Wonder how to grow a watermelon plant? It’s simple: a seed, well-drained soil, and sun. Simply add– you thought it– water! Growing watermelon is one of summer’s sweetest rewards.
The first step in growing juicy and scrumptious watermelons is to choose what type you wish to grow. There are three primary kinds: early season, primary season, and seedless watermelons. Within those classifications you can choose flesh that’s red, pink, yellow, or orange. Or you can read this article about types of melons.
An early-season watermelon is sometimes called an icebox melon because it grows to a small size that easily fits on a fridge shelf. It takes the quickest quantity of time to grow, about 70 to 75 days.
A main-season watermelon is larger and takes longer to ripen, usually 80 to 90 days.
A seedless watermelon represents an intriguing workout in plant genetics. When their blossoms are pollinated from regular seeded watermelons growing close by, plant breeders make numerous crosses to produce seeds for watermelon plants that can’t produce seeds themselves however can grow fruit. Seedless watermelons grow like other kinds of watermelons. However, due to the fact that they’re not busy putting energy into producing seeds, seedless types are typically sweeter and the vines become more vigorous throughout the summer.
When to plant watermelon?
In some northern environments, the growing season may not be warm enough time to produce excellent watermelons from seed. 2 to 3 weeks before your last frost, start watermelon seeds inside. Plant watermelon seeds in a soilless potting mix.
Keep seedlings warm and damp until outdoor temperature levels consistently stay above 50 degrees F or warmer. Don’t begin watermelon seeds too early, as large plants transplant poorly into the garden; as soon as planted, watermelons do not like their roots interrupted.
You can plant watermelons directly into the ground when the soil temperature level is above 65 degrees F. Plant seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep, placing 2 or 3 seeds in groups 18 to 24 inches apart. As soon as watermelon seedlings are established, get rid of 2 and leave the best watermelon plant in each group.
Watermelons require soil that is well-drained and sandy. They also require a pH level in between 6.0 and 6.5– a very narrow variety. Test your soil before including any compost or fertilizer to understand if you need to add any nutrients and in what amounts.
Prevent “weed and feed” kinds of fertilizers. They consist of weed killers that eliminate fruit and veggie plants. They also kill yearly flower seeds but are fine for usage around shrubs and seasonal plants.
To keep and suppress weeds soil damp, use a 1- to 2-inch layer of natural mulch around watermelon vines when they reach 6 to 8 inches long. Regularly hand-pull weeds when they are small; if you wait till weeds are big, the weeds’ large root systems might interrupt a watermelon’s shallow roots.
Once watermelon vines begin producing blooms, the secret to fruit set is pollination by bees. Avoid spraying for flying bugs; chemicals can kill the beneficial bugs your plants need.
How to Get Sweet Watermelons?
Why are some melons so sweet while others seem to be fibrous and unappetizing? To get high sugar content, you should keep watermelon plants pleased all season with the correct amount of water, protection from diseases and pests, and the addition of extra nutrients to the soil.
A particularly cool growing season can likewise affect watermelon quality.
How to grow seedless watermelons?
Seedless watermelons may not sprout in addition to other watermelons, so begin more seeds than you require indoors in peat pots. Follow the same directions as for seeded watermelons once they’re transplanted into the garden.
Seedless watermelons require pollen from a seeded type to produce, so you must plant both kinds near each other.
How to tell when a watermelon is ripe?
How do you understand when a watermelon is ripe? It’s made complex, however here are a couple indicators:
- It has actually probably been pale green or white during the growing season. Be cautious not to rotate your melon when you check this signal or you can harm the vine.
- On ripe melons, the green, curly tendrils near the stem start to dry out and turn brown.
- The surface color of your melon might appear more dull rather of glossy.
- The skin withstands the poke of a fingernail.
Do not rely on the time-honored “thump” method. It simply doesn’t work.
Specialists recommend washing whole watermelons with clean water prior to slicing to eliminate prospective bacteria.
- Mulching with black plastic will serve several purposes: it will warm the soil, prevent weed growth, and keep establishing fruits tidy.
- Watering is very important– from planting until fruit starts to form. While melon plants are growing, blooming, and setting fruit, they need 1 to 2 inches of water each week.
- Decrease watering once fruit are growing. Dry weather produces the sweetest melon.
- Make sure it provides more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium if you select to fertilize (and many do). Nevertheless, after flowering starts, utilize a fertilizer with less nitrogen. We like to utilize liquid seaweed.
- Pruning isn’t needed, but vine productivity might be enhanced if you do not enable lateral (side) vines to grow and stick to the primary vine. When the plant is young, just cut off completion buds as they form (prior to the side shoots become vines). You can also pinch off some blooms to focus the energy on less melons (though it’s an obstacle to exterminate a prospective fruit).
- Vines produce female and male flowers individually on the same plant. They frequently start producing male flowers numerous weeks before the females appear. Do not be concerned if the male flowers fall off. The female flowers (which have a swollen bulb at the base) will remain on the vine and bear fruit.
- Blooms require pollination to set fruit, so be kind to the bees!
- As fruit is ripening, avoid decomposing by carefully raising it and putting cardboard or straw between the soil and the fruit.
Harvest and storage tips
Watermelons do not sweeten after they are picked, so harvest time is necessary. They usually ripen over two weeks so keep your eye on them.
Dr. Bill Rhodes, teacher of horticulture at Clemson University, uses the following advice on how to tell if watermelons are ripe:
- Thump it. If the watermelon sounds hollow, it’s ripe.
- Take a look at the color on the top. The watermelon is ripe when there is little contrast in between the stripes.
- Look at the color on the bottom. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a cream- or yellow-colored bottom.
- Press on it. It’s ripe if the watermelon sounds like it provides a little. Due to the fact that it can ruin the quality of the fruit.), (Rhodes does not like this method.
- If it’s half-dead, the watermelon is almost ripe or ripe. If the tendril is fully dead, it’s ripe or overripe; it’s not going to get any riper, so you may as well select!
- Stems must be cut with a sharp knife near to the fruit.
- Watermelons can be stored uncut for about 10 days. If cut, they can last in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Wrap securely in plastic.
Recommended watermelon varieties
- ‘ Sugar Baby’: 80 days to maturity. Produces 10-pound melons with brilliant red flesh. This variety of smaller fruit can be planted just 4 feet apart.
- ‘ Sweet Beauty’: 80 days to maturity. A 2004 All-America Selection. Bears 6-pound, elongate melons with red flesh.
- ‘ Golden Midget’: 70 days to maturity. Bears small, yellow-skinned 3-pound melons with pink flesh. Great for Northern garden enthusiasts.