Watermelons need an in-depth and warm season, no matter what variety you select. Read seed or seedling information carefully before purchasing, to make certain it’ll be possible to grow in your climate. There are many cultivars available, including seeded and seedless types. Red-fleshed watermelons include Royal Sweet, Oasis, Sugar Baby (a smaller melon), and Fiesta. Yellow-fruited watermelons include Sunshine and Yellow Baby (also smaller). Seedless varieties are considered harder to grow in home gardens, but you’ll try Triple Sweet, King or Queen of Hearts, or Tiffany among seedless cultivars.
GROWING CONDITIONS FOR WATERMELONS
Watermelons grow best in locations where there are long sunny days and warm temperatures. Daytime temperatures should be reliably within the 70s and 80s during the season, with nighttime temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees. As far as soil acidity, they like a pH within the 6.0 to 6.8 range for best growth but are going to be fine in soils right down to a 5.0 pH also. A sandy, loamy soil rich in nutrients is that the best for watermelons, to supply good drainage.
Since watermelons are so sensitive to cold, they ought to not begin until all danger of frost is passed. In many areas, this suggests you want to start them indoors within the spring in seed pots. an honest time-frame to try to do this is often about four weeks before you expect to be ready to put them within the ground. Plant seeds together with your preferred seed-starting method, whether it’s peat pots, peat pellets, homemade cardboard or newspaper pots, or store-bought seed trays of soil. Seeds should be planted two during a pot and thinned out after germination. Poke them into the soil about an in. down and canopy with soil. If you’re starting them within the garden, they’re going to flourish best within the hills. Add fertilizer when starting seeds to assist germination and early growth.
Mulch watermelons, keeping the fruit off the bottom because it grows, and helping the plants retain moisture. Many gardeners and growers in colder zones use black plastic around watermelons to assist warm the soil also as function the mulch. they’re a vining plant, in order that they need supports like upright stakes with string or wire between them. Small “icebox” melons also can be grown on trellises with horizontal supports. to stay weeds down, hoe shallowly and frequently rounds the base of the melons, being sure to not chop any roots. Be vigilant about pulling weeds which will outcompete the tender melons.
It takes some practice to understand when a watermelon is prepared for harvesting. The stem and its nearby tendrils of vine turn brown and dry up, while the “ground spot,” or the purpose where the melon rests on the soil, turns a cream or white color from its previous green or yellow. you’ll hear that a watermelon will sound ripe by giving a dull thump when tapped; this will be an unreliable indicator, so also check the surface of the fruit, which should turn duller and rougher. The melon should break easily from the stem, with no tearing or cutting needed. Store picked, uncut watermelons for up to 2 weeks at temperature.
PROBLEMS GROWING WATERMELONS
Watermelons enjoy humid, warm conditions, but these are often also perfect for diseases and pests to flourish. Possible pests include cucumber beetles, aphids, and mites, while diseases include wilt, anthracnose, Alternaria leaf spot, and gummy blight. Some cultivars are immune to certain diseases. you’ll help prevent early insects by using row covers until the plants begin to bloom, and you furthermore may use your choice of insecticide to discourage pests.