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watermelon and cantaloupe - self fertile?

Posted by labrahamian z9/ sz21 CA (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 20:04

Hello all,

We tried our hand at growing both watermelon and cantaloupe this year and have plants that are growing with vigor and look very healthy. Question - We see plenty of flowers; but none have seem to set fruit as of yet. The watermelon (variety sweet crimson) is about 8' in diameter so the vine is fairly large. The cantaloupe (Hales best and Ambrosia) are just a couple feet in diameter but are flowering. Shouldn't some of the flowers have set fruit by now? We have plenty of bees in the area feeding on nearby ceanothus and mustard. I checked my Sunset Western Garden Book and no reference is made pollination.

thanks in advance for any info,
Montrose, CA Z9a / SZ21

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: watermelon and cantaloupe - self fertile?

You didnt mention age. My cucs are showing the same. I think patience is the key.

RE: watermelon and cantaloupe - self fertile?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 22:15

They are self fertile but do require bees to move pollen from the male to female flowers. I find the bees don't work my plants until they are covered with blossoms. So right now I'm doing the pollen transfer with a small brush. The best time is when the blossoms first open in morning. This is about 30-60 minutes after sun hits the plants. It works best on a still, warm, humid morning. You need to cover the brush with pollen and dab it on the females. Expect 20-50% takes at best.

RE: watermelon and cantaloupe - self fertile?

Remember that most vines like those set a ton of male flowers first and those of course can't become a fruit....the female flowers start a couple weeks after you start seeing the male flowers.

RE: watermelon and cantaloupe - self fertile?

Yes, many squash and melon plants start out with all-male blossoms; look for the little miniature fruits behind the flower buds, those are the females, then start the brushing if necessary.

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