The melon (Cucumis melo) is a melon crop and is a species of the Cucumber family of the Pumpkin family. Today, it is almost impossible to find a melon growing in the wild. Weedy Asiatic species of melon served as a material for breeding cultivated forms of this plant. The first mention of the melon, which was cultivated already in ancient Egypt, can be found in the Bible. It is native to Asia Minor and Central Asia.
In Northern India, and adjacent areas of Iran and Central Asia, cultivation of the plant began a few centuries before Christ. The melon spread westward as well as eastward (as far as China). This melon crop was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages and to Russia in the 15-16th centuries, with its first cultivation beginning in the Lower Volga region.
Peculiarities of melon
Melon is an annual which has creeping shoots that reach 150-300 cm in length. The solid, large palmate heart-shaped leaf laminae include 5 lobes.
The unisexual flowers are yellowish in color. A single bush can produce 2-8 fruits (pumpkins) that smell very pleasant. The fruits may be flattened, cylindrical or round in shape and may be brown, white, green or yellow in color, with green stripes lining the surface. The flesh may be light green, yellow, white or orange. Melon sprouts grow for 2.
GROWING MILONGS IN THE OPEN GROUND!
Growing melon from seed
In middle latitudes this crop is usually cultivated through seedling. You should use seeds that were harvested 3 or 4 years ago, but if you use freshly harvested seeds you will have very vigorous bushes with lots of male flowers and no fruit. Seeds need pre-sowing preparation. Large seeds need to soak for a third of an hour in a solution of potassium permanganate (2%), for its preparation it is necessary to combine 1.
5 tbsp of water with 1 tsp (without slides) of manganese. It is also recommended to immerse the seeds for 12 hours in a solution of zinc sulfate and boric acid (5%), then the seeds are washed and dried. Some gardeners harden the seeds with cold before sowing. To do this, you need to keep them in a thermos with water, the temperature of which is about 30 degrees, and then take them out and cover the top with moistened gauze, and leave them for 24 hours at a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees. Then for 18 hours they are removed to the shelf of a refrigerator with a temperature of 0-2 degrees, after which they again 6 hours incubated at a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees.
Seeds hardened in this way are immediately sown in open soil.
In mid-April, seeds are sown for seedlings. For this purpose, peat pots, a cross section of 10 centimeters, in each of them is sown to 2 or 3 seeds, and deepen them to 15-20 mm. To grow seedlings use substrate, which consists of sand and peat (1:9). 10 liters of the resulting substrate should be combined with 1 tbsp of wood ash.
Growing melon seedlings
Before the seedlings show up, you need to ensure that the seeds are at a temperature not more than 18 degrees at night, and about 20-25 degrees during the day. About 7 days after sowing, the first seedlings should appear. Will need to make thinning, for this in each pot to leave one of the most developed and strong seedlings, the rest must be carefully cut at the level of the substrate surface, pulling them is not recommended, because in this case there is a high probability of injury to the remaining seedlings. When the plants have formed 3 pairs of true leaf plates, they should be pruned, which will start the active growth of the side shoots. The seedlings should be kept on a window sill south of the window, if you do not have this option every day she needs artificial dosveskih for 10-12 hours, using daylight.
Water the seedlings as needed and use lukewarm water. Note that after the seeds are sown, they should be watered for the first time only when the seedlings have formed 1 true leaf plate. Make sure that the liquid does not get on the shoots or leaves of the plants during watering. It is recommended to cover the substrate with a layer of dry sand in order to prevent the development of black feet. Specialists recommend feeding the seedlings twice, using a solution of complex mineral fertilizer.
Hardening of seedlings begins 7 days before their planting in open soil. For this purpose, the daytime temperature should be reduced to 15-17 degrees and the night-time temperature to 12-15 degrees, and you should gradually increase the hardening time.
Important tips for growing melon seedlings / Growing gourds from seedlings
Melon seedlings, like any other members of the Pumpkin family, are not piked because they react very negatively to this procedure. Therefore seeds must be sown in individual cups.
Sowing melon into open ground
What time to sow
To plant melon seedlings in open ground only when the plants are about 4 to 5 weeks old and have 5 or 6 true leaf blades.
