Watermelon is a popular summertime fruit all over the world. It’s juicy and sweet which makes it the perfect hydrating snack, and plus it is fat-free. Although they are 92% water, they are filled with significantly high levels of nutrients. If the watermelon is a staple on your grocery list when the heatwave hits, you should learn how to grow watermelon. Growing your own watermelon will save you quite a bit of money at the supermarket! If the appropriate conditions, supplies, and tools mare et, you can easily grow your own watermelons in the summer in your backyard and have it ready for harvest when fall season comes.
Did you know that watermelons are actually members of the gourd family? Who knew our favorite summertime treat was related to the squash we eat at Thanksgiving dinner! Not only that, but did you also know that every part of a watermelon fruit is edible and it is made up of 92% water?. Even the Egyptians were fond of the watermelon, their ancient hieroglyphics depict them harvesting watermelons as far as 5000 years ago. Merchants were selling watermelons around the Mediterranean sea and soon it founds it’s way to China by the 10th century.
There are between 200 to 300 varieties of watermelons that are being grown in the United States and in Mexico, but only 50 varieties are highly sought after. Americans sure love this fruit, watermelon by far is the best selling melon fruit in the country. It is even recognized by the state of Oklahoma as it’s a national vegetable.
Watermelon is also a great source of Vitamin A&C, as well as search potassium and magnesium. This fruit also contains antioxidants, and these antioxidants helps your body prevent any damage and also helps in avoiding cancer. Allowing you to have a healthier body, which is all the more reason to learn how to grow watermelon at home. We’re going to go over some important questions you have about growing watermelon, such as:
- How do watermelons grow best in soil?
- How do you know if a watermelon is growing?
- How much water does my watermelon vine need?
- How far do watermelon vines grow?
- How long does it take for watermelon to grow?
Keep reading to learn how to grow watermelon at home perfectly every time. We strive to help you to not only grow your watermelon perfectly, but to also have it bear fruits much more productively.
How Do Watermelons Grow Best in Soil?
Watermelons love soil that has been enriched with compost. To make sure your watermelon plant gets all the nutrients it needs you should till compost into the top few layers of soil before planting.
When testing the soil’s ph balance, make sure it is between 6.0-6.8. If your soil balance isn’t in the correct range you can purchase compounds at your local garden center.
It’s important that your watermelon plant gets planted in well-draining soil to avoid root rot and other harmful diseases. A good tip for knowing if it’s a well draining area is to check after a heavy rainfall. If there are a lot of puddles than it isn’t a good spot for a watermelon plant. If there are no other spots where you can plant on and the soil is not well drained consider tilling the soil more. Tiling the soil will soften up the hard soil and making it a well drained soil.7
How to Start Watermelon Seeds
Starting your watermelon seeds depends on your climate. If you live in a warmer region and would like to plant directly in the ground you can do so as long as the temperature is consistently 70 degrees fahrenheit or higher. If you live in a colder climate it is best to plant seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost to get the most out of your growing season.
Plant your watermelon seeds in a pot with a decent amount of room for their roots to grow and make sure you give them only one inch of water per week. They don’t require very much water during the early stages.
Place your plants in a nice sunny spot and watch for them to sprout. You should see sprouts in approximately 7-10 days. Just think, those tiny little sprouts will soon have massive melons.
When planting in the outdoors, make some mounds and make sure the top of the mound is flat. On top of those mounds, using a tool or your hands, poke several holes in the soil enough that it makes a hole about 1 inch in depth. Next, place three to four seeds within each hole and cover it with some dirt gently.
Be sure to keep the maintaining the watermelon while they are growing, one way of doing it is weeding it regularly. Make sure to weed the base around the vine, and build a thick layer of mulch around the plant to keep weeds down.
Watermelons love the warm climate and they don’t need that much water to grow. This is especially much more so when the flowers starts blooming. When you notice the flowers start blooming, only water them approximately every 3 days if dry. On some got days, and you notice the leaves are kind of limp even in most soil, water them quickly.
How Far Do Watermelon Vines Grow?
Before choosing a location to plant your watermelon, you need to know how far the watermelon vines grow. Your plant will need a lot of space to grow fully. As you know, watermelons aren’t a small fruit. They range anywhere in size from 3-70 lbs, so just imagine how much room a vine full of them would need.
Watermelon vines can grow up to 20 feet in length. Always plant your watermelon on a mound so it has more space to grow and better drainage ability. You should give your watermelon plant a 4 ft by 6 ft bed in an area that has at least 6 hours of full sun a day.
Once your watermelon has grown from a sprout to a small patch you will need to start giving it more water daily. A watermelon is 90% water so it will need quite a lot. Once your watermelon begins to flower you can cut back to watering only every third day.
How Long Does it Take and How Do You Know if a Watermelon is Growing?
It is recommended to start your plant indoors before the last frost because it takes 70-90 days after planting to start harvesting watermelon from your vine. To tell if your watermelon plant is growing make sure the pH balance of the soil is always between 6.0-6.8 and never goes below 60 degrees fahrenheit. You should notice your plant growing more and more each week, and once the flowers arrive then you know for sure that your watermelon is growing. Once those flowers appear your fruit will be here in 35-45 days. How exciting!
How to Harvest Watermelon from the Vine
Once your watermelon reaches maturity it’s time to harvest for some delicious fruit. When the tendril closest to your fruit withers and turns from green to brown then you know your watermelon is ready, it usually is ready about 4 months after it was planted in the warm weather. On the bottom of your fruit, where it touches the ground, there will be a white or yellowish spot. Another way to test it’s ripeness is to gently knock it like knocking a door, and if you hear the dull noise from the knock then that means the fruit is ripe. That is another sign that your melon is ready. The glossy look that your young melon once had should have disappeared too once it has matured.
When harvesting your watermelon, hold it gently to avoid bruising. Cut it off with a sharp knife by the stem as close to the fruit as possible, without puncturing the watermelon. In order to prolong the life of your watermelon, put them in the fridge shortly after harvesting. An uncut watermelon can be kept in the fridge for 10-14 days. Watermelon will start to decay after only a couple days if you leave it on the counter top.
It only takes a few months to go from seed to 20lb melon. A watermelon patch may take up a lot of space but having a plentiful amount of watermelon all summer is well worth it. Snacking on watermelon is a helpful way to stay hydrated in the summer heat. Kid gets really excited watching the watermelon plants grow too.
How big was the largest watermelon you have ever seen? Was it one that you or a family member grew? Tell us about it in the comments. We love to hear about your watermelon growing experiences.