During the summertime, everyone seems to love juicy watermelon. This warm season fruit is loved by almost everyone. Melons require warm temperatures and a long growing season. If you are in a place with colder climate you can still have success in growing watermelon if you start seeds indoors and choose short-season varieties. Depending on the variety, days to maturity range from 70 to 90.
The conditions for the growth of watermelons include plenty of sun during the day and warm nights. Watermelons are great sliced or in fruit salads. During the summer, nothing tastes better than a nice slice of watermelon. If you understand what are the best growing conditions for watermelons you will be able to grow this wonderful fruit, and in this article we will show you how to do exactly that.
Planting and care
Warm soil is required in order to grow watermelons. It is not recommended to tick plants into the garden until soil temperature is above 70 degrees F. Just to be safe, you should wait about two weeks after the last frost in your area. Before planting, use black plastic to cover soil in order to hasten soil warming. Prepare your planting bed by adding compost, seaweed, or rotted manure, because watermelons are heavy feeders.
Make sure that watermelon vines have plenty of room to roam. This usually means spacing plants three to five feet apart. After planting, cover seedlings with floating row covers to trap warm air near plants and keep out insects. Watermelon vines bear both female and male flowers. Do not worry when some of the male flowers fall off shortly after they open. Male flowers appear first and they are followed by female blossoms about a week later.
The female flowers sty on the vine to bear fruit. They have a small swelling at the base of the flower. Remove row covers when vines start to bear both female and male flowers. Water vines each day early in the morning so leaves can dry before sunset. This will help prevent fungal diseases. Make sure that ripen watermelons don’t have a direct contact with soil in order to prevent rot and protect fruit from pests and rodents. Place fruit on a bed of straw or cardboard when it is about the size of a softball.
Harvest and storage
Watermelons normally ripen over 2 weeks. When one melon is ripe, it won’t take long for others, too. Water only as necessary to keep vines from wilting about a week before a melon is ripe. Too much water reduces sweetness of the fruit. You are able to judge a ripeness of a watermelon by its skin color. The part which touches the soil shifts from greenish white or straw yellow to rich, creamy yellow, and the rind changes from a bright to a dull green. Watermelons can keep two to three weeks unrefrigerated. Put them in a cool basement to keep them fresh for a longer period of time. Once you cut a watermelon, refrigerate unused portions.