Here is a quick guide to how to grow watermelon in your garden.
Have you always dreamed of growing your own watermelon? Growing your own watermelon is fun, and a great way to get some fresh summer fruit on the table. If you are thinking about growing your own watermelon this year, take a look at these tips for how to grow watermelon in your garden. While you do need a little patience, you will find that growing your own watermelon is surprisingly easy. Here is how you can get started.
How to Grow Watermelon
Us these gardening tips to grow watermelon from seed to harvest.
How to plant watermelon seeds:
Watermelon plants need really warm soil to grow, so you don’t want to plant outdoors until temperatures reach a consistent 70 degrees or higher. Should you wish to start seeds indoors, you will need a nutrient-rich soil and seed starters that can be planted directly into the soil when you are ready to transplant. This way, you don’t disturb the roots.
How to plant watermelon seedlings:
When you are ready to plant your watermelon seedlings (whether they be your own starters or store-bought) you need to be sure all threat of frost and cold temperatures have passed. As mentioned above, the warmer the soil the better, so don’t plant unless temperatures are a consistent 70 degrees or higher. Once they are, you can plant your watermelon seedlings in well-tilled, nutrient-rich soil. They love heat, so only plant in an area that gets at least 6-8 hours of sun per day.
Plant your seedlings about 4 feet apart from each other. This may seem extreme but the seedlings will need the space to stretch their vines out. Some gardeners like to plant their seedling in a small hill to keep moisture off the greenery of the plant while others prefer direct planting.
How to care for watermelon seedlings:
Watermelon seedlings can use 2 inches of water per week. Apply water at the base of the plant and do not water overhead. Soaking the greenery of the plant can lead to rot and disease. You can use fertilizer if you wish, just wait until the seedlings have been in the ground for a few weeks and are established.
Don’t let the garden get overrun with weeds. They can easily choke watermelon plants out if you are not careful. Once the watermelon vines get growing it is easy to miss weeds. Be vigilant about removing them when you see them so overgrowth doesn’t become an issue.
There are a variety of pests that would love to eat your watermelon. Netting can help keep birds and four-legged critters from dining on them, while a food-safe insecticide can help with bugs.
How to harvest watermelon:
When you notice a bulb develop on your plant, place it on a piece of tinfoil. This will help heat the melon up and quicken the ripening process. Sizes of watermelons will vary, so tap on the watermelon gently and listen for a thud sound. This seems to be a trusted gardener’s trick! Once you notice a bulb, it typically takes two weeks for the bulb to develop into a full-grown melon.
So how will you use your watermelons? In freezes? Fruit salads? Smoothies? Give these tips for growing watermelon a try!
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Originally published on April 13, 2015. Updated on February 24, 2020.