This ultimate guide on how to grow watermelon will help you to grow and care for your watermelon plant. Know best practices to care for your plant. I will help you from sowing of seeds to harvesting juicy watermelon fruit.
Watermelon is from Cucurbitaceae family. And growing them is nearly similar to growing bottle gourds or pumpkins. But before knowing how to grow watermelon, let us know about nutritious and healthy watermelons.
You must be thinking that water melon is a fruit. But let me tell you, just like tomato, watermelon is fruit as well as vegetable. According to mentafloss.com, watermelons are botanically fruits. But culinary experts consider it as a vegetable.
Watermelon is a scrambling and trailing vine like warm season flowering plant. However we call this plant “watermelon” for a reason. Nearly 92% of the fruit is water.
Moreover, there are around 1000 varieties of watermelon in the world. So imagine how many different varieties you can grow in your garden. Well you don’t need to wait longer. Go and purchase high quality seeds and follow the words that I am going to discuss in this article.
How To Grow Watermelon?
Watermelon can grow well in tropical to sub-tropical regions during summer season. If you are in USDA plant hardiness zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 then you can grow watermelons during warmer season.
To get sweetest watermelon fruits the ideal temperature range is between 20 to 32 degrees Celsius. However you can start sowing of seeds during spring season. Generally in the months of March and April.
Watermelon plant loves well drained, sandy loam soil that is rich in organic matter. Soil pH in the range of 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal. That means watermelons love neutral soil.
But if you have clayey or heavy soil that holds water then you need to prepare ideal potting mix. If you have sandy loam soil then you do not need to prepare any special potting mix. Just add 40% organic compost in the potting soil.
Prepare ideal potting mix with 30% garden soil + 20% river sand + 10% cocopeat + 40% any organic compost. You can also add a handful of neem cake fertilizer in this potting mix.
Selection Of Pot
Well watermelons can also grow in medium sized pots. You can select pots of size 12 inches and more. But pots of sizes above 18 inches are good for growing watermelons.
I personally prefer growing them in earthen or terracotta pots with at least 2 to 4 drainage holes at the bottom. Grow one plant in each pot for best results.
However for sowing of seeds you can select a smaller pot or you can also sow seeds in the same pot. I do not prefer sowing watermelon seeds in germination tray. As after germination roots does not gets proper anchorage.
How To Grow Watermelon From Seed?
Watermelon Seed Sowing Guide
- Purchase High Quality Seeds
Get high quality disease resistant seeds either from online stores or from nearest plant nursery or seed store.
- Sowing Of Seeds
In a pot of 12 inches size by using well drained potting mix, sow seeds at 1 to 2 centimetres depth. Maintain 1 inches gap between each seeds. Apply water gently after sowing of seeds. You can also use water spray bottle for this purpose.
Keep the germination pot under partial shade sunlight. Do not keep the germination pot under direct sunlight.
- Moisture In The Pot
Keep applying water whenever the top layer of the soil seems drying up. But do not over water. Apply water according to the condition of the soil.
Within 7 to 10 days you will notice growth of new seedlings. Keep providing adequate moisture.
Take out weaker and diseased plants from the pot and let the healthy plants grow.
Once your seedlings reaches 4 to 5 true leaves stage then you can transplant it in another pot. Or you can leave a single plant in a 12 inches diameter pot.
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Watermelon Plant Care
Once you are successful in growing watermelon seedlings then you need to care for the watermelon plant. Providing adequate amount of sunlight, water, fertilizers helps in getting best results.
Watermelon plant loves sunlight to grow. Make sure that your plant receives at least 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight daily. Sunlight helps in the overall growth of the watermelon plant.
You will need to keep the soil moist but on the other hand also take care of the drainage. Waterlogging in the pot can harm this plant. However during hot summer days I prefer watering twice in a day. Once in the early morning and then in the evening.
Watermelons are heavy feeders and get good growth of the plant you need to add good amount of fertilizers. I prefer fertilizing with two handful of organic compost once after every 14 days. You can add leaf compost or vermicompost for this purpose.
Pests & Diseases
Your watermelon plant can get affected from pests like aphids, thrips, caterpillars, etc. I prefer using any organic insecticides to control these pests but using neem oil can harm this plant.
Diseases like powdery mildew, downy mildew, anthracnose, fusarium wilt can cause severe damage. Hence avoid wetting of leaves during watering of plant and provide good care to the plant.
Blooming & Care
I prefer supporting the growth of the vine with wooden sticks at the pot level only. Do not train the plant at higher height. Let the vine grow at the pot or ground level and provide support to the weaker branches.
Plant will start producing flowers 30 to 40 days after sowing of seeds. Remove the first female flower and let other flowers to grow normally. You can also try to hand pollinate the second female flower with pollen from male flowers.
This step can help to ensure pollination if natural pollinators are not present. In near about 100 days from the day of sowing you can harvest your watermelon fruit. You can harvest when fruit seems mature and leaves start browning and dying.
I guess you are now clear on how to grow watermelon. If you have any ideas, queries, or suggestions, then do comment below. You can also connect with Agriculture Review on Facebook, Instagram, and Koo.
Aditya Abhishek is an Agriculture Science student who focuses on learning and delivering knowledge on Agriculture and Home Gardening. He created Agriculture Review as a common platform for all nature enthusiast to learn better practices of agriculture and gardening.