However, experienced growers recommend waiting until the return spring frosts are over before planting the melon in the open ground. If there is a threat of frosts, but melons have already been planted in the open ground, they should be covered with film from above.
This plant is a thermophilic one, so choose a well-lit and heated area that has reliable protection from the cold wind for its planting. It is very good if the melons will grow on the southern side of the vegetable garden. This crop grows very well after black steam, and the best predecessors are considered: corn, cucumbers, garlic, cabbage, winter wheat, barley, onions and legumes.
It is not recommended to plant melon on the same plot two years in a row. Tomatoes and carrots are considered the worst predecessors of this crop. Next to the melon, you can grow beans, chard, sorrel, corn, turnips, basil, radish and radish. And cucumbers and potatoes cannot be grown next door.
The soil should be light and neutral, but rich in organic matter.
Melon can grow on salty or dry soil, but it will die on wet and acidic soil. This culture grows best on medium-loamy light soil, with heavy loam or sandy soil is not suitable for this purpose.
We must prepare the soil on the plot before planting seedlings. To do this in the autumn in the soil under digging at the depth of the bayonet shovel is necessary to make 4 to 5 kg of manure or humus at the rate of 1 m 2 . At the same time in clay soil it is necessary to add ½ bucket of sand per 1 square meter of the plot.
In the spring time plot should be combed, with the addition of 35 to 45 grams of superphosphate and 15 to 25 grams of potassium salt to the soil at the rate of 1 square meter. Before planting the seedlings again dig the ground and add 15 to 25 grams of nitrogen fertilizer per 1 square meter.
SEAKING THE MILF GROWTH! FIRST TIPS FOR FORMING!
Rules for planting in the open ground
Firstly, prepare a planting hole in the plot; the distance between the holes should be at least 0.6 m. The seedlings should be watered very well before planting so that they can be taken out of the cups without difficulty.
The row spacing should be about 0.7m. When planting the plants, make sure that their root neck is above the ground, otherwise they will get fungal disease or rot. This method of planting makes the melon appear to be placed on a hillock. To prevent fungal diseases, when the seedlings will be planted, the soil surface on the plot should be covered with a layer of river sand.
For the first 2 days, the planted plants will need protection from direct sunlight, using wet paper for this purpose.
Growing melon in the greenhouse
Melon in the greenhouse is grown on trellises, which allows you to save space. The plants are planted in wells of 70x50 centimeters, and a distance of 20 centimeters should be maintained between the bushes. Planting is done at the same time as transplanting seedlings into open soil. The care of melon seedlings, as well as the procedure for quenching them, is described in detail above.
Melons, tomatoes, and peppers can be grown in the same greenhouse at the same time. However, it is better not to plant melons, zucchini and cucumbers together. In the prepared planting holes just before planting, one and a half kilograms of compost or humus should be added, it should be covered with a layer of soil three centimeters thick, and then warm water should be poured into the hole. Then the melon should be planted in it with a root ball by transplanting it over the bed by 15-30 mm, otherwise rot may occur on the sub-cotyledon knee. In case of frosts, the plants should be protected with additional film.
For the first 7 days after planting, if the greenhouse becomes hotter than 30 degrees, the greenhouse should be aired. 1-1.5 weeks after planting, pour a couple of liters of warm water under each bush, to which you should add nitrogen-containing fertilizer (20 grams of ammonium nitrate per 1 bucket of water). Watering should be done once a week, but during the ripening of fruits, the frequency of watering should be gradually reduced until the complete cessation for 7-15 days until the melons are fully ripe. As a result, the fruits will be much sweeter.
Feed the plants 2 times at intervals of 15-20 days, using organic fertilizer. Fertilization should be alternated with a herb infusion and infusion of cow dung, chicken manure or humus, with a handful of wood ash poured under each plant.
When the melon is seven days after planting in the greenhouse, the plants should be pruned above a 5 or 6 leaf plate, then they should have side branches with ladylike flowers. Select the two most vigorous branches to be tied to the trellis and the rest to be cut back. As these branches grow, they should be wrapped around the twine on the trellis, because they will not be able to climb it on their own.
