How to Grow and Care for Watermelon at Home Garden
The watermelon is an annual fruiting vine that needs a reasonably lengthy, hot growth season in order to produce the beloved summer delicacy that picnickers all over the world are familiar with. One of the many plants in the enormous Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes most vining vegetables including cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins, is the watermelon. All of the cultivars of watermelons found in household gardens are members of the Citrillus lunatus genus. Since it is believed to have started growing over 5,000 years ago in the African Kalahari Desert, watermelons have been cultivated for many years. Slaves from Africa transported seeds to the United States. Watermelons come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and there are more than 100 cultivated varieties as a result of hybridization.
Large, lobbed leaves with a hairy, gritty texture and a sprawling, prostate-vining plant characterize the watermelon. In the middle to end of the summer, they blossom with yellow flowers. The thick-rinded, delectable fruits mature swiftly for harvest in late summer and early fall. From two to four watermelon fruits are produced by each plant.
Juicy watermelon seems to be a summertime favorite for everyone. Melons, which are indigenous to Africa, need warm weather and a lengthy growing season. They should be about ready to harvest by late summer. How to cultivate and harvest watermelons in your garden is provided here.
The four groups into which modern watermelon cultivars fall are as follows:
- Jumbo picnic melons weigh 15 to 50 pounds.
- Smaller family-sized fruits, weighing 5 to 15 pounds, are icebox melons.
- Melons without seeds are self-sterile hybrids. They lug a 10–20 pound weight.
- Melons with yellow or orange flesh are frequently thought to be sweeter than watermelons with red and pink flesh.
When to Plant Watermelons
- Start seeds indoors two to three weeks prior to your last date of frost in cool climates with short growing seasons. About two weeks after that date, or once the soil has warmed to at least 65°F (18°C), plan to transplant seedlings into the garden.
- If the soil temperature has warmed to at least 65°F (18°C), you can sow seeds outdoors directly in warmer climates with lengthy growing seasons one to two weeks after your last frost date.
- Nursery stores also sell young watermelon plants. They are very tender, so plant them only after there is no longer a chance of a frost. Keep an eye on the weather in your area and exercise caution! To further warm the soil, think about draping black plastic over the planting area.
Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site
- Before planting, add compost, seaweed, or old manure to the soil. Due of their intense feeding habits, watermelons require healthy soil with a high concentration of nutrients. Find out more about soil improvements and getting the soil ready for planting.
- Loamy, moderately sandy, well-drained soil is ideal for watermelons. When the soil is excessively clayey and poorly drained, they may struggle.
- On the range of 6.0 and 7.5 ("slightly acidic to neutral"), watermelons thrive in soil.
- Up to 20 square feet are required by each watermelon plant. Plant them in an area where they won't encroach on other crops because their vines need space to spread out.
- The hills created by growing the vines in higher rows provide proper drainage and prolong the effectiveness of the sun's heat.
- The plants should be placed in a slope that is 5 feet wide and 2-3 feet apart.
- Space your traditional row-grown crops at least 6 feet apart.
How to Plant Watermelons
- Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in seed-starting pots indoors or 1/2 to 1 inch deep outside.
- Use larger starting pots than you would for most seeds to allow for more root growth. Additionally, think about using compostable containers that can be removed or planted directly in the garden to reduce the possibility of damaging the seedlings' delicate roots during transplanting.
- If direct seeding outside, plant 4 to 6 seeds per hill and thin to 2 to 3 seedlings later.
How to Grow Watermelons
Temperature and Humidity
Flowering and Fruiting
Typical Insects and Illnesses
How to Tell If a Watermelon Is Ripe
- Push it. The watermelon is ripe when it makes a hollow sound.
- Look at the top's color. When there is little contrast between the stripes, the watermelon is ripe.
- Take a look at the bottom color. A watermelon that isn't quite ripe will have a white bottom; one that is will have a cream or yellow bottom.
- Strike it. The watermelon is ripe if it makes a slight giving sound when tapped. (Note: Rhodes dislikes this technique since it can degrade the fruit's quality.)
- Verify the tendril. Wait if it's green. The watermelon is ripe or nearly ripe if it is half-dead. It's ripe or overripe if the tendril is completely dead; because it won't get any riper, you might as well pluck!
- Cut stems close to the fruit using a sharp knife.
How to Store Watermelons
Recommended Watermelon Varieties
- The "Blacktail Mountain" has a dark green rind and red flesh. They lug a 6–12 pound weight.
- "Faerie" watermelons have a yellow rind and red flesh. At 5 to 6 pounds, they are relatively small fruits.
- "Golden Crown" watermelons have yellow rinds and red flesh. They lug a 4–7 pound weight.
- A great red-fleshed cultivar is "Sugar Baby." Melons weigh between 6 and 10 pounds.
- The melons from "Ali Baba" have an oblong shape and red flesh. From 12 to 30 pounds, melon weighs.
- A hybrid plant called "Moon and Stars" produces lovely melons. There are cultivars with red and yellow flesh.
- Melons from the variety "New Queen" have orange flesh, few seeds, and a lot of sugar. They are between 5 and 6 pounds.
- The red-fleshed "Revolution" melon takes 80 days to reach maturity. Melons weigh 20–26 pounds.
- Melons with red flesh from the "Superseedless" variety are ready for harvest 90 to 95 days after sprouting. Melons weigh 16 to 20 pounds each.
- Melons with red flesh from the "Sweet Bite" variety mature in about 75 days. Melons weigh 5 to 8 pounds.
- A yellow-fleshed melon with a 75-day maturation period is called "Triple Gold." Fruits weighed 8–10 pounds.