Looking for your pumpkin, melon, and cantaloupe tips...

WildBird

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That about sums it up. I haven't had much luck in previous years with these and am looking for tips and tricks!
 

digitS'

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WildBird, I have struggled for years to find the sure-fire with these crops. Oh yeah, generally, things work out okay but then a season pops up where they don't.

You are a few hundred miles south, still (I'll just imagine that we are talking about Boise area) the elevation is high(er) in your neck of the woods.

Variety choice. That's been the answer for me. Pumpkin, if'n you are talkin' about Jack o'Lantern then it's Rock Star.

Variety choice: "Melon" means Galia for me. Both Passport and Diplomat do very well - year, after year.

Variety choice: Cantaloupe may mean Goddess. I've been looking for celestial intervention and that one usually is a good choice. There may be others in the "very early" category and I'd appreciate knowing about any experience with them, especially if they are a Charentais cantaloupe. @ninnymary sent some Gris de Rennes Charentais seed to me. The vines struggled a bit but produced delicious fruit. We can talk more about Charentais if you would like - there have been 4 or 5 different variety trials in my garden over the years. If you want to try Blacktail Mountain watermelon thinking that it should do okay - I can send you a picture of that local mountain and a miserable fruit that my vines produced several years ago. Inspired by the history of that variety, I tried for 3 years to get any production whatsoever - it never happened.

Steve
 

heirloomgal

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Very rich soil, plenty of heat & space helps a lot. I've had great luck starting 3 weeks early in pots. If watermelons are part of the 'melon' group, I've grown bumper crops of Cream of Saskatchewan and Petite Yellow. And I'm rather north so that is something. I had so many watermelons I was giving them to neighbours. Those varieties were early and tasted great. Winter Luxury was a delicious pie pumpkin type for me too, and not too big either, so they all matured in time. Smooth, creamy flesh.
 

Alasgun

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This year we grew pumpkins and squash on a hoop trellis and i was very impressed with how well it worked. This isn’t big melon country but i see no reason to believe they couldn't be grown up as well.

agree with heat and soil richness. between 2-3 weeks after setting our squash patch out everything gets a big shot of fish hydro slate right around the base of the vine then watered in real well.
 

WildBird

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Make sure you have loose, well drained, rich soil. Some people plant theirs in the compost pile. My other tip is to make sure to plant varieties adapted to your area.
Very rich soil, plenty of heat & space helps a lot. I've had great luck starting 3 weeks early in pots. If watermelons are part of the 'melon' group, I've grown bumper crops of Cream of Saskatchewan and Petite Yellow. And I'm rather north so that is something. I had so many watermelons I was giving them to neighbours. Those varieties were early and tasted great. Winter Luxury was a delicious pie pumpkin type for me too, and not too big either, so they all matured in time. Smooth, creamy flesh.
This year we grew pumpkins and squash on a hoop trellis and i was very impressed with how well it worked. This isn’t big melon country but i see no reason to believe they couldn't be grown up as well.

agree with heat and soil richness. between 2-3 weeks after setting our squash patch out everything gets a big shot of fish hydro slate right around the base of the vine then watered in real well.
Thank you all! Maybe it is our soil, we'll give it a test before planting season.
 

WildBird

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WildBird, I have struggled for years to find the sure-fire with these crops. Oh yeah, generally, things work out okay but then a season pops up where they don't.

You are a few hundred miles south, still (I'll just imagine that we are talking about Boise area) the elevation is high(er) in your neck of the woods.

Variety choice. That's been the answer for me. Pumpkin, if'n you are talkin' about Jack o'Lantern then it's Rock Star.

Variety choice: "Melon" means Galia for me. Both Passport and Diplomat do very well - year, after year.

Variety choice: Cantaloupe may mean Goddess. I've been looking for celestial intervention and that one usually is a good choice. There may be others in the "very early" category and I'd appreciate knowing about any experience with them, especially if they are a Charentais cantaloupe. @ninnymary sent some Gris de Rennes Charentais seed to me. The vines struggled a bit but produced delicious fruit. We can talk more about Charentais if you would like - there have been 4 or 5 different variety trials in my garden over the years. If you want to try Blacktail Mountain watermelon thinking that it should do okay - I can send you a picture of that local mountain and a miserable fruit that my vines produced several years ago. Inspired by the history of that variety, I tried for 3 years to get any production whatsoever - it never happened.

Steve
This is a very helpful to know! I think we actually ordered some Blacktail Mountain melons, it will be interesting to see how they do in my area. Thank you for sharing your experience and recommendations!
 

Zeedman

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Very rich soil, plenty of heat & space helps a lot. I've had great luck starting 3 weeks early in pots. If watermelons are part of the 'melon' group, I've grown bumper crops of Cream of Saskatchewan and Petite Yellow. And I'm rather north so that is something. I had so many watermelons I was giving them to neighbours. Those varieties were early and tasted great. Winter Luxury was a delicious pie pumpkin type for me too, and not too big either, so they all matured in time. Smooth, creamy flesh.
I've often considered growing Cream of Saskatchewan. Did you have any cracking issues?
 

Zeedman

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The only thing I would add to the great advice already given, would be to plant through black agricultural plastic. I don't like to use plastic, so I that is not a recommendation I make lightly. If non-agricultural plastic is used, either run drip lines beneath it, or poke holes for water penetration. Lay down the plastic where the melons will be planted, several weeks before planting. This will not only warm the soil faster (and keep it warm) it will make weed control under the vines much easier.

In your climate, as in mine, you will need to start melon, watermelon, and pumpkin (squash) seeds early as transplants to improve the chance of success.
 

flowerbug

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full sun, enough space for the growth habit of the plant, good soil with some organic matter, regular weeding and watering.

if you have heavy clay soil that seems to be ok for some cultivars as long as you remember to water them enough during the dry times.

for Idaho i have the idea that the soil is not so much clay as mineral so organic amendments will help and perhaps some clay to help hold nutrients and water. not much, a little clay goes a long ways.

native bees for help with pollination.
 
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