Watermelon is that juicy pulpy fruit which stays in almost everyone’s ‘favorite list’ because of its sweet sugary taste. Watermelon is basically a vine-like flowering plant that originally comes from the southern part of Africa and cultivates as a crop in the utmost countries of this galaxy. It is not easy to grow a watermelon in your garden as this plant needs very precise climates to grow. But, despite the consequences and a long cultivation period, several contemporary gardeners are showing interest to cultivate this crop on their own capabilities! Before jumping on the cultivation session, you need to know a few certain things about growing watermelon in your garden space or any indoor area; hence let’s check out the methods properly first-
- Watermelon likes well-drained, fertilized and loamy types of soil.
- Try to keep the pH level of your soil within 6.0 to 6.8 for the best growth of your crop.
- Till the soil very well by using a tiller to make it smooth and clumps free.
- Never keep any sort of vegetative matter into the soil; these elements actually prevent the nourishment from reaching the root!
- This plant prefers rich soil, so organic compost and time released fertilizer.
- Add an at least 1-inch deep layer of fertilizer on the top of your selected ground, where you are going plant the seeds.
- One more thing you need to validate before sowing the watermelon crown or seeds and that is whether there are any puddles existed in your soil or not! Remember that any kind of puddle or clay bud could be a great drawback part of your drainage system.
- Watermelon grows best in the dry season, and as the crop takes almost 80 days to complete the session thus, it will be better if you can start your cultivation in winter.
- This plant also prefers warm climate throughout its whole growing session, thus choose a location where it could get at least 70 to 77 ̊F temperature all through the cultivation period.
- The best part of growing watermelon is that it could grow in tropical and subtropical both climates.
- It would be best if you can begin the seedling following three or four weeks after the last frost date in the spring season.
- Remember that the sugar content of the fruits depends on the weather of your plant, so always prefer the perfect climate and temperature to your watermelon plant if you want to get a handful of a healthy
- To plant the seeds of watermelon plant, prepare a location that is allotting 4 by 6-foot area for every single plant.
- Now, decide the variety of watermelon, which one you need to plant in this prepared ground, as the cultivating process varies by the variety!
- Form mounds of the earth using a hoe before start your seedling.
- Now, dig 1-inch deep some holes in a row departing 2 to 6-feet from each other and place 3 to 4 seeds in each hole.
- Rake the fertilized soil flat over the top of the seeds and pat it down lightly as the tight soil will help to evaporate the moisture from the soil more quickly.
- Now water thoroughly and wait for the germination, which may occur within 7 to 10 days after sowing the seeds.
- Once you see the sprout grows itself slowly after the germination, water more frequently and don’t let the soil dry for a single hour.
- After the plants reach the height of 4 inches, mulch them with proper mulch, as this will hold overheat and supply it to tour plants in the night.
- Mulch system also prevents the unwanted weeds and several pest problems at the same time!
- Once you found that the flowers begin to bloom, decrease the frequency of watering about every three days. This will provide adequate dryness to the foliage and fruit which is necessitated for the ideal growth.
- Now, you just need to take proper care of your watermelon plants until they reach the harvesting period.
Complete Guide for Growing Watermelon
- To take perfect care of your watermelon plants to get the best succulent and flesh fruits you need to set you to plant under the direct sunlight so then, they could obtain at least 8 to 10 hours full sun heat.
- Well, drainage systems is another imperative segment of cultivating watermelon so, never leave any clod or puddles in your soil and avoid any sort of clay base soil in this matter.
- Though, rich organic matter or highly fertilized soil is required for growing watermelon plants but never make the soil over fertilized as this will drive the root growth earlier then it’s perfect timing! You can add ½ cup of bonemeal to your soil, to shun the early root growth.
- If you found that any plant sets one fruit than its ideal time then, remove it from the plant to instigate multiple crops to develop from that one plant!
- Water regularly at the young stage of your plant and then eventually decrease it as the fruits will start to grow.
- Watermelon plants have a weaker vine, especially the smaller type plants, so arrange some fences or A-frames near the stems and tie in place with cord or something else to provide the strong support system to the vines.
- Mulch black plastic to the ground once the plants reach the height of 3 to 4 inches, as this will help to clutch the warmth to the roots for an extended period.
- Weeds regularly to keep the circumstance fresh and use those kinds of mulches which help to reduce the possibility of weeds.
- Always use a fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen content but less in phosphorous and potassium substances.
- Once the fruits are growing bigger, set a minimum distance from the soil to prevent the rottenness and set a cardboard or straw between each fruit and the earth.
- Last but the most significant point is to protect your plants from any kind of pests and diseases to the get healthy form of your crops.
5.Pest and Diseases:
It is superfluous to say that this super tasty fruit gets infected by many damaging pests, insects, wilts, fungus, and other diseases apart from the birds and animals.
Aphids, cucumber beetles, squash vine borer moths, cabbage looper, etc. are some typical insects or pests which easily affect the watermelon plants and damages their fruits along with the stems, vine, and leaves. You can use several pesticide sprays to get rid of these disgusting creatures but, they could damage the growth or population of your crops by default! So use Bacillus thuringiensis chemical to kill the utmost pests, especially, those spread unwanted larvae over your plants! You can use floating row covers, organic pests’ killer, and effective mulches as well, to get remedy from such troubles.
