Growing Melons in Containers So You Can Harvest With Recommended Analysis of Fertilizers That Can Be Applied to Broad Cultivation

Growing melons in containers is not as difficult as we think. In fact, we can plant it, such as in a poly bag and place it in front of the house or yard.

Although it is a little more complicated than string beans, it is still possible to grow melons in containers.

As long as the location is not too shady, melons can still bear fruit fairly well. This shade means that the melons can get at least 5 hours of sunlight per day.

growing melons in containers

Actually, it is far from ideal. Because ideally, melons should get direct sunlight between 8-10 hours per day.

The need for sunlight during that time can only be obtained if melons are planted in open land. For example, fields, rice fields, or roofs of houses.

If your location only gets 5 – 6 hours of sunshine, don’t be discouraged. We can still grow melons. As I have done.

I will share how to grow melons in polybags, as I have done.

Containers size for growing melons

The size of the container used must be large. If we use a polybag, the minimum diameter is 30cm and a height of about 40 cm.

growing melons in containers - poly bag size

Relax, it’s not a serious problem. That is, with a large continuous volume, the media’s ability to hold water will be more. Also, there is plenty of room for root growth and there is less risk of fertilizer poisoning.

Melons have broad leaves and most of the plant consists of leaves. The trunk is only small.

On average, plants like this need a lot of water. Especially when the plants are tall and have a lot of leaves.

The broad leaves will make the transpiration rate of the melon higher. Automatically, the water needs will be more.

Containers with small volumes will make the planting medium dry quickly. What’s more, if the weather is hot, evaporation causes more water to evaporate.

Besides, the media moisture that is not optimal will affect the absorption of nutrients. Plants cannot absorb nutrients without water.

Prepare the planting media

The planting medium used to grow melons in polybags must be light and large porous.

Because after all, this growing media will be getting denser over time. Especially if the planting medium used is only soil.

Soil sieved (finely) if there is no light mixture of media, the longer it will be solid. Watering with a large discharge, for example with a dip or rain, will make the media denser.

Media that compacts will make water irrigation in the media worse. Thus, the growing medium for melons becomes muddy, and melons will be susceptible to root rot.

The choice of planting media also adjusts to the fertilization plan that will be used.

Some planting media materials that can be selected include:

  • The soil is crumbly but not clay.
  • Sand
  • Chaff charcoal or roasted husks
  • Rice husk (not yet burned)
  • cocopeat
  • Compost

Especially for clay, it must be mixed with sand. Minimum ratio of 1: 1. Because charcoal-husk and compost are less able to increase the porosity of the clay. Except for more husk charcoal.

Therefore, sand must be used and mixed thoroughly. Mixing this requires more effort and the weakness of the growing media is very heavy.

In general, people use loose soil, sand and compost as a planting medium. The ratio is 1: 1: 1. Sand can be replaced with husk charcoal or rice husks.

If the fertilization plan uses AB Mix fertilizer from the start, then the ideal planting medium is husk charcoal or cocopeat alone. Although all planting media can also use AB mix.

Time to prepare a good planting medium

Media for planting melons in polybags that use compost as one of the ingredients, must be mixed and prepared at least 2 weeks before planting.

This is to anticipate if the compost used is not yet ripe. The temperature of immature compost is still hot and composting activity by bacteria is still ongoing.

This composting activity requires oxygen from the environment. If the composting process occurs around plant roots, there will be fierce competition for oxygen between the roots and the composting process.

The roots will experience a lack of oxygen. If in a hydroponic system, we can see the color of these roots will turn brown.

Oxygen deficient roots will find it difficult to absorb nutrients. Over time the roots rot and the plant dies.

To find out whether the planting medium is ready for use, let’s see if weeds or weeds can grow or not.

If there is grass or weeds, the planting medium is ready to use to grow melons.

Choosing melon seeds

I suggest you should use melon seeds by buying them from trusted seed producers.

This is because the quality of the melon seeds will be guaranteed. As long as the purchase is not retail. This retail means we buy seeds at a price per pcs of melon seeds.

Many online shops sell like that. The original packaging is opened and repacking carelessly.

I’ve always been less fortunate with these retail seeds. Low growth percentage. Maybe because we don’t know since when the packaging was opened and what storage was like before the seeds were sold.

Therefore, several seed producers have actually provided a variety of seed packaging which is quite affordable for a hobby scale.

Honestly, I don’t know whether the seeds we get from melons can be planted or not. If we can, we can get cheaper seeds.

