Complete newbie gardener is growing melons in a raised bed


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I'm making a raised bed out of cinder blocks in full sun. It's 4 foot by 4 foot and 8 inches deep, although I might make it bigger. I've bought some of Kellogg's All Natural Organic Raised Bed and Potting Mix to fill it with. I'm planning on getting something to cover the dirt to help it heat up. I live near Nashville TN. I'm going to start the seeds inside and transplant them when they're big enough.
Although I still can't decide what melon to grow...:confused:
I know I don't want to grow watermelon cause the people I live with are already growing some. I don't like cantelope so I don't want that either. I was thinking about honeydew but I kinda want something more unique, something that I can't just go to the grocery store and buy.

Does anyone have any melon suggestions? I've looked online and found a few that looked interesting.

Specifically:
Canary Melon
Nutmeg Melon
Keli Kheli Melon
Sakata's Sweet Melon

Should I pick one of these or is there something better suited to my area/experience? I'm not deadset on picking one of those, they're just a few that stood out when I did some quick research on what kind of melon seeds I can order. I heard that there are some melons that taste similar to cucumbers. That sounds good to me, but others in my family can't stand cucumbers and I'd rather grow something we can all enjoy.

And does anyone have any gardening tips on growing melons in a raised bed like this? Should I make the bed bigger? Smaller? Is there anything I should add to the soil? Should I give the area some shade? Would adding some photos of my set up help?

This is my first time doing something like this so I'm kinda nervous that I'll mess it up! I really want to do this right so any helpful tips would be appreciated, even if they seem obvious!
 
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Not knowing what grows best in your area all I can suggest is that you go to local gardening clubs and your local nurseries. Not the Big Box Stores to find out what are the best varieties to plant. As far as growing them is concerned in my experience keeping them on the dry side is crucial as well as growing them in a WELL DRAINED environment.
 
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My experience with growing melons taught me that they take up A LOT of space! I'm sure it depends on variety, but l think a four foot square bed will support just one, or maybe two plants.
 
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@Chuck I didn't know that! I assumed since melons had a lot of water in them they would like wet ground. Thank you!

@Beth_B yes thats what I was thinking. Do you have an idea of how big to make it? How big are your patches?
 
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I was actually looking at that exact site a few days ago, wondering if this was something I wanted to try. :LOL:
 
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@mags it's been over a decade since l grew melons! Honeydew and cantaloupe, as l recall. I'm pretty sure one plant easily filled up a 4' square space. I planted them on little hills and put mulch down under the leaves and fruits as they grew.
 
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After thinking about it for a while, I have decided to make the bed bigger. Its now 8x8 instead of 4x4.

Before I go ahead and put the dirt in, I've looked up raised bed layering. From what I've learned I'm thinking about tilling the ground to break up the grass, putting down newspaper, then some of the old lawn clippings in my compost pile for lack of better compost (its a relatively new pile), dirt, and last black mulch to warm it all up.

I've also been looking into companion plants that will fit into the cinder block's holes. I've read online about their benefits, but not all of them had a clear reason.
The ones I'm considering are:
Morning Glory
Nasturtium - attracts aphids away from melon and aphids attract predatory insects. It makes me wonder if it could backfire though...I don't want to attracts aphids at all. Maybe I'll only plant it if I see some show up.
Catnip - deter beetles and attracts pollinators but there are stray cats in my area and although I love cats I don't think I want them rolling around in my garden :giggle:
Dill
Okra - don't know how well it would do in the holes, they're probably too small so I might grow okra someplace else
French Marigolds - deters beetles, whitefly, and nematodes
Mexican Marigolds - same as french but also may repel rabbits and attract hoverflies
Oregano
Sunflower - a smaller variety at least, I don't want something too big

This Saturday I'm going to a local plant and landscape nursery to get some black mulch and check out melons and companion plants.

While I was outside working I also noticed my dad put his watermelon seedling in with his strawberries....This doesn't seem like a good combination, I assume the strawberries would get crushed by the melons!
 
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Good plan! 4x4 really isn't much space.

Catnip or any mint variety: will grow through the bottom of any container and spread like crazy. If you're ok with this, go for it. :) (I'm ok with it personally but just saying...)

Okra needs lots more space.

Marigolds are an excellent choice. :)
 
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I don't really want it spreading for various reasons; would putting a barrier in the bottom bother the plants at all?

Darn, I knew it was too small for okra. Maybe if I plant it in the far western corner of the raised bed, its shade won't bother the melons and it'll still have enough room to grow....
 
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I finally got to go to the local plant nursery today! They didn't have everything that I wanted, but I did get a lot from them. The rest I bought at some other stores. Everything was really spread out so it took all day. :sleep:

I took a bunch of pictures of my plants cause I was so excited!

The already growing plants, in no particular order are:
Peppermint
Catnip - Junior Walker (hope i don't attract too many strays!)
Thyme - German Winter
Spanish lavender
Rosemary
Marigold - I think Hot Pak? Can't quite remember.
Oregano

The seeds are:
Okra - Clemson Spineless (not going in the cinder blocks holes cause they're too small for okra)
Morning glory - Sunrise Blend
Sunflower - Teddy Bear
Dill - Bouquet
Nasturtium - Jewel Mix

And the star of the show...
Honeydew Green Flesh!
I decided to go with honeydew cause I couldn't find anything else in stores and I didn't want to wait for seeds to come in the mail. I planted the seeds inside for now to make sure they grow okay. I looked up if they should be planted a certain way and I learned all about the seed radicle and how it should be pointed down so the

Tomorrow my family says they'll help me fill in the raised bed and plant everything else. :3
 

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I've got sprouts!!! As they get bigger I'm going to thin them out since the area's not very big. Don't worry about how much shade there is, it's late afternoon and the sun's going down. This is about the only time that shade is there.

Unfortunately one of the mints died but the other seems to be growing alright so its not a complete loss. At the store they had all the mints growing in the same trays and their roots were crawling into each other's pots. I think the dead mint just lost too much foliage and roots when it was separated from the others. I tried to pick some already separated ones that still looked healthy, but I guess that one wasn't as healthy as I thought it was.

On another note I'm gonna ask a moderator if I can move this thread to Garden Projects instead of Fruit. That seems more fitting at this point.
 

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These are all great tips here because I just started cantaloupe seeds on a whim not realizing that they take up SO MUCH SPACE!! I did learn that you can grow them vertically though with a strong trellis, and that is exactly what I intend on doing. I have grids already set up and ready to go. My seedlings are only about an inch tall, but I'm planning ahead. I'll be following along for more great tips on growing melons.
 

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