No cantaloupes or watermelons

Because of some health reasons, I did not get a good start on my gardening until late this year. I do hope to use the next cool months to get things ready for next year and get a jump on things.
All of the cantaloupes, watermelons, and pumpkins I planted this year failed dismally. They had yellow leaves and tiny fruit. This was the first planting. I had a sandy area where there was a water head, so I added about five bags of amendment (turkey shit based locally suggested stuff) and a bale of peat moss. I did have sprinkler heads on there, but when I thought it may be watering too much, I put bubblers on there with lower water flow.
For next year:
Should I till more amendments in there? Should I mound it up? How much water, and how often for about six plants? What fertilizer, and how often? The lady at the nursery suggested three things to mix in there, blood meal, cottonseed meal, and another I can't recall, which I did. She was really hyped on using natural things rather than chemical fertilizers. I do have access to all the horse and cow dung I want to collect right next door.
Help appreciated.
Oh, 3700' elevation, XXtreme SW Utah. Right on the lines zonally, but 6-7 here:
http://extension.usu.edu/forestry/HomeTown/Select_HardinessZones.htm
Soil, blowsand, but the garden and these areas have been amended with quite a bit of organic materials.
La Verkin is the closest town to our burb.
Steve
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Maybe you need to add clay.
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wrote:

I shall take that under advisement and ask about it the next trip to the nursery. The gal there knows a LOT about plants, but I wouldn't want her to date my sister.
Steve
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Why?Does she smoke?
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"I added about five bags of amendment (turkey shit based locally suggested stuff) and a bale of peat moss."
"Should I till more amendments in there? Should I mound it up? How much

The lady at the nursery suggested three things to mix in there, blood meal,

Once again a soil analysis from the UMASS is 13$, I'm sure Utah Colleges have comparable prices. A test will address all of your questions based on science specific to your soil rather than a generalized ideal of what someone thinks you should have. It also will give you a Conventional and a Organic fert guideline.
Also do check with your county extension office, I bet they have folks that are as good at answering these questions you have as your Nursery lady and what you can get here, mostly because they know the conditions you face.
BTW ever check the pH and mineral content of your water? A soil test will tell you the pH and the buffered pH of your soil but most folks never know what the water is.
So think about it. How much have you given the lady at the nursery so far based on her $cientific knowledge of what you should have? Your results to date have been what?
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It is time to just gather a sample or two from different locations and do it right. The nursery has been here for generations, and they know lots, but a real test is what is in order.
Steve
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out of lurk mode.... around here (SE Illinois) the turkey amendment is disked into the soil in the fall and allowed to cool off over the winter months. Linda H.
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wrote:

out of lurk mode.... around here (SE Illinois) the turkey amendment is disked into the soil in the fall and allowed to cool off over the winter months. Linda H.
Was out there today attacking the biomass until the weed whacker died. Got the parts and got it fixed, and will be out there tomorrow. Will definitely till everything in now, and let it do its thing until spring.
Thanks.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

[....]
what broke on the string trimmer?
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carb problems.
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SteveB wrote:

the primer bubble dry rotted on mine. up until I took the time to chase a part and then fix the trimmer, 31 pulls of the starting cord and I could go to work... now with primer bubble replaced 2 pulls of the starting cord and we're working....
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    If such a thing ever happens again, think "starter fluid". Ether in a spray can. Commonly available at auto parts stores/departments. Short burst into air filter and you're in bidness. It also may be wonderfully efficacious when one is dealing with a cantankerous old engine with low compression.
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Balvenieman wrote:

starter fluid is a must here on the farm in the winter when cranking the old diesels.
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same thing. primer bubble. now nothing will start it. i've got spark and gas. i'm stumped.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

mine is a Shindaiwa I bought back in 1992. never had a problem until the primer bubble failed.
when you test for spark, are you finding spark at the end of the spark plug wire where it connects to the spark plug, or at the gap of the plug?
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At the gap. Cleaned around the ceramic cone with a straight pin. Nothing in there.
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SteveB wrote:

if I am reading this to mean you have spark at the gap with fuel making its way into the cylinder then the next test is compression.
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