, we didn't have our first killing freeze until mid-December and my flowers, herbs and veggies all were in production up until then. Some of the flowers survived a bit longer than the veggies and herbs, although the next freezing night got them.

You often can prolong the life of melons, pumpkins and other edible crops used for fall decorations by washing them with a water/bleach solution to kill bacteria on their rind. When I do that, I then pat them dry with a towel to get the moisture off of them.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 11:20AM
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Do you think the water and bleach solution would kill listeria on the outside of melons, or would it be like trying to kill bacteria on the outside of sprout seeds?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 9:53AM
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