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Rich Z's Blatherings Since Connie and I have retired the SerpenCo business, topics here will focus on topics of a more personal and general nature.

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Old 05-17-2019, 11:40 PM   #11
Twolunger
I had a pet flying squirrel when I was a kid. He would run on the hampster/rat wheel all night. I had to constantly grease the wheel shaft or it would squeal and my dad would complain. One day the squirrel was gone and it didn't take much to figure out who got rid of it. LOL
 
Old 08-21-2019, 05:45 PM   #12
Rich Z
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Originally Posted by Rich Z View Post
So this year I decided to try my hand again at growing some watermelons. Haven't had much luck in the past, but I'm trying things a little differently this time and hoping for the best. Planted two mounds in the area near some fruit trees, one of a variety called "Giant" and another of "Congo". This area gets a lot of sunlight, since it is a bit more open than the rest of our property. Put another section back behind the garage in one of Connie's raised bed planters. This area gets some direct sun, but the garage tends to block the harsher afternoon sun somewhat.
Well, things weren't looking very good for my watermelon crop again this time around.





This is only one of two that went through the same process. Looking good for a while, then a black spot appears, gets larger, then the melon bursts open.

So I was thinking this was going to be just another washout in my plans to grow my own watermelons.

So I happened to be putting in some fertilizer spikes for some of the fruit trees, and had one left over, so just for the heck of it, I embedded it into the side of one of those mounds the watermelons were growing out of. Kind of just forgot about it, since I had given up on the watermelons already, but I happened to glance at that hill a couple of days later and noticed that there was a bunch of new leaf growth that was lush, rich, and deep green in color. Earlier all the leaves in that area had become yellowed and basically fell off of the plant, with only fresh paler green leaves on the tendrils running every which way from the root area.

Hmmm..... Maybe I was on to something. So I found some concentrated liquid fertilizer I had laying around and mixed up a couple batches of it, and poured it onto both of the watermelon mounds. The plants seemed to perk up pretty much over night, and started putting out some fruits again. I didn't get my hopes up too much, but when some of the watermelons started getting some size on them without blackening up and dying pretty much immediately, well, things ARE looking promising.









We used Miracle Grow planting medium mixed with the sandy soil normally here, and I guess I thought that would be enough in the way of fertilization. In past attempts I had used Black Cow manure with the plantings, and that didn't seem to make any difference at all. But based on what I am seeing now, I am thinking that watermelons just must be VERY hungry plants and need to be fertilized heavily. Perhaps without that treatment, the plant is just so weakened that the fruits cannot resist any assaults from natural pathogens, so they get black spots, then split open to rot.

So I am now applying this fertilizer once a week now, and hoping for the best. I guess I could over do it, but what the heck. I sure wasn't getting anywhere before.

Not to the point where I have at least one ripened and ready to eat, but darn, this is looking pretty promising. With any luck, I just might be able to become a watermelon farmer after all some day...

NEXT year I may try more plantings if this works out, and start right off with the fertilizer once I get seedlings sprouting to see how that works out. Maybe they will be able to get bigger than what this year's crop is turning out to be. Maybe these got stunted from that earlier starvation period.
 

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