The Q&A Archives: Growing Tomatoes, Melons

Question: I'd like to grow tomatoes, honey dew (or similar melon) and cucumbers. What are the best varieties for this area? Also, would it be appropriate to use row covers (e.g., Reemay) to keep the insects away? Would that be a problem for pollination? Do you sell row cover material? Dr. Robert K. Cessaro Ewa Beach, HI

Answer: Burpee does sell a row cover material, but it's more of a garden "blanket" to protect from frosts. You can purchase lighter weight Reemay from Gardener's Supply (1-800-863-1700) A row cover would be fine for the first part of the growing season; you will need to remove it when the plants begin flowering to ensure pollination. You should be able to grow any variety of the plants you mention--you might check with your neighbors to see what's grown best for them in your particular climate and soil conditions. One note: the melon fly causes unique problems for you in Hawaii. You might want to contact your extension agent at 808-622-4185 for pest control recommendations. Also, there's a company called "Plant it Hawaii" that specializes in plants for your climate. Their number is 808/966-6633.

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