If there are not enough insect pollinators in the greenhouse, the plants will have to be pollinated manually. Take a brush and put pollen on it from the male flower (it has no ovary), then transfer it to the pistil of the female flower. After the melons have formed on the bushes, two or three pieces should be left on each of them, and the extra ones should be cut off. When the fruit reaches the size of a tennis ball, it should be placed in a net which should be hung on a horizontal trellis rail.
In some cases, the bushes in the greenhouse may be infested with fungal disease or pests (moths, melon aphids or spider mites).
To get rid of pests, bushes should be sprayed with Fytoverm or Iskra-bio. On the fight against the various diseases will be described in detail below. As soon as the size and color of the melon becomes characteristic of the variety, it should be removed, paying attention to the connection between the pumpkin and the wicker, cracks should form on it.
How to grow melons, big and sweet in the greenhouse?
If the melon is grown in open soil, it should be timely watered, loosened, weeded, dipped, pruned, fed, and also tied. If necessary, artificial pollination is carried out, this procedure is identical to that carried out when growing this crop in a greenhouse (see above).
After the seedlings planted in open soil have taken root and begun to grow actively, secondary pruning of the main stem of each bush is carried out. As a result, the bushes will not grow green mass, and will spend all their energy on the formation and growth of pumpkins. Over time, each bush should grow 2 side shoots and 1 main shoot, and all unnecessary shoots should be trimmed. Hybrid varieties are treated differently with bushes, with their female flowers grow on the main shoot, in this regard, it cannot be pruned. Hybrid melons are pruned to avoid overgrowth after the second or third leaf blade.
Otherwise, the hybrid varieties should be cared for in the same way as conventional varieties.
After the bushes have formed ovaries, all the extra ones should be cut off, leaving only 2-6 pieces at most on each one. When the pumpkins reach the size of a tennis ball, each one is placed in an individual net that should be tied to a trellis, which will take some of the load off the melon stalks. To ensure that the melons in the nets ripen evenly, they should be periodically turned over. If the fruit lies on the soil surface, you should always put a piece of material underneath it that will not rot, such as roofing felt or foil.
Please note that if only one pumpkin is growing on the bush, but the others are turning yellow and are not developing properly, you can correct this by feeding the plant. The first couple of times the soil surface between the rows should be loosened to a depth of 10 to 15 centimeters, then the depth of loosening the soil should be reduced to 8-10 centimeters. The soil surface near the bushes should be loosened very carefully and not so deep. Mounding of plants is made after the beginning of the development of lateral branches. After the leaves have closed, stop loosening the soil near the plants.
Melons in the open ground can be grown on a trellis, which is not only convenient, but also saves a lot of space. Set up the supports in advance, which should be up to 200 cm high. After the melons will be planted in the open soil, after a few days, it will be necessary to tie the shoot with a rope, with its upper tip fixed on the trellis. After a while, the side shoots are also tied in the same way.
How to water
This crop needs systematic watering.
On average, the shrubs are watered once every 7 days. Water in the morning with lukewarm water (22 to 25 degrees), but make sure it does not splash on the shoots, flowers, leaves, buds or pumpkins. Experienced gardeners recommend making a furrow around the bush, into which the water should be poured. However, the best way to water melons is drip irrigation. Do not allow water to stagnate in the soil, as this will cause rot on the root system of the bush.
In this regard, be sure to check whether the top layer of soil on the bed has dried out before watering. For the melons to be sweeter, watering should be gradually reduced after the gourds appear until they have stopped altogether.
Feeding melons is recommended in conjunction with watering. When the melons have been transplanted for 15 days, they should be fertilized with a solution of ammonium nitrate (20 grams per 10 litres of water) and 2 litres of nutrient solution should be poured under each bush. After the buds will begin to form, bushes should be re-fed the same solution of ammonium nitrate or it can be replaced by a solution of cowpea (1:10).
After 15-20 days, the plants should be fed with the following nutrient solution: 50 grams of superphosphate, 30 grams of ammonium sulfate and 20 to 25 grams of potassium salt per 1 bucket of water.
Melon. Watering, feeding.
Diseases and pests of melon
Any variety of melon cultivated in the open field or in the greenhouse, if not properly cared for or violating the rules of agrotechnics of this crop, may be affected by viral, fungal and also bacterial diseases. And also on bushes can settle some pests.
