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Melons/Watermelon

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Cucumis melo/Citrullus lanatus

Planting:

For best results start seed indoors, 4 weeks prior to the last frost. Sow 2-3 seeds 1/2" deep in 2¼" Jiffy strips. Provide a warm soil temperature, 24-27°C (75-80°F) and even moisture. Leave the best 2 seedlings in each pot. Transplant outdoors after all risk of frost in rows 4-6' apart with 36"(melons) - 48"(watermelon) between plants. For direct seeding, wait till all risk of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Sow seed in rows and space properly or sow into mounded 1'x2' hills, leaving 2 plants per hill, with hills spaced at 4-6'. Melons require a bright, warm growing season of about 3 months duration. Row covers or mulch are highly recommended for extending growing season, to ensure maturity and to increase yield.

Growing:

Full sun and sheltered location with a soil pH of 6.0-7.0. Melons are moderate feeders which require plenty of compost added to the soil. Regular feedings during the season with a well balanced fertilizer or compost tea are highly beneficial. Mulch to retain moisture and retard weeds.

Harvest:

Muskmelons-when the melon easily slips off the stem. Watermelon-when the curly tendril that intersects the main stem with the stem on the fruit has completely dried and turned brown and the underside of the melon, where it sits on the ground, is yellow.

Pests:

Monitor for Cucumber beetles; use Rotenone to control beetles. Leaf spots and mildew can be controlled using a sulphur or copper fungicide.

Companions:

Corn.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR SEEDLESS WATERMELONS

Planting:

To ensure good germination the following instructions must be followed. Plant indoors 4 to 5 weeks before setting out. For best results use peat pots. Two days before planting fill the pots with soil and water, then allow the soil to warm up before planting. Warm soil temperature is very important to for good germination. Soil temperature needs to be 30-35 C (85-90 F) until the seedlings emerge. Once the seedlings emerge they can be moved to cooler conditions (25-30 C, 75-85 F). Plant outside once all danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Planting into cold soil will stunt the plants.

Pollinating:

Seedless watermelon require a regular seeded watermelon to be planted along side to provide male flowers. A ratio of 1 pollinator plant for 3 seedless melons is best.

Growing:

A warm sheltered location is best. Soil should be well drained with good fertility. pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Even moisture and full sun are required. Plants should be spaced 36” to 48” apart. Watermelon are moderate feeder that benefit from regular applications of balanced fertilizer.

Harvest:

Underside of melon will turn from pale green to yellow, curly tendril where the stem attaches to the vine will turn brown, fruit will have a hollow sound when knocked on.