Thursday, May 22, 2014

Growing Watermelon from Seed to Harvest

Does the thought of sweet and Juicy summertime Watermelon get your mouth watering?  We love watermelon!

Mary's Heirloom Seeds offers several varieties of Watermelon.
Golden Midget Watermelon
 
Planting Watermelon Seeds
Indoors:
If you have a short growing season or want to get a head start, plant watermelon seeds indoors in individual containers or pots. We recommend using coconut coir pellets, which can be planted directly in the garden with minimal transplant shock. Plant one to two seeds per pot. 

Outdoors:
Sow watermelon seeds in hills or rows. For regular watermelons, sow three to four seeds per hill, spacing the hills eight to ten feet apart. Space the rows ten feet apart or more, if you have room. Thin watermelon seedlings in each hill, to two seedlings one week after they have germinated. When planting in rows, space the seeds four to six inches apart and thin seedlings to ten to twelve inches apart. For bush varieties, final spacing can be cut in half or even more if you are tight for space. 
Days to Germinate: 3-5 days
Days to Harvest: 65-85 days
Growing Conditions for Watermelon

Watermelon prefers full sun for healthy, strong vines. 

Companion plants for Watermelon

Planting corn with your watermelon will provide shade for the plants during the hottest time of the day. Allow about a foot between the corn plants so the watermelon plants still receive enough sun.

Young melon plants are susceptible to insect invasion, especially cucumber beetles. Once the plants mature, they can tolerate some leaf loss due to insects, but keeping companion plants nearby helps control swarms of pests. Cass County Master Gardeners recommend marigold, oregano and nasturtium as companion plants for melons. 

Diatomaceous Earth is a great organic tool to kill and deter pests. 

Harvesting Watermelon
from almanac.com,  Dr. Bill Rhodes, professor of horticulture at Clemson University, offers the following advice on how to tell if watermelons are ripe:
  • Thump it. If the watermelon sounds hollow, it's ripe.
  • Look at the color on the top. The watermelon is ripe when there is little contrast between the stripes.
  • Look at the color on the bottom. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a cream- or yellow-colored bottom.
  • Press on it. If the watermelon sounds like it gives a little, it's ripe. (Rhodes doesn't like this method because it can ruin the quality of the fruit.)
  • Check the tendril. If it's green, wait. If it’s half-dead, the watermelon is nearly ripe or ripe. If the tendril is fully dead, it's ripe or overripe; it’s not going to get any riper, so you might as well pick!
  • Stems should be cut with a sharp knife close to the fruit.
  • Watermelons can be stored uncut for about 10 days. If cut, they can last in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Wrap tightly in plastic.


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5 comments:

Marla Gates said...

I love watermelon but can only eat it in small amounts at a time, but if I could I would eat it until I exploded. My husbands loves it and all summer long when he down eating one watermelon he's already bought another one, locally of course. Thanks for sharing Mary. Visiting from Home Acre Blog Hop.

Shari Eckstrom said...

Stopping by from Link'n Blogs. Great post! I shared with social media giving proper links back to you! Blessings...Shari @ www.puregracefarms.com

Carole @ GardenUp Green said...

Love watermelon the first year on our farm we planted half an acre and did so using the mound approach instead of rows. It was a neat experience and the best watermelon I've ever had. I remember eating it straight from the garden, it was so full of flavor. Great info - Carole at GardenUp green

Heidi Ramsey said...

Great post - you got the featured spot on my blog (www.pintsizefarm.com) this week in the HomeAcre hop. Thanks for the submission and be sure to stop by and submit another!

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I have a friend I am going to share this with....good post! Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop!