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Thread: melons for the first time

  1. #1
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    Default melons for the first time

    I am committed to growing melons. This is my second attempt at growing cantaloupe and honeydew. I have searched the Internet for varieties that mature in about 78 days or less. I will be growing in elevated beds through clear plastic. I live in Fairbanks (off Chena Hot springs road). I am interested in any success stories of cantaloupe, honeydew or watermelons. What have you done to make this work? I even found one variety which grows in Russia as far north as Moscow.

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    Hday, I sure hope someone can share up some good advice, as I also have tried without success to grow melons. I'm down off of Peede off Nordale, so not far from CHS Rd. I'm going to start mine indoors kind of early this year so the plants are a little more mature when I put them out to see if this helps. My kids would love some fresh watermelon and cantelope out of the garden!

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    Default Melons

    Last year was actually my first attempt at melons. I got honeydew and cantaloupe the size of tennis balls just before frost. The voles loved the vines. The watermelon was the size of an olive. I have seen pictures and heard that some have made it happen.

    Over the winter I did 10-20 hours of reasearch and came up with a 65-75 day watermelon that grows in the Idaho mountains. I also found a 60, 65 and 66 day cantaloupe and a 70 and 74 day honeydew. I have all these seed types at the house and will be starting them on April 10 with a tentative transplant of 1 June.

    Last year I planted on June 1st and did not see much plant growth until about July 1st. I think soil temp may have been a culprit. I am planting in raised boxes, AKA square foot gardening. This year I will put 1 1/2" blue foam under the melon boxes to isolate them from ground temps. I will also be growing through clear plastic and will set up a clear plastic tent over the boxes ( in an effort to pre-warm the soil) as soon at the snow is gone. I will post results as they occur.

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    WOW hday...sounds like you have really done your homework. I have heard that the blue foam under the soil can really help heat things up. Also, the clear plastic has got to work well, as it will almost be like growing them in a greenhouse. I only tried watermelons once, but my plants died shortly after transplant. I was not happy about that after paying how much at a the greenhouse for them.....it wasn't their fault though. I may steal some of your hints though and try them in a raised bed and cover in plastic a bit to see if that helps. Don't want to put them in my greenhouse b/c of space. I may try some cantelopes in there though. did have a pumpkin plant give me one pumpkin the year before last. The kids loved that!

    Please do let us know how it works out for you. I'm very curious.

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    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Would they do better inside a greenhouse? That's what I've been planning on doing - I've got raised beds outside too but hadn't considered the blue foam.

    I've got some started, reaching 6" tall right now. I may have jumped the gun a little.

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    Default I don't know

    I have seen them grown in a greenhouse and know it works. I think if you are planting in a greenhouse you should do fine. We moved into this place 2 years ago and no greenhouse yet. Do me a favor and post your results (good or bad) at the end of the summer. I plan on living here until I'm no longer living, so any info may be useful for next season. Is you greenhouse activly heated, or passivly solar heated?

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    Default raised beds or greenhouse

    I haven't tried my melons in the greenhouse yet. It is not actively heated, only solar heated. I can still usually get stuff in there by the middle to end of May instead of June 1 though. I am getting ready to start my cantaloupes and sugar baby watermelons in the house. It may be a bit early, but I want them to have a good jumpstart before putting them out in the garden or greenhouse. Do you think starting them now would be a bad thing, as they may be pretty big by the time I put them out? I used to have great success with cantaloupe in the lower 48, but haven't had any here in the past 3 summers I have tried. May have to look at getting different seeds where the harvest time is shorter also. Have no idea why they try to sell us seeds that are not good for our zone...just to make money I guess.

    I'll let you guys know how they go inthe greenhouse and out in the garden once we get into summer. Hopefully it's not another bust year for my melons.

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    You might want to use the black garden fabric as well. It will help warm the soil. As others suggested I would start them indoors at least a couple weeks before planting out side (probably more like a month). You may also want to water them with warm water early in the season.

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    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    My greenhouse isn't actively heated, it's only single layer.
    I may try walls of water, I'm sure that would help retain enough heat to keep stuff from freezing most of the time.

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    Default Melons

    I have grown many melons here, mostly Russian variety's.

    Minnesota midgets will grow in five gallon buckets with tomato cage.

    Small shining lights in drilled Rubbermaid containers with cages on porch. Small vine.

    Katanka

    Metapoloski-Not so great but grew only one year-will try one more time.

    Saskatchewan (originally from Russia) in raised bed with black fabric and four foot high plastic surrounding bed. If you can get past the white flesh I loved these.......

    Moon and Stars in greenhouse. I originally got these seeds from Seeds of change and This variety seems to vary by seed company. It did okay but not as well as the Russian Types. It did look cool.

    Others also but I would have to look in my seed box for the names.
    I saved my own seeds as sometimes they are hard to get.

    Wind and long cold rains are the kiss of death and if outside have a cover handy.

    I too will be trying the Blacktail this year!

  11. #11
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    I received Blacktail Mtn. seeds last year from West Coast Seeds in British Columbia, sent by a friend. They supposedly did well on B.C.'s coast. Still experiemtning with what conditions they like best, as last year's effort was negatively impacted by an awful growing season as far as warm-weather crops were concerned.

    I've found that most melons grown in the Interior do best in hot houses.

    For the canteloupe, and others that want to vine out all over the place, in order to conserve space, put them in an east-west bed at the northern wall of the greenhouse, and as they bloom and get pollenated (Q-tips work well), place appropriately-sized knick-knack-type supports on the poles on the north wall to support the fruits; it'll have the melon grow more upward, rather than outward, and it keeps the fruits out of reach of the worms that like to drill holes in the bottoms of the melons.

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    Given how warm the last two winters, last summer, and this spring, I'm thinking about trying to grow some melons this year. However, I only just now really thought about it. Anybody know where to buy melon seeds in Anchorage that stand half a chance of growing up here? If I can locate suitable seeds soon, I'll probably try one or two in the greenhouse and a couple outside in a warm sunny location.

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    No melon heads eh? I found some seed packets at one of the big box stores in Anchorage. Cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkin starts have sprouted. I'll see how it goes.

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