Watermelons: Tips for Growing This Juicy Summer Treat

Biting into a juicy slice of fresh watermelon is an essential part of summer. You can hardly have a barbecue or a picnic without including a plate because it is so refreshing on a hot day. But if you've always picked up your watermelons at the grocery store, you're losing their flavor.

Growing your own and letting them ripen in the sun is a must for any true watermelon fanatic; they will taste better and you can take one straight from your garden to your table. All you need to get started is a sunny spot in your garden and some seeds.

The first step in growing juicy and delicious watermelons is choosing the type you want to grow. There are three main types: start the season, main season, and seedless watermelons.

Within these categories, you can choose red, pink, yellow, or orange meats. An early-season watermelon is sometimes called a chilled melon because it grows to a small size that easily fits on the refrigerator shelf.

It takes the shortest time to mature, around 70 to 75 days. Main season watermelons are larger and take longer to ripen, typically 80 to 90 days.

How to plant watermelon

You should plant watermelons when the soil reaches at least 21 ° C. If you live in a place where the growing season is shorter, it is a good idea to start your seeds indoors. However, sowing them directly is recommended as it will give you the best watermelon crop.

Cover the floor with plastic

To get started, you'll need to cover the area you plan to plant your watermelons in with black plastic a month before you start digging. This will intensify the sunlight and warm the floor.

Seed start indoors

If you live where the climate stays cooler for long periods of time, you will have to grow your seeds indoors. Here is what you need to do.

Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep in seedless starter medium. Wet it well and keep it moist. You should place three seeds per larger cell pack.

Once the seeds have been planted, you will need to place them on a heating mat, under the grow lamps, and near a south-facing window. The goal is to keep the seeds at 27 ° C.

Adjust your cells after the plants reach 3 centimeters in height so that there is only one left to transplant per cell pack. Make the seedling stronger and taller and pull the rest.

When it's time to plant, harden the seeds for a week and then place the transplants in prepared mounds of soil.

No-till seeds

Create mounds of dirt, known as hills, for your plants. Be sure to correct your soil as needed with compost and other organic matter to give your watermelons the best possible growing space.

Keep in mind; Watermelons prefer a soil with a pH of 6-6.8, so test your soil for the right conditions. Each watermelon can be spread up to 20 feet, so make sure your pile is at least 5 square feet.

Inside the hills, you need to plant 8-10 watermelon seeds. Plant each seed an inch deep on the hill. Make sure to place each hill more than one meter apart and keep a distance of 2.5 meters between the rows.

After planting the seeds, it is a good idea to fertilize them. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer for best results.

As the seeds begin to sprout, thin out the plants by harvesting the top three seedlings on each hill.

Caring for your watermelon plants

Watermelons are low maintenance: they require little care and seem to taste better the less care is given. Here are some things you need to do to properly care for your watermelons:

  • Mulch

Add a thin layer of mulch around the watermelon seed hills and under where the vines will run. This will help keep grass and weeds to a minimum.

Also, consider mulching with a black plastic sheet. This will kill any grasses or weeds trying to grow, keep the soil warm, and also keep the fruit clean.

  • Fertilizer

You should fertilize the watermelon plants three times during the growing season. Once in the plantation, the second time when the vines start to run, and the third time is when the fruits are formed.

  • Retain water

Finally, you shouldn't need to water your watermelons unless you're in the middle of a drought. As the fruit begins to ripen, retain the water, as this helps the fruit become sweeter.

  • Add straw or cardboard

As the fruit begins to ripen, it is a good idea to put straw or cardboard underneath. This will put a layer of protection between the fruit and the moisture in the soil.

It should also help prevent the rotting and spoiling of the crop.

We hope you enjoy this video about how to grow watermelons:

Source: MIgardener

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