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cameron johnson
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Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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I cant seem to get fruit from my watermelon vines. the vines grow fine but any fruit that starts only gets about six to eight inches long and then just dries out, they are the rattlesnake variety any suggestions, if it helps I can grow gourds and squash but melons never seem to work out
 
alex Keenan
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From my personal experience fruit does not grow six to eight inches long and then just dries out.
There is generally a disease behind something like this.
My prime suspect would be a wilt.
I live in a high disease area for watermelon. I have something similar happening and it is a wilt.


You may wish to review Melon Growing Problems: Troubleshooting
http://www.harvesttotable.com/2009/05/melon_growing_problems_trouble/

http://plantdiseasehandbook.tamu.edu/food-crops/vegetable-crops/watermelon/

http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/cucurbit/wmelon/wmdshndbk/gen.html

http://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/fsa-6012.pdf

If you posted pictures of the plants and fruit it would help.
 
John Elliott
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I second Alex's suggestion of some type of wilt. Has this patch of soil been a problem for any other types of vegetables? Beans? Tomatoes and eggplants? Fusarium is a wilt that can sit dormant a long time in the soil and put the wilt on a lot of things that you try to grow. Fortunately, there is a fix for it, and this is the time of year to effect it -- plant mustard. The sharp tasting compounds in mustard are active against the spores of Fusarium and can clean up a patch of soil after one winter cover crop.
 
Dale Hodgins
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John Elliott
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Dale Hodgins wrote: Mustard is one of the easiest things to grow.


And if you get the red Korean variety, it makes a pretty landscaping plant. The dark red leaves make a nice contrast to the other greenery, and they are fairly winter hardy. Takes a few days below 10F to make them give up for the winter.
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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I think you all could be right, I have had several pepper plant and tomato plants wilt and die in the same basic area I just didn't think that's what was wrong with the watermelon it just lost fruit but come to think of it every once in a while I did notice that the tip of a runner would wilt but didn't think anything of it because a side shoot would take off again. well I think im going to look into the mustard idea what would be the application method just growing the plants in the area or making a spray from the plant,seeds or something else. And thank you all for helping out And after re-reading all the posts I think I just answered my question, so your saying cover crop with mustard then what, should it be used as a mulch or composted or tilled in, sorry for so many questions I have never cover cropped before I usually go straight from summer garden to winter garden. : OK and after searching fusarium on this site I found all the answers to all my questions Ill shut up now :
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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I don't have the watermelon vines anymore but here are some pictures of a tomato plant that is killing over in the same spot does this still look like wilt to everyone just want to make sure before I start treating the area.
imagejpeg_1.jpg
[Thumbnail for imagejpeg_1.jpg]
dying tomato
imagejpeg_2.jpg
[Thumbnail for imagejpeg_2.jpg]
still dying tomato
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Can anybody see the pictures, all I get is an X is there a trick to posting pictures or do they have to be approved before they will show up
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Well, wilt could be part of the problem but I decided to start pulling out plants that are sick and noticed that everyone I pulled up has roots covered in lumps and looked around online and found the root knot nematode and im not talking about just a few knots these roots look really bad like horror movie lumpy faced monster bad Does any body have any suggestions on this, I need to get this ground back and healthy as soon as possible.
 
Scott Strough
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Location: Oklahoma
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cameron johnson wrote:Well, wilt could be part of the problem but I decided to start pulling out plants that are sick and noticed that everyone I pulled up has roots covered in lumps and looked around online and found the root knot nematode and im not talking about just a few knots these roots look really bad like horror movie lumpy faced monster bad Does any body have any suggestions on this, I need to get this ground back and healthy as soon as possible.
Well there are many controls of Root knot nematodes. The most important control is to never till plow or cultivate. This is because it destroys the soil structure making the predatory nematodes ineffective. (without a lot of soil pore space and structure the predators can't move). Then there are certain plants like marigolds and certain covers like cereal rye. If you use multi-species cover crops for soil health, make sure to include French Marigolds in your summer mixture and cereal rye in your winter mix. Lastly several fungi are effective nematode trappers (nematophagous fungi) and bacteria such as Pasteuria penetrans.

Keep in mind though, root knot nematodes are a symptom of a larger soil health problem. Most likely tillage and low humus content. So you could buy all the predatory nematodes fungus bacterial treatments, and plant all the french marigolds you want, but if you destroy the soil by tilling it up, they won't last for long.
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Thanks for the input scot what would you suggest as a course of action, I try to keep things as organic as possible, my garden is full of worms, I put all my leaf matter and lawn clippings down as mulch and don't use tap water only stored rain water but in early spring I did till the area, should I try marigolds and other cover crops and of course stop tilling and see if the problem fixes itself. Thanks again for the help.
 
