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Melon Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Melon problems
Melon Growing Problems: Melons thrive in very warm weather and need consistent moisture to grow to maturity.

Muskmelons, cantaloupes, winter melons, and watermelons: they all thrive under the same cultural conditions and they all share similar growing problems.

Cantaloupes are muskmelons: these melons have pumpkin-like ribbing, a skin covered with a netting of shallow veins, and most varieties have a musk smell.

Winter melons (which are a type of muskmelon) ripen at the very end of summer as the weather turns cool: honeydews, crenshaws, casabas, and Persians.

Watermelons–which are a different botanical family than muskmelons and winter melons–share all of the growing requirements.

Melon Problems and Solutions:

Leaves curl under and become deformed and yellowish. Aphids are tiny, oval, and yellowish to greenish pear-shaped insects that colonize on the undersides of leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Use insecticidal soap.

Leaves turn pale green, yellow, or brown; dusty silver webs on undersides of leaves and between vines. Spider mites suck plant juices causing stippling. Spray with water or use insecticidal soap or rotenone. Ladybugs and lacewings eat mites.

Leaves yellow; tiny white winged insects around plants. Whiteflies will congregate on the undersides of leaves and fly up when disturbed. Remove infested leaves and the whole plant if infestation is serious. Introduce beneficial insects into the garden.

Coarse white speckling or stippling on upper surface of leaves; leaves may brown. Leafhoppers are green, brown, or yellow bugs with wedge-shaped wings. They suck the juices from leaves and stems. Use floating row covers to exclude bugs; spray with insecticidal soap.

Trails and tunnels in leaves. The leafminer larvae tunnel inside leaves. Destroy infected leaves and cultivate the garden to destroy larvae and keep adult flies from laying eggs. Cover crops with floating row covers.

Water-soaked blotches on leaves–not enlarging past leaf veins; water-soaked spot can appear on fruits Angular leaf spot or bacterial spot is a waterborne bacterium which causes irregular geometric patterns on leaves. Spots may turn yellow and crisp. Avoid wetting foliage with irrigation. Prune off infected leaves and stems. Clean up garden. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops up to 2 years.

Knots, galls, or swollen beads on roots; plants wilt; poor yield. Nematodes are microscopic worm-like animals that live in the film of water that coats soil particles; some are pests, some are not. Root-knot nematodes feed in the roots and stunt plant growth. Most common in sandy soils. Rotate crops. Solarize the soil with clear plastic in mid-summer.

Holes chewed in leaves, leaves skeletonized; runners and young fruit scarred. Spotted cucumber beetle is greenish, yellowish, ¼ inch (7mm) long with black spots and black head. Striped cucumber beetle has wide black stripes on wing covers. Hand pick; mulch around plants; plant resistant varieties; dust with wood ashes.

Leaves have yellow specks that turn brown, then black; vines wilt from point of attack. Squash bug is a flat, shield-shaped black or brownish bug with a triangle on its back; it sucks juices from plants. Trap adults beneath boards in spring, hand pick and destroy.

Round white powdery spots and coating on leaves. Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores. Spores germinate on dry leaf surfaces when the humidity is high; spores do not germinate on wet leaves. Common in late summer or fall but does not result in loss of plant. Avoid water stress. Pick off infected leaves.

Irregular yellowish to brownish spots on upper leaf surfaces; grayish powder or mold on undersides. Downy mildew is caused by a fungus. Improve air circulation. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris.

Mottled, distorted leaves. Mosaic virus causes leaves to become thickened, brittle, easily broken from plant; plants are stunted and yields are poor. The virus is spread from plant to plant by aphids and leafhoppers. Remove diseased plants. Remove broadleaf weeds that serve as virus reservoir.

Early flowers don’t set fruit. A couple of possible reasons: (1) There may not be enough pollinators, mostly bees. Hand-pollinate using artist’s paintbrush. Bee activity may be low because of cool weather or insecticides.

Fruit is misshapen or flavor is bitter. Several possible reasons: (1) Inadequate pollination: be sure bees and pollinators can get to flowers; (2) dry soil: keep the soil evenly moist while melons are developing; use drip or trickle irrigation in drought and mulch to retain soil moisture; (3) high temperatures: temperature swings of 20° or more can cause bitter flavor; keep soil mulched; (4) poor soil fertility: add aged compost to planting beds and side dress melons with aged compost.

Plants wilt and die beginning with crown or older topmost leaves. Verticillium wilt is a soilborne fungus. Light brown streaks can be seen in stem split lengthwise. Rotate crops. Avoid soil previously planted in cucumbers and family members, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.

Vines wilt suddenly and die starting with one or two leaves. Bacterial wilt clogs the circulatory system of plants. It is caused by bacteria that is transmitted by cucumber beetles and is seen often where the soil stays moist. Remove and destroy infected plants before the disease spreads. Control cucumber beetles with rotenone or sabadilla. Wash hands and clean tools with a bleach solution.

Plants are stunted and yellow; runners turn yellow and wilt gradually die. Entire plant collapses. One-sided brown lesion may form on affected runner for 1-2 feet. Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease which infects plant vascular tissues. Fungal spores live in the soil and can be carried by cucumber beetles. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Remove and destroy infected plants. Fungicides are not effective

Water-soaked spots–sunken, brown or black–on fruit. Belly rot, bacterial spot or blight, blossom end rot. Remove and destroy infected fruits. Remove all plants and plant debris at the end of the season. Promote good drainage adding organic materials to planting beds. Keep the soil evenly moist; mulch to retain soil moisture. Avoid over-head watering. Rotate crops.

Plants produce few fruits, mostly foliage. Plants are likely spaced too close together. Space plants at recommended distances, 8 to 12 inches apart. Plant spaced too close or too far apart yield fewer fruits as a result of poor pollination.

Melon Growing Success Tips:

Planting time. All melons require a growing season of at least 100 frost-free days. Plant melons when the soil has warmed to 70° to 80°F. To jump start the season start seed indoors 2 to 4 weeks before transplanting into the garden.

Planting. Grow melons in full sun with plenty of air circulation. Melons must stay warm and dry to prevent disease and grow quickly and uninterrupted. Grow melons in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Prepare planting beds with aged compost and side dress with compost during the growing season. Grow melons on raised hills: 4 to 6 feet apart for muskmelons, 6 to 12 feet apart for watermelons. Thin to 2 to 3 melons per hill or fewer.

Care. Mulch to keep down weeds. Water to keep melons evenly moist; do not let the soil dry after transplanting or as fruits develop. Male flowers will appear first followed by female flowers. Give melons manure tea when fruit sets and again about two weeks later. Don’t allow new flowers to develop after midsummer; let the plant concentrate it growing efforts on fruit that can mature before the end of warm weather.

Harvest. Muskmelons and cantaloupes that smell ripe are ripe. They shoud come away clean from the vine little pressure. Thump a watermelons to determine if it is ready for picking: a ripe watermelon will make a dull thump.

