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We usually plant our melons by May 1, and some years I will plant a second one about 2 weeks later. In 2010, the late melon patch became a late, late melon patch. It wasn't planted until after May 20 because of wet weather, and when planted the ground was very sticky and it began to rain just as we left the field.
It was 3 weeks before we could get into it to cultivate and hoe. The thick crabgrass made it look like a well groomed lawn. With Mrs. Jim's hard work and many cultivator passes we got it cleaned up. It turned out to be a fairly good patch, although a late season wet spell caused disease problems and reduced production.







 

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Strings over and across the patch are "CROW Deterrents". String around the outside border and the white bags are "DEER Defenses". The string will stop a crow, but will not stop a deer. I have become smarter since 2010. I use fishing line now. Deer cannot see it, but it gives 'em just enuff a tickle that it scares them. Over time they will venture in, but I believe the secret to keeping deer is to get them used to not go in a certain direction orto a certain place. I also use smelly stuff found at the dollar store to discourage them as melon ripening approaches. It is as hard or harder and very time consuming to keep pests from eating one's bounty.
 

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we grow a few watermelon cantelope and honey dew for a variety at the markets but i have a hard time telling when they are ready to harvest we put them on black plastic with drip lines i wonder if the heat from plastic mulch affects them one year it was extremlly hot the plastic cooked the tomatoes touching it
 

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The heat of our last two summers has cooked and blistered green tomatoes on the plants here without plastic. Those that did irrigate under plastic really had to pump the water heavily which also caused problems.
 

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I will have to give the fishing line a try this year with my sweet corn... I can see where it would work. Beautiful melon patch, the lack of weeds sure is a welcome sight - and one to be proud of... that 8 foot bed full of beautiful watermelons is too ;) . Can't wait to see what this year holds!
 

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Betty, I think one of them melons would taste pretty good even here in March :!: ;)
 

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Jim in NC said:
I also use smelly stuff found at the dollar store to discourage them as melon ripening approaches. It is as hard or harder and very time consuming to keep pests from eating one's bounty.
What kind of "Smelly Stuff" Jim?? We have trouble with them eating our peaches.
 

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petra79 said:
Jim in NC said:
I also use smelly stuff found at the dollar store to discourage them as melon ripening approaches. It is as hard or harder and very time consuming to keep pests from eating one's bounty.
What kind of "Smelly Stuff" Jim?? We have trouble with them eating our peaches.
I used to use cheap cologne or perfume, but the last couple of uears I have switched to hand lotion, skin moisturizer, or shampoo. I can buy a quart for a dollar. It is thicker, doesn't evaporate fast, and works just as well. I put a few pie tins on the ground and a small squirt or two in the pans just before dark. In the patch above, I only had 3 or 4 pans. In this patch, the deer only did damage early, when the melons were softball size. I had the string up, but no smelly stuff. In a patch this summer, deer stayed out of it with string until they began to ripen. I lost about 8 to 10 melons in one night. The smelly stuff came out, and the deer went somewhere else.
This may not be accurate, but I believe it is better to install deer defenses early instead of waiting till the crop nears productivity. I think deer become "trained' not to go in certain spots. Of course, when dealing with such varmints, nothing is certain.
 
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Great info Jim. Much appreciated. The new house is surrounded by woods and farm land. Neighbor says its loaded with deer and turkeys. Just want to learn ahead of time.
 

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A cold one would be really nice now with this 90 degree weather. We stopped by a cousin's yard sale this evening and talk moved to what we have planted. We have about a half acre of melons planted and will plant a couple more small patches within a week or two. An elder cousin, in her upper eighties, remarked how good watermenton would taste now. She owns part of one of the farms I tend, and we take her several melons during the season. She is no longer able to tend a garden, but we take her stuff that we don't need to put up ourselves, or dented and damaged stuff that we cannot sell. She was raised in a big family, still cans and freezes some food, and knows how not to be wasteful.
 
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