Why are my new watermelons turning black and going away??

rob043055July 31, 2010

I have 8 Sugarbaby watermelon vines, in 12" containers, about 8 ft long and wrapped around those wire cones for support. They are all producing lots of yellow flowers for over a month now, but as soon as the little watermelons form from the flowers, they turn black and disappear....all except for one which is growing well , the size of a butternut squash. What's up with the rest and how can I save my watermelons. (Next year I will use bigger containers)

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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

It sounds to me like they may not have been pollinated. It's a big problem here so we try to hand pollinate as many of the melons , gourds and squash.

JoJo

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:44PM
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rob043055

Are watermelons hard to pollinate naturally? I see bees and other flying insects in the garden, although in truth I never see them on the watermelons....

After seeing your answer, I tried hand pollination....I took a very fine camel hair paintbrush and swirled it around in each flower, several times, about 15 flowers in all, several seconds in each flower, trying to gently force the camel hairs into the tightly packed stuff at the center of each bloom. I went from end to end, back and forth doing each flower twice. When finished the paintbrush was covered in yellow pollen. Am I doing it correctly, do you think?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 1:26PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Rob,

I really don't know if watermelons are hard to polinate naturally.

by each flower, do you mean the male flower?

You need to take the pollen from the male and transfer it to the female (the one with the fruit)..

I've never used a brush..

I have always just picked the male flower, peeled back the petals very carfully, and taken it and tapped in in the center of the female, and sometimes, have had to rub it in the center to get the pollen off.

Last yr. we (me, my dad and a few friends) had trouble with never having both flowers available at the same time, and lost all our zuc. squash.

JoJo

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 11:18AM
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rob043055

Jo Jo, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. You have been a big help!

I didn't know the difference between male and female flowers! now I know. But it seems strange that there are about 10 times as many males on my plants as females!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 11:24AM
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