The Q&A Archives: Melons And Watering

Questioner's Location: Woodland Hills, CA
Date: August 17, 2000

Question: We have 3 honeydew melon plants. They have about 6-7 large, hard melons and maybe a few more to come. The leaves are yellowed and/or,brown and dry. I only water about twice per week. Should I use a solution of milk and water on leaves and/or should I water more or less? How do I know when they are ready?

Answer: Melons are subject to a number of foliar problems and diseases. Unfortunately, based on your description I am unable to identify specifically which one it is. When growing melons and squash it is very important to clean up all plant debris each fall, rotate your crops, and select disease resistant varieties. It is also important to control pests such as cucumber beetles which can help spread infections. You might try removing the affected leaves and avoid working on the plants when they are wet, in case it is just a fungal problem. Apart from that, there isn't much you can do once they are infected.

Melons generally need about one-inch of water per week, applied slowly to thoroughly wet the entire root zone. I don't think a milk and water solution will benefit your plants. Melons are ready to harvest when they slip easily from the vine when you pick them up and give a gentle tug. If they're firmly attached, they're under ripe. If the stem falls away, they're ready to harvest.

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