More tips: How to Grow Muskmelons and Cantaloupe and How to Grow Winter Melons.

 

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199 Comments

  1. Watermelons–and all melons–require a steady and even supply of moisture. Splitting and lack of sweetness are commonly related to uneven watering–too little or too much water. Monitor your soil moisture on a daily basis if possible, especially during the hottest part of summer. When the soil is dry four inches below the surface or if plants wilt before noon, it’s time to water. Water deeply–meaning allow the water to soak down to the roots, don’t just sprinkle the soil surface. To be sure you are watering deeply you can punch pencil-tip-sized holes in the top portion of a large plastic soda bottle and bury it upside down near your plants. Cut an opening in the bottom half of the bottle and fill it with water regularly; this will provide a steady supply of water to the plant’s roots. The time to stop watering melons is two weeks before you plan to harvest–the lack of moisture will concentrate the sugar content in the melon as it ripens. One other cause of cracking melon skin can be sunscald–too much sun. This can be common in arid, very hot summer regions. If you suspect cracking due to sunscald, protect the fruit with a brown paper bag–and feed the melons with compost tea to encourage leaf growth to shade the fruit.

    • I bought some seed from a 200lbs water melon; I planted them and everything went well, so I thought. They grew to be about 70lbs but were light pink inside and it seemed to never rippen inside. They were beautiful on the outside. I picked some early to see if I picked them too late and I picked some very late to see if I picked too early and so forth. Same story on all. Is it the seeds or lack of nutrients or what do you think?

      • Since you used seeds that you saved from the prize watermelon, I would first want to know if the watermelon the seeds came from was a hybrid or open-pollinated variety. If it was a hybrid, the seeds may not produce plants exactly like the plant that the seed came from. The new plants may have started to revert one way or the other back to one of the parents–and so you would not get another prize watermelon. Save seed from open-pollinated plants to get an offspring like its parent. If the parent watermelon was open-pollinated, then there was likely a problem with watering or nutrients. Watermelon wants soil that is evenly moist from planting through fruit set; don’t let the soil dry out. After the fruit gets to the size of a softball, you don’t want to over-water–continue to keep the soil just moist (too much water can dilute the flavor and flesh inside). Feed plants every 3 weeks with a dilute compost tea or sidedress plants with aged compost. You varied your harvest time trying to get them just ripe. Note the days to maturity for the variety and try to harvest within a week of the days to maturity.

    • Several diseases can cause yellow leaves on melons–angular leaf spot, anthracnose, downy mildew, gummy stem blight, and scab are possibilities. Start by removing infected leaves as soon as you notice the problem; if the disease spreads remove the plant root and all. It is best to plant disease resistant varieties and to rotate melons and other squash family plants out of the same location for at least two years.

  2. My watermelon plants (2 – 3″ tall approx.) are turning yellow and seem to be wilting – both the starter and developing leaves – and I’m not sure why.
    I have two plants that started on a very sunny windowsill and have since been moved into a growbag. I live in the UK, but the plants are in the sunniest part of the garden in a mini greenhouse (well ventilated). I’m watering them regularly and fed them once since planting out. I read up on growing watermelons before planting out and have tried to follow the instructions carefully, so I’m not sure what the problem is. Can anyone help me?

    • There are several possible causes of yellowing and wilting watermelon leaves; over or under watering would be the simplest to diagnose. Often over-watering in addition to yellowing and wilting there may be a sign of water-soaked spots on the leaves. The cure is to correct the watering.
      Temperature–too chilly–could also cause watermelon leaves to yellow; 70-85F (21-29C) is optimal.
      More problematic causes of yellowing watermelon leaves is angular leaf spot, anthracnose, downy mildew, or gummy stem blight. Downy mildew is accompanied by purplish mold on the undersides of leaves. Leaf spot, anthracnose, and gummy stem blight are accompanied by a discoloring of the plant stems–usually dark streaks. Removing infected plants is the best prevention for the recurrence of these problems in future crops.

      • Can the cooler temps and rain cause my cantaloupe to yellow? It went from green to yellow and almost completely skipped the tan/brown stage, so the skin is fairly soft. The fruit now smells sweet and fell off the vine. Essentially I’m wondering if I can eat it. It looks great on the inside, the outside just didn’t mature like my previous two did.

  3. I have a question my Cantaloupes and cucumber vines have been going good for a while but i noticed one vine of the cucumbers has leaves that go brown but still are producing good and not sure why the brown leaves i have sprayed them with a oil based for insects and also my Cantaloupes have yellowish leaves and some are brown but they still have some babies on them i have sprayed them as well and fertilized them as well with seaweed liquid once a week any ideas what else to do as this is the first time i have had problems with then=m thanks

    • Some leaf die back (browning and dropping) is common over the course of the growing season. Make sure your soil stays moist and does not totally dry out. Add aged-compost as a mulch around your plants (to keep the soil from drying out, but also to add nutrients to the soil); if leaves are yellowing in general, your kelp or seaweed fertilizer should turn them around–these fertilizer are mild and contain nitrogen which should correct any nitrogen deficiency without slowing fruit development.

    • There is simply no substitute for vine ripened fruit. Commercial growers will ship melons before the peak of maturity and flavor. Melons will continue to ripen for a day or two after being picked, but you can not expect to achieve the same flavor and sweetness if the melon is picked before it has truly started to ripen.

  4. I have planted watermelons, rockmelons and cucumbers and snow peas for several years now with each time delivering the same result: the seedlings are decimated and basically vanished overnight, first the rockmelon, then the snow peas, then over a couple of nights the watermelon and cucmber. They never make it. Please help. There’s not much on the net about seedlings being eaten overnight to the point of nothing left you can’t even find anything where you planted it! I would prefer to be organic please, any sprays or something I can do to stop whatever it is eating my seedlings, so at least I have a chance of something growing, I am so sick of it! Thanks.

    • There are several possibilities — cutworms, slugs, snails, earwigs, any of these might decapitate and nearly devour a seedling overnight. My suggestion — assuming you have a home garden, not a farm — is to raise your seedlings indoors or in a raised bed with protected soil until the seedlings gain strength and develop strong stems that are not a meal for small pests. If you can set your plants in the garden at 8 to 10 weeks when they are 6 to 8 inches tall and sturdy they will likely withstand the pest onslaught.

    • Cracks on the surface of melons are commonly the result of sunscald. To prevent sunsclad promote lots of leaf growth or enclose exposed fruit in a brown paper bag.

  5. I planted too many cantaloupes and watermelons in one bed. I thought that only a few will come out but all germinated. Now they are all growing and are around 3ft tall vines. I have around 20 vines in 3ft by 3ft bed. Should I just cut a few vines to bring the number of plants down? What should be my best plan of action? Thanks a lot!!

    • The nutrients in the small plot of soil where your melons are growing will likely be unable to support all of the plants. The plants will compete for nutrients, soil moisture, and root growing space. As well, on the top side they will compete for sunlight and growing room–unless you are trellising your crop. Transplant some of your vines to another bed if that is an option, otherwise I would sacrifice more than half of the crop now so that you have a bountiful harvest in a few months.

