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Growing Melons In The Open Field Near St. Petersburg
Growing Melons In The Open Field Near St. Petersburg

Video: Growing Melons In The Open Field Near St. Petersburg

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Melons ripened on the northern melons …

melon cultivation
melon cultivation

Today, all the beds are covered with snow, and it already seems like a fairy tale that two months ago we collected watermelons and melons in our garden, enjoying the aroma and extraordinary taste of these exotic fruits.

It seems that the melon can only be grown in the far southern regions, but for the second year now our family has been receiving a good harvest of these fruits on their plot.

Two years of experience in growing melons near St. Petersburg convinced me that these fruits can be obtained here on an industrial scale, like cucumbers. A plant like a melon is very decorative, it can be used in this direction as well.

Those gardeners who have long-term skills in cultivating cucumbers in the beds will be able, taking into account our experience in growing melons in the open field, to master their agricultural technology on their site.

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Growing melons outdoors

melon cultivation
melon cultivation

This year we have chosen two varieties of melons for outdoor use. The first is a very popular mid-season Kolkhoznitsa variety with a period from germination to the first harvest of 75-95 days. The plant is medium-growing. Fruit weight up to 0.7 - 1.3 kg. The second grade Lada, as indicated in the information about it, is medium early, ripens in 70-75 days.

The plant is also medium-growing. Fruit weight 2.5-3 kg, with a great sweet taste. Looking ahead, I will say that the choice turned out to be the right one, both varieties performed well in open field conditions, and we reaped an excellent harvest.

In a well-lit place in the garden, a bed for growing melons was prepared in the fall. It is located from east to west, size 1.5x3 m. They made a box 60 cm high, chose all the earth in it up to clay. They began to lay a layer of chips of about 25-30 cm in a box on the clay (you can lay sawdust, chopped branches instead of chips). This layer of earth serves as insulation from the penetration of cold, which has accumulated in the clay during the winter.

The next layer 5-10 cm thick is vegetable waste. We planted foliage from strawberry beds in the garden bed, since our strawberries are healthy, and there are a lot of them. Then the third layer - sawdust, trample them down to 5 cm. In this form, the ridge was left until spring.

During the winter, the soil settled, and the box was about 30 cm full. In the spring, at the beginning of April, we continued filling the ridge. Longitudinally dividing it into two equal parts, a layer of fresh manure with a thickness of 10-15 cm was laid on the northern side of the ridge to a width of 75 cm, the second half of the ridge was filled to this thickness with soil taken after growing tomatoes.

The purpose of the fresh manure layer is to provide heat in the first half of summer, which contributes to the rapid survival of seedlings, and in the second half of summer, when the manure burns out, it will serve as food for the roots (if someone does not have manure, then it can be replaced with a thick layer of hay). Next, we put hay on this layer. For hay - the last layer - fertile soil. For this layer, you cannot take it from under melons, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers. The layer of earth should be loose, if it is heavy in composition, then sawdust can be added to it, mixed with the earth, and this ensures a better structure of this upper layer.

By the way, in the last issue of the magazine on page 16, where it was said about the preparation of the garden for planting watermelons, for technical reasons, the mention of sawdust was omitted, which were also introduced into the soil and mixed with it to a depth of 10 cm. And this is important, because the structure of the soil improves markedly.

So, the ridge is ready, spilled it with hot water with potassium permanganate and covered with a film for warming up. In mid-May, a film frame was made over the ridge with a "house" 1 m high in the center. The film was removed from the ground, the ground was freed from weeds, and it was loosened.

Growing melon seedlings

Melon seeds were planted on seedlings on April 5, taking into account the lunar calendar. The soil was prepared carefully by mixing the flower with the coconut substrate. The main thing is that it is nutritious and loose. Pre-prepared cups for seedlings with a volume of 0.5 liters. In each of them, 2 seeds were planted to a depth of 3 cm.

You can not fill the glass completely, and then, as the plant grows, add soil there until it is full. Already on April 9, shoots appeared in all the cups. We kept them by the battery until the shoots appeared. When the seeds had sprouted, we transferred all the cups to the windowsill. The temperature was lowered to 18 ° C at the expense of the window. We watered the seedlings carefully. Supplemented with a fluorescent lamp. We were fed twice with Kemira-Lux fertilizer.

