How to grow watermelons!
Why grow watermelons!
Water melon is a favourite summertime treat for many people, so what can be more rewarding than your own home grown watermelon. Watermelons are not particularly hard to grow, but they are however rather demanding plants which require certain requirements in order to grow, watermelons are rambling vines which require a lot of space to grow.
Watermelons come in different shapes, sizes and colours, so choice the right variety for you. If you have a limited amount of space in your garden then try growing one of the smaller varieties such as sugarbaby.
How to grow sweet ripe watermelons
Sowing your watermelon seeds
Watermelon seeds can be planted straight into the plot in which you intend to grow them, however if you live in an area where the summer is short then you can start the seeds in a pot in a warm green house or a warm windowsill, however do not transplant the seedlings to there final growing place until the last frosts have past.
Plant a single watermelon seed in to a peat pot aprox 3 weeks before they are to be transplanted outside. Place on a warm sunny windowsill or a warm/heated greenhouse. Cover the transplant site with a sheet of black plastic before planting to enable the soil to warm up. When you are ready plant the seedlings still in there peat pots as this will avoid any unnessecery stress on the watermelon plants as they do not transplant too well. Ensure you plant your seedlings in rows two to three feet apart with six to seven feet between rows.
Sow seedlings in mounds/rows. Ensure at least one foot between seeds and at least 6 foot between rows. Plant the seeds about one inch deep. Once the seedlings are established then plants to the best two to three per row. If you require you can make regular seed sowings a few weeks apart to ensure your watermelons are not ready to harvest all at once, however make sure you have a long enough growing season to support this.
Watermelon plants require plenty of sun and water to grow strong healthy vines and sweet tasting fruit. Ensure that the soil does not dry out especially during long dry spells. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer to feed your watermelon plants until the first flowers start to form, then, switch over to a high phosphorous and potassium fertilizer. Ensure your watermelon plants are kept free of weeds as they will compete with the plants for essential nutrients.
How do you know when your watermelon is at its sweetest and just perfect for picking?
The following indicators can mean that a watermelon is at its ripest,
•The fruit seems to have stopped growing.
•The skin becomes tougher and rougher and duller in colour.
•The tendrills on the stem of the watermelon plant become brown and dry.
•The underside of the melon turns yellowish.
All thats left now is to enjoy your sweet tasting homegrown watermelon.
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