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Old 06-13-2007, 09:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
First off, the tiny "hills" you create when planting squashes, melons, etc., will not "give you more space". A plant that creates 10-20 feet of vine is not going to care about a little 12" hill - lol!!! (Whoever told you that Verablue was pulling your leg.)

You don't need to plant in "hills". Think of pumpkin fields - are they planted in hills? No. "Hills" just provide better drainage for the sprouting seed, which can easily rot without it. Big-time farms don't care about that; backyard farmers (like me) do. But it's not necessary. Normally you plant a number of seeds in a "hill" & then either pinch off or transplant more than 2 or 3 in each "hill". The vines will spread everywhere, but how rampant depends on the variety. Many "bush" & "semi-bush" varieties are far less invasive.

Once your vines start to produce fruit, remove all but 2-3 per vine to encourage growth to those few.

Melons are a lot of fun to grow - & SugarBaby is a good one to start with as the fruits remain small, are very sweet, & mature early.
Simple mathematics, dollface...if you have a square foot flat surface for growing, and then, in that same square foot surface, place hills, adding height, in addition to width, only the numerically challenged would suggest you are not getting more space.....but you go ahead and see it your way, mmkay..?
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:21 AM   #12
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Actually, it has nothing at all to do with mathematics (& I'm not numerically challenged, in case you were worried). It's simply common sense that regardless of how large/high you make your hills for spreading varieties of squash, melons, etc., it doesn't make a hill of beans of difference (pun intended) to plants that spread 10-20+ feet. Exactly what "space" are you saving? All you're doing is providing additional drainage. The extra few inches provided due to the height/width of the "hill" is laughable as far as space is concerned with these varieties. Trust me - I come from a long line of farmers. This was their business.

(Oh, & just a FYI - except for my husband & a few close friends, no one else is allowed to call me "dollface" - lol!!!!)
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:08 AM   #13
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BreezyCooking is correct on this one. The purpose of "hills" is not to save space. It MAY save 1/2 inch of space, but that is meaningless in regards to watermelon culture. The vines spread so far, that the space the plant is first raised is inconsequential.

I too was puzzled by the concept of "hills" when I first started gardening. I do not raise watermelons, but I do raise another vining plant, winter squash. I find that I just forget about the concept of "hills" and I do just fine! We plant the seeds in the level ground, about 6 to 8 feet apart, and then stand back. We use the mulching system extensively in our garden, so even before the seeds germinate, the entire area is covered in about one foot of hay.
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:12 PM   #14
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Green Acres is the place to be! Farm living is ...

Thanks for the replies, everyone!

The same evening I posted my original question asking about the hills, my wife walked by me working at the computer and noticed the seed pack as I had yet to share the father-son project with her. "While you're at it", she said, "I would love some garden-fresh cucumber ".

Later, after returning from the seed store, I noticed the cucumber seeds' planting directions called out the same "plant on a hill" requirement. So I started calling up all my relatives that I knew might have some insight to the matter.

The concensus was that the hills were there for drainage as the roots don't care much for sitting in a puddle. Planting the seeds in a sloped field would accomplish the same thing. Luckily, I had just such a full-sun area in my back yard. The seeds were planted on a Sunday afternoon, and had germinated by Wednesday.

I noticed yesterday that the plants are starting to flower. There will be watermelon and fresh cukes before ya know it. And yes, as mentioned by AllenOK, the vines are starting to take over the yard. Maybe I'll make a batch of Aunt Bea's Kerosene Pickles out of the cucumbers we can't eat.

Thanks again,
Tom
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:38 PM   #15
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Tom you are right but it is more for the moisture that can cause the young plants to be ruined by fursaruim wilt or a seedling fungus called damping off.

I'll mound for pumpkins, watermelon, summer squash, and zucchini. The top of the mound is about a 2' circle but only 4 to 6 inches higher than the bed. I like to mix the mound soil with compost 3 parts soil to 1 part compost. Make the top slightly concave so when you water you don't just erode away the mound. FYI find that the vines can root at nodes if you put a little soil over them. The added rooting buffers your battle with squash borer that can hit the base of the vine.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:00 AM   #16
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In conclusion

I believe this year's garden has run its course as all the leaves are starting to yellow, and what cucumbers are coming in don't look as good as they did in the beginning. Thanks again for everyone's help.

Tom
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:40 PM   #17
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AllenOK,

I used to raise cucumbers, squash and pumpkins the same way, by trellising and supporting them. But I always got into trouble for stealing my wife's panty hose for them to grown in.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:01 PM   #18
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Wow - those pics look fabulous!! Just like the ones you see in seed catalogs - lol!!!

The few times I grew cucumbers (actually, just the the little French Cornichons from seeds a friend brought me directly from France), I found a great & fun way to grow them was on 2 panels of that inexpensive criss-cross thin-wood trellis stuff that all the big box stores sell for blocking off underneath decks & stuff. The folks we bought our 1st farm from had a couple of these panels kicking around, & I tied them together teepee fashion & planted my Cornichons on either side. They grew like gangbusters, didn't need any tieing, & were really easy to pick. An added plus was that I was able to grow summer lettuces inside the teepee as well as right around the outside where the cucumber plants/leaves provided shade.

I don't think those panels would be strong enough for melons, pumpkins, or winter squash, but for small cukes they worked great.
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