How many melons/watermelons per vine?

dianega(7 - ATL)February 26, 2009

I know the answer may vary depending on which variety I plant, but can someone clue me in on approximately how many melons/watermelons each vine produces?

Do they basically set fruit once for a one-time harvest or keep setting out new fruit all season for continuous harvests?

This is for home use, so trying to plan for whether it's just 1-2 per vine or 5 or 10, etc.


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It does depend on the variety but mostly on the growing conditions ie soil fertility water etc. As a rule with good growing conditions 2-3 watermelons and 3-5 muskmelons/cantelopes. The vines will continously set fruit if pollinators are doing their job, but the plant will abort fruit once it reaches it capacity based on water fertility temp etc. Once the first batch of fruit ripens they can produce a secound cropand especially with watermelons the first couple of fruit will be normal size but later fruits will be smaller. Melons do tend to produce all their fruit at about the same time. So if plant 5 hills of muskmelons be prepared for around 30plus melons ripe within 10 days of each other. I would suggest if I had the room, plant one hill(2-3plants)then 2weeks later plant a second and so forth this way the season is extended and once the main crop harvested from the first planting remove those vines and plant something else.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:16PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I will echo rodger there. Small varieties of watermelon tend to produce more fruits than larger fruited varieties So much DEPENDS on fertility and vine vigor and continuing health of the roots and foliage. Disease can be a teriffic factor on production. For watermelons I let the small fruited varieties do their thing...produce 4 to 7 fruits....same for cantaloupes that produce 5 to 10 fruits.

For large watermelons I have found that usually [not always] it is better to get one super melon or 2 nice ones than 3, 4, or 5 fair to poor fruits. Occasionly an extra healthy watermelon plant will raise a second family.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:34PM
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dianega(7 - ATL)

That's exactly the info I was looking for, guys! Thanks so much!

Just out of curiosity, why do you plant them in hills? So the vines spread out like spokes on a wheel? And do they literally mean to mound up the dirt? If so, why? And how high of a hill?

Do the vines root along the way? Or do I only need to make sure the hill itself has good compost?

Since they're so juicy, what are there water needs? Is once a week enough? I've heard to lay off watering when almost ripe so the flavor is more intense.

Roughly what length should I expect vines to grow? 10'? 20'? Again, I know varieties differ... just need a ball park idea of how to plan.
Thanks for your help!!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 4:25PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Raised areas whether they be hills, beds, or slightly elevated row areas provide warmer and dryer conditions in the early going when conditions are often...chilly and wet which are definitely not what melons like.

Cantaloupes spread out about 6 to 8 feet while watermelons go more like 10 feet or a bit more.

Watermelons do root a bit along the way if they get covered a bit with dirt at that point. I would say that mostly they don't root out on the vines under average conditions. Concentrating feeding near the starting center of the plant is good but it is good to fertilize further out either at planting time or when the vines are beginning to run. Compost is good but in most soils compost alone might not be optium.

Melons like water. I don't try to starve them for water at harvest as I usually have immature fruits growing at that time also. And I believe I get some very sweet melons.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Can you plant them near the potatoes and onions and let the melons grow over them?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 8:17PM
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I was reading a very old article about growing melons, and they said that you should pinch out the growing point on the primary vines. This encourages growth of lateral vines, which produce most of the female flowers, and therefore melons. Any informed opinions on this?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 10:55PM
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I would not plant melons where they would grow over or into potatoes, especially into onions.
On pruning out the main vine. In my observations the main crop of melons is produced from the main vine so if you cut this out it will it will produce from the laterals. Whether the laterals produce anymore female blooms is irrelevant you need 5 to 1 male to female ratio to get good pollination so the more male the better. The melon vine will produce dozens of female blooms and dozens will pollinate if pollinaters are present but only a small few will grow to maturity depending on the overal health of the plant. I would never prune my vines. The only time I would do this is if a vine was growing where it shouldn't but in that case I would redirect it. But I would cut out a lateral branch since this is not where the main crop will produce or where the most availble nutrient flow is. Another reason people may prune vines is to limit vine growth and number of fruit so that the fruit that is produced will be extra large. This is done a lot for competion growing especially in pumpkins. I grow to eat and not produce something that won't even fit into the fridge. So I would never recommend prunning. Rodger

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 11:36AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I mostly agree with rodger concerning vine pruning. The best fruits are mainly produced on the larger main vine. I don't mind extra large fruits as I think on average they are more developed in flavor, texture, and sweetness...,. Uh, I don't want the small secondary robbing fruits.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 12:01PM
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Is it bad to coil your vines? I have a first time garden that is very small 4' x 8' so I have been coiling the vines so they don't grow over the other plants. The only watermelon I have been able to keep growing (about 5" around) split out at the bottom? Oh, and how often do you fertilize? I would appreciate any suggestions! :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 10:18AM
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Grow 1-2 watermelon per vine to maximize size. Do not pinch off the end of the vine. Instead, pinch off the female flowers. Pinching off the end of the vine limits leaf growth which the watermelon needs to develop fully.
Coiling is a bad idea. It makes the leaves too dense and disease will flourish. They need to breathe.
Planting in hills does two things: Helps warm the soil and provides good drainage.
Withholding water for the last couple weeks does intensify the watermelon flavor.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:34PM
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