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For melon cultivation to be easy and fruitful, you need to know some secrets. If you choose the right variety, then honey fruits can be successfully grown not only in a greenhouse, but also in open areas.
When to plant?
Melon is a thermophilic and photophilous crop, therefore, it is necessary to plant it in open ground only when warm weather is established. During the day, the air temperature should be at least +15 degrees, and at night not lower than +7 degrees.
When deciding when to plant melons, you need to adapt to the climate. Sometimes favorable weather can be established as early as April, and sometimes only by mid-May. If, after planting, the air temperature dropped sharply, then it is better to cover the beds with a film, additionally warming them with paper, leaves, branches.
Melon seedlings should be planted around 25 days old. The first days of May are considered the most favorable days for planting seeds for seedlings for the middle lane. In this case, the transfer will take place at the beginning of June, when the weather is already precisely established. If you plan to plant young seedlings in a greenhouse, then you can sow seeds at the end of April.
If you plan to plant the melon with seeds on the site right away, then you need to wait for the soil to warm up well, but no later than mid-June. If you miss the deadline, then the fruits of the melon will not be able to ripen in time.
In central Russia, it will be possible to grow a melon only of early maturing varieties. You should not choose varieties with large fruits, this result can only be achieved in the southern regions. When choosing a variety, it is important to pay attention to the ripening time of melon fruits. From the moment of emergence to harvest, no more than 75 days should pass. The main thing is that the formed ovaries grow and develop quickly.
For growing melons in the open field, for example, varieties such as Pink Champagne, Charleston near Moscow, Indian Summer, Cinderella, Kapitoshka are suitable.
To grow melons, you need to choose a warm place on the site, on which sunlight will fall without obstacles all day. But at the same time, the site must be sheltered from through winds. It is better if the garden bed is protected by trees and shrubs on the north side, and there is an open space on the south side.
To prevent the spread of rot and fungal infection, the place where the melon grows must be dry. It is better to plant on a hill where water cannot accumulate after rains and irrigation. The soil should be light, neutral and free of acidic tendencies.
The best place to plant melons will be where onions, cabbage, turnips, beets, beans used to grow. You can plant corn in the neighborhood. It is not recommended to plant cucumbers and pumpkins nearby.
Landing area processing
You need to prepare in advance for growing melons in the open field. The selected land plot is being prepared in the fall. The garden bed is weeded from weeds, the remains of vegetation are removed. After that, they dig deeply and apply organic fertilizers (for example, rotted manure or humus). Melon thrives in loose soil. Therefore, if the soil is loamy, it is recommended to add river sand.
In spring, the soil for sowing melons in the open field is also dug deeply (by 20-22 cm). At the same time, it is recommended to add potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen.
Seed preparation for sowing
So that caring for melons in the open field in the country does not bring difficulties, you need to prepare the seeds for planting.
Among the seeds, only large, dense ones are chosen, preferably a two-year-old crop. You can use a saline solution into which the seeds are poured. Bad and empty grains should float to the surface of the water. The remaining seeds that have gone to the bottom are washed with water.
Seeds prepared for planting must be disinfected in a weak solution of potassium permanganate. To increase germination, seeds are placed in a solution that stimulates growth and development. A composition based on boric acid and zinc sulfate is suitable.
To prevent changes in air temperature from causing the death of the melon crop, the seeds must be hardened. To do this, the planting material is immersed in hot water for a while (temperature is about 35 degrees), then it is left to lie at room temperature for a day. The last step is to move the seeds for 15-17 hours to the refrigerator (preferably on the door, where the air temperature is close to 0).
Melon is a thermophilic plant, but at the same time it does not like transplants and the root system is difficult to take root in a new place. It should be borne in mind that when planting seeds, the soil temperature should warm up to at least +12 degrees. Therefore, it is better to grow melon seedlings in advance at home.
The root system of the melon does not tolerate picking and transplanting well, so it is better to sow it immediately in separate containers. Peat tablets or pots are good options.
The seedling soil must be mixed from humus, peat, sand and ordinary garden soil. All components are taken in equal parts. Additionally, it is helpful to add wood ash. The prepared soil is watered with warm water, complex fertilizer is applied and the seeds are planted.
