Video: Growing Melons Outdoors In A Warm Garden
I have never had the opportunity to grow melons and watermelons in a greenhouse. Therefore, for several years in a row I have been trying to cultivate this crop in the open field.
Somehow, a few years ago, in a hot summer, I planted 20 pieces of melon seedlings of an unknown variety, obtained from a familiar gardener. The garden on which they were planted was ordinary, sunny, well filled with humus. The melons gave good lashes with a lot of ovaries, which I had to get rid of. I left only one ovary on each plant.
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Hot July and dry August did their job. They allowed all the melons to grow and ripen right in the garden. As a result, I collected twenty ripe melons the size of the Kolkhoznitsa melon variety. The fruit was yellow, fragrant, but completely savory. There was a strong aroma both near the garden bed and in the house where I brought my crop and hung it in nets. And the taste? Well - I had to use sugar to add sweetness to the fruit.
I realized that I was growing a southern variety, which, despite our warm summer, did not have enough warmth to be sweet.
Later I planted purchased zoned varieties several times, covered the plantings with lutrasil in cold periods, put arcs with polyethylene. Melons grew and ripened already in the house, which led to a large expenditure of time and effort without a guarantee of success.
It took me such a long preface to move on to a new version of growing melons in the open field. I would like to tell you about the results of this method over the last two years with completely different weather conditions in summer.
I decided to try growing melons on a warm bed using black plastic wrap. I tried this method when growing pumpkins (see the article "Everything with nutrition is in order on my compost bed"). Along the entire ridge, I dug two furrows 40 cm deep, which I then filled with a variety of organic matter. At the very bottom I laid a layer of 10 cm of straw, which remained with me after harvesting rye grown the previous year.
If you don't have straw, you can use hay for this purpose. Then I put the manure on top of the straw, which was brought in last fall. An alternative to it can be fresh humus. The next layer, 7-10 cm thick, I put fresh grass in the furrows to ensure moisture. Very handy here was a juicy ditch, which is a lot around the site.
I spilled this whole layer cake with water, and then covered the ridge with black plastic wrap. She pressed it along the edges so that the wind in the initial period of plant development, when they were still small, would not tear off the film. I would like to note that the width of the ridge and the formation of exactly two furrows were determined exclusively by the width of the available film.
Before planting the seedlings, I made cross-shaped cuts in the foil over the furrows filled with organic matter. Under them, I dug holes in the soil, into which the seedlings were planted.
In 2011, on my site, a whole melon was obtained, planted according to the principle of a warm bed. Huge pumpkins, Samurai cucumbers and melons of southern origin grew and ripened on it. Their seeds were collected from two varieties of melons that were eaten five years ago in Odessa. After a while, they turned out to have a very high germination capacity. If readers remember, the summer of 2011 was great. The melons planted on this ridge in a seedling way grew by themselves, I did not pay any attention to them, unlike the cucumbers, which grew and yielded a harvest every day. According to the state and appearance of my melons, I saw that all the crops had enough nutrition, so I did not do additional fertilizing.
In early August, I looked at the part of the melons where the melons were planted, and found several elongated and rounded melons, and quite large ones. I was surprised by this and began to regularly observe and photograph them. I realized that the melons were pollinated and set without my participation. I shot these melons in late August and early September. By this time, they had already begun to turn yellow. They turned out to be 1.8, 1.7, 1.5, 1 and 0.8 kilograms in weight! Finally, they matured in the house in 3-5 days. The melons were aromatic and sweet.
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Last season I decided to repeat the successful experience of 2011. Satisfied with his results, I left a large area for melons on my 16-meter warm ridge with black polyethylene. At the same time, she formed a garden bed with an orange film. There, along with melons, watermelon seedlings were also planted.
Cold May and June with cold nights resulted in a stunted growth of the melon seedlings, despite the protection of the plants with dense spunbond right along the lashes. Only in July the protective material was removed, and the melons began to grow actively, bloom and form ovaries. I did not form scourges, but I helped the melons to pollinate, since there were few flying insects. And those that flew sought to get to more fragrant and large flowers of cucumbers, pumpkins and watermelon hybrids on the other part of the melon. Pollinated with ripe pollen of male flowers. For safety net, I used 2-3 male flowers, cutting off their petals.
For myself, I noted that there was enough organic nutrition for the plants for the entire season. This was evident from the strong, abundantly flowering lashes. In August, I fed the plants once with potassium sulfate, and then again with ecofos.
There was no need to water the plantings. When creating the ridge, the grass laid in the furrows was abundantly shed, and the film retained this moisture. In addition, it rained from time to time. Weeds did not grow under the black film, which is not the case with the orange film. The care of the plants on it was the same, but the results were different. The ovaries did not develop after my pollination, turned yellow and fell off, although the lashes looked very good. The watermelons had the same picture.
In addition, the weeds growing wildly in the warmth and in the light lifted the orange film, changing the configuration of the beds. On the bed with black polyethylene, this problem was not, under the film there was not a single blade of grass for the entire season. Weeds did not crawl out even in the slots made in the film. I am now a supporter of ground protection only with black film. Under it, in my garden, cucumbers, pumpkins of several varieties and a hybrid of watermelon grew and bore fruit perfectly.
In the second half of August, when cold snaps and rains began, I installed light wire arches over a bed of melons, over which I threw spunbond. On sunny days I rented this shelter. It made it possible to create a normal microclimate in the garden bed, which promoted the rapid growth of melons, which set in the first half of August. This variant of plant protection turned out to be optimal, since it provided heat from above, and a film kept warm for the roots from below.
It should be noted that August became very favorable for the growth of lashes of the second and third orders with a huge number of ovaries, which had to be removed, and the lash itself had to be pinched.
And even with the weather changing every day, the result for 13 melons actively growing in August would have been much better if not for the only unexpected frost that occurred on the night of September 1. After it, the tops of pumpkins and cucumbers, as well as a hybrid of watermelon, immediately turned black. This did not happen in melons under the arches, but the growth of the fruits after that stopped, and they gained a mass of only 300-500 grams. While the first melons that set in had time to gain a mass of 1-1.5 kilograms. They are ripe in the garden bed. And small fruits, after being removed, ripened indoors.
Summing up the results of two years of experience in growing melons in a warm bed, the following conclusions can be drawn:
- The laboriousness of growing these southern plants on a warm ridge under a black film is minimal, provided that the ridge itself is well prepared in spring.
- It is advisable to have a safety net in the form of a light cover with spunbond arcs, taking into account the weather from the moment of planting melons, and not in August, as I did. This would allow the melons to gain optimal weight by September.
- It is quite possible to feast on your melons in our area even in such a cold and rainy summer as it was last season.