Belly rot looks almost as bad as it sounds.
What starts as brown or black mushy areas on the underside of your melons or squashes turns dry and leathery. It won’t hurt you, but it can make fruits more susceptible to other pests and diseases.
Melons, squashes, and other members of the cucurbit family can all get belly rot. Belly rot is a fungal disease caused by Rhizoctonia solani. Infection occurs when fruit is left to sit on the soil for prolonged periods, especially when moisture is present.
Symptoms of belly rot
If you see water-soaked, sunken, black or brown spots on fruit, and it is not blossom end rot, it is probably belly rot. The lesions can be very small to covering the complete underside of a fruit. As the infection spreads, the lesions dry out and become leathery or scabby. Infected fruit should be removed
Preventing belly rot
To prevent the spread of belly rot, avoid overhead watering and get that fruit up off the ground. You can use trellising, tomato cages, children’s furniture, those little plastic pizza box props, straw, benches, colanders - ANYTHING that will allow some air to get between the fruit and the soil. Improving drainage will also make this disease less likely to occur.
Generally, the fungi that cause belly rot are everywhere, so prevention is your best bet. This means checking the bellies of your melons on a regular basis!
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!