Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How To Grow AAS Winner 'Melemon' F1

AAS Winner 'Melemon' F1

The mission of All-America Selections is "To promote new garden varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America." To do that, AAS tries to "inform gardeners about the AAS Winners", so the organization produces excellent information about growing them.

I recently highlighted the new Melon 'Melemon' F1 AAS Winner in this blog, so here's some information from AAS I want to pass along to you.

"The earliness, high yield on healthy, strong plants and superior taste all contributed to this melon becoming an AAS Winner. Judges related the taste of this melon to honeydew but with a surprising and delicious tanginess. A uniform fruit shape makes it perfect for market growers as well as home gardeners. Each personal-sized fruit has refreshing crisp flesh and a unique sweet and tart taste."

AAS® Winner Data
Genus species: Cucumis melo L.
Common name: Piel de Sapo type melon
Unique qualities: Unique sweet-tart taste, fruits hold one month after harvest
Fruit weight: 4.5 pounds
Fruit Size:  6.5 inches in diameter, 6 inches in height
Fruit shape: Oblate
Fruit color: Green rind turns to chartreuse at maturity, white flesh
Foliage Color:  Green
Plant type: Vining
Plant height: 10 to 12 inches
Plant width: 28 inches
Garden location: Full sun
Garden spacing: 14 inches
Length of time to harvest: 70-80 days from transplant, 89-95 days from sowing seed
Light Needs: Full sun
Water Needs:  Normal
Season Type:  Warm Season
Staking Required:  YES
Closest comparisons on market: ‘Lambkin’ F1, ‘Kermit’ F1, ‘Saporosa’ F1"

As for other members of the species, soil pH should range from 6.1 to 7.5.

If you're thinking you'd like to plant melons next season, you should definitely consider 'Melemon' F1.

John Marshall

Another question about poor muscadine grape yields

There is an old Muscadine vine at Mama's that grows the sweetest grapes I've ever tasted. The vine is strung east/west if that makes a difference. What I'm asking about is an oak tree at the west end of the vine. In the last 3 years when the vine buds out in the spring and fruit is forming it looks like we are going to have a bumper crop but most of the grapes will shed long before they are of any size. In your opinion does the oak need to be cut down or is there some additive that will stop the shedding? I have been told boron will take care of the problem.
Various factors can contribute to your problem. 

If grapes are forming but falling off, poor pollination isn't your problem.

Insufficient boron can be a problem. It's best to determine whether there's a deficiency by having leaf samples tested. Sandy soils with high pH are most likely to be deficient. You can take leaf and soil samples to your nearest Cooperative Extension Service office to test for boron. This link can help you find yours.

Insufficient moisture can be a problem. Oaks tend to be heavy drinkers, so the oak could contribute to that. If the oak is casting a lot of shade on the grapes, that can be a problem, too.

Powdery mildew can cause flowers and small grapes to drop. It is most active when the temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees F. It can occur in sun or shade, but shade encourages it. Powdery mildew looks like a gray, dusty powder on the flowers/fruit. Fungicides can control it, but if you can eliminate contributing factors, do so.

Some insects (beetles and bugs) will feed on small grapes and flowers. Check in spring to see if they're present.
You mentioned the East/West orientation of your trellis. When planting in full sun, I prefer North/South orientation so that the vines can get sun on both sides of the trellis as the day progresses. Regardless of the orientation, full sun is always best.

John Marshall 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I had almost no muscadine grapes. How can I get big yields?

I have a dozen muscadine grapes, all different varieties. This past summer they produced a very large amount of foliage but almost no grapes. I had very few spring blooms. Although I do not prune too closely, I have had grape yields in the past. I use only organic culture... How can I get big yields?

 There are a few things that can contribute to poor muscadine yields. But since you noted that you "do not prune too closely", I expect that's the problem. If you haven't pruned enough in the past, plants will produce a lot of thin, unproductive shoots. I suggest you prune closely this season, leaving only 3 or 4 buds per spur. In addition, reduce the number of spurs.