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stunted watermelon plants?

Posted by krystine 5 (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 1, 05 at 20:04

I've planted two kinds of watermelon seeds... sugarbabies and Early Canada Improved (McKenzie seeds) and neither one of these seem to be doing that great. Everything else in my raised beds is chugging right along, except for these plants.

Is there something I should or shouldn't be doing with these plants? Here's a pic of my sad watermelon plants (The cedar mulch is new today, so that wouldn't impact on their growth.)

Thanks very much,

Kristine (a brand new gardener)

Here is a link that might be useful: Krystine's Garden Blog

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

They look healthy, patience M

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

Thanks for responding. I guess I can't measure everything against the growth rate of the zuchinni plants!

I'll try and be patient :)

Take care,

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

Hey Kristine:

Man oh man. If those guys start growing, I wish you well!
This is only my second year growing sugar baby watermelons so I'm no expert. However, I will share my experience so far.
1. Those little hot hats from CdnTire accelerate growth of the small plants by about 100% at the start of the season. Literally twice as big. Shove them under and don't remove until the whole thing is full (plant will look cramped).
2. Sun and heat are essential. Last year my plants had a slow start (cool summer) and didn't grow fast. The vine just died once it got cool and the dozen small fruit that were left just shrivelled up. This year I have numerous small fruit and one about 3" across. About 3 weeks earlier than last year. I use black mulch under them.
3. I've got 2 plants and they have sprouted about 7, five foot long vines each (and still growing). I have them trained on two 7' tall trellises that are half overgrown already. I don't know what to suggest to you when they do start growing. The melons are heavy and need a really sturdy trellis if you want to grow vertically (mine is rebar).
4. Harvest: I waited for the sugar baby to turn dark green, but I was way off on the peak time to harvest. I have no wisdom for you. I picked way too early. The best fruit we had was the last one which we picked about 1 month after it had turned dark green.

Here's a pic of last year's watermelons. This year looks just about the same.

Like I said, I'm no expert, but hopefully I've passed along some info you can use either this season or the next.

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

I'm in Ottawa, two weeks later mine are maybe twice the size of yours and are getting flowers. Yay. They seemed to have just taken off in the past 10 days in this extreme heat. I think giving them a warm start like Mitanoff suggests will yield better results. Mitanoff, you can grow watermelons on a tellis???? I know what I am doing next year. Thanks

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

We tried watermelons our first year growing in our raised beds and got golf ball sized melons! This year we put some in containers in our 'almost' complete greenhouse (no doors, no fans, hot like an oven!!!) and they are doing much, much better! They are about 7" in diameter. There only seems to be about 1 melon per plant though. Next year we will try pruning the vine to direct all the growing energy to each melon. You might want to try building a mini greenhouse (a plastic tent) over your melons to raise the heat a little. This will also extend your season. Happy Gardening!

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

I grew sugarbaby watermelons from seed last summer- and didn't have a single melon that grew bigger than a marble.

The fruit would reach the marble size, then turn black starting from the bottom (where the flower had been) and shrivel...

Any suggestions? I had wondered if I planted them too late in the season?

I tried removing all but one melon per vine but it did not seem to make any difference.

The plants had many long vines with smallish leaves.

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

well this is my first attempt at growing anything at all, let alone watermelons. i have a big mound about 1 foot tall by about 2 1/2 feet with 3 melon plants in it. 2 of the melon plants are sugar babies and the other one is some sort of variety with yellow speckles on the leaves. The mound i made is a mixture of aged cow crap, compost, potting soil, and gravel from my driveway. They're in almost full sun, but they miss a couple hours of morning light because my house is in the way. the only food i give them is worm pee and worm poop.

honestly the whole project is going a lot better than i thought it would at first. for one thing, i didn't know my wife planted pumpkins not more than 5 feet away, but ive been doing my best to train the plants away from each other. however i can only imagine the melons would be doing much better if they had even more room.

so far only 1 of the 3 plants is actually producing fruit, but the remaining 2 seem to be catching up ok.

here's my biggest melon so far, its at least softball size and seems like it gets bigger every time i look at it. please excuse my nasty toe, i thought it'd add some perspective

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

The melon looks good, Pat.

First time growing melons for me too this year. I happened to be at Rona's a few days before Fathers' Day. They had all their veggies on reduction and I picked up a pot of 5 yellow melon plants, as well as a pot of 5 cantaloupes for 59 cents. I just couldn't pass up a bargain like that even though I'd never grown melons before nor did I have any space left in my garden.

What I did was lay down 5 bags of soil next to my fence. I pierced all along one side of the bag which became the bottom side, and made two holes on the other (top) side and I planted a melon plant in each of the holes.

The vines took a couple of weeks to get going, but then they started growing really quickly and kind of all over the place. I have no cantaloupes yet, but I have 5 melons. They range from egg-size to a diameter of 6 inches.

The oldest melon seems to have stopped growing now and I noticed this morning that the tendrils near the stem are turning brown. All the label said was 'Yellow Melon', so I have no idea if it's reached its proper size for picking. I'll look out of other tell-tale signs, such as the rind getting dull, etc. to judge when it should be picked.

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

I also am growing watermelon for the 1st time and mine EXACTLY like yours! Same size, mine were grown in raiser veggie beds and of course they have outgrown them and the melons are on my lawn now, I keep turning the melons over every few days to make sure the bottom doesn`t rot, not sure if it is necessary though. Hopefully they'll be ready by end of Aug before it gets cold!

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

Your watermellon is flat to the ground. Watermelons need water and heat. They do best if planted in a raised mound. Then the ground around them is warm because all the surfaces of the mound get warm. It works much the same as mitanoff's hothats

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

woof, keep your melon elevated so that air can circulate around and then the soft spot won't rot. You can put it on a mound of straw, an upside down basket or even on a styrofoam egg carton -- just punch holes in the carton so that water can drain.

RE: stunted watermelon plants?

Picked my first ever melon on Thursday! It was nice and juicy, with a very subtle flavor. It was ripe, but I think I might have picked it about a week too early, so now I know to leave the rest on the vine a little longer.

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