To save your harvest, you need to promptly identify emerging diseases, as well as to find settled pests. It is also important to start early treatment of diseased bushes.
This disease is a fungal disease. Affected shrubs develop whitish spots on the leaves and shoots that spread over the entire plant surface as the disease progresses and change their color to brown. Leaf tissue becomes more brittle under such patches, its desiccation and curling are observed.
Stems grow slower, pumpkins begin to lag behind in development, and they also become of lower quality and decrease the amount of sugar in them. If you find symptoms of this disease on bushes, they should be treated with sulfur powder (80%), taking 4 grams of the substance per 1 square meter of bed. If necessary, you can treat the plants several times, keeping an interval of 3 weeks between treatments. At least 20 days before harvesting you should stop any treatment.
False powdery mildew (peronosporosis)
Sick bushes develop green-yellow spots on the leaf plates.
They grow rapidly and after a short time cover the entire leaf surface. If prolonged periods of high humidity, on the underside surface of the leaf plate appears a violet-gray stain that contains fungal spores. For preventive purposes, you should not neglect the pre-sowing preparation of seeds. They are poured into a thermos filled with hot (about 45 degrees) water for 2 hours, after which they were immersed in a solution of manganese solution (1%) for a third of an hour. If sick plants were found, the entire area should be sprayed with a solution of urea (10 grams of the substance per 10 liters of water).
If this method of disease control is not effective, melons should be treated with solution of Oxychom or Topaz, following the instructions enclosed with the preparation.
This is also a fungal disease, its causative agents are in the soil from which they get on the plant residues or on the melon seeds. Most often late- and mid-season varieties of melons are affected by this disease. The diseased bushes have reduced yields, as well as poor quality of pumpkins. Symptoms of this disease appear during formation of the second or third true leaf plate or during ripening of pumpkins.
Affected bushes have pale leaves and many gray spots appear on their surface. Infested above-ground parts begin to wither, and after 1.5 weeks the plant dies completely. Affected plants should be sprayed with potassium chloride solution during bud formation. As a preventive measure, before sowing, the seeds must be kept in a solution of formalin (40%) for 5 minutes.
Copper rust (anthracnose)
A round, pale pink or brown spot appears on the surface of leaf blades. These spots become larger over time. Holes appear on infested leaf plates, curling of leaves and desiccation of the entire bush is observed. Sprouts thin and become very brittle, and gourds become deformed and rotten. Infested melons should be sprayed with a Bordeaux mixture (1%), and 3 or 4 treatments should be carried out once every 1.
5 weeks. Instead, the whole melon plot can be sprayed with sulfur powder.
This disease is also fungal. Plants grown in greenhouses show brownish spots on the shoots after infection, eventually spreading throughout the bush. The diseased bush dies as a result of the affected root part.
If signs of this disease are found, irrigation must be corrected by considerably reducing it, and the infected areas of melon should be powdered with a mixture consisting of wood ash and lime or bushes can be treated with Bordeaux mixture (1%). As a preventive measure, seeds should be disinfected before sowing by using Silk or Immunocytophyte.
This disease affects weakened plants. It is noticeable that young plants have brownish roots and stems at first, after which they become thin and the bush withers. Adult plants also show yellowing and wilting of the above-ground part, and the roots and lower part of the stem turn brown.
As a preventive measure, before sowing, the seeds should be kept for 5 minutes in formalin solution (40%).
Cucumber mosaic virus, narrow specialty virus and watermelon mosaic virus. Their main carriers are aphids, so if you find this pest, you should try to get rid of it as soon as possible. If the melon is affected by any of these diseases, it should be removed from the ground and destroyed as soon as possible. The fact that to date, an effective cure for viral diseases has not been found.
Signs of viral diseases: areas of mosaic coloring are formed on the leaf plates, internodes are shortened, the bush lags behind in development, leaves are deformed, ovaries fall off, and mottling appears on the surface of pumpkins.
The following insects can harm this plant: spider mites, gnawing moths, melon aphids, and wireworms.
