I planted watermelons, cantaloupes, and pumpkins this year. I've already harvested a watermelon and cantaloupe (one each), but am discouraged by the tiny fruits. Should I be using manure to help size things up? I broadcast 10-10-10 fertilizer, but didn't add any manure. Does manure make that much difference? And if so, should I use a particular type (chicken, cow, whatever)?
Variety is the most important. If you want big melons plant a big variety.
Space is very important. The larger varieties need a minimum of 64 square feet per plant.
Preparation: watermelons demand a loose soil. a sandy loam is best. Heavy clay they really don't like. It also has to be deep. Cantaloupes are more tolerant of heavy soils.
Fertilization. Watermelons are not heavy feeders. I have had nice ones from volunteers in fence rows. I use 10-10-10 at 300 lbs per acre. Manure or compost is excellent if you have it. It serves also as a soil conditioner and a loose friable soil is essential. Cantaloupes feed a bit heavier than watermelons. Chicken manure is nitrogen heavy and can cause excessive vine growth to the detriment of setting melons. http://s294.photobucket.com/user/farmerdill/library/Watermelon?sort=9&page=1http://s294.photobucket.com/user/farmerdill/library/pepper/Cucumis Melo?sort=4&page=1
Very long melon. 40 to 50 lb. The flesh is bright crimson, fine grained and very sugary. Tough rind: rich dark green with faint stripe. Can be shipped succesfully. Used to be grown extensively in the South. 90 DTM.
I've tried online searches, my "usual" seed vendors, and sent email special requests to these:
Sustainable Seed Company
Texas Watermelon Association
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange