It is often thought that watermelons take up too much room and are too difficult to grow in a home garden, yet with a few basics and by making a little extra room you will find growing this delectable summer fruit to be relatively easy. Jubilee watermelons are the most common commercial watermelon grown and seen in grocery stores, with their light-green rind and pronounced dark stripes. On average a Jubilee watermelon will grow up to 35 pounds and the bright red flesh makes a sweet summer treat that is fat-free and chocked full of vitamins A and C.
Choose a location to plant your watermelons that gets full sun all day and is far enough away from cucumbers and squash plants so the vines do not intertwine. Melons will become bitter if blossoms are pollinated by either of these plants.
Prepare the soil in early spring as soon as it is workable after the chance of frost has passed. Till in compost or cow manure to add lots of nutrients to the soil that are needed to grow big, juicy fruit.
Lay a piece of black plastic sheeting over your garden area to help control weeds and keep the soil moist and warm. Use a spade to cut an X in the plastic to make openings for planting the seedlings. Space the watermelon seedlings approximately 1 foot apart, with rows 8 to 10 feet apart. Through each opening, dig a hole slightly wider than and the same depth as the root ball. It is preferable for the seedlings to be in peat pots so the roots are not disturbed when planting.
Add half a cup of bone meal to each hole and work in with the soil, then place a seedling into each hole, cover with soil and lightly tamp down with your hand. Water your plants well and keep watered well so the soil does not dry out; watermelons love lots of water. It is best to use a soaker hose for watering instead of overhead watering, which can cause mold and fungus on the leaves and vines.
Fertilize your watermelons twice a month to encourage active growth. Use a high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer after planting until the flowers form, then switch to a high-phosphorus fertilizer once the flowering begins. High levels of nitrogen encourage rapid leafy growth, while phosphorus encourages the growth of the fruit.
Things You Will Need
- Bone meal
- Black plastic sheeting
- Compost or cow manure
- Liquid fertilizer
- Watermelons are ripe when the skin cracks at the point of attachment to the vine, the underside turns from green to yellow and the skin becomes dull in appearance.
- Pick watermelons as soon as they are ripe or they will rot quickly in the hot sun.
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