    • Trim away the fruit and stem that has experienced collapse. Be sure that your crop is getting consistent moisture–do not allow the soil to dry out while the fruit is enlarging. To speed ripening, set your fruit on a stone or brick or wooden shingle that will absorb the day’s heat. Collapse can come after an attack of striped cucumber beetle–check the undersides of leaves for insect pests and crush any you find.

    • Are the white spots on the leaves? If so, this is powdery mildew, a fungal infection. That will not affect the fruit. If the outside of the fruits have creamy white patches or the leaves are mottled this is likely a sign of mosaic virus. Mosaic virus will leave the fruits with a bitter taste — you will not want to eat them.

    • Are the worms attacking the vine or the fruit? If you are finding worms attacking the fruit, set the growing and ripening fruit up off the ground–on a piece of plastic or tile–or lay landscape fabric across the planting bed at planting time. That way the fruit will not rest on the soil and be as susceptible to soil-borne pests. If the worm is attacking the vine, it may be the squash vine borer–which also attack melon plants. The squash vine borer is a caterpillar that bores into the stem of vining plants–leaving a hole with yellowish sawdust like material around the opening. Row covers can be used to exclude the wasplike moth that lays the caterpillar eggs. The caterpillars can be controlled with insecticidal soap, neem oil, and horticultural oil, or dust the plants with sulfur. Beyond the borer entrance you can bury the vine stem and encourage secondary rooting–essentially growing new plants.

    • Vines or fruits that turn black are likely a sign of rot which can be caused by insufficient moisture or nutrient uptake. Add plenty of aged compost or planting mix to your growing beds. Keep the soil evenly moist, not too wet and never completely dry. Melons want even uptake of moisture and nutrients for development and ripening.

        • Watermelon blossom or fruit drop may occur early in the season before day and night temperatures have warmed to the 70sF. Check at a nearby garden center for blossom set spray; choose one that includes calcium. Boron also can be applied to increase pollination and fruit set (boron
          has a significant effect on pollen germination and pollen tube growth).

    • Watermelon fruits can crack if they take up too much water all at once–keep the soil evenly moist by adding aged compost to the garden beds; never let the soil dry out; if the soil does dry out–don’t over compensate with a heavy dose of water–increase the water over a day or two. Intense heat can also cause watermelons to crack as the moisture inside heats up; if a prolonged heat wave hits your region–place shade-cloth over the fruits until the heat abates. One other note, some varieties of watermelon are very thin skinned–and are giving to cracking. The black bugs you see may simply be attracted to the split in the fruit and the start of rot; the insects may be flea beetles–which if attacking other plants in the garden can be controlled with horticultural soap or horticultural oil.

  6. We are growing a sugar baby watermelon and the fruit starts to grow, but dies soon after. The fruit grows to about 1-2 inches long. There is a lot of leaves and foliage, but we are just having issues with the fruit continuing to grow. Any suggestions?

    • Watermelon fruit stops growing early, here are a few possible reasons: (1) insufficient pollination or failed pollination–encourage bees and other pollinators in your garden by planting bee-attracting plants such as zinnias, lavender, nepeta; hand-pollination is an option–rubbing the male flower against the female flower; (2) insufficient heat–melons low heat; cloudy and cool weather can inhibit growth–wait until the weather warms; or place a tile or a stone under your fruit to attract solar heat–you can also use black mulch or gravel; place hot kaps over developing fruit to keep them toasty; (3) soil is too dry; melon fruit development needs constant moisture–keep the soil evenly moist; do not let it dry out; (4) use a fertilizer with low nitrogen and higher phosphorus and potassium–too much nitrogen can inhibit fruit growth.

  7. I have a container watermelon that the fruit has stopped growing. I was thinking that it needed a bigger container maybe. I tried to see if it was root bound but I can’t tell…I pulled some soil to one side around the edge and I didn’t see a bunch of roots so I’m assuming I’m okay. The watermelon are about as big as a football…a couple are smaller. I live in Iowa and we’ve had 80 to 110 degree days for about a month. I water them everyday and I have no problems with leaf discoloration or pests at the moment. Any idea why my fruit stopped growing?

    • It could be that your fruit–now the size of a football–are near maturity. Give the fruit the thump test. Thump the top of the melon with your finger. If the watermelon has a dull thud when thumped, it is ripe. Unripe melons will usually have a hollow sound. If the melon is not ripe, keep the soil evenly moist–do not overwater–and wait for the temperatures to return to the 80sF. Very hot temperatures can cause plants to stall and stress.

  8. Hi, I tried to grow sugar babies this year but we’ve had problems with them not tasting right. Some have a bitter taste with open spaces insise and another one recently had completely white flesh inside. Do you know what would cause the white flesh? Thanks for your help!

    • If the interior flesh of your watermelon is all white then you may simply have planted a white-fleshed watermelon seed, for example ‘White Wonder’ is a solid white flesh watermelon. Check to be sure there was not a mix up with seeds. If the flesh is white streaked, this is a disorder called white heart. White heart is a disorder commonly caused by over-watering or over-feeding your watermelon patch, especially during the ripening process. To avoid this, pull back on watering in the last weeks before harvest and stop the use of fertilizer a month or more before harvest.

      • I grew up really liking the red of Black Diamond watermelons. The past two years I have tried to grow Black Diamonds. Unfortunately, the heart is always white. I recently talked with a person who has tried to grow commercially Black Diamond and experience the same problem. We do not have that problem with other varieties. Is the Black Diamond extra sensitive to moisture and fertilizer/

        • Hollow heart and white heart in watermelon fruits are a physiological disorder. White heart happens as a result of environmental and growth stresses and nutrition deficiencies. White heart often occurs when seeds or transplants are set out too early in the season when the weather is unsettled. Too much nitrogen in the soil and too much water (often from spring rains) result in hollow hearts and white pulp. Next season, be sure that you use a all-purpose fertilizer low in nitrogen–5-10-10, for example. This will help flower formation and fruit set and development. You can also use a foliar fertilizer spray high in phosphorus. Lack of calcium in the soil can also cause hollow heart and white heart so look for a fertilizer that has calcium added as well.

          • Hi, my Dad has around 40 acre of un irrigated sand hill. We had the best looking crop seen for years. Lots of healthy large fruit, plenty of vines and leaves. Went through and got the first ripe ones out and had a cool rainy week. Now that we can get into field there are no leaves left and the melons that are left are sunburning or immature on dead vines. What could have caused the leafs to just disappear into brown crispies? Could this be caused by spray drift from neighboring bean rice or corn? I mean we had thick knee high vines, could a bug eat that fast?

          • It sounds like an environmental-related crop failure: yes, pesticide or herbicide spray drift could kill the plants; too much nitrogen can cause plants to burn and die; too much rain could cause the plants stress–but just a week of rain, unless it was very heavy–should not have killed the plants. Insects would likely have not caused the quick crop failure to describe.

