Sugar Baby Watermelon

Ann Arbor, MI

This is the second year I'm trying to grow Sugar Baby watermelon in Michigan. The first year wasn't so good, got only sixteen watermelon. The following is what I am trying this year, any advice most appreciated.

The garden is 20' x 20' raised and fenced (built it for my mother-in-law). The location has full sun until about 6 pm.

My preparation.

Sprayed Round-Up
Waited two days and turned the soil by hand.
Mixed twelve 40 pound bags of composted manure into the garden.
Spread about a 1/2 gallon pail (maybe more) of granulated fertilizer.
Covered the whole thing with black weed block.

Waited over a month, I think I planted on May 26th. I cut small wholes in the weed block and planted the seeds. The reason I am using the black weed block is that I read that black plastic mulch, helps to retain heat and promotes growth. Plus, I hate to weed.

Temperatures dropped to fifty on many nights and sometimes below. So, the seeds were slow to germinate. It took about two weeks before I had plants with two leaves showing. I had to adjust the wholes (in the weed block) a bit, but it seems as if 3 out of 4 seeds germinated.

Last weekend, I thinned the plants. The plants are two feet apart within their rows and the rows are six feet apart. I've got lots of leaves showing, plants are probably eight inches tall or more. I'm watering every two days, unless it rains. I'm prepared to thin the watermelon down to two or three melons per vine. Iím on the lookout for bugs and Iíve got some Garden-Tech Sevin-5 dust.


What else should I do???

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Tom


Tucson, AZ

You seem to have more smarts when it comes to these things than myself as this is my first year (second attempt) to grow these melons. I started my first round inside and waited 6 weeks to tp them. Well, at 6 weeks, I let them sit in the window and forgot to water 1 day and they fried. I've started these out in the ground. I planted seeds on Saturday and yesterday, they sprouted (about 4 days). I have 2 leaves per plant. You seem to have a lot more room than me, but here is my question. I only have 1 row of watermelon. How close/far should my second row of fruit/veggies (non-melons) be from the watermelon? Also, do you mean that you are going to pick of actual fruits so there are only 2-3 per vine? Is that for nutrient reasons? Sorry, I don't mean to hijack your thread.

Ann Arbor, MI

My vines last year grew in the direction towards the rising sun. They seemed to be about six feet in length. So I'm planting my rows this year six feet apart. I understand with larger watermelon, you might have to do nine, but I'm no expert.

In Michigan we have a short growing season. I've read that it is recommended to leave only two or three melons per vine. This is so the vine can concentrate it's energy on fully maturing those two or three melons. In Michigan, if you leave too many melons on the vine, you may only get one or two ripe melons before the first frosts arrive.

I definitely had a lot of melons, last year, that never ripened. I'm hoping that the black weed block will help speed the process and I will get a better yield.

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