The Q&A Archives: Watermellon Produce

Question: I live in Nevada about 60 miles north of Las Vegas.
This is my first year planting Watermellon. I am having a problem with black spots on the end of my melons. They look like they are rotten. My husband says I am watering them to much. Our daytime temperatures are around 98 to 106 degrees during the day, and 67 to 80 degrees during the night. Can you please help me?

Answer: What you describe sounds like blossom end rot, a physiological condition caused by a lack of calcium at the growing tip of the fruit. While your soil may have adequate calcium, fluctuations in soil moisture content from dry to wet really increase the incidence of blossom end rot. It is especially bad on the early fruit each summer and in sandy soils. The damage occurs as cells die at the tip of the fruit. In time (and as the fruit grows) the spots enlarge and turn black. So, by the time you see it, the damage actually has already occurred some time back. Remedies include: having a soil test to make sure calcium levels are adequate, adding organic matter to a sandy soil to increase its moisture holding capacity, keeping plants evenly moist, especially during the development of the first fruits (mulch helps maintain soil moisture), and spraying plants with a Blossom End Rot spray (contains calcium) which can usually be purchased from your local garden center. Hope this information helps.

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