  9. This is our first year planting a garden. We live in Northwestern Pennsylvania and planted our watermelon (sugar baby and rainbow sherbet variety) over Memorial Day weekend. We were dedicated in our watering of the garden and kept the soil moist but not wet and only watered in late evening/early night so the sun and water combo wouldn’t burn the plants. We have around 50 watermelons in the garden now, but most are the size of a baseball. The biggest ones are the size of those miniature basketballs for little kids. Does anyone have any tips for us on how to get bigger melons next year? Any ideas on what we may have done wrong? Next spring, I’m sending a soil sample out for testing to see what needs added where as far as nutrients. Thanks for any help!

    • Watermelons require a long, very warm growing season–100 days of temperatures in the high 70s to low 90sF. Locate your watermelon patch in the warmest part of your garden–where plants will get full sun. When melons develop, set a piece of black plastic or a tile under each fruit–so that the fruits soak up as much sun and heat as possible. Prepare your beds with aged compost and add a 5-10-10 organic fertilizer. Once the season starts give your plants a boost with compost tea every two weeks.

  10. My watermelon will start to grow..about size of a grape then turn yellow and fall off. Same for the cantelopes. I have raised bed with top soil. Well watered and drained. Not sure what else to do

    • It sounds like the fruit was not fully pollinated. Watermelons have imperfect flowers–meaning plants have separate male and female flowers. A pollinating insect must visit both the male and female flower to deliver pollen. Plant flowering plants in your garden to attract pollinators. You can also hand pollinate by rubbing the male flower against the female flower (a female flower will have a tiny, immature fruit at the base of the flower).

  11. My son planted a few cantaloupe plants. They are growing great but my question is this. Why are they smooth and yellow, never been grey green and there is no netting or ribs on them? Is this normal?

    • The netting on cantaloupes becomes more pronounced with maturity. It could be that your son is growing a honeydew cantaloupe which has no netting but is smooth and peachy yellow.

      • It’s supposed to be Hales best jumbo. And for the life of me I can not find a picture that looks anything like these. I wish I could post it here. They have all been yellow since they started (the melons I mean)

    • When melons form on the plant but do not make it to maturity–collapsing or failing–there are a couple of things you can do: (1) make sure the soil stays evenly moist after the first fruits take form; melons require uninterrupted moisture for cell growth; so not too wet, and never dry; (2) secondly, make sure the plants have plenty of aged compost which provide all of the nutrients melons need; if you think your soil is nutrient poor, then feed the plants an organic fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus and potassium, such as 5-10-10; also look for added calcium and magnesium to the fertilizer–these elements help build strong cell walls.

    • Plant the watermelons on slightly elevated mounds about 4 feet apart. The melon vines will creep off the mound then you can train them in a circle around the mound. Leave plenty of room. Even though the watermelons will be small, the vine still needs plenty of sunshine and air circulation to produce the best tasting melons.

  12. My name is Sheena.. I have a green house.. I have like 3 different kinds of pants in there. My watermelons starts coming.. small like a grape than a few days lat we they began to turn yellow and die.. the watermelons are in buckets on a shelf where the veins grow to the ground.. why are the watermelon dinin

    • In a greenhouse setting, the likely reason your watermelons are not maturing is either lack of or insufficient pollination. Baby fruits will drop if pollination has not been complete. Male and female flowers on the watermelon plant grow separately. Male flowers appear about a week before the female flowers. Female flowers will have a swollen base near the stem, which will mature into the fruit once pollinated. Pollen from the male flower must reach the female flower. Because there are commonly no pollinators in a greenhouse, you can hand pollinate the female flowers by removing the petal of a male flower and rubbing the stamen against the stigma of the female flower.

  13. This is such a useful article, and your responses to questions are so thorough, thank you. I have sugarbaby vines that lose their melons as soon as the next melon on the vine starts to grow. You responded to a few other questions that the melons might not be properly pollinated. Is this still the case when they seem to only die when a new melon sets? Should I pinch off further melons from the vine? Sometimes they pop up over night and the old melon has already started to yellow.

    • Melon plants can usually support just 2 fruits–sometimes one or two more. Young fruits will abort–even if sufficiently pollinated–simply because the plant can not support more fruits–it has reached the limit of what it can grow with the water and nutrients available. Once two fruits have set, nip off new flowers and allow the plant to grow on to maturity the fruit it already has. Once the fruit is harvested, you can allow new fruits to set fruit. Or plant melons every three weeks for a staggered harvest later. Fruits on the same vine usually mature within about 10 days of each other.

  14. Hi Steve,

    I have a cantaloupe plant that’s growing nicely. But, something unknown is eating the flowers off the plant every day. Whatever is doing it is only eating the flowers and doesn’t bother with the leaves or stems at all. Because of this, both male and female flowers that open up get destroyed shortly afterwards and no melons have been allowed to grow. I have never seen any bugs or signs of bugs around the melons. I suspected my cat might have been the culprit, but recently put up a barrier and it seems to have had no effect. This morning I went out to water at around 8am and saw 3 flowers opened up overnight. By 9:30am something had already chewed up the flower petals almost completely. I am clueless. My garden is in a semi-tropical region outside of the US.

    Thank you,
    Christine

    • It may take a bit of detective work to figure out what insect or critter is eating the melon flower. Place bird netting over the plant to exclude birds and mammals. Be sure to tuck in the edges of the netting so that a critter can not go under the netting. You may also want to place a frame over the plant so that the netting does not lay directly on top of the plant. Insect will still be able to pollinate the plant. You can also place a yellow sticky trap near one of the blossoms–if a beetles, bugs, or other insects are attacking the plant, you should catch one in little time–then you will know how to proceed.

  15. Hi I have a problem with my melons, the they’re browning from the roots upward and I’ve no idea how to remedy this. I water them and keep them in the sunniest part of the garden, any advice would be great thanks!

  16. Thanks for the awesome write up. I’m growing cantaloupe! I have 3 fruits that have stunted in growth. The largest is the size of a toe. How do I keep them growing pass that stage? They haven’t increased in size for a week.

    My plant is 90 days old. Plenty of Foliage. it’s healthy overall, dark green leaves, the ones nearer to the roots have all Long dried off. i keep the soil evenly moist throughout the day. I’ve reduced nitrogen and upped potassium and phosphorus. I’m suspecting of chemical burn to be the cause but I have no idea of telling.

    I’m residing in Singapore where temperature ranges around 29-32 degrees. My plant is growth in a well lit area, constant daylight with maybe 2 hours of direct sunlight.

    How should I trouble shoot this? Thanks!

    • You have followed the correct course in reducing nitrogen; generally a good organic fertilizers for melons would be about 5-10-10. (Nitrogen burn would manifest in burnt leaves or poor growth.) Insufficient pollination also could result in poor fruit development. Encourage pollinators in your garden or hand pollinate using a small brush to transfer pollen from male to female flowers.

