The watermelon, scientifically named Citrullus lanaus, is one of the most popular fruits for consumption when the warm months come. Its sweet and refreshing taste is one of the best companions of spring and summer and, therefore, it is worth making a place for this tasty cucurbit in our garden. If you want to learn how to plant watermelons, you will see a practical guide on how to plant a watermelon seed step by step and more tips for growing and harvesting it.
How to plant watermelons?
Watermelon seeds need a temperature of at least 15 ºC to germinate, and it develops in an ideal frame of between 23 and 30 ºC. Due to this, it is usual to plant the watermelon seeds in spring, around April and May, when the risks of frost, which would kill the seedlings, have already passed.
However, as long as you consider this temperature framework and your local climate, you can plant your watermelon seeds earlier if the weather allows. Another option at your disposal is to plant the seeds in a seedbed and keep them indoors in a controlled environment, to later transplant the watermelons outside when the temperature increases. With this method, you can advance the entire process between 2 and 3 months.
Now we explain how to plant a watermelon seed or how to plant watermelons step by step:
Prepare the ground: If you are going to plant your watermelons directly outdoors, you will need to clean the ground of weeds and remove it to aerate and release it. Break the large clods and leave everything even and light, so that its drainage is the best possible. Watermelon is a plant that needs good levels of humidity, but at the same time it is sensitive to fungal attack, so proper drainage will be vital in its cultivation. It is also not a very demanding plant with the nutrients of the soil, so you do not need to add organic matter at this point.
Distribute the distances: this plant develops a lot, so it will be necessary to assign to each plant about 2 meters of separation space between others, both in the same row and between different rows.
Dig the holes: the seed does not need to be very deep, but we will make the largest hole to prepare a bed with some organic matter. About 10 cm depth will suffice.
Add organic matter: the idea is to use earthworm humus, which is a very complete and beneficial organic and ecological fertilizer. If you don’t have it, compost is also a good option. Add to cover three-fourths of the hole.
Sow the watermelon seed: leave the seed at the top of the layer of organic matter that you just put, finally, just cover with soil.
Quilting and watering abundantly: with watermelon, it is advisable to be especially careful with the development of weeds, so mulching the soil is a very interesting option, which will allow you to keep adventitious herbs away and at the same time increase the soil temperature. Afterward, it waters abundantly but without puddling.
Final recommendations: if when your seedlings germinate and start to grow you see a cold wave coming, you can use bottles or jugs of water with the base cut off and without a cap as makeshift greenhouses, which protect them from the worst of the cold.
Basic watermelon care
These are the basic care of watermelons :
Soil: very good drainage necessary. It is not demanding on organic matter.
Irrigation: frequent. The soil must be kept constantly moist or the fruits will crack. Without watering or wetting the plant.
Climate: it needs temperatures above 20ºC to develop optimally. It is very sensitive to frost, which will wreak havoc on the crop.
Light: it needs a lot of sunlight, from its very germination. In the early stages, seedlings are at risk of spreading if they do not receive enough light, an especially important detail if planted in a seedbed for subsequent transplanting.
When to harvest watermelons
Watermelon is one of those plants in which the time of harvest may not be as obvious as we would like, and it takes a good measure of experience to learn to distinguish the exact point of harvest from the fruit. Here are some tips to know when to harvest watermelons:
Usually, the harvest time will arrive between 2 and 3 months after having transplanted it to its final location outdoors.
Another clue that the plant itself gives us is when the tendril that develops where the fruit joins the plant is already completely dry. The last sign is when the part of the fruit that is in contact with the ground shows yellow marks.
How many watermelons does a plant give
The production of each watermelon plant is quite variable and depends largely on how optimal the conditions in which the plant is developing are.
The most common is that the production is kept at a number of between 2 and 3 watermelons. It is possible for the plant to bear only one fruit, as it is also possible to bear more than 6, but in the latter case, it is difficult for all of them to be of good quality for consumption.
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