Guide to Growing Watermelon

Juicy and mouth-watering, watermelons are great for summer, picnics, parties, and many more. You can always buy the fruit in stores but growing your own watermelon is more rewarding. Moreover, since you no longer need to go to the store, you can just pick it from your garden and eat it anytime you want. Plus, you can eat more natural and safer watermelons compared to those available in the market. Growing watermelon can be quite challenging but if you follow these tips, you will surely succeed.

Watermelons have different qualities so decide first what type of watermelons you want. Select your fruit based on your desired size, sweetness, time of harvest, and disease or insect resistance. Usually, larger watermelons take over 110 days to harvest while smaller ones take less than 90 days. Get your seeds from credible seed companies with great seed varieties. These are usually available in local garden stores.

Watermelons, like any other fruits, thrive well in healthy soil. Hence, make sure that your soil has enough nutrients to supply your fruit’s needs by conducting a soil test. A healthy soil should be draining well and have a neutral pH and an abundant organic matter.

To start, you can sow the seeds directly into the soil. You may also begin in pots and transplant it later on the ground. Sow seeds in rows or hills. Put  three to four seeds in each row or hill. Watermelons prefer warmer soil so make sure that the soil’s temperature stays within 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.When you transplant seedlings, maintain slight moisture for the seeds and be careful not to damage the roots when planting.

Since watermelon plants are large vines, they require a big area to grow in. Larger sized plants require approximately 120 square feet per hill to grow in. Average sized ones need about 80 square feet per hill. Smaller sized ones survive with 60 square feet per hill.

Sunlight and heat are essential in the growth of watermelons so be sure to plant your seeds in an area where there is the greatest sun exposure. Since watermelons belong to warm season crops, warmer environments suit them perfectly. However, it should still receive water often. Remember that plant leaves should be kept dry in order to avoid diseases and bacterial infestations associated with moisture.

A key component in preventing plant diseases is controlling pests. Garlic and Neem oil are examples of natural pesticides to control pests in the plant. You can also make use of insect barrier covers over the plants or you can directly pick and kill the pests to get rid of them. Apply sulfur or copper ingredient based fungicides to help keep the plant healthy.

It is exciting to see the actual fruit growing. However, wait for four weeks or more before you harvest it. How would you know whether it’s ready for harvest or not? Take note of the following. Prior to picking, the skin of the fruit should be hard. The underside of the fruit should be light yellow to almost white in color. Bright yellow indicates that the fruit is already overripe.The tendrils and stem should be dry and brown in color.

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