The Q&A Archives: Melons rotting on blossom end

Question: My 'Burpee Hybrid' melons grow and form fruits well, but the young fruit develop a rot on the blossom end. What's causing this? John Vaughan Midland Park, NJ

Answer: The fruits are likely aborting because of poor pollination, and that may be caused by high temperatures, not enough bees, or too much fertilizer. If temperatures are above 90 F for more than a few days, the flowers won't be properly fertilized. The problem is worse when the night temperatures stay above 80 F preventing the plants from recovering from daytime heat stress. To cool the plants in a heat wave, cover them with shade cloth. Melons need bees for cross-pollination. If the weather is cloudy and cool, the bees may not be active and the flowers won't get pollinated. Try growing bee-attracting plants such as borage, chamomile, and edible sunflowers. Don't spray any insecticides around the plants when bees are active. Also, too much nitrogen fertilizer can cause flowers to abort. Fertilize with fish emulsion at transplanting time, two weeks later, and after first fruits have set.

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