1. Q: As watermelons get larger do I need to support them?

I assume these vines are growing on the ground, so any fruit that sets will be laying on the ground. You can carefully put the melons on straw when they are football size to support them and keep them from rotting. If they are not covered well with vine leaves, you might also consider covering them with baskets to keep them from sunburning. If you have these melons on a trellis or caged and the set melons are hanging, YOU'VE GOT TROUBLE because they will snap off as they mature. If they are small melons such as Sugar Baby, you can support them with slings made from old nylons.

2. Q: I am growing both watermelon and cantaloupe in my garden this year. The vines are really spreading out and taking over, but not setting much fruit. Should I pinch back the vines?

You can trim back watermelon vines to somewhat control the size and cause more stem shoots but the watermelon will get to be a very large plant regardless of how much you tip the runners. Watermelons are planted in early spring and again in August. Trying to mature melons in the heat of summer causes poor fruit set and development. Be sure to allow plenty of bees and pollinating insects around when both male (flower only) and female (flower with small fruit attached) flowers are present. If you are not getting both types of flowers, you may have planted too late or be growing in too much shade -- melons MUST have 8-10 hours of direct sun daily.

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