Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?

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JayG

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Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« on: July 12, 2011, 16:14 »
Kristen suggested Sweetheart melon as a pretty reliable variety for the greenhouse but he doesn't seem to have posted on here lately.  :unsure:

Unlike my cucumbers they have really taken off and are now being trained anywhere and everywhere!

Lots of male flowers but also several female ones as well, some on the main stem but mostly on side shoots.

I've done my best with the little paintbrush to pollinate them (seems to be very little pollen in the male flowers though  :unsure:) and it's a bit early to say whether they are starting to set or not.

If they do, would you suggest stopping each side shoot after a fruit has set, and how many fruits do you think is a realistic number to aim for (these plants are seriously rampant at the moment!)
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

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JayG

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2011, 10:21 »
Er, anyone apart from me growing any variety of melon indoors then?  :unsure:

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1st time veg grower

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2011, 14:08 »
Yes I am for the first time, but I have no idea what I'm doing- I have three in a growbag in my plastic greenhouse. So far not alot is going on - lots of foliage and some tiny embrionic fruit but no flowers open and the embrionic fruit is not doing anything (ie growing...!). Not really sure what I should be doing with the plants - like pinching them out...? Not sure of the variety, will check the seed packet later. So I would be grateful for some advice from any melon experts too! ::)

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stompy

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2011, 08:45 »
I have grown Sweetheart every year since i got my allotment (9 or 10 years now) apart from this year as i didn't have the greenhouse set up in time.
I grow Sweetheart as a guarenteed cropper and experiment with others like Ogen or Bastion.
Sweetheart have never failed to give me a good crop of upto 6 melons per plant.

I grow mine in 12inch pots on greenhouse stageing with the pots in a growbag tray, i water from the bottom to stop stem rot, the top of the pot looks dry but an inch bellow the surface is wet, i like to grow melons in pots as i feel i have more control over the moisture and feeding .
I nip out the growing tip when it gets to around 10 to 12inch's and then run the 2 runners up some netting that goes to the eves of the roof.

You get side shoots comming off the 2 main stems and this is where the fruit comes from, when you see a fruit (female flower) hand polinate it and then when it sets (doesn't always work) nip out the side shoot 1 leaf after the fruit.

Now water and feed every 2 to 3 days and stop too much foliar growth from growing.

Do this on all the side shoots until mid August as any fruit set after then won't come to anything and will stop the set fruit from reaching it's full size.

Remove the ripe fruit when it smells sweet and Mellony  ;)  :lol:

Hope this helps.

Andy
« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 08:47 by stompy »

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JayG

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2011, 08:53 »
Stompy, thats brill! Thanks!  :)

Far too late to do the "pinching out at 12 inches" bit but the rest of the advice is very useful.

Still too early to say whether the half-dozen or so female flowers have set yet; did you find that there wasn't much pollen in the male flowers at any stage of their (brief) existence?

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stompy

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2011, 09:02 »
No there doesn't seem to be that much pollen in them.

I pick a male flower, remove the pettles and use the male part to polinate.
I have used a tiny paint brush before but use this method now for all this type of plant melons and squashes (etc).

People say obout eating the fruit straight off the plant, and that is very nice, but i find it much better after being in the fridge for a couple of hours cold sweet and juicy.

It's one of my favourite things to grow and the satisfaction from growing melons is matched by nothing else in my opinion.

Well maybe grapes, but thats another story  ::)


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Lady Rosemary

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2011, 09:29 »
I've got 7 melon plants in the tunnel for the 1st time and they are growing really well but have never seen the female flowers open.  :unsure:  how can they be pollinated if they never appear to open.  The small fruit behind the flower dies off with the flower after a few days which indicates that it's not been pollinated. Getting worried that I'll have lush green plants and no fruit.  :(

I didn't pinch out at all - is this another lesson learned? I could post a piccie if that would help to tell if I'm doing it right?  :wub:
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1st time veg grower

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2011, 14:40 »
Mine now suddenly have lots of male flowers open - but the female flowers are shut! ::)

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JayG

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2011, 15:53 »
Mine now suddenly have lots of male flowers open - but the female flowers are shut! ::)

Not had that problem; they've all been open at the same time, although of course they will eventually all shut up shop and die whether male or female (and whether they've "done their job" or not!)

So far I've got one fruit which is definitely swelling but it's so hairy I'm not sure whether it hasn't got mildew as well!  :unsure:

Two plants, one on the floor which has grown well but is only just starting to produce side shoots and hopefully female flowers, the other is on the staging and has produced at least 6 female flowers so far, all of which have had the "paintbrush treatment".

To be continued............................... :)

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stompy

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2011, 11:41 »
Quote
but it's so hairy I'm not sure whether it hasn't got mildew as well!

Don't worry JayG, they do start off super hairy but as they grow they seem to lose them.

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JayG

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2011, 17:49 »
Might have to have a re-think here! 

The plant on the staging has just about run the length of the 8' greenhouse and is showing no signs of slowing up.

I have 10 "fruits" on about 7 laterals (so some of the laterals have 2 on - oops!) and they are all from about the lower third of the plant, so at this rate I would have about 20-30 fruits before the end of July if they all set (2 have definitely set so far.)  :ohmy:

Even as a beginner I can appreciate that is far too big a load to successfully grow and ripen, so Q for Stompy (or anyone!) please: You say you get up to 6 melons per plant - is that the most they could muster on their own or did you ruthlessly cull anything over that number?

(The other plant on the floor is being much more sensible; it's only just thinking about opening its first female flower!)  :)

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stompy

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2011, 07:41 »
I used to get as you say plenty of baby fruits but only let one grow on each latteral.
The reason for this is that if there are 2 fruits on a latteral the first fruit grows and swells ok but the second doesn't do too well and doesn't ripen, it also affects the overall size of the first fruit.

The plant can only sustain a certain amount of fruits due to it's root size, i grow in pots to get a good plant and good flavour but i would still only grow 1 fruit per latteral still.

I would cut all that leafy growth back to around 4 to 5 leaves after the last/top fruiting latterals so the plant puts more into the fruits.
Also keep hand polinating and i wouldn't allow more than 8 fruits on your plant, i found 6 to be best for me, think about all the water needed to swell them to 5 or 6inch's

Andy
« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 07:44 by stompy »

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JayG

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2011, 09:43 »
Thanks Stompy.  :)

Things have changed over the last few days; I did remove the 2nd fruit on the laterals with 2 on (and also a lateral with an egg-sized single fruit by mistake ( :mad:) but despite my best efforts with the paintbrush the "fruits" are aborting at a rate of knots, so I might be lucky to get to six per plant the way things are going.  :(

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stompy

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2011, 10:04 »
You do get that with the fruit not setting, they just turn yellow and drop off  :nowink:

Keep hand polinating every time you go and even if you have polinated one do it again with a fresh male flower instead of the paint brush.

Quote
and also a lateral with an egg-sized single fruit by mistake

I have done that more than once too  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:


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JayG

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Re: Anyone else growing Sweetheart melon?
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2011, 12:00 »
Thought I'd post a pic for those (very few) who seem to be growing these melons because I AM GETTING VERY EXCITED!

If you are wondering how many fruits are visible in the photo the answer is 6 (9 altogether on this plant.)

(If you are also wondering whether 9 is a somewhat reckless number to try and grow to maturity the answer is "very probably!)  :wub:
Sweetheart 03-08-2011.JPG



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