It is enough to plant two seeds in each pot. Pre-make a deepening equal to 2 cm. After 5 days at an air temperature of +25, the first shoots will appear. As they grow, some strong sprout is chosen, and the other is cut off.
The optimum temperature until shoots appear is +15 degrees at night and +20 in the daytime. It is necessary to water it with warm water as the top layer of the soil dries up; it is not necessary to allow waterlogging. A week after the emergence of seedlings, mineral fertilizer is applied, and another week later, organic components. A urea solution is suitable, in which there is a lot of nitrogen necessary for growth.
A week before the intended transplant of seedlings to a permanent place, it is hardened. To do this, you need to take out the seedlings to the balcony or loggia. Transplanting begins 25 days after sowing the seeds. If the cultivation of seedlings is carried out for further transplantation into the garden, then sowing begins in early May.
Transferring seedlings to open ground
When do you start planting young melon seedlings in open ground? In a month, as the first shoots appear, about 5 leaves should unfold. It is at this time that the transplant begins.
To plant seedlings in the ground, you must follow some rules:
- Dig a trench 30 cm deep and 47 cm wide. Compost and manure should be distributed to the bottom, which will protect the roots from a sudden cold snap. A small layer of earth is poured on top.
- After that, holes are dug 50 cm deep and poured with warm water.
- Only after that they start planting young shoots, which are removed from the container along with an earthen clod. The seedling ball should protrude slightly above the surface of the ground, it does not need to be buried too much.
- Then they start filling the holes with dry soil so that a dry crust does not form.
- At night, it is advisable to cover the beds with a film or other protective structure.
In order not to damage the roots, it is better to plant the seedlings in peat pots. They are subsequently deepened in the garden plot together with the seedling into the soil. As the plant grows, the pot disintegrates, at the same time enriching the soil with elements.
Melons need to be cared for properly. In order for oxygen and nutrients to penetrate to the root system faster, loosening must be carried out on time. It has been noticed that the melon grows well after this procedure. Loosening is carried out simultaneously with weeding.
Loosening is carried out carefully, without damaging the roots, leaves and stems of the melon. The first loosening is carried out three weeks after planting in the ground, deepening the garden tools by 8–10 cm. In the future, the procedure is carried out not too deeply (the depth of loosening is not more than 7 cm).
After the appearance of the first lateral shoots, hilling is carried out, picking up a lump of earth to each stem of the plant. If the leaves of the plant begin to close together, then all procedures are stopped.
To grow the melon outdoors and get a good harvest, it is important to shape the stem. How to properly form a melon lash? Melon varietals and hybrids should be shaped differently.
In a varietal melon, pinch the central stem over 5 or 6 leaves. As a result, the growth of lateral shoots is activated, it is on them that female flowers develop.
In hybrids, female flowers are formed on the central stem, so you need to pinch the lateral lashes already above 2 or 3 leaves. If this is not done, then many lateral branches are formed, and all forces will be given to their development, and not to the growth of fruits.
After the ovaries appear, it is recommended to remove all flowers. No more than 4 ovaries should be left on one plant, with a small distance from each other. The pinching procedure should be carried out every two weeks.
To avoid stress on the plants, the summer resident has to make a support on which the fruits are laid. If the melons are on the ground, then, for example, plywood should be placed under them.
It is imperative to organize the correct watering regime. In case of a lack of moisture, the plant will develop poorly, bloom and form ovaries. If there is a lot of moisture, the risk of rot development increases, in addition, the taste of the fruit pulp decreases.
Watering the beds is necessary as needed, it is important to monitor the level of soil moisture. The root system of the melon is powerful and extends to a depth of one meter, so you don't need to water the plant too often. The procedure is carried out in the evening, when the earth has warmed up enough from the sun's heat.
How to water the ground around the melon in the open field? Before the formation of ovaries, watering should be moderate, once a week is enough. You need to water with warm, settled water. During watering, you need to ensure that moisture droplets do not fall on the green part of the plant. Melon does not like sprinkling, so it is better to water it in holes or in organized grooves.
