Ask a Question forum: Watermelon leaves looking a little shrivelled

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Layton, UT
Trynton
Jun 17, 2017 4:26 PM CST
First time planting watermelon, but I don't think the leaves are supposed to look so thin. I planted several and almost all look very similar. They seem to be growing a little slow, but they are growing. One picture came out little blurry, but you can still that the veins are particularly white. That isn't normal is it?

Thumb of 2017-06-17/Trynton/065b7c


Thumb of 2017-06-17/Trynton/51b1b7
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 17, 2017 4:41 PM CST
Hi and welcome, it looks to me as if you're not watering them enough. In your dry climate, they need TONS of water to grow big leaves and to size up the melons. You need to water every morning, and I would set your timers to double the length of time you're using now, see if that fixes things.

That's why they grow watermelons in Green River - lots of 'free' water available to the farmers from the river.

Are you fertilizing, too? These plants grow so big, so fast that they are very heavy feeders.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Layton, UT
Trynton
Jun 17, 2017 5:10 PM CST
Every day? Is that just specifically for melons, or should that be for other things as well? I was informed that could be bad for plants, but I didn't have melons last year. What about pumpkins? I have a single soaker hose for both melons and pumpkins.

I laid a somewhat small amount of an even mixture of fertilizer about a month before I planted. I think 16-16-16. I was afraid to use too much because I did burn a pumpkin once. Should they be fertilized more often compared to other plants? Is that specifically watermelon or others in that family? I tried growing a few muskmelons, but the seeds were bad it seems.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 17, 2017 9:42 PM CST
Yes, both melons and pumpkins need fertilizer more often than other plants because they grow so fast, and produce such large fruits. Take a look on the package of fert if you still have it. It will tell you to re-apply it, how much and how often.

Fertilizer also gets used up or dissipates much faster once the weather warms up. So even if the package says "lasts up to 3 months" that won't be accurate for hot weather, and heavy feeding plants. Feed those babies, they're starving and thirsty!!

And yes, both the pumpkins and melons need way more water than other plants, but if you're growing veggies, they all can use a deep watering every single morning in the summer. Deep watering is probably an hour or more with your soaker hose every day. Get a hose timer if you can't remember to do it regularly. They're about $30 at any garden center.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Layton, UT
Trynton
Jun 18, 2017 2:56 AM CST
I actually just bought a timer for the hoses. Definitely worth the money. Each section is set to 80 minutes in the morning, now every day. Tomorrow I will also lay down some mulch to help with the moisture retention.

I have read that a high nitrogen fertilizer is better for the early growth stage, and but bad for flowering. If I recall, I believe a high phosphorous, low nitrogen is better later on. Is that accurate?
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 18, 2017 6:18 AM CST
I'd just go with a balanced fert for now, since your leaves are not quite what they should be yet. So something like the 16-16-16 you used before should be good. You don't want to encourage a huge set of flowers and fruit before your plants have grown some good sized leaves. Especially for melons this would mean that the flavor of the fruit would not be too great. Better to have less fruit, and have it taste good than to have a ton of small, tasteless fruit.

The mulch is a very good idea, too. I should have mentioned that. Hay or straw makes a good mulch and will also hold the fruit up off the ground a little bit. Btw, I lived in Salt Lake for 21 years before moving to Florida and I still grow gardens there for my kids and grandkids. Know the area very well.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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