    • Melon flowers can turn brown and drop for several reasons: (1) if the flower is not visited by a pollinator then it will eventually brown and drop; (2) too much nitrogen in the soil can cause flowers to die and drop; (3) too much water or not enough can cause flower drop; (4) temperatures too hot or too cold can cause flower drop. It is likely one of these causes has affected your melon.

    • The female flower will have a little bulge at the base of the flower–that is a very immature fruit. The male and female flowers commonly do not appear on the same plant at the same time. Plant more than one melon and it is likely males and females will be in bloom at the same time during the season and pollinator will be able to transfer pollen–or you can transfer the pollen yourself with a small brush.

      • Been growing watermelons inside. Good drainage. Male flowers up up constantly and then there is a female but it will not open up. The male flowers past the female will
        Open and the female will shrivel up and die. Using a good fruiting fertilizer, lots of air flow and 28d Celsius during day and 18 degrees overnight. Any ideas why the female flowers do not blossom. These watermelons are sugar baby’s. Some of the vines from the 4 plants we have going are over 8’ long and still growing. New runners come out weekly.

        • Flowers do not open when they are stressed. In this case, the male flowers are opening but the female flowers are not opening. Add a bloom booster fertilizer to the soil and water it in. Check the female flowers for any signs of insect or disease. Botrytis fungal disease can attack individual flowers. You can also spray flowers with a liquid calcium solution that keeps flowers from rotting before opening.

    • The most likely reason for the misshape of the watermelon is inconsistent uptake of soil moisture resulting in uneven cell development. Keep the soil evenly moist from flowering until a few days before harvest. Adding aged compost to the planting bed is one way to ensure soil moisture retention in warm weather; mulching around plants is another. A second, but less likely cause would be the fruit growth inhibited by an immovable object–a post, or rock.

  17. The underneath of my watermelon has not turned at all and it’s now been 47 days after pollination! Why has this not turned colors yet? Can anyone help? Thanks.

    • Set the melon up on a tile, a piece of black plastic, or piece of tin so that it get maximum exposure to solar heat. When the fruit is ripe the underside will turn yellow to white, not before.

    • Check the number of days to harvest; did you harvest late? That could affect flavor and the melon would likely be mealy. Other factors that could account for an off taste would be (1) lack of consistent moisture during maturation, (2) an over-application of a fertilizer, (3) a compromised water source or water exposed to chemicals.

  18. Hi I have 6 watermelon plants each of them now have one fruit I have waited for a long time but they are not growing any bigger. The biggest one is smaller than a tennis ball and has been so for more than 3 weeks .I do not see any sign of development what can I do for their stunted growth.

    • Make sure the soil does not dry out–keep it evenly moist from flowering to harvest. Give the plants a boost by adding some phosphorus-rich fertilizer around the base of each plant–such as an organic 5-10-10. Or feed and water the plants every three days with compost tea.

  19. I am growing rock melon. It was great. I have 3 melons on the plant so far. The biggest being the size of a tennis ball. I moved into the greenhouse so as to avoid frost and 2 days later the leaves were wilted, yellow and it looks almost dead. Help !!!

    • The transfer of the melon from its growing site into the greenhouse likely stressed the plant. The stems may have been damaged in the transfer.
      You may not be able to undo what damage or stress has occurred. You can feed the plant with dilute fish emulsion. Keep the soil just moist. In the future, if frost threatens you can leave the melons in place in the garden and protect them by placing a frame over the plants and covering the frame with clear plastic sheeting–creating a mini greenhouse in the garden.

  20. Hi, my watermelon fruit is already 45 days old, good shape. But some diseases infect the plant since I didn’t know when. Before I knew it, all leaves got brown stain and dull yellow color. Can my watermelon fruit survive this? I want to harvest it but the tendril near the fruit is not shriveling and brown yet. I see some small shoot from the stem. Please help me 🙁

    • Watermelons and other melons depend on leaves to produce sugars which will sweeten the melon. Check the number of days to maturity for the variety you are growing. The plant may make it to harvest, but if the days to maturity are long, it may not. Spray-mist the leaves with compost tea. Compost tea is a foliar fertilizer and it also inhibits the growth of fungal spores. You can slow the progress of fungal diseases, but bacterial and viral diseases cannot be controlled. Spray with compost tea and perhaps the plant will perk up.

  21. I keep having a problem with my canary melon where leaves start decaying and part of the vine before the leaves goes brown and woody. its weird because the rest of the plant looks fine, even the growth beyond the brown vine – but it all slowly dies. I have no idea whats causing this – i don’t see any bugs, the soil looks fine, it has plenty of nutrients, sun and humidity. can anyone explain?

    • Check along the vine to see if there is any sign of a vine borer at work. These insects will bore into the vine leaving a bit of sawdust-like material at the entry hole. They then feed on the inside of the vine which will cause the vine to decline and die. Another possibility is a bacterial disease; bacterial diseases can clog the water carrying vessels in the plant which can cause leaves and sections of the vine to die. If sections of vine decline and die, remove them so that whatever the cause does not spread to the rest of the plant.

  22. I’m growing watermelon and my watermelon are round at the top and then pointy at the bottom. They almost look like a big pepper. What do you think is wrong with my plant?

    • Constricted growth at the stem end of the watermelon–sometimes called “bottleneck”– is usually caused by poor pollination at flowering time. In short, not enough bees were at work when the watermelon was in flower. Researchers have determined that a minimum of 1,000 grains of pollen are required to be distributed over the three lobes of the stigma of the female flower to produce a uniformly shaped fruit. Poor pollination can lead to the fruit having a triangular shape. Be sure to plant flowering herbs around the watermelon patch next year; this will help ensure honeybees visit the flowers.

  23. I planted watermelon for the first time. I have great foliage and lots of male flowers but no females. We don’t have many bees so I was going to hand pollinate but there aren’t any females to transfer to. I see some females start to grow but they never flower and then just fall off . Any help you can give?

    • Sidedress the melon with a complete natural fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus and includes calcium (Lilly Miller MorCrop is one). Get a blossom set sprat that has calcium. Spray the female flowers as soon as they form. Keet the soil just moist to be sure the plants are not environmental stressed.

    • Here are a few reasons watermelons can be misshaped: (1) moisture stress caused by uneven watering; the soil must be evenly moist throughout the development of the fruit; (2) insufficient or poor pollination during the flowering stage; attract more pollinators to the garden; (3) low temperatures during flowering, pollination, or fruit set, or low temperatures later as fruit develops; (4) uneven ground; (5) too much nitrogen in the soil or too little calcium in the soil.

  24. We live in the lower mainland of BC and this summer a volunteer canteloupe plant started up in my garden…everything went remarkably well considering it’s not the usual plant to grow around here….however as I”m picking them, i’ve noticed that there are some issues with the blossom ends of some…..one looked like it had been eaten into a bit with a resulting deep raspberry pink coloured cavity just under the rind area…..and when I cut into it, the main part of the flesh was ripe and lovely smelling , but the seed area was again partly raspberry pink in spots, with some fluffy white areas in the very center of the melon….
    I”m assuming its a fungus and not edible, but I”m just wondering just what it is?? I”ve looked online to see if anyone else has experienced this when growing these melons, but so far haven’t seen any….I also have pictures….
    Any help would be appreciated!
    Thanks in advance:)

    • The interior cell walls of an overripe melon will deteriorate and the melon will begin to rot from the inside out; as the cells rot they will turn a light pink. If the rotting started at the blossom end, it could be blossom end rot that progressed to the center of the melon. Let’s see what other readers may say about this problem.