Fusarium wilts, verticillium wilt, watermelon mosaic, downy mildew, Cercospora leaf spot, bacterial fruit blotch, blossom-end root, aster yellow, etc. are common diseases which could tremendously harm your watermelon crops from its root to the top! Removing weeds, using fungicides, departing growing crops from the earth, maintaining well drainage system, providing sufficient sunlight, pinching off infected leaves or fruits, using pathogen-free seeds, planting good companion plants, etc. are some easy remedies you could apply against these surplus diseases to keep the watermelon plants and its fruits completely diseases free, just make sure that you are using the appropriate methods for the particular crisis!
How to grow watermelon from seeds
Watermelon Harvest and Storage:
- Generally, watermelons are ready to harvest after 80 to 90 days of seedling, though the exact time depends on the variety of the species that you have chosen to plants!
- When you find that the rind seems really hard, and has reached the perfect size for its certain variety, then decide to pick it up from the plant.
- One more thing you should note here that you can see a circular crack around the stem when the fruit would be ready for harvesting.
- To harvest the crops, cut the fruits from the vine using a sharp knife and store in a cool dark place immediately.
- Watermelon normally could be stored for 10 days in natural climate, if you keep them in a cool and low light space in your house.
- To store the fresh flesh of this fruit even some more days, you can place them in your refrigerator too, this way watermelon could stay fresh for more than 2 weeks!
- If you want to store a sliced or cut watermelon then, wrap the cut-side tightly with a piece of plastic and place it in your refrigerator. This way, you can preserve the rest part for the nest 3 to 4 days in a fresh form!
- If you desire to store fully sliced watermelon pieces in the fresh form then, place the pieces into an airtight container or a heavy duty freezer bag and keep it in your refrigerator then.
- If you want to preserve them in the ice cube form then, blend it first in your food processor and then pour the puree into the ice molds. After that, place the mold tray in your freezer and don’t take out until the cubes solidify completely.
Types of Watermelon:
You can find several types of watermelons in the main category among them four basic types are the mentionable patterns according to the agricultural methods. These varieties play a significant role in the size, appearance, cultivating process of this crop, hence let’s check some important matters of these four varieties in this article ahead-
Seedless: This type of watermelon comes in a complete seedless form with the perfect flesh and sweet taste. But, the complicating cultivating process of this species has made this variety less popular among the utmost farmers. This type of watermelon grows in an average weight of 10 to 20 pounds.
Picnic: Picnic watermelons are one of the large varieties of this species that usually comes with a size of 16 to 45 pounds. This category holds the best appearance of a watermelon which comes in a perfect round shape, bright green rind and red pulp with a superb sugary taste!
Icebox: Icebox watermelon is one category that is bred for personal purposes for the utmost times. These types of watermelons cultivate in a small or tiny shape with the size of 5 to 15 pounds. This icebox watermelon grows a little earlier than its other equivalents and divides into two main genres which are Sugar Baby and Tiger Baby.
Orange Fleshed: This type of watermelon can come in seedless or seeded both forms. Orange-fleshed watermelon grows in a perfect round shape and red fleshy pulps. This variety also can grow in a yellowish orange color instead of perfect orange shade. The easy to grow quality has made this type a perfect garden crop among them all!
How to Grow Watermelon in Containers:
- To grow watermelon in a container all along in the indoor area, select a perfect container first.
- To cultivate this giant fruit in a pot you will need a 5-gallon or a larger sized container with the good drainage system.
- Now fill the container with potting mix and other organic compost, but avoid any kind of garden soil into the mix.
- Now you should decide the variety which you want to sow in the tub.
- After selecting the category you need to plant the seeds under the 3 to 4 inches deep from the base.
- You can put 2 to 3 seeds in one single pot as not all the seeds are grown to grow perfectly!
- Once the seedling is done, cover them up with a thin layer of potting mix and water a little. Make sure that the watering system couldn’t harm the seeds or its upper layer for a single moment!
- Now place the container in bright sunny places like balcony or windowsill and provide some kind of support to the vine to get the best growth of your crop.
- Once the fruits appear in the plant, add some more additional supports to the each fruit to give every single fruit enough room to grow the utmost!
- Use water based fertilizer for your potting mix as watermelon plant needs more water if your plant it in a garden pot or container.
- Validate the growth regularly and take proper care of your plants until it reaches the harvesting period.
How to Decide if the Watermelon is Ripe or not?
Some novice gardeners feel confused and claim that it is tricky to decide whether a watermelon is all ready to harvest or not. Hence, let’s check out some important tips which would help you out to decide the perfect harvesting time of a watermelon. Check this out-
- When you would see that the tendrils seem closest to the fruit and begin to dry out with a shade of pale brown, be assured that the harvesting time arrives, finally!
- If you want to be more convinced about the ripeness then, thump a little on your watermelon, if you get a dull noise in return then it ripens
- The underside also turns white to pale yellow, once the crops are ready to harvest.
- The fruit will have a precise circled crack around the stem when it fully ripens, as we have already indicated in your ‘harvest’ discussion.
After receiving all these symptoms, you can ensure that the fruit is fully mature and all ready to harvest from the plant.