Black Leaves, Should I Harvest My Volunteer Watermelons?

agee
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Black Leaves, Should I Harvest My Volunteer Watermelons?

#1

Post: # 54633Unread post agee
Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:15 pm

I have 6-7 watermelons from volunteer plant(s).

It was a rainy summer in Georgia and up until this week the plant was very vigorous. We had rain for a few days starting last week-end and into the earlier part of this week. I noticed that several of the leaves were turning black and then notice that the area the leavers are covering is looking sparser, so the leaves are contacting as well.

I did some research online and am not seeing much. The little I am seeing is indicating a fungus which is not all that surprising, I suspect that the lower temperatures and shorter days enabled the fungus because we have definitely had more rain.

As of now the melons look fine. Two small (newly pollinated) melons, not included in my count above, do have black rot.

I actually harvested a melon because it passed the tendril tests. I am wondering if I should just harvest all of the watermelons because either the fungus is going to spread to the melons, or, since the leaves are turning black and contracting, photosynthesis has or will soon shut down.

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Shule
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Location: SW Idaho, USA

Re: Black Leaves, Should I Harvest My Volunteer Watermelons?

#2

Post: # 54634Unread post Shule
Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:20 pm

@agee
I'm not familiar with watermelon diseases that make the leaves black. Can you show a picture?

The watermelon may not ripen further post-harvest. I would probably take the risk and leave them out to ripen, since if you harvest them now they'll likely not be very edible (unless maybe you want to pickle them or something). I know Red-seeded Citron does ripen further indoors, but it's not a sweet variety, and it has an incredibly long shelf-life.

Not every disease that affects the leaves will necessarily affect the fruits.
Location: SW Idaho, USA
Climate: BSk
USDA hardiness zone: 6
Elevation: 2,260 feet

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Shule
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Re: Black Leaves, Should I Harvest My Volunteer Watermelons?

#3

Post: # 54635Unread post Shule
Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:21 pm

Regarding whether they'll ripen further with hardly any leaf matter, yes, they can--at least mine do when the spider mites (and the accompanying anthracnose-like disease) kill my plants. They ripen as the plants die. As soon as the nearest tendril dries up, they're usually ready. They ripen more reliably when I grow with black plastic, though. In the plain ground, sometimes they're not completely ripe when the plants die. If there's no tendril on the nearest segment, look at the next-closest tendril.
Location: SW Idaho, USA
Climate: BSk
USDA hardiness zone: 6
Elevation: 2,260 feet

agee
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Re: Black Leaves, Should I Harvest My Volunteer Watermelons?

#4

Post: # 54637Unread post agee
Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:30 pm

I will try and get some pictures up tomorrow.

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Shule
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Re: Black Leaves, Should I Harvest My Volunteer Watermelons?

#5

Post: # 54646Unread post Shule
Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:06 pm

@agee
FYI, I won't be on tomorrow, but I should be here Monday night or so.
Location: SW Idaho, USA
Climate: BSk
USDA hardiness zone: 6
Elevation: 2,260 feet

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