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  • Melon flowers

    I have 10 melon plants on my patio, hardening off ready to go in at the allotment. They are currently in 1 litre pots, and some of them already have female flower buds coming.
    I plan to plant them out probably this Monday, so should I pick off these early female flowers, or just leave them?

  • #2
    That's a nice problem to have. I would leave them and hopefully look forward to some early melons. A lot of books say you should wait till 4 or 5 are opening at about the same time and then pollinate them. I just planted some out today in a polytunnel but they only have 4 or 5 leaves currently.

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    • #3
      I started mine a bit too early, I think. Sowed around 20th March. The plants are now trailing to more than 2ft and have many side-shoots.
      Well, the 8 normal melons are. The two watermelons are slightly more modest,at one at 6 leaves and the other 8.

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      • #4
        An update on my melon flowers.

        The first ones all failed, as have most of the subsequent ones (I've had about 10 female flowers so far), but one female flower has successfully pollinated is is currently about 2cm long.

        I'm not sure whether they failed because the plants aren't mature enough yet, because the plants weren't getting enough water, or just inadequate pollination. I've been doing my best to hand-pollinate (I find insects can't be trusted to pollinate cucurbits), but I think I might get there too late in the day, by which time a lot of the pollen has already been stolen from the male flowers (and melons don't produce loads of pollen in the first place).

        7 of the 8 melons, and one of the two watermelons currently have female flower buds coming, though, so I'm sure I'll have plenty more opportunities.

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        • #5
          Which melon varieties are you growing Ameno? It's my first year growing melons and I'm trying Emir.
          Always aim for the best result possible not the best possible result

          Forever indebted to Potstubsdustbins

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          • #6
            The melons are Collective Farm Woman and Banana melon, only the former of which is actually recommended for growing outside in this country (it's also the variety which has had all the female flowers so far, although the three of the four Banana melons have female buds coming).
            The watermelon is a Japanese variety called Kaho. It's yellow-fleshed, and has comparatively small fruits (around 1-2kg, which is small for a watermelon), so hopefully is better suited to growing outside in this country than most watermelons.

            I grew Emir in my conservatory a few years ago. It didn't do great, but they I had them growing two to a large pot, which was probably a bad idea, so I think they went short of water much of the time. I also found that the melons would often split when they were close to ripening,again, probably due to erratic watering.
            I imagine they would do much better planted in soil and kept well watered.

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            • #7
              Another update:
              The pollinated melon is now golf ball sized, and there are four more which might have pollinated, but I can't be certain yet. They're definitely bigger than they were when they were flowers, but they could yet still just turn yellow and fall off.

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              • #8
                Yet another update:

                7 melons are now definitely pollinated and swelling, and one more might be.

                All plants have female flower buds coming except one, which stubbornly has not produced any at all so far for some reason.

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                • #9
                  This is the first time I've grown melons
                  I have just potted on several watermelons and canteloup...I'm following this thread closely!
                  "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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                  • #10
                    I've been surprised by how well they are doing, outside, even in this cool spell we're having right now. I think it's probably because, even though the air temperature isn't that high, the soil is very warm at the moment. It probably helps that my plot gets full sun for almost the entire day, so if there's any sun at all then it really bakes.

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                    • #11
                      So are you providing a very rich soil and loads of water?
                      I'm concerned that I can't provide that for my plants.
                      "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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                      • #12
                        I have more sun than anyone can shake a sombrero at !!!...just not loads of water and rich compost!
                        "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nicos View Post
                          So are you providing a very rich soil and loads of water?
                          I'm concerned that I can't provide that for my plants.
                          I wouldn't say the soil is overly rich, but it is fundamentally a clay soil, so it's naturally fairly fertile and water-retentive.
                          And I've been giving them tomato feed once a week, and in that hot spell we had I was watering them daily, although in this cooler spell twice a week seems to be plenty. They are planted through black plastic, so that does a good job of conserving water.

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                          • #14
                            That sounds positive...I've just potted mine onto 6" pots in the blowaway...They are about 4" high

                            Not a lot of root growth though

                            The various courgettes and squash the same size are producing flowers....

                            My guess is the melons need regular feeding from now on then
                            "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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                            • #15
                              I started mine fairly early, sowed around 20th March in my conservatory. Since we've had such a hot spring, they really grew away fast, and needed potting on into 1 litre pots before I was able to plant them out. When I finally came to plant them out, the vines were already 2-3 feet long with lots of side-shoots, they had been producing males flowers for about a week, and were just starting to produce female flowers.

                              When I planted them, I had thought I probably sowed too early, given how big they had gotten in their pots and all, but in hindsight I think I made the right decision, after all, seeing as they are doing so well.

                              I also have one more melon plant which was a volunteer melon which start growing in the garden compost I used on my asparagus bed. It germinated around mid-April (along with half a dozen other melons and about two dozen tomatoes), and it somehow managed to survive the frost back in mid-May without no damage at all, so I transplanted it shortly after that, and now it is doing pretty well: it's about 6 inches tall with plenty of leaves and sideshoots starting to grow. Don't know how well it will do outdoors, though. It did grow from a supermarket melon, after all.
                              I have three nice looking tomato plants I saved from all those volunteers, too. Dunno what variety they are, but they are about 6-8 inches tall and have the first truss of flower buds just starting to open.

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