I once received a complaint from my neighbor who tried to sow the seeds from the melon he bought, but nothing grew.

I just smiled, because I didn’t know what to say. If anyone knows the process of making quality melon seeds or seeds, please help me in the comments column.

Because in my opinion, if you can make quality melon seeds just by taking fruit seeds from the market, the price of seeds will not be that expensive.

Melon seed seeding

Melon seeds can be sown directly into polybag planting media. As long as it is confirmed that the planting medium is ready for planting.

This step is easy enough to do. Because it only remains to make a hole about 1 cm deep, then the seeds are thinly covered with soil.

Then flush with water so that the soil is wet. Later, after 2 – 3 days, if the melon seeds are good, they will start to look sprouting.

By sowing directly into polybags, we do not need to move planting. Because melons will immediately grow big in containers.

growing melons in containers

growing melons in containers

growing melons in containers

growing melons in containers

 

It is different if the seeding is done separately.

Moving to a larger size polybag needs to be done at the age of the melons around 7-12 days.

Then the stakes can be given a week after the melons are moved. Stakes between 1.5 – 2 meters high.

Melon fertilization

Melons require complete macro and micronutrients. As in other plants.

However, melons are among those whose completeness cannot be ignored.

Fertilization programs for hobby-scale plants sometimes ignore some important macronutrients. For example Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg).

Therefore, fertilization that only relies on NPK is lacking. Because the fertilizer dominantly only provides N, P, and K only.

In the long term, melons will potentially lack calcium and magnesium.

Lack of calcium will cause the melon stem to break. Also, the fruit can also be attacked by BER (Blossom End Root).

growing melons in containers

Although not severe, the stem of this melon plant broke. If it don’t lack calcium, that’s magnesium

growing melons in poly bags

To get calcium fertilizer is also not too difficult. Sources of calcium for plants, both organic and inorganic, are very easy to find.

For example, there are calcium nitrate fertilizers, calcite, and dolomite as inorganic calcium. While the organic source can use eggshells.

Eggshells for plants can provide benefits other than calcium. This is a very inexpensive alternative, as every kitchen has an eggshell. We can take advantage of it.

The need for melons for nutrients

According to a fairly decent website, we can see the fertilizer requirement for melons per hectare in the table below.

Fertilizer for melons/ha with 12000 – 18000 plants/ha [1]

N 210 kg/ha
P2O5 150 kg/ha
K2O 340 kg/ha
MgO 55 kg/ha
CaO 180 kg/ha

If we divide it by plant, then each melon plant planted in polybags requires the following nutrients:

We take the number of plants per hectare of 12000 plants. So, for each crop of numbers, we divide by 12000.

Fertilizer for melons per plant

N 17,5 grams/plant
P2O5 12,5 grams/plant
K2O 28,3 grams/plant
MgO 4,6 grams/plant
CaO 15 grams/plant

To get the nutrients above, it’s very simple. We only need two types of fertilizers, namely NPK and Dolomite.

For example, we use NPK 15-15-15. So, in one kilogram of NPK there are 150 grams of N, P and K each.

If we calculate for the amount of P, then 1 kg of NPK 15-15-15 can fertilize about 12 melon plants.

However, there is a very shortage of N for 12 plants. Especially for the K, which is only enough for about 5 melon plants.

We can add to this deficiency in various ways. Either use foliar fertilizer or add KCL and a little urea.

Or, you can use one of the nitrate fertilizers, namely potassium nitrate. The amount of fertilizer is in accordance with what we need. Because the K2O is much higher than the N.

Potassium nitrate contains 46% K2O and 13% N.

For calcium fertilizer, just take dolomite. This dolomite already has calcium (Ca) and also magnesium (Mg).

Calcium in dolomite is 26%. For 15 grams of calcium, we need 57.7 grams of dolomite. Automatically, the magnesium has been covered by giving this much dolomite.

How many times to fertilize a melon?

The table above shows the total needs during melon cultivation. From start to harvest.

Broadly, the application of fertilizer to melons is carried out for three periods.

  • Seedling – Flowering.
  • Flowering until the fruit is still small.
  • Fruit enlargement – 10 days before harvest.

If we still follow the same fertilization recommendations as above, then the fertilizer per period for melons can be followed by the following amounts:

Schedule for fertilizing melons

Period N (kg/ha) P2O5 (kg/ha) K2O (kg/ha) MgO (kg/ha)
1 22 46 22
2 66 46 188 25
3 122 58 200 30
Total 210 150 340 55

Alternative fertilizer doses for melons can use the following fertilizers: [2]

Manure 20 tons / ha
Urea 250 kg / ha,
sp-36 450 kg / ha
KCL 250 kg / ha
NPK 16-16-16.

