[NAFEX] growing melons over black plastic

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Wed Jun 10 05:24:54 EDT 2009

Someone asked me off list what I meant when I said that from Z6 down black
plastic might be useful or even necessary for growing melons.  She is in a
Z8 and wondered if black plastic might be helpful for her, which got me
thinking more about growing stuff over plastic, especially melons.  Here's
what I wrote her.

Same as counting down- you know- 4,3,2,1 (zones colder than 6).  Anytime you
need more growing season black plastic is useful.  Soil temps are even more
important than air temps and small plants can be covered from a late spring
frost (over-night) and get good growth if the soil is warm.

Small farmers around here use black plastic to grow many things to get a
jump on production- even broccoli.  You might benefit from using it to get
the melons to flower earlier and therefore ripen under a stronger sun which
is crucial to get the sugar up.

The plastic also helps vines and fruit dry out more quickly and reduces dew
and allows melons to ripen without a trellis on a spot not too wet.  Melons
are generally a kind of desert fruit and humidity is not helpful.
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