Monday, June 20, 2022

Lessons learned grafting watermelons


Start twice as many melon seeds as squash seeds.

Start them a full week earlier. I started them three days earlier and the squash had much larger stems.

Do not get clips that are too big, i.e. larger diameter than stems.

But if you did, try a cleft graft with a single, tapered cut on the melon scion.

Making the graft about an inch-and-a-half from the squash roots and with an inch of stem below the melon seed-leaves seemed to be the happy spot for my fat thumbs.

The cleanest cuts on the melon scion were from cutting off the top inch an then laying it on a pad of newspaper with the two seed-leaves oriented like an infinity sign. Then lightly mash the stem to the pad and draw the edge of your utility knife at an appropriate angle.

Applying the grafting clips so they closed the two half-circles of the cleft graft and then pushing the tapered end of the scion into the cleft (wedge fashion) seemed to work. 

Coffee and caffeine are not your friend.

Beer coolers make good callousing enclosures.

A cheap, ultrasonic humidifier is your friend.

Clear plastic is your friend.

Red light promotes plant elongation and growth while blue light seems to shorten up elongation. 

I only grafted two Blacktail Mountain, two Kholodok and three Wibb. It will be interesting to see if any survive. At this point, it has been an exercise in the mechanics of sticking succulent scion on top of succulent roots.

I am NOT looking to get into this business but I do want to learn how to be successful at it.

3 comments:

  1. I for one am curious. Not quite baited breath, but interested!

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  2. Quite a bit of work, what exactly are you expecting from it?

    Curiosity killed the cat but Satisfaction brought it back :-)

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  3. Grafted watermelon is the standard in much of the world. Labor is more expensive in the US and land is cheaper.

    Benefits are purported to be slightly more disease resistance of squash roots and more aggressive at scavenging nutrition...meaning I need less fertilizer. Also about 25% higher yield per acre.

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