First melon patch and pumpkin patch

linzelu100(7a)March 17, 2013

Hello, I recently moved to a home with a bigger growing space. We are going to be planting a melon patch for the first time- I have never grown melons before. I have been reading a ton of information and a lot of it is conflicting. I don't have any misconceptions about being able to grow award winning melons my first year; I just want to grow something good to eat and avoid unnecessary pest problems.
I grow organically and have read that melons attract a lot of problems. I am 7a in Virginia, and the farmers around here complain about aphids and raccoons in the melon patches.
I was just hoping someone with experience can steer me in the right direction so I can avoid some mistakes early on. The patch for melons is about 15 x15 and another patch near it, 15X 15 for winter squash. Any advice you have would be much appreciated. My learning curve has been steep so far! Especially spacing, how many can I fit in this space without cluttering and attracting more pests?

Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

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what type melons watermelon or cantaloupe?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:01PM
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I was planning on doing both. I have a variety of watermelon seeds to choose from, some sugar baby, moon and stars, orangeglo and for melons some canteloupe varieties, banana melon and white flesh melon. I have a lot to choose from. The more varities I can have, the happier I will be, but I can limit myself if need be.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:23PM
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do plan on trellising the cantaloupes or growing them on ground.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:38PM
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I want to let them all sprawl. Since we are moving we have to dig up the new yard, ammend the soil and all of this costs money. I want to keep costs down. If it makes a big difference I can nix one of the patches and trellis, but I have a vision of just letting them sprawl. My patch area will be dug up to the 15X15 area, but the yard is huge and they have a lot of area to sprawl on the grass if they wish.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:54PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

I've had very good luck with sugar baby watermelons, always sweet.

My cantaloupe seem to be hit and miss, some years they are great, other years, they taste like eating an odd tasting cucumber. Possibly too much rainfall?

But, no matter what weather conditions I get, I always seem to have good Sugar Baby watermelons.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Note that watermelons need a minimum of an 5 x 5 ft space per plant. I plant two hill on 10 foot centers. Cantaloupes 4x 4 feet I plant 2 per hill on 5 foot centers. Watermelons are not finicky except they don't like clay soils.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:19PM
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Oh Man on the watermelons! I have clay soil. I was really hoping to plant the yellow moon and stars. So 2 cantalopues per 4x4 feet. What does the expression 5 foot centers mean?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Two plants in hill 5ft feet between the hills in all directions.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Ok thank you. Just by chance to you plant Big winter squash varities? I'm wondering the spacing on them. I have sugar pie pumpkin, acorn squash and Big Max pumpkin which I am sure needs mucho space.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:40PM
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The pumpkins will need about the same space as the watermelons. I grow the bush type acorns, two per hill at 3 ft intervals. Vining types take space like cantaloupes.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Be sure to do a soil test before you do anything, so you'll
know how to amend your soil.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Include some winter squash/pumpkins classified as C. moschata, because they are naturally resistant to squash vine borers (as are watermelons). All butternuts, as well as pumpkin squash, "cheese" pumpkins, Dickinson pumpkin, and a few others are C. moschata.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Suggestion for growing melons on clay soils:

We didn't have room for melons in our garden until the guy who rents the farm ground around us started leaving a small field fallow. The ground was a pretty well spent corn field with heavy clay soil. Butâ¦

I found that I could grow good melons on the ground by giving just the soil for the "hill" some special preparation. I dig out a hole a bit over a foot in diameter and a foot deep, dumping the soil in a garden cart. Then I use my shovel or garden fork to work fertilizer, lime, and peat moss as deeply as possible into the bottom of the hole. I also mix a bit of fertilizer, lime, and a good bit of peat moss (about as much peat as the soil I dug) into the soil in the cart. I water the hole thoroughly, return the soil mix from the cart to the hole and transplantâ¦adding a bit more water with a bit of dilute starter fertilizer mixed in.

I mulch our melons with grass clippings, mostly from the part of the field we don't garden (and keep mowed as part of the deal with the farm renter).

We live in an area where much of the land south and west of us is clay soil where farmers grow lots of great, commercial melons. They're amazed we can grow good melons on our land. But doing each hole as I do is lots of extra workâ¦and the peat moss is expensive. But it just has paid off handsomely for us.

Here is a link that might be useful: Senior Gardening - Transplanting Melons

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 1:36AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I agree that adding peat moss [and sand] to watermelon soil that is clayey, helps. I would spare the lime and give that to the cantaloupes.

Cucumber beetles can be a disease carrier for cantaloupes.

I find that diseases are a real problem if melons are planted into the same soil 3 years in a row. Orangeglo is a very healthy grower. Most of my favorite melons are hybrids.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 1:36PM
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