Manure, urea, SP-3, and KCL are applied as basic fertilizers. All.

Basic fertilizers are given 2 or three weeks before planting.

Then NPK fertilizer is given as liquid fertilizer. The concentration is 2 grams/liter and each plant is given as much as 250 ml (one glass). Giving is done every 10-14 days.

The dose of fertilizer for melons above is good. But there is still a possibility that the melon will suffer from calcium and magnesium deficiency.

Because these two elements are not given directly, they only rely on the availability of soil and manure.

Giving dolomite is also not always possible because you have to know the pH of the soil to be planted.

If the soil pH is low, adding dolomite will make the pH go up and that’s fine. But if the pH is at the normal limit of melon needs, adding dolomite will make the pH higher.

Soil pH that is too high will inhibit the absorption of other nutrients.

AB mix Melon fertilizer

If we can mix our ab mix fertilizer, this fertilizer is very good for producing melons with good fruit quality.

This is because AB fertilizer can be customized and adjusted from the density and type/source of nutrients used.

For example, suppose a good source of N for fruit is nitrates. Ammonium sources are still needed but in relatively small amounts.

Also, the need for macro and micronutrients is certainly fulfilled. Because AB mix formulations are usually very complete and consist of more than 5 types of fertilizers.

But it all depends on the fertilizer formulator. If we buy AB mix for melons, we can look at the manual only.

These manuals usually provide information on the concentration of nutrients to be administered and the volume to administer. This is for fertilizing melons in the drip irrigation system (fertigation).

Care for planting melons in polybags

Weeds or weeds are not a very important disturbance in growing melons, especially in polybags.

Because usually the open land area (planting medium) is already shaded by lush melon leaves above it. So, weed growth is not as wild as when planting melons in the fields.

But still, one or two foreign plants can appear. Just pull it out, finish the weed problem.

For pests on melons, several types are almost the same as pests on chili and long bean pests.

Most commonly these are mealybugs or whitefly, leaf winners, and some flower bites.

Overcoming whitefly is quite easy. You can use tobacco water, garlic, and many other vegetable ingredients. As long as painstakingly spray it, the mealybugs will run away.

This pest needs a lot of reviews, I will discuss it in another article, another time.

When to Harvest Melons?

Planting melons in containers takes at least 2 months to harvest. That is if there is no disturbance and enough sunshine.

growing melons in containers

Melons can be harvested when the fruit stalks are slightly dry. Usually, the old leaves will start to turn yellow a lot.

It should also be noted that the young melon has smooth skin and a slightly light green color. For the type of green melon (regular melon not honey melon). I didn’t know honey melon yet.

As it gets bigger, the skin will be rougher (like scales appearing) and the color will be lighter. The bigger the melon, the rougher the skin will be.

Tips for optimal melons

For the current melon seeds, it seems optimal if each melon plant grows only 1 fruit.

Even though it is actually able to raise more than one melon, but it takes patience and good sunshine. Favorable ambient temperature and the right humidity.

Of course, the nutrition provided must be more. Due to the amount of fertilizer for one fruit, it is impossible to raise two fruits of the same size. The amount of fertilizer must be added.

But the ability of melons to absorb fertilizer is greatly influenced by the intensity of sunlight it gets.

The dim light makes melons unable to absorb heavy nutrients. Rays that are too hot will make transpiration bigger. Number of rays and intensity must be just right.

Good fruit growth is between the 9th – 12th leaves. If there are no fruit between the leaves, then take the fruit that thinks the development will be good.

After choosing one that is certain, just remove the flowers that appear.

If the fertilizer we use contains excessive nitrogen (N), then usually a lot of shoots will appear.

This shoot is just thrown away.

The ends of the melon plant do not need to be cut off. Let it grow so that it can catch more sunlight.

And the most important thing is that nutrients and water must always be sufficient. Because melons will need large amounts of water.

With polybag planting media, we will water more often.

I think this is used for how to grow melons in polybags. Sorry if there are so many shortcomings. See you again and thank you.

Reference

[1] https://www.haifa-group.com/growing-melons-haifa-fertilizers

[2] Novianti, Rizki Utami. 2017. Fruit Quality Characteristics of Several Genotypes of Melon (Cucumis melo L.) in Two Planting Seasons. Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture, Bogor Agricultural University

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