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growing melon and squash transplants

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 4, MI (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 13, 10 at 16:42

I live in Boyne City which is in northern michigan of the lower peninsula.

I have heard that basically any type of melon and any type of squash
is best direct sown. As a result, I'm a bit leery of doing squash and melon transplants.

However is it feasible to do this with squash and melons? If so, when
should I start the transplants and how old will they have to be before
they're ready to be hardened off an go outside?

The varieties of melon I'll be growing is a sugar baby sugar bush variety;
it's between 10-12 lbs. and as the name implies, is a compact bush variety.

For squash I'll be growing butterbush, which again is also a compact bush
variety. I might grow sweet mama hybrid kabocha which is a compact
bush variety of pumpkin; kabocha is a Japanese variety of pumpkin.

How many peat pots would I need? I plan to just do two melon plants
and however many butternut squash plants I can fit in a 10 or 15 gallon container without overcrowding them.

I am assuming I would use the large variety of peat pots since even as seedlings squash and melon seedlings tend to be bigger.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: growing melon and squash transplants

You could try starting them indoors about two weeks before your last average frost date, and plant them out about two weeks after your frost date.

All of these have delicate roots and can be easily damaged by transplanting, which is why direct sowing is usually advised. But you can try it. Using quart-sized pots may help.

When you're transplanting them, remember these rules:
1) Starting them indoors too early is not better; figure out your dates and write it on your calendar.

2) Don't leave them indoors any longer than you have to; as soon as they've got a few leaves and the weather is warm enough, put them out. Large plants transplant much worse than small ones.

3) Don't forget to slowly get them used to direct sunlight and wind. Google 'hardening off' for more info.

4) Transplant them very, VERY carefully, trying not to damage the roots. Don't fluff or spread the roots, leave them in the potting soil and try to keep the soil together.

Don't use peat pots. I don't understand why those things were ever invented. They're horrible, and the plants hate them. They're even worse for plants with delicate roots, and the edge that sticks up wicks away water to the breezes and dries out the plants. Don't use peat pots. Give them to someone you hate.

You could also try an experiment: Plant out your indoor-started melons and squashes, but save some seeds and direct-sow them when the weather and the soil has warmed up. See which method works best for you and your locale.


RE: growing melon and squash transplants

Agree with all Sue said. The best approach is to direct seed. There really is no reason to do otherwise.

If you start them indoors they germinate and grow quickly and then don't tolerate transplanting well. But if you feel you mist, I recommend starting them no sooner than 2-3 weeks before they can be planted outside. And keep in mind that they are both warm weather crops so in your zone there is no rush at all to start them for a couple of months at the earliest.

And yes, as many previous discussions cover, peat pots serve no practical purpose at all. If you feel you must use them for some reason then be sure to strip away all of the pot before planting.


RE: growing melon and squash transplants

What about direct-sowing a bit early under some kind of cloche, like a milk gallon top, so the soil and air is a bit warmer for them? I'm planning to try it this year...

RE: growing melon and squash transplants

"Don't use peat pots. Give them to someone you hate."

Hilarious! Glad I took mine back and got plastic. This is my first year growing from seed, and I didn't want to risk it.


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