They accumulate on the underside of the leaf plates. The aphids suck the sap out of the plant, causing the leaves to shrivel and curl up before they can open. In addition, the pest is the main carrier of dangerous incurable diseases.
To get rid of aphids, spray the bushes with Actellic (30%) or Karbofos (10%).
This pest, like the aphids, live on the undersides of the leaves. The mites suck the sap from the bush. Melons grown in greenhouses pose the greatest danger to these pests, but they can also settle on melon bushes. Affected bushes should be sprayed with Bicol, Fitoverm or Bitoxybacillin solutions.
Wormflies are actually larvae of the lizard beetle. They damage the root system of the bushes, causing the melons to die. To prevent this pest from multiplying in the fall the plot should be deeply recultivated and crop rotation rules should be followed.
The caterpillars of the biting moth are dangerous for the melon because they bite the stem of the bush and thus kill it. To kill the caterpillars, it is necessary to dig deep into the area, but only after the harvest is done.
In order to prevent this, it is necessary to follow the rules of crop rotation.
Treatment of melon
Bushes affected by fungal disease are treated with fungicide preparations, with at least 2-4 treatments. No contact preparations should be used between treatments. Also, fungicides from different chemical groups must not be alternated, you must use either the same drug or its analogue. The intervals between treatments must not exceed 12 days.
After the melons have been treated with systemic fungicide for the last time, the contact agent can be applied only when 8-10 days have passed, not earlier. Specialists advise to use systemic fungicides to treat young bushes that are growing and developing intensively. However, it is better to use contact products on mature specimens.
PROTECTING BUCKETTERS FROM Melon Flies
Gathering and storing melons
Before harvesting melon you should make sure that the fruit is fully ripe. This is done by checking the color of the pumpkin and also by checking the grid of cracks that should be present on the surface of the rind.
The ripe fruits ready for picking can be easily detached from the stalk, there is a grid on the whole surface of the pumpkin, and the pumpkin changes its color to yellow. But you should note that these melons are not intended for long-term storage, as a rule, they can not last more than 8 weeks. Fruits that will be stored for a long time have a medium-rare grid, which covers only ½ of the pumpkin. The same fruits that are completely yellow and have netting all over their surface should be used for food right away. There are some varieties which do not exhibit any reticulation and their maturity is judged by their color.
- low - these fruits are stored for no more than 14 days;
- low-ripening varieties - they can be stored for 2 to 4 weeks;
- intermediate-ripening varieties - these melons have a storage time of 1 to 2 months;
- freezing varieties - these fruits are stored for about three months;
- very hardy varieties - these fruits have a storage time of over three months.
Late as well as mid-ripening varieties produce fruit that can be stored for about six months if optimal conditions are provided. But mid-early, early and some mid-maturing varieties cannot be stored for a long time, so it is recommended that they not be put into storage but eaten immediately.
Fruits of late maturing varieties that can be stored for a long time are removed from the bed in the state of technical maturity selectively, only after the pumpkins show the necessary signs. Melons should be plucked with the stalk, which should reach 30 mm in length, they should not be cut off.
Gather the fruit early in the morning or in the evening, in the heat of the day it should not be done. Once the pumpkin is picked, it should be left for three to four days on the plot, and it should be regularly turned every 5-6 hours. Then they are put into storage, which should be cool (not cold), and it must be disinfected with bleach beforehand. Smoke bombs can also be used to disinfect the storage room, which will eliminate pests and all viruses. When the room is treated, it should stand tightly closed for several days.
After that, the storage room is very well ventilated, and then all the structures made of wood should be whitewashed with freshly-quenched lime. The fruits are placed in storage on racks, and the surface of the shelves should be covered in advance with a layer of chaff or sawdust. The fruits can also be stored hanging by placing them in individual large-mesh nets, and hanging them on a rack with crossbars. The humidity in the storage room should be about 80 percent, with an optimal temperature of 2-3 degrees. Melons can not be stored next to apples and potatoes.
Because of potatoes, the fruits do not have a very pleasant taste and rot forms on them. And apples emit ethylene, which makes melons ripen much faster, which leads to their overripening. Remember to inspect the fruit systematically and be sure to remove any that show signs of spoilage.
