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Several folks have had thisSeveral folks have had this problem this year (read some below). Your plant probably has a fungus. This can be brought on/introduced several ways; one common one is failure to rotate crops. Curcubits, such as watermelon, should be rotated properly with other crops and not return to the same place/soil in the garden for at least 3 years. So,okay, you say, you’ve rotated or maybe this is your first year with watermelon. The fungus overwinters in the soil from a previous vine crop. It might be carried by a cucumber beetle. And frequent rains (or watering; you might be giving it too much) can help to spread the fungus. Some sources suggest spraying plants. Certainly some fertilizer—chemical or organic—can help a struggling plant; try it. Can’t hurt. (BTW, I recently heard a farmer observe: If we all drank just water, we’d grow some but we’d be thin and unhealthy.) If possible, in future, grow cultivars that are resistant to fungus, and control weed growth. We hope your daughter is not discouraged by this experience. Next year, try a few more kinds of plants. The chance of having greater success is more likely. Then go to a farmer’s market and buy one, and ask the local grower what he would do or thinks was the problem, too. Sometimes, local conditions indicate more than we can know from here.

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