melons and cucumbers - Knowledgebase Question

millbury, Oh
Avatar for michaeldebbi
Question by michaeldebbi
January 19, 2010
Every year I plant a garden of watermelons and cucumbers. After cucumbers start to appear the leaves start to yellow and the plants start to thin out and die so I have to pick the cucumbers soon. The watermelons only grow to the size of a bowling ball . The garden is 14 inches deep with topsoil and manure mixed so what could halt their growth?

Answer from NGA
January 19, 2010
If you are planting your cucumbers and watermelons in the same garden spot year after year, there may be disease pathogens lurking in the soil which are attacking your plants each summer. It's always best to rotate crops to avoid insect and disease problems. I'd suggest planting them elsewhere this year - even in containers in some other part of the garden and planting different vegetables in that garden spot. A fourteen inch deep garden bed may not be deep enough for the roots of your melons and cukes, especially if you are growing several plants in a small area. 18-24 inches is a better depth. If space is a problem, you can mound additional soil atop your existing bed and plant in that. Not only will you be burying any disease pathogens, you'll also be giving the roots of your plants ample room to grow, which will make for more vigorous and healthy plants. Best wishes with your garden!

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