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Sugar Baby Watermelons-First Time Grower-Need Help

Posted by Lydia48 Southwest Illinois (My Page) on
Wed, May 30, 12 at 21:27

Hi. I'm a first-time gardener and I have a 4' by 8' raised bed that is 12" deep. I have a 1 1/2' by 2 1/2' space with 10 sugar baby watermelon seeds in it. I didn't understand the directions on the seed packet, so I actually made 2 little round hills with diameters of about 8", each with 5 seedlings. There are 2 leaves on each plant, about the size of a grape. Each plant is about 2" tall. I have plastic chicken wire around my garden to keep out cats and other animals. First off, do my watermelons have enough space, or do I need to train them to grow up the fence or a trellis in such close quarters? Secondly, do they have enough space or do I need to thin them out? And how far apart should they be? They are sort of scattered throughout the round hills, about 3 inches apart. Third, what else do I need to do? I have never grown any sort of melon or squash or cucumber. Any tips or advice? Thank you very much for your help.
Lydia


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sugar Baby Watermelons-First Time Grower-Need Help

Sounds like you might need a little more room. First, it is usually suggested that no more than 3 plants per hill. These vines will run like crazy, possibly up to 10 feet. You can trellis them, but it is a lot of work, because the melons are heavy and need support. 10 Sugar Baby vines is a lot to deal with. I would probably thin them to 2 of your healthiest plants and go from there. They should grow fine in basic garden soil with a little fertilizer.


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RE: Sugar Baby Watermelons-First Time Grower-Need Help

Watermelons produce about one lb per sq ft. So your area is big enough to produce one small melon. That only takes one plant. Either that or they need more room, out or up. My watermelon area is about 30ft by 30 ft. If I can keep them producing from July to October I might get 1,000 to 1,500 lbs. To produce that long takes careful watering, fertilizer, and spraying for foliar disease.

What it really boils down to is that your area isn't big enough for watermelon. If you can't let them spread out they need to go up, as sated above.


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RE: Sugar Baby Watermelons-First Time Grower-Need Help

Can I allow them to sprawl out into the grass around them and train them to grow that way? Here is the basic layout of my garden. http://imgur.com/5OFsu Also, what types of fertilizer should I use?


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RE: Sugar Baby Watermelons-First Time Grower-Need Help

They can grow on the grass. It's not ideal either for the grass or the melons. I prefer growing them on black plastic or weed barrier. But in your case that might kill the grass. Add some high nitrogen fertilizer if needed.


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RE: Sugar Baby Watermelons-First Time Grower-Need Help

So I should just cut 2 square holes in the fencing and allow them to sprawl out on the grass? How big should the holes be?(On a side note, if you copy and paste the link, I recommend clicking the image again to enlarge it. There is some pretty small text I put there.)


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RE: Sugar Baby Watermelons-First Time Grower-Need Help

If the chicken wire has holes about 1" in diameter, the vines can just grow through the wire and will be fine.

I would think you have enough root room for the plants, it is just there isn't enough room for the vines if they stay confined in the raised bed so will need to sprawl out.


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