Watermelon is one of the most popular fruits of the summer. Almost all of its content is made up of water, so it is ideal to keep us hydrated while we enjoy its sweet taste. But, did you know that its cultivation in the garden or even in a large pot is quite simple?
Of course, after having been watering it almost daily and fertilizing it at least once a month with ecological fertilizers (such as guano, for example), there comes a time when you have to take a serrated knife to separate it from the mother plant. However, How and when to harvest watermelon correctly?
How many harvests does a watermelon plant produce?
The first thing you should know is that Having a watermelon plant and taking care of it in a particular way is not the same as if you use it for commercial purposes. First, because in the latter case you do not have just one plant, but many, and that means that you cannot take good care of all of them and prioritize the quantity over the quality of the harvest.
This influences the yields that a watermelon plant can produce. We start from the basis that depending on the environmental conditions, the temperature and light, the water, the grafts and the setting of the fruits will cause us to have more or less harvests. But, in general, From each watermelon you have, you could get between 2 and 6 fruits. No more. Although in a “wild” state, that is, without giving it much care, it can have more fruits, these will not be of quality.
Once it bears fruit, the plant usually disappears, but many times, especially in pots or with care, it can be kept longer and harvested again.
When does watermelon bloom?
The flowering of the watermelon begins in the months of May and June. Taking into account that the cycle of a watermelon begins with the sowing of the plant, which is done in September or October, we can say that this plant is one of the latest in showing signs of fruit. Of course, as there are different varieties, it is possible that some have a later sowing and, therefore, that they are harvested later.
But you have to be very attentive when you do it because, From the moment it blooms, you have to start watering it regularly.
How is watermelon grown?
Only when you have given the watermelon adequate care and it has the necessary nutrients to develop the fruit will you be able to harvest it. Sometimes, even if you have a watermelon plant, you may not have a harvest. Therefore, here we leave you all the care that you will need that, although you can see many, in reality watermelon doesn’t require as much as you may be thinking right now.
The first detail about the watermelon plant that you should know is that it is It has three ways of cultivation: by seeds, by non-grafted seedlings and by grafted seedlings. Each of them is different, and shortens or lengthens the period in which you will have to take care of the plant.
- If it is for seeds, you will need about 100-120 days to harvest. In addition, these seeds need to be in a land that is kept at about 18ºC since, otherwise, it will cost them a lot. It is also necessary to control the humidity level of the soil and the environment as it influences germination. In general, if after 6-10 days nothing has come out, the seed is not good, or has been damaged in the process.
- If it is for non-grafted seedlings, the time to harvest is shortened, and it also allows us to choose the best variety based on what we have or offer (the type of soil, pH, etc.).
- If it is by grafted seedlings, which is the most common, the process is much faster since it would only be necessary to plant them in their final place and watch them grow. In a matter of 75-90 days they could be bearing fruit.
Whether you are having a potted watermelon plant or in your garden, you have to provide a soil very rich in nutrients but that is sandy. The watermelon plant likes soil with a pH 5,8 to 6,6, moist but not soggy.
Watermelon plantation experts recommend that, if it is to be planted in the ground, the ground must be prepared at least five months in advance so that it is oxygenated, has good drainage, and rocks and other elements that hinder the development of watermelon are removed. plant. Also, before planting, a fertilizer is applied to further nourish the soil.
And, finally, the plant is controlled to have a constant temperature of less than 18ºC (with plastic films, for example).
If you are going to plant in a pot, you don’t have to spend so much time preparing it since a mixture of soil with nutrients, drainage and a little rooting or fertilizer will be more than enough.
Watermelon plant watering
The watermelon plant needs the soil to have moisture, especially at the beginning of the flowering season because that is when it will need it most. Depending on where you grow it, you may only with rainwater and humidity is more than enough to meet this need. But if the days are dry, it is possible that you need to water it daily.
In the Mediterranean, for example, many water these plants for about 20 minutes a day in the early stages and, as the cultivation progresses, they increase the irrigation. In other places they only water them weekly.
There is also a trick and it is that it is said that watermelon plants are best watered first thing in the morning in the early stages and, in the second, do it at the end of the day.
Of course, keep in mind that the usual form of irrigation is drip irrigation; If it is watered in another way, you have to provide it with between 400 and 600 mm of water in general (it will depend on where you have it, the soil, etc.).
This is one of the most important care, at least for some, since there is debate in this case. There are those who think that pruning the watermelon plant is good because it makes it develop and bear fruit better; and others are against it.
In general, when watermelon is pruned, it is always done in the development stage, to control that it will not bear too much fruit and yes of quality. However, it is left protected from pests and diseases.
So unless it gets out of hand, you should do minimal pruning.
Plagues and diseases
The watermelon plant is one of those that suffers the most from pests and diseases. That is why you have to be careful with them and prevent the appearance or act before it is too late.
Some of the company’s common pestsYou can find: Thysanoptera, which are insects that suck the sap from the leaves; aphids, which also suck the sap and transmit diseases; Y tetranychus urticusa mite that damages stems, leaves and fruits.
With respect to diseases, the most common They are: anthracnose, which damages the leaves and veins; mildew, which causes the appearance of yellow or gray spots; Y powdery mildew, which creates a powdery mold that attacks the leaves causing them to die.
For all these problems there is a solution.
When is it harvested?
First we are going to answer this question, because if we do not know when we can harvest it, it will be useless to know how to do it. As well. Watermelon it will be ready to be savored between 75 and 95 days after sowingdepending on the variety.
To know if it is mature we will have to observe if it has:
- Basal spot (the part that is in contact with the ground) that turns from white to cream.
- It is covered in a whitish, wax-like powder.
- The peduncle (the stem that connects it to the mother plant) is dry.
- When you hit the shell, a thud is heard.
How is it harvested?
Now that we know when it can be caught, it is time to find out how we can separate it from the mother plant. For that I recommend taking a serrated knife previously disinfected with a few drops of dishwasher, and cutting the peduncle. Then, all that remains is to wipe the watermelon with a dry cloth to remove any traces of soil it may have, and put it in the fridge.
As we can see, harvesting the watermelon is not difficult, but if you have been wanting to learn more about its cultivation, you just have to do click here.