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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:38 pm 
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My cantaloupe plants were doing great until a few days ago when I noticed LOTS of fire ants, multiple little holes in the leaves AND the ends of my of the vines dying off.

I'm picking up DE first thing tomorrow morning for the ants. And I have sprayed my plants with Pyrethrin (because I did find little caterpillars).

Any idea what the problem could be?

thank you
frankie


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Don't use pyrethrum as part of an organic program. Howard stopped using it years ago and has advised against it for a long time.

If we have a wet or cool spell you can put out beneficial nematodes to help with the caterpillars. Though it is not recommended as often now, BT is excellent to get the caterpillars or cut worms, but use it sparingly because it will also kill butterflies. I try to avoid getting the spray on flowers. A mix of water, Garrett juice, orange oil or a plant wash soap sprayed on will help get rid of a lot of pests and would be a good idea to try first.

There may be some disease particular to cantaloupe (or to melons or the whole squash family) or a fungus, that you can try treating with straight hydrogen peroxide (apply with a spray bottle) or other treatments for fungus or powdery mildew. And be sure that you're not watering the plant too much or to little.

Do you have fruits on the plants?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:37 am 
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thank you so much for the response!
I have BT and will switch to that.
watering could be a problem. It has been over 100 degrees for several days now and being new to this (gardening) I'm not sure I'm watering it correctly.

Can you comment on the proper water techniques for cantaloupe?
thank you
Frankie


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:23 am 
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Keeping it alive when the plants wilt and look horrible is a challenge - but if you accept that they're going to look awful in the middle of the day and revive when it's cooler, then you can avoid overwatering. I try to water mine once a day, morning is best, and since they're way at the back of the yard I hand carry a couple of buckets and pour them onto the old compost pile where I planted them. (I planted mine there because last year rats from the woods across the road moved into the garden and attacked the cantaloupe and sweet potatoes. Any rat wanting fruit this year has to get past at least two dogs who hunt.)

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:28 am 
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hilarious!
I try to water only every other day. But when I check the soil (3" depth) and it is nearly dry, it is necessary to water daily.

Maybe I'm not overwatering. Hopefully the heat will subside.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:19 am 
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Using a soaker hose is best, and run it for about an hour or 2 every 2 to 3 days. Mulch heavily. Invest less than 10. for a moisture meter which will tell you if you are getting enough moisture down deep where the roots are. Feed every 2 weeks when they are blooming. If you live in Texas, the heat won't subside till the end of September!

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:33 am 
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Thank you Sandi. Yes; oppressive heat. Been living with it for 10 years now.
But never with trying to make a garden grow.

Would you have any idea why the ends of my cantaloupe vines are dying back? 2-3" were lost on some vines; not all. And only the cantaloupe; not the watermelon. It is perplexing.

But yes; I began mulching as well so there should be some benefit there.
I'll look for that water meter thing. and I have drip irrigation going in soon.

thank you!
Frankie


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Mine have just developed a similar problem, it's aphids that are attacking. I'll be using soapy water, sprayed under the leaves, to kill them. Ants love to harvest the aphids - look closely at the underside of your leaves and see if you have them. You can also simply shoot the hose at them hard enough to knock them off (without wiping out the plant). Once aphids are knocked off they don't re-attack, I think the water breaks their sucking proboscis or mouth parts off.

Last year's cantaloupe was a "volunteer" that escaped from the compost. This year it is seeds from an envelope - and I have to say that the volunteer was a lot more robust!

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:15 pm 
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Hi, .
if there are aphids, there aren't many. I did find on very close inspection: flea beetles, little black beetles, grasshoppers, and what looks to be a tiny red spider (only found one spider but didn't look under every leaf).

what do you think? Soapy water? Or maybe BT?
I have DE sprinkled every where, but still have ants!

geez.

thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:27 pm 
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BT isn't for those things. Try soapy water, or a little orange oil (dilute - a teaspoon* or two per gallon of water). Or you could try puffing some DE under the leaves, see if that brings some of that activity to a halt.


*I corrected this with an edit - I had originally stated too much orange oil in this mix.

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Last edited by northwesterner on Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:45 pm 
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will do; tomorrow.
I'm done for the day!

thank you


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