Watermelons are more drought tolerant than other melons and have fewer problems with garden pests. They are found in many varieties, with the usual red flesh, or variations of orange, yellow or white. The rinds may be solid green, striped or mottled. Watermelons are a garden favorite, grown for their sweet, juicy flavor. They are not difficult to grow when provided with the proper growing conditions: light and air circulation; rich, well-drained soil with a properly-balanced pH (between 6.0 and 7.0); and warmth.
Select a location that receives full sun (eight to 10 hours of unfiltered sunlight) with plenty of space for the vines, which can grow to 15 feet or more.
Turn 2 inches of nitrogen-rich, composted manure into the soil of the area to be planted with a spade. Organic matter, such as compost, increases nutrients in the soil, improves structure and drainage, and helps to balance pH. Add builder’s sand to improve drainage.
Cover soil with black plastic two to four weeks prior to planting. The soil must be thoroughly warmed before planting either seeds or seedlings.
Plant seeds directly into the garden, in long-season areas. In colder areas with short growing seasons, start seedlings in pots indoors. Keep the soil moist until seedlings become well established, then water regularly.
Replenish soil nutrients weekly, with applications of compost tea or fish emulsion, which are both rich in nitrogen.