Melon needs more organic elements than mineral fertilizers. If the soil is fertile and organic matter was introduced in the fall, then it is quite possible to do without mineral fertilizing. The fruits will not be large, but the pulp will be sweet.
The first feeding is recommended to be carried out two weeks after planting in open ground. You can water the melons with mullein or bird droppings. Such feeding can be done every 10 days.
If the soil is poor, then a week after planting, you can water the beds with ammonium nitrate solution. Dissolve 30 g of the component in a bucket of water. After another week, the treatment is repeated again. Melons love foliar feeding. The solution is well absorbed by the plant through the leaves.
Melon crops at a certain period of their development must be fed with different components.
Most often, fertilization occurs during the period of formation of green mass and ovaries. During the ripening of the fruits, feeding is not carried out, as this can only harm. It is important to choose a solution than to feed the melon during flowering. At this time, it is recommended to add phosphorus-potassium compounds to the soil. To prepare the solution, you will need to dissolve 30 g of superphosphate and 60 g of potassium sulfate in 10 liters of water. A solution based on wood ash is also suitable (150 g of ash are dissolved in a bucket of water).
Top dressing is carried out necessarily after watering or rain. This will allow all nutrients to be better distributed and not damage the root system. Drops of the solution should not fall on the stem and lower leaves. After feeding, it is useful to loosen.
Protection against diseases and pests
In case of violation of agrotechnical techniques and rules of care, melons often begin to suffer from fungal diseases and be exposed to an invasion of pests.
How to grow melons outdoors to prevent infection or get rid of it quickly?
- Septoria can be recognized by the rounded white spots on the leaves with a dark center.
- Cucumber mosaic appears with green-yellow spots on the leaves. Leaves curl, deform, dry and wither.
- Powdery mildew is characterized by the appearance of white spots on the stem and leaves of the plant. The leaves change color, curl, dry out and fall off.
- Fusarium wilting leads to a slowdown in plant growth. Leaves become pale with gray spots.
- Peronosporosis affects the leaves of the plant at an early stage of melon development. Yellow-green spots appear on them. A gray-purple bloom forms on the back of the leaves.
- Fungal damage to the root collar of the Ascochitosis melon is manifested by pale spots on the roots, which gradually increase and spread to the entire green part of the plant.
- Anthracnose can be recognized by brown or pink spots on the leaves. Gradually, they increase in size, holes are formed, the leaves begin to curl. Scourges become thinner and break easily. The fruits rot before ripening.
It is possible to prevent the development of diseases in advance. Melons should not be planted in the same place every year; it is imperative to dig deep into the soil and remove plant residues from the site. It is recommended to loosen the soil and prevent excess moisture in the garden bed. Melons' best friend is the warmth of the sun. It prevents infections from developing and disinfects the surface of the plant.
In case of a problem, you can use drugs such as Topaz, Oxyhom, Bordeaux liquid solution. Folk remedies are also suitable. You can make a solution from zinc sulfate, urea and copper sulfate.
Common pests of melon beds are: spider mites, wireworms, scoops, melon aphids, melon fly. As a preventive measure, the beds can be treated with drugs such as Rapira, Zenit, Fitoverm, Arrivo.
In regions with an unstable warm climate, no more than 4 fruits can ripen on one stem. How many ovaries should be left at the time of fruit ripening? If there are a lot of ovaries on the plant, then only those that have gone into growth and have reached a size of more than 6 cm are left, the rest are cut off.
The ripening time of the melon crop depends on the selected variety and can be 45–75 days. The melon must be harvested on time. If you collect unripe fruits, then after three weeks they can rot. In the middle lane, the season of maturity begins in late July and early August. Collect only fully ripe fruits.
Ripe melons are distinguished by the color declared for the variety at the stage of full ripening, a full mesh formed on the skin, easy separation from the whip and a characteristic sweet aroma. Some melon varieties do not form a mesh. Therefore, ripeness is judged by its rich honey-yellow color and sweet aroma. These melons should be eaten within a month.
For storage, only those melons are selected from which the skin is half covered with a net. The air temperature in the storage should be around 0 degrees. In a cool place, slightly unripe melons can be stored for up to 6 months.