The seedlings developed normally and did not cause much trouble. On the evening of May 17, we dropped her off in the garden. Six holes were made in the center of the ridge, they were spilled with water, and ash was sprinkled into the holes. We made a chatterbox: a little fermented manure and a little "Ideal" were added to the warm water. Taking out the seedlings from the cups, they moistened its roots in a warm chatterbox. Seedlings were not watered before planting.

Plants were planted in prepared wells. After planting the plants, the remnants of the chatterbox were poured under the root, each plant was mulched with dry soil. They pulled a film shelter onto the frame above the garden bed. The film was stretched so that at the ends of the beds (from the east and west) it could be opened to ventilate the greenhouse during the day (small windows 30x30 cm were made).

And then came the most crucial moment in melon cultivation. In order not to ruin the planted plants, you need to monitor their condition. In clear weather, ventilate the greenhouse by opening the vents in the morning and closing them at night. If, after planting the seedlings, there are recurrent frosts, then another additional layer of film should be put on top of it. Plants cannot be steamed and cold.

After planting the seedlings of melons in the ground, we did not water it for 10-14 days, but it never bogged down with us during this period and took root well in new conditions for it. Watering began only in early June, taking into account the weather and the beginning of the growth of tops. After the end of frosts, at the beginning of the second decade of June, the southern side of the ridge must be rolled up or opened for a day. And when the tops begin to intensively fill the ridge, it is necessary to increase the number of waterings.

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How to water a melon

melon cultivation
melon cultivation

The first time they poured a light solution of azofoski (Kemira can be used) for the first push. Melons have a strong root system located in the upper soil layer. The roots intertwine with each other, forming a mesh that covers a large volume of soil. And this net of roots must be watered and fed in order to grow good tops, and then the fruits.

During the rest of the irrigations, a light ash solution was added to the water (the preparation of the ash solution, as well as the irrigation with superphosphate, are described in detail in the previous journal No. 11 for 2006). For the whole season, we water it three times with superphosphate. 1st watering - the beginning of flowering; 2nd watering - when there is an intense ovary; 3rd watering - before fruit ripening.

In the last days of June, the film was completely removed from the ridge. Melon tops by this time already fills the entire surface of the ridge and rests against the film coating. We remove the wooden frame for fastening the film and along the contour of the ridge of timber or slats we make a crossbar at a height of 40 cm.

And as the melon lashes grow, we lift them and throw them over the crossbar, tying the lashes in the upper part to the crossbar with a rope so that they are evenly spaced along the perimeter of the ridge and do not move into a heap by the wind. As the melons grow, we get a beautiful blooming rectangular bowl of tops. The purpose of this crossbar is to provide maximum illumination and minimum spread of tops over the area.

We have used this method many times when growing cucumbers in the open field. It turns out a very compact arrangement of melons. This method helped us a lot now. The entire main ovary of melons was located in the area of ​​these crossbeams along the entire perimeter. The ridge turned out to be very compact, accessible for care and watering from all sides.

Melons bloomed at the end of June. Ovaries appeared in early July. The beginning of the ovary is a signal for abundant watering of melons. Nitrogen fertilizing was not used, basically it was watered only with a weak ash solution. They did it in the morning before 11 am; on especially hot days, melon was watered twice a day. The second watering was until 5 pm, so that the tops and soil dried out overnight.

Such watering and care makes the melons grow and tie literally before our eyes. At the end of July, we counted 70 fruits on the melon. Only 10 of them were inside the bed, we put wooden lining under them, the rest were located along the contour of the ridge. In order for the lashes to withstand the weight of the fruits that were tied, wide boards were laid in advance along the contour from the long sides along the ridge, and the bulk of the fruits lay on these boards.

The same fruits that were hanging and could not sit on the boards, we hung them in nets to the crossbar or substituted stumps on the boards. So all the melons were supervised, each had its own support, depending on the place where it started. The final picture before ripening is as follows: tops occupied the entire area of ​​the ridge, climbed the crossbar, jumped it and went down around the ridge to the ground and stopped growing. All melon's work focused on ensuring weight gain and fruit ripening. From the side, the ridge looked compact, picturesque, the fruits were hidden under the leaves. The melon looked very decorative.

In the second half of last summer, there was an unusual heat for our North-West, and therefore abundant watering continued until August 10. The first six melons of the Kolkhoznitsa variety were harvested from 10 to 12 August, their weight was from 1 to 1.5 kg.

Read the next part. Growing melons in a greenhouse near St. Petersburg →

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