Melons, Melons, Melons

runswithscissors(MT 4/5)December 19, 2012

My big new project for next summer: melons. Last summer I grew several varieties that were dismal failures. This year will be different...I Just KNOW it!! I'm in Montana, so this is what I'm planning. I have raised beds 40' long and about 3' wide. Soil test confirms perfect nutrition. I'm going to start my seeds in the greenhouse in 3 gallon buckets around 15 April. While they are growing I'm running soil heating cables down the center of the bed, and a drip irrigation line before covering the ground with specialty green plastic mulch. On a nice summery day around 15 May I'm going to cut large X's and plant my melons. Put a wall-o-water around them, then place hoop tunnels over them with floating row cover. What do you think?

Perhaps I'll build another temporary greenhouse and install heat lamps and halogen bulbs over the row-tunnels. Then I'll put in a whisper fan and a sound system with a light, gentle music for their listening pleasure. Perhaps a small beehive? Don't forget the tin foil collars to deter aphids, but just in case, a release of lady bugs might be nice. Daily I will mist just the very tops of their leaves with rose water, and using a drinking staw I will deliver small puffs of air to their root zones. Beautiful landscaping art work hanging all about, and a calming, bubbling fountain on one end. Earthworm castings for appetizers, but not just any old worm castings. Only the castings from worms living in Chili, as they are supposed to taste the best. Sheep compost for the main course that has been cooking for 1 year and 14 days at precisely 142.2*F. To wrap up the dinning experience, dessert, my special dish consisting of Alaskan salmon, Tasmanian kelp, Bernese Alps Oberland cow bone meal, and topped with a sprinkling of greensand imported from the Galapagos Islands.

If I follow this regimen, if I do ALL of this, will I get just one perfect melon?

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I finally had success. Birds planted watermelons in my yard and I didn't even know they were melons.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:31AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

With that heat tape and heat lamps those are going to be very expensive melons, but I understand you wanting to try to grow your own. (Somewhere along the line I got the feeling you went from real plans to fantasy, but I'm not totally sure!)

I'd skip the green plastic and go with black plastic from your local harware store. Put it out early and and you'll be amazed at how warm it is below the plastic on cold (sunny) day.

I'd also try using clear plastic instead of floating row covers (or both) early in the season to really heat things up.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:41AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

The hoophouse is a good idea. You may not need the wall-o-waters then. You need to transplant by about 27 days. Don't let them get to vining.

I have set out watermelons as early as April 9th in hoophouses.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:47AM
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Beware the cucumber beetle, my son,
The jaws that gnaw, infect the sap,
Beware the mildew, down and powder,
Prepare the sprays to zap.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 7:18PM
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