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hi i,m growing melons nextyear in my greenhouse.any tips please


By Kev

staffordshire, United Kingdom

this will be my first attempt at melons



Melons are easy but I would follow these principles:
1. Variety: choose a small melon as they are more dependable in ripening and you get more on a plant. If you can get 'Minnesota Midget' it's very good, otherwise a Charentais type.
2. Start the plants reasonably early, just before the last frosts, so you can get a good plant into growth early.
3. The real problem is not in getting a melon but in getting the best yield, and this means having several female flowers open at the same time, so they can all be pollinated together. If not, one or two melons will take precedence over all the later ones which won't be of any size.
4. To achieve this, pinch out the main growing shoot when it gets to around four feet. This stimulates sideshoots to form on which most of the flowers occur.
5. Pinch out the early flowers if there are just one or two and check the plant for the day when four or five female flowers are open together.
6. If it's cool and there are no insects, you will do better to hand pollinate with a light feather or a small brush. Take the pollen from one or two male flowers and gently apply it to the centre of the female flowers. You might need to do this several times to be sure of pollination.
Once the fruit have set, keep the plant in control by pinching out the sideshoots three or four leaves after the fruit.
7. When they are growing and swelling, the melons need to be watered well. But once they begin to mature and ripen, stop watering completely otherwise they will not be sweet, but watery.
8. If the weather is cool when the plants are developing, be careful not to overwater. One thing they suffer from is stem rot at ground level. This is why the advice is often to plant them in a mound, so water doesn't sit in the soil around the 'neck' of the plant. If the weather is hot and sunny, no problem.
9. Melons will do far better if they can have a good root run and a growbag is not the best thing to use. If possible plant into the greenhouse soil having enriched the hole with a bucket or two of nice rich garden compost. Like all cucurbits they do well in a nice rich soil.
Good luck next year. We are currently eating our melons here, but it doesn't take any skill in a much warmer climate!
p.s. Whatever yo do, you must 'net' or give some support to the developing fruit, otherwise they fall off just before they are getting ripe, and will never be as good as fruit ripened fully on the plant. I made this mistake this year (again) and I'm sure they don't taste as good as a result.

1 Sep, 2009


thanks bertiefox really appreciated i'll let you know how i get on

1 Sep, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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