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I really need a good advice here. My watermelon plants have stopped growing and don't looks so good. Some of the plants have split stems ( See the pic) and I'd like to know what's causing it and how I can fix it or prevent this from happening in future. There are some dry patches on the edges and it looks like some of the plants have white residue on them.
Its a first year garden ( first time rototilled this year) . Soil PH is 6.5 . We have added a good deal of aged horse manure to the soil . The soil does not have many rocks, however I think that the majority of the garden was rototilled too early (when it was too wet) , therefore the soil has rather large clamps in few areas (yes, I think it is a bit clumpy around watermelon plants).
We didn't have much rain lately , but the garden is being watered if I see its getting dry out there .
And just in case that matters there are two kinds of watermelon planted: Crimson Sweet & Sugar Baby.
Everything that you have done seems good. but soil that clumps may be too heavy for watermelons. They definitely sulk in heavy soils like clay. It is also possible that there is a disease organism in you soil. The photos are consistant with root damage. That can also occur if your soil is not well drained. Watermelons are a desert plant, they don't take kindly to a lot of water. Wet feet will do them in. I don't know of anything that you can do at this point except hope.
If the soil is infected how do I test it? Or is there a natural fungicides/insectices I can apply to avoid problems next year or even this year? I know that sulfur is a natural fungicide ...
Assuming I'm not sure if there is too much water at the roots (I do beleive my soil is rather sandy , so I thought the drainage is good in my garden.)Can I attempt to transplant my watermelons to higher location? Create a little hills may be?
Do you have a gauge that tests the moisture in your soil? I've found that to be invaluable in my inaugural year of gardening. I made a mark on the probe 2" from the tip of the probe. I stick it into my soil up to the 2" mark. If it reads "moist", i don't water. If it reads "dry", then I water to a depth of approx. 2". I wait to water again when the meter shows dry. This has really helped my plants thrive.
I have a rain gauge and a good PH Meter ... I saw a soil 3 in 1 PH/moisture/light meter the other day in Tractor Supply for $5.99 and I didn't buy it , because I know for sure that Soil PH Meter on that thing will not be accurate (I've read a good article on comparison of PH meters for soil testing by some agricultural agency ) , so how I can be sure that it will measure Light and moisture accurately ?