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Tomatoes, Cantaloupes and tomatoes

Lenoir, NC

I love watermelon and cantaloupe but I've never grown them since my father always said they didn't do well here.

I thought about putting down a plant or two of one or the other and grow them trained as a sort of groundcover with my tomatoes which I grow lots of. The tomatoes are in broad double lines with them grown in zig zag pattern.

Would this work?

Shenandoah Valley, VA

Why did your father say that? You can grow them here and even if you're in the NC mountains, we're a heck of a lot further north than you all. I know they grow like weeds in southeastern Virginia, so if you're in eastern NC, they should do fine.

I certainly wouldn't grow them with tomatoes, though. They'd both be competing for nutrients in the soil.

Lenoir, NC

My father said he only got a good crop of them once and then they had no flavor.

I thought it might have been the variety he grew though it could have been the soil. (When he bought the land, the person selling and leaving the area had the topsoil removed leaving only the red clay below but that was before I was borne here 68 years ago.)

I had a huge pine tree fall that I couldn't get removed so I just put the segments around the area I planned on having the garden. I thought of planting tomatoes in the corner and going out along the edge. Actually, I've already got some planted.

I thought of planting a watermelon or cantaloupe between the first ones going out and then training the vines on ground going out along the tomatoes.

Both need a good deal of water and fertilizer I think so I thought this would work OK.

It's sort of odd but I feel as though I'm running behind though I have a few tomatoes about eight inches high--Our frost free period begins next month but we've had a early spring. Loads of trees in blooms and most daffodils have finished blooming.

We've had a couple weeks of warm weather with lows in high 40s. We are having a one day "cool down" with temperature highs down into the mid 70s. Supposed to be back up in 80s within three days reaching high of 86 and no really cool in sight.

Shenandoah Valley, VA

After 68 years, I think it's worth having another crack at it. LOL It sounds like that soil wouldn't be very good for growing anything, much less melons.

Variety, weather, watering - lots of things can affect how good your melons might be. Of course they like a nice warm, long season. I think they also like it a bit on the alkaline side and clay is usually pretty acid. Might want to test your soil to see and add lime if it needs to be a little more alkaline.

Clay is usually not very well drained either and melons like soil that's not so gummy.

Here's some links that might help.

Lenoir, NC

Thanks for the addresses.

I've got a good many tomatoes planted that I'm going to have to cover starting wednesday when temperatures at night fall down to around freezing for a few days.

We've had unusually warm weather--it is to be up into 80s today and tomorrow--and most of the trees have bloomed our come out in green leafs and daffodils have pretty much finished and dogwood is in full bloom.

Actually our frost free period is only supposed to begin in a week or two so I guess it should have been expected.

Some watermelon, cantaloup and peppers I had planned to put in the ground today will be waiting until next warm-up. Will go ahead with some potatoes under a mulch.

Have a blessed and cheerful day.

Carl Walker

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Hi Carl...
I feel that I am running way behind myself as far as planting goes but I'm with you...I going to wait until after this cold front coming in this week to plant.
I sent you a DMail about your tomatoes...did you get it?

Keep smilin'...the sun is shinin'!

Tuscaloosa, AL(Zone 7b)

I have read that watermelons don't like clay soil and won't do well in it. I have hard clay soil combined with little round rocks. After I read that I put my watermelons in straw bales. I had several plants left over so decided to stick them in the ground. The ones in straw bales are looking great, growing, vining, and putting on flowers. The ones in the clay soil have maybe grown an inch in the same time frame. Other than where they are planted, they have all gotten the same care for watering and fert, etc. So there must be something to that. Possibly that's why your dad didn't get good watermelons. Looking at the ones I have in the clay soil, I doubt I'll get any at all from them - good or otherwise.

You can amend the clay soil. However, after reading what it would take to do that, I opted for straw bales and raised beds. You can use that pine tree as a frame for a raised bed. One of my raised beds is made from sections of a tree someone cut down and put by the roadside. I picked them up, took them home, and used them for that. It is working very well.


Tobyhanna, PA

Can anyone tell me if cantaloupe's can grow in a rocky garden patch and how about tomatoes, Please anyone i'm a new gardener and need lots of help with this, also whats the best time to plant cantaloupes and tomatoes?

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

Cantaloupes take a long time to develop, and require a lot of water. If you can find seedlings in a garden center, the cantaloupes might fruit before frost.

Tomatoes also take a while, and they need both lots of water and lots of nutrients. My tomatoes have started to bloom, so you'd also need to get seedlings from a nursery -- preferably good-sized husky seedlings. If you get indeterminate or vining tomatoes, you will also need to get a 6-foot-high trellis. The other choice is determinate or bush tomatoes, but they produce fewer tomatoes over a shorter time, and many are not immune to tomato diseases.

Both of them will do very well in large pots, half-barrels, or raised beds, which will allow you to regulate the soil quality, amount of water, and also let you ignore the rocky soil.

Argyle, TX(Zone 7b) Have you heard of straw bale gardening? If this link does not work look for it in vegetable gardening forums. Take care, Mike

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