How to Soak Watermelon Seeds in Milk Before Growing
Watermelons need a long growing season to develop to maturity. Some areas provide the right amount of days without worry. Other areas have shorter growing seasons so the watermelon plants must be started ahead of time for transplanting into the garden. If you soak the watermelon seeds in milk before planting them, the seeds soften and germinate more quickly than they would if planted directly in the soil. Although you can soak the watermelon seeds in water, the milk adds extra nutrients upon which the sprouting seedlings feed.
Pour 1 cup of warm milk into a small container large enough to hold the milk and watermelon seeds. Recycle a butter bowl or other plastic container for soaking purposes. The container should have a flat bottom so all the seeds are equally exposed to the milk.
Place the seeds into the milk. It is fine if some of the seeds overlap as long as they are all submerged.
Place the container of milk and watermelon seeds in a cool area away from pets who may try to drink the milk. A warm spot, like on top of the refrigerator, will cause the milk to spoil.
Check the seeds after 24 hours to ensure the milk is being absorbed. Stir the watermelon seeds so each seed is able to absorb as much milk as possible. The watermelon seeds should begin to swell. The color may even change a little. This is normal.
Remove the seeds from the milk after 48 hours. Do not rinse the watermelon seeds. Either discard the container or wash it to use again. Direct sow the seeds into the garden or plant them into growing trays if you are starting your plants early.
Grow Watermelon From Seed With Milk
Milk and watermelon may not be a common combination in the diet, but they are good friends in the garden. Later, milk can also be used to spray mature vines to help prevent powdery mildew, a common watermelon fungal disease. Work a good 2 to 3 inches of compost into the soil of the garden bed after the soil has thawed in early spring. The garden bed must be in a sunny position. Cover each mound with black plastic to around 1 foot out from the base of the mound. Heat 1 cup of milk on the stove so that it is just warm and transfer it to a plastic container. Thin plants to the strongest seedling about two weeks after germination. Harvest watermelons when the rind is hard and is just starting to yellow on the ground side. If you want an ongoing supply of watermelons throughout the summer, stagger planting dates.
- 1 cup milk
- Small container
- Bella Online: Soaking Watermelon Seeds in Milk
- J. L. Hudson Seeds: How to Germinate Seed
- Earth Notes: Starting From Seed
- Bella Online; Soaking Watermelon Seeds In Milk; Gail Delaney
- Burke’s Backyard; 2UE Watermelon Growing Tips and Recipes; 2008
- Purdue University; Growing Cucumbers, Melons, Squash, Pumpkin and Gourds; B. Rosie Lerner et al.; 2001