Watermelon

Growing Guide

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Where to plant

Full sun. Well drained soil.

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Sow depth

20mm

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Space between seeds / seedlings

500cm

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Row space

100cm

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Size of pot needed (width / depth)

200cm2

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Seedling Sow Depth

5cm

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Germination (days)

5-12

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Maturity (days)

>85

How to Grow

How to grow video guide
From seed

Sow two seeds per pot of seed compost in a 9cm pot.

Water well, and then place the pots in a propagator at a temperature of at least 18°C (65°F).

Keep the propagator in a well-lit position.

After germination, remove the weaker of the two seedlings and keep the compost moist but not too wet.

After the first true leaves have emerged, reduce the temperature in the propagator to a minimum temperature of 15°C (59°F).

From seedling

Plant out in late spring to early summer.

Pinch out the main growing point to two or three buds, to encourage side shoots to develop.

Add plant support, such as a bamboo cane, and water well.

In a pot

Thin out developing fruits, allowing just four melons to grow per pot-grown plant.

As the fruits develop, water well and feed with a high potash liquid feed, such as comfrey solution.

Support heavy fruits with a pair of tights, or netting such as the net bags you buy oranges in.

From Plant

As the plants establish, keep tying the long main stem to a plant support.

Make sure the compost is kept moist at all times, which will mean checking the plants every day.

Start to add a liquid feed once a week to encourage strong growth.

To prevent the plant from becoming too crowded, pinch out side shoots after three or four leaves, on a weekly basis.

Ready to harvest

As the fruits ripen they will give off a sweet aroma and will soften at the end opposite the stalk.

The skin may also change colour.

Finally, small cracks will develop on the fruit around the stalk, which means it’s time to pick.

The most obvious sign for watermelon is a curly tendril at the stem, once it is totally dry (kind of like straw), it is ready.

Another sign is the light coloured patch on the bottom of the fruit.

It is initially greenish, but as the watermelon ripens, the green tinge disappears and it becomes yellowish.

The skin overall becomes duller and tougher.

Collect seed

Wait until the fruits are fully ripe and separated from the vine before collecting seeds from melons.

In cantaloupe, for example, look for thick netting and a pungent melon smell from the stem end.

Melon seeds grow inside the fleshy fruit.

Wait until the fruits are fully ripe and separated from the vine before collecting seeds from melons.

In cantaloupe, for example, look for thick netting and a pungent melon smell from the stem end.

To start saving melon seeds, cut open the fruit lengthwise and scoop out the seed masses into a jar.

Add a little warm water and allow the mixture to sit for two to four days, stirring daily.

As the melon seeds sit in water, they ferment.

During this process, the good seeds sink to the bottom of the jar while the detritus floats to the top.

To collect seeds from melons, pour off the water containing the pulp and bad seeds.

Now let’s learn how to preserve melon seeds for future planting.

Spread the good seeds out on a paper towel or a screen.

Allow them to dry for several days.

Storing melon seeds that are not completely dry results in moldy seeds.

Once the seeds are very dry, place them in a clean, dry glass jar.

Write the seed variety and the date on a label and tape it to the jar.

Put the jar in the freezer for two days, and then move it to the refrigerator.

When to Grow

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Zone 1 - Cool

October , November , December

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Zone 2 - Temperate

September , October , November , December

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Zone 3 - Subtropical

January , February , July , August , September , October , November , December

Companion Planting

Tips for Care

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Melons produce both male and female flowers.

The female flower has a fruit developing behind the bloom whereas the male flower has a thin stalk.

Insects normally pollinate the flowers, but in a greenhouse, you may need to hand-pollinate them.

First identify the female and male flowers, looking for the fruit behind the female and the thin stalk behind the male.
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Melons are members of the cucumber family, and they are open-pollinated by wind or insects.

This means that melons cross-pollinate with others in their family.

Before you start saving melon seeds, be sure that the melon species you want to propagate are not planted within a half-mile of other types of melons.
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Summer is the best time to plant watermelons.
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Prepare your soil with organic matter like compost and sheep pellets.

Add a layer of citrus & fruit mix to plant into.
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Watermelons are greedy vines, so make sure you have enough space for them to climb and grow before planting!
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Watermelon seedlings germinate very quickly, after a few weeks you’ll be able to determine the weak watermelons from the strong, thin out your crop by keeping the strong seedlings.

Pests & Problems


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