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Growing Watermelons

 
pollinator
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This year I'm growing melons for the first time ever!
They're the "Sugar Baby" variety, planted in a raised garden bed that gets full sun.

I planted last week on Friday, and by Tuesday morning we had sprouts.




They seem to be off to a really great start! I was wondering if y'all have any advice about growing melons so I can keep them happy as they grow.
When do I start to thin out the seedling? Do I need to prune off small flowers/fruits and leave only a certain number growing per vine?
How often should these little babies get watered? I know I could look up quite a bit of this online, but I'm interested in getting information from people who have hands-on experience and work more organically with the earth.

Thanks!
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I am also in zone 8 b and grow watermelons every year.  I cannot see your pic's so....  I plant on hills about 3 ft. across, spaced about 6 ft. apart.
 Vines will grow extremely large so leave room.  I plant 6 seeds per hill and thin to 3 plants per hill.  I don't ever remember watering watermelons.
they put out deep roots and just grow.  ( I do have to water most everything else though).  I never remove flowers, I just wait till melons look big enough to start checking for ripeness. They pretty much smother out weeds but I do lay straw/hay thickly between hills.
BTW I also don't walk in the watermelon patch. Something my Grand-daddy told me in the 60's before he passed away.
 
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Location: Zone 8b - South Central Texas
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I'm growing watermelons in zone 8b for the first time this year as well, and I've been watering them but now I'm wondering if that's something I should stop doing. I have strong and healthy looking vines and lots of male flowers, but no female flowers at all. I read that the female flowers will come along eventually after the male flowers, but it's been more than a little bit of time and I'm wondering if the watering might be hindering fruit set?
 
Ralph Sluder
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Watering is probably not needed but not harmfull.  I've had my vines flooded by rain with no problems.
 They will fruit when they are ready as long as you have bees and such. Sometimes the vines grow rather large before setting fruit.
 You will get watermelons in zone 8 in the summertime, Pretty much a sure thing.  
 
Sara Winn
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Thank you, Ralph!! That is very encouraging. :) (ETA: Right after I typed this I went out to check the vines and found 3 female flowers with tiny tiny watermelons on them! Yay!)
 
Carolyne Castner
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Ralph Sluder wrote:Watering is probably not needed but not harmfull.  I've had my vines flooded by rain with no problems.
 They will fruit when they are ready as long as you have bees and such. Sometimes the vines grow rather large before setting fruit.
 You will get watermelons in zone 8 in the summertime, Pretty much a sure thing.  



Thanks Ralph!
I've got Passionflower vine growing to help encourage some pollinators, and I leave all the little wildflowers in our yard for the bees. I see a lot of them buzzing around so hopefully they'll come help out our watermelons once we've got blossoms!
 
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Hi,

I grew Sugar Baby last summer here in Brisbane. It did pretty well in clay soil. I added a fair bit of compost and mounded up soil to help with drainage. I watered it every other day when it didn't rain.

I was often away while it was growing and didn't do anything special to it and it was pretty vigorous and produced quite well.

The fruit was very seedy, but tasted great. Don't pick too hastily,  I found it was best to let it get to the point where it doesn't seem to be getting any bigger and the base is yellow, then wait another week or two, and then pick it.

Good luck
 
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