spindly yet numerous,leaves and vines


Old 12-26-05, 08:29 AM
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Question spindly yet numerous,leaves and vines

This past year, I attempted to grow watermelons. I did a soil test,ph was within proper range,available nitrogen was not quite up there, so I amended the soil with sheep manure. I also added peat moss, to help break up the clay.What I ended up with,was small spindly vines and small leaf structure,as well as very small fruit. Where did I go wrong?
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Old 12-26-05, 04:41 PM
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Was sheep manure composted? Composted manure should be added in the fall preceding the gardening season because of risk of pathogens. The use of uncomposted manure will rob both soil and plants of nitrogen as it breaks down. Choosing the right variety of watermelon for your area is important. If using transplants they should be healthy. If you have clay soil, growing in a raised bed with lots of organic material will provide better results. A high phosporous fertilizer (one part nitrogen to four parts phosporous) at the time of planting produces bigger vines and fruits. Then fertilize with nitrogen at 30 and 60 days after planting. The typical watermelon plant needs an area 2x4'. If overplanted plant will not properly develop and will produce little or no fruit. Contact your local Dept. of Agriculture Extension Agent for recommended varieties in your area and growing tips.
Old 12-27-05, 06:10 AM
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Thanx Twelvepole. I appreciate your input. No,the sheep doo-doo was not composted,but the watermelon variety was of a Sugar Baby type for short growing areas,such as here in upstate NY. I guess I will try the raised bed this year and experiment with the fertilizers you suggested.
Thanx again.

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