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Thread: Growing Melons in the UK

  1. #1
    Earthgirl Jen is offline Rooter
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    Default Growing Melons in the UK

    Hello All I know I'm new to the forum (and not sure if I can post pics yet?) but I love melons, managed to get 2 watermelons to grow last year and they were delicious.

    Edit 1 17th June 2018 how are the melons growing... see end of thread for update... x

    Anyone else growing melons this year and would like to share our progress ?

    Currently this year I'm growing 3 sugarbaby watermelons and about 10 collective farm woman melons.

    I've deliberately gone for melons which will (apparently) grow in a short season

    I started my seeds at the beginning of march, they need heat to get going so if you don't have a heated propogator I sat mine on top of a bookcase in the lounge (it was bleeding freezing here in March and the log burner was lit most days) and I knew the temp in there didn't drop below 15c.
    2 seeds to 3"pots, with the pointy end of the seed facing up, buried about 1/2" deep.

    Once they had germinated I kept them going... I made sure the compost wasn't soaking wet just damp, always watering by standing the pot in water until the pot felt 'heavier' but not soaked. (ended up being about once a week due the cold weather) That helps the few roots they do have, a chance to get going in the moist compost. Apparently they don't like getting their stems wet too much.

    I kept them on a sunny windowsill and yes they did stretch a little, on warmer sunnier days I put them in the greenhouse but brought them in again at night. yes it's sounds like a lot of 'faff' but really I had them all in a clear 6" deep storage box, so 1 box, once a day I moved.

    Once the roots had filled the 3" pot I moved them into 1 litre pots and enjoyed the stunning melon aroma that came from the roots as I potted them on.

    The weather here didn't really warm up until late april by which time they were living full time in the greenhouse, and unless the temp was forecast to be below 7c I left them to it.

    What it did mean was that by the time we actually did get any warm weather my plants were ready to take off!!!

    Once the weather got really warm here, they had filled their 1 litre pot with root. So I cut the bottom out of their pot and sat them on top of a 30 litre compost filled pot (3 pots to a 30 litre pot) and sat them on the table in the greenhouse.

    Apparently you usually end up with 3-4 male flowers before a female one will form. So when a female flower does form I get a soft brush (old clean make up one) and get the pollen from the male and dust inside the female flower with it.

    So far I have got one melon on the collective farm woman ( about the size of an extra large gooseberry at the moment) with another 2 which I hope took yesterday and today I managed to pollinate a female flower on the watermelon. I'll know in the next couple of days if they have all taken.

    These are 4 Collective farm woman melons on the 17th June 2018 the largest is approx 3" now
    Growing Melons in the UK-cfw-melons-17th-june-2018.jpg

    This is the first of the sugar baby watermelons that has taken, approx 1" in size and 'she' seems to have 2 or 3 others that want to join her
    Lets see what happens
    Growing Melons in the UK-sugarbaby-17th-june-2018.jpg
    Last edited by Earthgirl Jen; 17-06-2018 at 07:37 PM.

  2. #2
    mosstrooper is offline Seedling
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    Hi Jen, glad to hear from someone who has successfully grown melons before.
    This is the first year i'm trying melons so maybe good to get some pointers.
    The varieties im growing are, Minessota Midget and Petit Gris du something from Realseeds. I have some in the greenhouse border, others in large tubs in the greenhouse and because all of the seeds germinated i have two growing in the open garden
    All of them are now flowering but i haven't bothered hand pollinating as yet as
    I have no idea how many melons each plant can grow to maturity or how large the plants grow so this year is going to be trial and error. Hopefully we may get a melon to try

  3. #3
    Earthgirl Jen is offline Rooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by mosstrooper View Post
    Hi Jen, glad to hear from someone who has successfully grown melons before.
    This is the first year i'm trying melons so maybe good to get some pointers.
    The varieties im growing are, Minessota Midget and Petit Gris du something from Realseeds. I have some in the greenhouse border, others in large tubs in the greenhouse and because all of the seeds germinated i have two growing in the open garden
    All of them are now flowering but i haven't bothered hand pollinating as yet as
    I have no idea how many melons each plant can grow to maturity or how large the plants grow so this year is going to be trial and error. Hopefully we may get a melon to try
    My 'collective farm woman' melons are from realseeds. Excellent germination, all but one seed came up. Realseeds (just up the coast from me) They only sell seeds that they know will grow in the uk, so chances are you'll get some melons. You'll soon know if you have a female flower, the only way to describe it, is the female flower has a small 'ball' behind her flower the males don't. It is worth getting a soft brush and helping them pollinate.

    They say in the UK aim for 3-4 melons per plant to give them enough time to grow as we don't seem to get very consistent summer weather at the moment...

    Realseeds sell excellent quality seed but expect us all to know how to grow them. From what I've learned melons don't like a consistently wet stem and as such most folk grow them on mounds so that the excess water will drain quickly from the main stem. If yours are level then may I suggest the top of a plastic 2 litre bottle cut off to fit your plant. Split it in half and adjust it to fit your melon stem with the portion that you screw the top on snuggly fitting around the stem and the wider plastic approx 2" deep protecting the stem from getting extra wet when watering. Don't forget to add extra holes around the top to prevent excess condensation and rotting of the stem. I hope this makes sense.

    As for the rest,hot weather and feed them well.

    As for the 2 outside if they are in a nice sheltered hot spot and you planted in rich good soil then it's up to mother nature. Again it wouldn't hurt to protect the main stem from the worst of the wet we usually get July and August here.

    Please let me know if you have any melons growing
    mosstrooper and Gillykat like this.

  4. #4
    Vince G's Avatar
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    Growing Emir in the polytunnel. Coolish summer 3 years ago meant they weren't that sweet, but last 2 years have been delicious. You open the door and can just smell when they're ripe.

    If you have a greenhouse, polytunnel or some kind of coldframe, I'd really recommend this variety.
    Are y'oroight booy?

  5. #5
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    veggiechicken is online now Warning!! Contains Nuts
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    I have some melon seedlings waiting to be potted up - once I've decided where they're going.
    Not sure of the varieties but I know there's Minnesota Midget (which I've grown before); Rugosa di Cosenza Giallo; Arava and Arancino.
    Garden like a Chicken
    @realveggiechicken

  6. #6
    Vince G's Avatar
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    by the way, I grow them up wires in the polytunnel so they don't take up space on the ground. Going to take some pics of various things at the lottie on Saturday to post as am quite please with how things are going this year in spite of the chilly spring, so will post a pic of the melons. They chuck up many vines per plant, so I wait until I can see fruit forming and thin out the others
    Are y'oroight booy?

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    BUFFS is offline Early Fruiter
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    i have two melon plants gone into the greenhouse border, each climbing up a cane ladder type frame, doing well at the moment, as we have had our best weather for 12yrs over the last month, we have had so much sun and warmth, its great, we usually get 2-3 days sun at a time ,but this has been day after day, and we see the storms down south and think that for once its not us, this weather can go on as long as it likes, as for the last 3yrs we lost our melons in the greenhouse, when we got sharp, cold nights in the augusts, and they died on the plant each time, so we are hoping for a warmer august this year..
    Jungle Jane and Earthgirl Jen like this.

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    Last year I grew two emir melons outside in black buckets,this year I’ve potted up seven so far,there’s a couple more still to plant,emir are the only variety out of around seven varieties I’ve grown over the years that have produced melons.
    BUFFS and Earthgirl Jen like this.

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