Growing Water Melons
Growing great water melons starts with planting great water melon seed.
Good water melon seed is plump and smooth. For quicker watermelon seed
germination, soaking seeds overnight softens the tough outer skin; water
melon seed should germinate in about seven days.
Growing water melons require plenty of space, warmth, and water. Although
you may sow water melon seed directly into your garden, there are several
advantages to growing water melons in pots for later transplanting. First,
water melon seed should be planted in a seed bed maintaining a temperature
of between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 Centigrade), easy to do if
you begin growing water melons in pots. Simply use an electric heat mat to
maintain temperatures. When sowing water melon seed directly into your
garden, wait until all danger of frost has passed and the soil is a minimum
of 60 degrees (16 C).
Begin growing water melons by planting water melon seed in groups of five.
Water melon seed is generally planted in one of two ways. Many gardeners
enjoy easy cultivation by growing water melons in hills. When planted this
way, keep a maximum of three vines per hill and space hills six to eight
feet apart to give your water melon vines the room they need. If you plant
from transplants, this is easily done. If you seed directly into the garden,
you?ll need to discard two of your five stems, preserving the three that
appear to be the strongest.
The second method of planting for growing water melons is to plant water
melon seed or seedlings in rows. Although weeding is more difficult,
irrigation is easier and plants need to be spaced just two to four feet
The best method for ensuring your growing water melons have an adequate
supply of moisture is by using either a soaker hose or a drip irrigation
system. Use of a soaker hose is an inexpensive and easy way to keep the
leaves of your watermelon vines drier, preventing several foliar diseases.
You?ll soon see your growing water melon patch carpeted with luscious
blossoms. Although it will be hard to resist, don?t pick them. Instead,
slightly reduce irrigation, which will retard vine growth and allow the
fruits to set.
Unfortunately, many garden pests also victimize the delicious watermelon. A
good layer of straw mulch keeps many of these away from your growing water
melons and an occasional dusting with DE (diatomaceous earth) also takes
care of many pests as well as their larvae.
Although thumping a growing water melon is a recognized way to determine
that the fruit is ripe, you?ll find that after thumping several, they all
start to sound alike. Other indicators of ripeness are 1) the rind takes on
a dull look, 2) the rind becomes greenish-yellow where it rests on the straw
mulch, and 3) the stem begins to wither slightly where the growing water
melon is attached to the vine.
There are many rewards to growing watermelons. At harvest time, the
fragrance of growing water melon is irresistible. In fact, you?ll find that
every facet of growing water melon is an enjoyable part of gardening, from
the first planted seed to the last pickled rind!
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