  25. Hi there,
    I am having trouble in growing watermelon.
    I hand pollinate my watermelon and successed with few flowers. But, I noticed that as the baby watermelon is growing, a light pink colour appeared and the fruit feels mushy. Is there any way to prevent this?

    Thank you

    • You are probably not doing anything wrong. There are several natural reasons cantaloupe blossoms drop: (1) nighttime temperatures are still too chilly–cover the plants with a row cover at night; (2) too much or too little water–keep the soil just moist; (3) too much nitrogen in the soil–don’t add fertilizer for at least 4 weeks then use 5-10-10; (4) all of the above is not a factor, but bees are not visiting the flowers and so unpollinated flowers drop.

    • Insecticidal soap is a light pesticide that will kill insects on contact. Spinosad is a bacterium-base pesticide that is a stronger pesticide.

  26. ᗰY ᗯᗩTEᖇᗰEᒪOᑎ ᕼᗩᔕ ᗷEEᑎ Iᑎ TᕼE GᖇOᑌᑎᗪ ᖴOᖇ ᗩᗷOᑌT 3-4 ᗯEEKᔕ ᑎOᗯ ᗩᑎᗪ ᕼᗩᔕ ᑎOT ᑕᕼᗩᑎGEᗪ ᗩT ᗩᒪᒪ Iᑎ ᔕIᘔE ᗩᑎᗪ ᒍᑌᔕT ᒪOOKᔕ ᗯEᗩK ᗩᑎᗪ ᑎOT GᖇOᗯIᑎG ᗩT ᗩᒪᒪ.
    ᗯᕼᗩT ᗩᗰ I ᗪOIᑎG ᗯᖇOᑎG?

    • Growing conditions are not optimal. Make sure the plants do not get colder than 70F day and night. Keep the soil just moist; do not overwater. If the seedlings are 4 to 6 inches tall, feed them a dilute solution of fish emulsion.

  27. Aloha, my sister tried to grow a variety of melons where we live on Kaua’i and said every time the melon (watermelon and cantaloupe I believe) we’re close to harvest, some kind of bug would sting the fruit and ruin the whole thing. She said there is tight knit bag you can purchase that will prevent it if I want to try. I’m almost ready to plant them but have not been able to find them online. Any suggestions? I would bet a panty hose would work when it’s small.. but I’m hoping they will be more plump. Any suggestions are appreciated. Mahalo, Flora

    • Once the melons begin to grow–following pollination of the flowers– you can cover the crop with a light spun-poly row cover. Sun and moisture will go through the cover, but insects will be excluded. Be sure to tuck the cover into the soil so that insects do not creep under from the sides.

  28. Why are my seedling leaves bumpy? I water once a week, I use a compost with plenty of nitrogen yet one of my plants’ leaves are bumpy. Also, why are another one of my plants’ leaves lowered?

    • Bumpy or puckered leaves is often the sign of sucking insects such as aphids feeding on the leaves; check the undersides of the leaves for signs of insects; you can spray with insecticidal soap

  29. Hello. I’m trying to grow watermelon in the backyard and they are in soil beds but there are no pollinating bees in sight. I’ve tried to hand pollinate but I may be doing it wrong because the small watermelon aren’t growing but turning yellow and rotting. Please help! What can I do to rectify this and grow melons before the season ends? I would also like to know what’s the best type of fertilizer? I’ve been using miracle grow and just purchased fish fertilizer compost in liquid form. Maybe I should have 20-20-20 instead? I just need help with growing melons successfully. Thanks.

    • Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. Use a 5-10-10 organic fertilizer with calcium and magnesium added such as Lily Miller Mo-Crop. To hand pollinate rub a small brush or cotton swab on the stamen of the male flower to collect the dusty pollen then rub or brush the stigma of the female flower.

      • Thank you so much for your reply! I’m going to have to start over. The soil seems like a HUGE probably. It’s very rooty even though it was cultivated and it has dark orange looking spots with ton of bugs. The soil seems so bad that it actually matted together and is super clumpy. This is the way it was when I first moved here since someone built 3 garden beds which grew peppers. I am purchasing top soil and having my fiance bring some soil from his job as well to mix in. Hopefully I can grow a successful garden. I will also look into the fertilizer you mentioned. Thanks again!

        • If the native soil can not be well amended to a depth of at least inches, consider building a raised bed or mound soil 8 inches high to create mounded beds.

  30. My cantaloupe seedlings are dying. I live in the Caribbean, once the afternoon sun hits they seem to die. How can I rejuvenate my seedlings?? The leaves are yellowing and plant wilted.

    • Shield your seedlings from the hot afternoon sun. Place stakes or a frame at the corner of the planting bed and drape shade cloth over the top. This will shield the plants from the overhead sun between 11 and 1; morning and late afternoon sun will be sufficient. Always keep the soil just moist, not wet, and never dry.

  31. Due to a health issue, I was unable to water my watermelon plant for about a week. The temperature during that time was 90+ degrees. I now have wilted leaves and want to know what to do. Should I cut off the wilted leaves? I have cut off some leaves already due to brown spots. I believe that the heat caused some of the leaves to be burned. Thank you for any help you can provide.

    • Let the wilted leaves remain for a week or so to see if they can rehydrate; probably not but give it a try. Keep the soil evenly moist–don’t overwater. You may want to set out another plant or two just in case this one doesn’t pull through.

  32. My watermelon plant has lots of flowers and there will be a tiny melon at the end (smaller then a dime) but will turn black and not grow any further then that. Any suggestions as to why this is happening Thanks

    • Embryonic fruits often die if pollination was incomplete; be sure pollinators are visiting the garden, otherwise, you may want to hand pollinate. Temperatures in the 50sF at night or greater than 90F during the day can also cause fruits to die; if temperatures are extreme, be patient and wait for them to moderate–in the meantime, attract pollinators to the garden.

    • This is exactly what I’m dealing with here in central Texas. I had a beautiful (small variety) watermelon that grew to full size and there were bunches of much smaller melons growing, but suddenly they all shriveled up and have continued to do so for a couple of weeks. The plants are growing and look incredibly healthy with some flowers, but no fruit.T

      • Shield the plants from mid-day sun; when temperatures moderate they will bloom and continue growing; your growing season may be long enough to get ripe melons in autumn.

  33. Hello,
    I have a nice sized watermelon but the vine it is attached to is cracked, not through but noticeably cracked. Will it continue to thrive? Can I do anything to save it?

