Watermelons in containers

Ohiofem(6a Ohio)May 26, 2011

I grew four bush sugar baby watermelons in a half whiskey barrel using a trellis last summer. Although it was a lot of fun, I only got one small melon per plant. The whiskey barrel only had one drainage hole and the soil mix I used was too water retentive, which I suspect prevented my watermelons from reaching their genetic potential.

I'm going to try again this year to see if I can do better. I added several additional drainage holes to the barrel and raised it off the ground. I've filled it with 30 gallons of Al's 5-1-1 (pine bark fines, peat and perlite with lime) and I'm planning to grow Tiger Baby watermelons this year.

I would love to hear from anyone else who has grown melons in containers or anyone else with thoughts about my plans.

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I've grown watermelons in the ground, with good results, although I didn't think that I was doing it correctly. This year I'm trying them in a container. I've got 2 Grover Delancy watermelons, together with 2 muskmelons in a 30 gal container. I'm going to let them overflow the sides of the container and run. The thing I found important with melons is to start them early, so they have a decent growing season to mature. They also love the heat. This is my first time growing them in a container, so I am excited and hope they do well. When I grew them in the ground, I had poor drainage, and overcrowded them, but still got lots of melons. I had a 40 pounder! I don't think they are hard to grow, but they like heat, food, and a long season. I never tried bush types. Blacktail Mountain is an early maturer.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:43AM
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I'm trying it this year but I've found a whole lot more about what doesn't work than what does. I've got one watermelon in a 30-gal tub with two Cayenne peppers. That watermelon is growing like mad but no fruit yet. BTW, the peppers that are sharing that tub are not doing nearly as well as the peppers that have their own pot.

I've also got several watermelons in smaller (too-small) pots. They're growing and spreading out and flowering so maybe they'll do something but I'm not really hopeful.

I've also got a cantaloupe alone in an 18-gal tub. Again, it's growing and flowering like crazy but only one fruit about the size of a softball so far.

Just for grins (and to make my 6 year old happy) I also planted a pumpkin in an 18-gal tub and 3 in a 30-gal tub. They've got leaves the size of my head and vines as big around as two fingers but that's all so far.

The biggest problem I'm having with the melons and the pumpkins is keeping them watered. I'm just south of Atlanta and they're in full sun (about 14 hours a day right now). I definitely have to water them twice a day most days and sometimes more. The past few days, it seems like every 4-5 hours I look and they're drooping and wilty! I've heard the fruits are really thirsty so I don't know how it's going to be if/when they actually set fruit.

I'm so glad to find somebody else who's giving it a try though because I was beginning to think I was crazy! I'm so new to all this that I don't know what to expect and if it fails, I can't really tell if it's just me or what. :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 10:20PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Your watermelons look much better than mine up here in zone 5. My vines don't look as healthy. Smaller and lighter green leaves.........maybe I should fertilize more. I worry about overwatering, but I don't think that is possible with the fast draining mix I'm using, especially once the vines take off like you said. I do have one melon that has set, but is still very small, and possibly a second. My muskmelons are flowering alot, but no fruit yet. I hope soon, because the female blossoms are coming on strong now. I really miss the bee population we had at our last home.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 12:02AM
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