Use grass clippings to grow healthy watermelons in the garden
image by cohdra: morguefile.com
Many gardeners enjoy growing large, juicy watermelons in a home garden. Two of the biggest challenges of growing watermelons are keeping the soil properly moist and adequately warm during the growing process. Grass clippings are a wise choice in mulch because the clippings are inexpensive and also provide valuable nitrogen to watermelon seedlings as they become established. Take advantage of this inexpensive mulch and provide watermelon seedlings with a beneficial growing environment.
Prepare a sunny planting area. Work the soil down to a depth of approximately 6 inches. Add a 4-inch layer of compost to the top of the soil and completely work this into the soil. Sprinkle between 4 and 6 cups of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of garden area and work this into the soil.
Wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 65 degrees F. Create small holes in the soil and plant four seeds together in each hole. Position the groups of seeds so that there is 4 feet of free space on every side. Cover the seeds with 1 inch of soil and water generously.
Cover the soil with black plastic mulch to help keep the soil warm and moist during germination. Carefully cut holes in the mulch in the places where seeds will grow. Secure the mulch onto the soil by covering it with additional soil around the edges.
Watch the seeds for germination. When the seedlings have two true leaves, thin so that two watermelon plants remain in each mound.
Remove the black plastic mulch when the soil temperature reaches 75 degrees F. Spread a 1/2-inch to 1-inch layer of grass clippings around the seedlings to keep the soil warm and moist.
Make sure the seedlings receive approximately 2 inches of water every week. For best results, provide a greater quantity of water less frequently.