    • Avoid moving the vine. You can place soil atop leaf nodes to induce rooting at the nodes which may help the plant continue to take up moisture and nutrients should the stem break at the crack.

  34. As they get near to ripe, y cantaloupes are swelling/bulging between the seams while still green. Why? Will they still ripen? They’re Hearts of Gold, grown from packet seed. Thank you

    • The uptake of water from the soil may be uneven or erratic; this can cause plant cells to swell then contract and then swell again and burst; keep the soil evenly moist–do not let the soil go dry then overwater. Mulch around the plants with straw or chopped leaves to slow soil moisture evaporation.

      • Thank you. I water them every evening but I am in north Texas it is really hot here right now. They are getting pretty large and seem like they should be ripening. Some show signs of getting lighter on the bottom side. They’re not breaking they just look really weird all swollen between the seams but still green. I don’t know whether to slow down the watering to get them to ripen or maybe water twice a day for constant moisture. It is really hot here right now and the soil probably dries out every day. I will try some mulch. Thanks

    • The watermelon rind should be thick and hard–not soft. Do not overwater. Set the melon up off the ground on a piece of black plastic or in half a plastic milk jug so it can soak up lots of sun. Feed the plant a 5-10-10 fertilizer.

  35. The soil which i have is stony and seems to be leached, can i grow watermelons on such soil because i want to grow them and if i can grow them which type and which fertilizers can i use.
    my name is mbuga bruno am in uganda

    • If possible, create a mound of soil about 15 to 20 inches (38-50cm) high; remove all of the rocks and mound the soil. Add compost or aged cow manure to the mound and mix well. This will give the melons room for root growth in good soil. Feed the melons a 5-10-10 fertilizer or compost tea.

    • The cucumber problem you describe sounds like a fungal disease call gummy stem blight; it can be treated by a fungicide such as Daconil.
      The mound for watermelon should be 18 to 24 inches high or higher; you want to lift the roots as high as possible above clay soil.

  36. My Sugar Baby Watermelon Plant appears to have died; all of the leaves are very wilted and brown. I have two fairly large melons on the vine. Are these okay to pick and let ripen on a counter top? I transplanted the plant on May 25 and the both fruits are about 5-6 inches in diameter.

  37. My watermelon plants look healthy, but the female flowers are turning yellow and dropping off before they bloom – often while they are still quite small. Male flowers are blooming abundantly, and one female flower has managed to survive so far (currently a tiny melon – so it’s possible). I don’t see any visible fungus or disease, the female flowers just start to yellow while still immature, then gradually turn brown and shrivel up. Any thoughts on why the female flowers aren’t making it to bloom? Thank you!

  38. My watermelon plant makes yellow flowers but then the flowers turn brown and die. We had one mini watermelon that began to grow but after a week it turned brown and died. Any suggestions?

    • Watermelon flowers can die for a few reasons (the same goes for the small melon): (1) inconsistent moisture; keep the soil evenly moist; do not let it go dry; (2) insufficient pollination; the flowers were not fully pollinated and so they aborted; you can hand pollinate; (3) temperatures too high–temperatures over 87F can cause plant stress; to survive the plant will abort flowers and fruit. If temps are high; wait for them to moderate. Feed the plant a dilute solution of fish emulsion every 10 days.

    • Ripening at a small size could be the result of a few factors: (1) if temperatures were hot from fruit set to now the plant could be stressed and stunted; (2) the uptake of water could have been erratic through the season; (3) the soil may be lack an optimal amount of phosphorus. These are a few possibilities; in short, it is likely a combination of environmental and physiological.

  39. I have cantaloupes that are prematurely detaching from the vine. The fruits are a little over 4 inches in diameter, still fairly green, and have minor cracks from the sun The plants are healthy and neighboring vines have produced perfect melons. There are no changes in watering. What could cause this?

    • The plant will shed its fruit when it is stressed; be sure the soil is staying evenly moist and not drying out. Feed the plant a 5-10-10 fertilizer–check for a fertilizer with magnesium and calcium added such as Lily Miller Mor-Crop. If the weather is very hot, place shade cloth or lattice directly above each fruit so that they do not get mid-day sun–do this until temps are in the 80sF.

  40. Ive just started growing watermelons and cantaloupe and ny cantaloupe plants first started getting yellow spots and then the leaves started getting holes and seeing kind of like a white residue I tried self-pollinating them and none of the fruit will set for that plant my watermelons have seemed really healthyand it seems I’ve got one watermelon to set it’s probably about the size of a golf ball or a little bit bigger but it just recently a god Brown mark on the side of it and I just didn’t know that if whatever was affecting my cantaloupes from growing is now affecting my watermelons… My watermelon leaves seem fine and healthy and I have them going up wood trellis….I guess my question is what’s going on with my watermelons and should I just pull the cantaloupe plant out…

    • Spray the cantaloupe with neem oil before you give up. Neem soil will kill insects which might be eating holes in the plant, and it will act as a fungicide–which may be the white residue (powdery mildew). If the plants don’t turn around, pull them, and remove any debris that may contain diseases. If the watermelon fruit is sitting on the soil, place a tile or board underneath so that it is not exposed to rot organisms in the soil. Feed with a dilute solution of fish emulsion or kelp meal.

  41. My cantaulope leaves have brown spot on it and it is spreading very fast to other leaves. The infected leaves will eventually turn brown. I have applied some pesticide but doesn’t seems to stop the spreading.

    May I know what are the right pesticide or remedy to stop this? Thank you in advance.

    • Browning leaves may be caused by pests, but the cause may also be a fungal disease, too much or too little water, too much nitrogen fertilizer, and high temperatures resulting in leaf burn. If you the cause is insect pests or fungal disease, spray the plants with neem oil; spray in the cool time of the day.

  42. Hi! First year planting watermelon, planted allsweet heirloom variety. I have 12 plants, put into the ground (raised beds) on Memorial Day. It’s early August and I have about 30 melons at various stages, a few are very close to ripe I think. I’m in SE Michigan. Everything is going well, but the newest melons have been dying about 2 weeks after fruits set. They look great, then slowly turn from dark to light green to yellow and the fruit gets lumpy and dies on the vine, it looks just like an unpollinated fruit by the time it dies, just at 8 inches or a foot long. The vines and leaves look great so far as I can see with the naked eye (the vines are actually crawling through grass so I can’t see them). We did just start getting deer in the yard a few weeks ago, and I’m wondering if this is physiological or potentially from the deer trampling or bringing a disease? The deer have been strolling through the patch every morning. Not every single new melon fails, but it’s been in more than one place in the patch, so not just one vine or plant. Any thoughts are appreciated!
    The beds are: organic peat moss, organic compost, a tiny bit of potting soil and lined on the bottom with butcher’s paper, the beds are untreated cedar. I’ve not added anything yet because I don’t have enough knowledge to figure out what to add yet.

    • Each plant can take 3 or 4 melons (at the most) to maturity. Too many melons on a vine and the plant will naturally shed some because it does not have the energy to support more than a few all the way to harvest. Once a plant has 2 or 3 melons on the way, you can nip off new flowers helping the plant divert energy to finishing the job of maturing melons already growing. You can feed the plants a dilute solution of fish emulsion or kelp meal every 10 days.