Melon species and varieties
Melon (Melo) is a separate genus with about 30 species, with 2 of them being wild. A small number of species occur naturally in Africa and China but most species are found in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran, with the first cultivated varieties of this plant appearing in these very countries.
Central Asian species of melon are the most tasty and fragrant, and the most popular of them are as follows:
- Zard. The Chardjou melon has a spindle shape and is colored green. It can grow up to 25 kilograms and looks like a huge cucumber. In September, the flesh is tough and tasteless, but in winter time, once it has ripened, it will be tender, fragrant and very sweet. The Gulabi variety is the most delicious and its fruits can be stored for up to 6 months.
- Khandalak. This is an early species. The fruits are small and very tender and have a pear flavor.
- Ameri. These Bukhara melons have an oval shape and range in weight from 5 to 10 kilograms.
The flesh is crispy and has a vanilla smell.
Malo-Asian types of melons are also quite popular, but the Central Asian types taste much better. The most popular varieties are the Cilician Melon from Syria and the Kassaba Melon from Turkey, which has almost no smell.
In cooler climates, European varieties of melon are grown, which are derived from the Central Asian varieties. For example, there is a European variety called cantaloupe, named after the papal estate of Cantalouppia.
It has ribbed (segmented) fruits that do not have an outstanding taste, but this plant grows and bears fruit well even in England.
All European varieties are divided into:
- very early - they ripen after 60-70 days;
- yearly - the fruits are large, with a netting on the surface of the whole rind, and the flesh is tender, fragrant and sweet;
- winter - small fruits are bronze or dark green in color, there is a dense mesh on the surface of the rind, and the flesh is dense, sweet and crispy.
The following hybrids and varieties are recommended for outdoor cultivation in the middle latitudes:
- Blondie. Fruits ripen after 80-90 days. The fragrant and tender flesh is colored deep orange.
The light beige-gray rind is quite thin. The round ribbed fruits are slightly flattened and contain large amounts of sugar and carotene. The weight of the fruit is about 0.7 kg.
This late-ripening variety is not well suited for cultivation in middle latitudes. In warmer regions, however, pumpkins can mature in 90 days. The fruits are light greenish-yellow in color and have no stripes on the surface of the rind, but there is a coarse-meshed mesh. The greenish tender flesh is quite juicy. The fruits weigh about 2.
- Altayskaya. This variety was created in Siberia and is quite successfully cultivated here. The oval fruits have a thin skin and the flesh is fragrant and tasty. The melons weigh no more than 1.
- Pineapple. This variety is among the earliest. The oval fruit is covered with a golden rind with a mesh on the surface. The sweet, fragrant flesh has a pinkish hue.
The fruits weigh about 2 kilograms.
- Honey. This variety is cultivated in Morocco as well as in Mediterranean countries. Round or elongated smooth melons are green in color. The fragrant and sweet flesh is light yellow, green or red-yellow in color and contains manganese, potassium and vitamin A.
- Galiley. This medium-early variety was created specifically for cultivation in the southern part of Russia. Mass of small fruits is about 1 kilogram, on the surface of the brownish rind there is a dense netting. The pale green fragrant flesh has a delicate taste.
This variety is obtained in France. In this variety group, it has the smallest fruits, yet they are the most delicious and fragrant. The fruits are very similar to musk melon. The slightly flattened pumpkins are round in shape and have smooth longitudinal grooves on the surface of the rind. The sweet orange-colored flesh is very fragrant and low in calories, and it is also high in vitamins.
- Ozhen. This hybrid was created in Israel. The elongated melons are slightly flattened, yellow, light green or greenish yellow in color, with spots, cuts and stripes on the surface. The fragrant and sweet flesh is green in color.
This is an early variety. The yellow melons have an elliptical shape and weigh about 2 kilograms. There is no pattern on the rind, the mesh is sparse, and the segments are faintly pronounced. The pale creamy sweet flesh has medium juiciness and moderate flavor.
Medium-early variety. Oval and smooth melons are yellow in color, they have a delicate mesh and weigh about 1 kilogram. The creamy flesh has a pleasant odor and medium sweetness and juiciness.
The best melons in Ukraine are Mazin F1, Credo F1 and Amal F1