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Melons - only male

My random fruit and veg try out this year is melon - Lanai Gal. Never grown this before, I foolishly assumed it would be straightforward. However I'm clearly doing something wrong but not sure what.

I have 5 plants. All of them are healthy, growing well. I've trained them on a cross lattice and pinched out as recommended by the RHS page. 

The issue is I'm only getting male flowers in every plant. I managed to get one female pollinated successfully, I have a golf ball size melon, so I know the general principles are right. But I'm checking all the plants closely every day and no sign of female flowers.

I'm just not sure why I'm only getting male flowers now. Any melon experts here, before these plants go to the great kohlrabi-i-hate-you veg plot in the sky?
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  • Sabina13Sabina13 Posts: 113
    No explanation here sadly, but piping in to say I have the opposite problem to you so maybe its just one of those weird gardening things :smiley: 

    My jill/jack be little plants must have about 50 baby female flowers and to date only 1 single male flower LOL
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,187
    I usually find it takes melon plants a while to produce female flowers (although this year, for the first time, I have several already).
  • strelitzia32strelitzia32 Posts: 767
    @Singing Gardener thanks, that's interesting, I didn't realize I was early with my expectations. My single growing melon fruit has been there a while so I just expected more! How quickly do they ripen into melons? I was kind of expecting cucumber speed!

    @Sabina13 good to know I'm not alone!
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,187
    Melons are way slower than cucumbers. I'm already inundated with cucumbers but don't expect any ripe melons for weeks yet. Every year I think melons are too much effort bur I still feel chuffed when I get a few edible ones!
  • strelitzia32strelitzia32 Posts: 767
    @Singing Gardener good to know, thanks. My cucumbers are flying too. Looking at my solitary melon I think I've got months to wait, they really do seem like more trouble than they are worth. But that's the point of my yearly random vegetable (fruit) tryout - hopefully one year I'll find something great!
  • Sabina13Sabina13 Posts: 113
    @Singing Gardener good to know, thanks. My cucumbers are flying too. Looking at my solitary melon I think I've got months to wait, they really do seem like more trouble than they are worth. But that's the point of my yearly random vegetable (fruit) tryout - hopefully one year I'll find something great!
    My random plant this year (one of many :smiley:) is my watermelon. Yesterday I saw the first female flower open, but no males around! 

    How can we simultaneously love this feeling of anxiety and dread coupled with giddy excitement and wonder, that these randoms give us hahaha. 
  • strelitzia32strelitzia32 Posts: 767
    So, an update, I have female flowers and melons!

    However on the plants where I followed the RHS advice, pinched out and trained, I still only have male flowers.

    On the plants I left to sprawl, I'm getting a LOT of female flowers. I'm pollinating manually for now, but can any melon experts tell me the best way to manage this?

    Am I supposed to thin the fruit crop, or the stems? How many melons can a plant support - is it cucumber/squash level, more or less? Do I pinch out 2 leaves beyond the fruit, or leave it?

    I'm not so confident in the RHS advice any more, at least for this variety...
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    I've never had more than 4 melons ripen on a single plant when grown in an unheated greenhouse, so would say remove any new flowers after (say) 5 have set per plant (if you're lucky enough to have that many!)  I do more or less what it says in the guide on the main site, here:
    ;)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • strelitzia32strelitzia32 Posts: 767
    @BobTheGardener thanks for the advice. Is it worth removing the male flowers as well, does that put more energy to the fruit? I've got between 5 and 7 fruit on each plant so will strip the extra and pinch the stems. Hopefully they'll ripen in time.

    Good advice, thank you.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    Yes, I remove all flowers once I have a decent amount of fruit set. As you say, you want the plant to put as much energy into the fruit as possible rather tha wasting it on producing flowers.  The same reasoning applies to pinching back sideshoots to 2 or 3 leaves whenever they appear.  I have a couple of late starters here and am limiting those to 2 fruit and growing as a single stem because I believe they will ripen quicker that way.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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