blooming watermelons, but no melons! : LUSENET : : One Thread

My father lives in an area of deep East Texas that is known for watermelon production. He has been growing watermelons all his life. This year I got him some Stone Mountain watermelon seeds, he planted about 30 hills, the soil is near perfect, the rainfall has been near perfect, the temps and all conditions have been excellent this year. All the vines came up healthy and are growing beautifully, the problem is they grow beautiful blooms, which then fall off, but no melons, some regrow the blooms, which then fall off, but no melons. He and his friends in that area have never seen anything like this and have no answers as to what is happening. Can anyone explain why this is happening? Thanks for your help, Gary D. Stepp

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2001


Hello Gary,

Without being there, but with your description, it sounds like pollination is not occurring. There may be some nutrient or disease- based cause also. Are any of the neighbors experiencing the same thing?

Melons do not have perfect flowers. That is, there are male and female flowers. The pollen has to get from the male flower into the female and they rely on insects to accomplish this process.

As honey bee and other pollinator insect populations decrease around the country, crop yields will suffer.

Two things to try . . . introduce pollinators or try hand pollination. The first solution would be best researched locally. Perhaps the county extension agent can help you. Regarding pollinating by hand, there are great books out there ("Seed to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth for example) but in a nutshell, here goes.

In the morning, just as the flowers begin to open, differentiate your male and female flowers. The females will have a swelling at the base that is the immature fruit. The males will lack this but will have the pollen. Basically, remove the petals from the male flower without disturbing the pollen and gently "paint" the pollen onto each part of the stigma in the female flower. If you are successful, the fruit will not be aborted.

Statistically, you should see 50 - 75% success rates.

Hope that this helps.


P.S. - Please keep us posted as to what you find out.

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2001

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