Scott Strough
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Location: Oklahoma
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cameron johnson wrote:Thanks for the input scot what would you suggest as a course of action, I try to keep things as organic as possible, my garden is full of worms, I put all my leaf matter and lawn clippings down as mulch and don't use tap water only stored rain water but in early spring I did till the area, should I try marigolds and other cover crops and of course stop tilling and see if the problem fixes itself. Thanks again for the help.
There are many options. I simply don't know your particular situation. BUT let me go through a few for you. One thing you could do is simply skip a season. First make a high quality thermal compost 4 parts brown 4 parts green 1 part herbivore manure turned whenever it reaches 160 degrees at the core. Once it is finished lay it 2-3 inches deep over the whole area and mass plant marigolds. When the marigolds begin to set seed, mow them and mass plant a cover crop mixture of cereal rye and sunn hemp. (and maybe a few others in the mix) Mow the cereal rye if it starts to go to seed, otherwise just let the mix grow. (you might have to inoculate the sunn hemp for best results.)

Next year first spread predatory nematodes then use a no till paper mulch technique like Ruth Stout or Lasagne gardening, but plant a living mulch between rows. Clover is a good one for this, or you can use a blend of native species to your area. Keep between rows mowed periodically and in the rows use companion planting.

Of course if you don't want to go fallow a year you can just spread the predatory nematodes and use the compost, living mulch, companion planting, and no till techniques.
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Scott thanks again for the reply, I really don't wont to skip a season although I don't know how much success I will have right now but I will take your advise and I actually have a book on lasagna gardening that I should probably re-read, but do you think that tilling in all the mulch would really throw everything of this bad.
 
Scott Strough
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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cameron johnson wrote:Scott thanks again for the reply, I really don't wont to skip a season although I don't know how much success I will have right now but I will take your advise and I actually have a book on lasagna gardening that I should probably re-read, but do you think that tilling in all the mulch would really throw everything of this bad.
3 steps forward 2 steps back. Meaning yes tilling in mulch does add organic matter, but it also destroys almost as much as you gain. That's why people have to do it every year. Meanwhile tilling breaks up all those worm holes and destroys other structure in the soil needed by predator nematodes to hunt root knot and other parasitic nematodes. Remember, predatory nematodes are 10 times bigger than root knot nematodes. They can eat a lot of them, but if you till up their highway system, how are they going to even move?? That's not even counting all the trapping fungi that have all their traps destroyed when you till. Imagine the soil community like a city. Say New Orleans....with a Katrina every year? One Katrina is bad enough, but you can recover and rebuild. But every year? That's what you are doing to the soil community when you till.
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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I understand what your saying, now you said clover as a living mulch what type would you recommend they sell different types here like crimson,red,white,pink or does it matter and does clover not compete with your other plants. Sorry for so many questions the more I ask the more I realize that for all the years I have been gardening I still don't know anything.
 
Scott Strough
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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cameron johnson wrote:I understand what your saying, now you said clover as a living mulch what type would you recommend they sell different types here like crimson,red,white,pink or does it matter and does clover not compete with your other plants. Sorry for so many questions the more I ask the more I realize that for all the years I have been gardening I still don't know anything.
Oh don't worry. I don't know anything either. The real expert is sepp holzer. And even he, genius that he is, never farmed/gardened in Alabama. Me neither. I farmed in Indiana and Oklahoma and learned a small amount from the family farm in North Carolina, and gardened in Florida, Idaho and Washington. Still tip of the iceberg. When I moved to Oklahoma I had to teach myself everything all over again. It's that different. I honestly don't know what legume would be the best for you. I suspect sun hemp or whatever clover grows native in Alabama. Just don't monocrop it. Use a blend and lots of companion planting. Remember, most plants actually cooperate when you grow with biomimicry instead of chemicals.

Anyway here is a good 3 vid playlist on Youtube. You'll have to adjust it a bit, ruth stout no work style or Lasagna style instead of black plastic. But the living mulch and cover crops between rows is what you are going for. Species will vary, principle remains the same. Just use species that fight root knot.

 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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thank you so much for all your advise Scott, now its time to go outside and see what is going to be the best way to implement all of this. Just to let you know a little bit about where I live in Alabama, which is about center of the state, starting with spring its about two weeks weather wise 70s & 80s with rain showers, then its straight into summer with high 90s and high humidity, very little rain from july to august then starts to cool around October slowly cooling mild winters only a few nights here and there with temps around 30 to 32, then we have a cold snap right around feb that might get into a low 20s and winter is usually wet but then its right back to spring weather again. Anyways thanks again for all your help.
 
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