  43. Crazy question, first timer.. Can you use bee pollen powder you buy from a store or site to pollinate honeydew plants? What the alternative if you are growing strictly inside.

  44. Musk Melon Petit Gris de Renne is full of flowers since late June and not one single fruit.
    Neighbouring Summer Squash, Winter Squash and Cucumbers are setting fruit without
    a problem.
    All plants are in a greenhouse. Windows open during the day.
    Tried to hand pollinate – did not work so far.

  45. I have a crimson sweet watermelon planted in in a fairly large pot. My biggest melon is about 5-6 pounds but isn’t growing any bigger, two weeks ago it was the same size. What could be the reason for it to stop growing? Could it be the soil, or the pot not being big enough? I used vigoro potting soil from home depot.

    • It could be the soil or lack of nutrients; it could be inconsistent water uptake. Feed the plant with a dilute solution of fish emulsion every 10 days; be sure the soil stays just moist and does not dry out.

  46. I have two watermelon thats growing good .one the size of a small football and the other the size of a pop can .the temp is getting down to 45 or 50 at night should I cover the melons up and with what

    • You want to keep the melons warm both during the day and at night. If you can build a frame or place stakes around the melon, then drape clear plastic over the stakes to create a mini-greenhouse (plastic tunnel). This will hold warm air around the melons at night. You can also place bricks or stones near the fruit; they will absorb heat during the day and radiate the heat out to the melons at night.

  47. Bought 5 pallets of sod, Sticking out of one piece was a small plant that to my untrained eye I thought might be a cucumber plant. My wife planted it in a pot and put it in the garden. it took over the whole place spreading quickly. Hot summer in Florida but we tried to keep plant moist. Camera app said the plant was a canteloupe. However the plant produced 2″ round balls that have now all turned yellow. Any idea what I planted? Obviously I’m not your professional gardener. 😉 Thank you

    • If the yellow fruit tops out at the size of slightly less than a baseball, it could be a lemon cucumber. If it continues to grow, it could be a melon or squash; if it is netted it is a cantaloupe; if not it could be a honeydew melon or winter squash. Care for all of these is the same.

  48. I have been growing crimson sweets for years now, and this is the first year that I have had a problem. Nearly all my melons were deformed. They were not round, but kinda flattened, and undersized. Inside the ripe melon would be round hard white cores about the size of a dime growing in several parts of the red. The white cores were almost a rind-like material. The rind would also have dark discoloration running through it. Any suggestions?

    • If the weather has been hot this season–above 90F off and on–the uptake of moisture was likely uneven causing the melon to grow in fits and starts. This would account for the uneven growth and deformity. Keep the soil evenly moist through the growing season, use a straw mulch to slow soil moisture evaporation. Feed the plant with a dilute solution of fish emuslion every 10 days to encourage even plant cell development.

  49. First time growing watermelons and did almost everything right from establishing garden beds, to watering enough but not too much, lots of sun. Vines produced about 9 melons (8 more than I expected based on cantaloupe growing experience).
    Waited to pick until vine to melon was brown. But so far, the 2 we picked didn’t ripen inside; 1 was pink the other white.
    Any suggestions? Live in northern Virginia.

    • The fruit is likely not getting warm enough. Place each fruit on a black plastic sheet or a ceramic tile; this will attract sunlight, reflect sunlight around the fruit and hold solar energy that can radiate out around the fruit at night.

  50. I removed all the leaves from the stem up the the vine of my sugar baby watermelon plants because the had dowy mildew disease. All of the leaves were infected or becoming infected. The vine is thick and geeen. If I keep spraying with neemie spray will leaves grow back healthy or she I just destroy all of the vines.

    • The plant needs leaves to photosynthesize and produce food for growth and ripening of the melon. Melons can survive with some powdery mildew. If you remove all of the leaves, the plant may die. Remove the most infected and continue to treat the rest. You can also spray with a baking soda water solution. Combine one tablespoon baking soda and one-half teaspoon of liquid, non-detergent soap with one gallon of water, and spray the mixture liberally on the plants.

  51. Hi we are growing rockmelons and they are bearing beautiful 3kg fruit and smell and taste chemical but only used eco friendly spray and fertilized once at the start of growing. The vine is growing nicely just the fruit not. What is going on please help

    • The rockmelon flavor could be affected by chemicals in the soil or water; a third possibility would be air pollution or another source of environmental pollution. Flavor can be diluted by increased watering. Next season, plant in fresh organic soil–try a commercial organic planting mix, and grow the melons in mounded or raised beds above the native soil. A test of well water or city water will tell you what chemicals or minerals may be in the water.

    • You may want to have the soil tested to see if there is a chemical/mineral imbalance. Also, soil-borne diseases (bacterial or fungal) living in the soil can be transmitted to plants via moisture uptake. Overwatering can cause fruit to rot. As soon as melons form, place a tile or board under the fruit to life it up above the soil.

    • You can use leaves as long as they are not infested with insect pests or diseases. Any organic mulch across the garden surface will slow soil moisture evaporation and keep the soil from growing too warm. Melons like heat; the heat will speed ripening. Be sure to keep the soil evenly moist so that the melons can uptake water without interruption.

  52. I have a lot of luck growing pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers. But I cannot seem to grow watermelons or cantaloupe. This year I had some good starts I planted around May 15th; and the plants died. The story of my melon experience. The pumpkin plants I planted at the same time are doing good.

    • Depending on your USDA Zone, May 15 may be a tad early for melons. We are in Zone 9a and set melons out in early June. Be certain nights are staying warm before setting melons in the garden. You can help melons by placing aluminum foil or another reflective material around the plants–especially early in the season; black plastic or stones near the plants will also absorb solar heat and release the warmth at night. When setting out melons, give the transplants a dose of B1 vitamin (get it at the garden center) to guard against transplant shock.

    • True cantaloupes–sometimes called European cantaloupes–mature with gray-green skins that are not netted. Their botanical name is Cucumis melo cantalupensis. The fruits Americans call cantaloupes are muskmelons; they have netting. Check your seed packet to be sure which type you planted; then check the days to maturity to know if your fruit is near or past maturity. Gently lift the melons; if the fruit naturally slips off the plant, it’s ready. You can also sniff the blossom end of the fruit, which will smell fruity when ripe; the blossom end will also be slightly soft when ripe.

  53. Your baby watermelons are disappearing? If they are disappearing completely a small critter may be feeding on them; if they appear and then wither then poor pollination or stress may be at play. You can set a half milk jug over the small fruit to exclude critters. Pollination is commonly done by bees or insects–you can help out by rubbing a male flower against a female flower. Stress that could small fruits to wither are too little or too much water, temperatures too hot or too cold. Placing a plate under a small fruit will help a developing fruit to be free of rot and to grow on soaking up solar heat which is essential for ripening.

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