Image by Andy Melton
By Kathee Mierzejewski
Growing conditions for watermelons include lots of sunshine during the day and warm nights. Watermelon is a warm season fruit loved by just about everyone. They are great sliced, in fruit salads, and the rind is even used hollowed out as a serving basket or bowl. On a hot summer day, nothing tastes better than a nice slice of watermelon. Understanding the best growing conditions for watermelons will help you grow this wonderful fruit.
How Do Watermelons Grow?
When considering how to grow watermelons, know that it is not that difficult. The plant does all the work. They grow great in the south during warmer seasons but if you live in the north, there are tips for growing watermelons that can be followed so you are successful in your endeavors.
One of the better tips for growing watermelon is that if you live in the north, you should start early varieties in the house and plant transplants instead of planting the seed directly into the soil. Watermelons prefer sandy loam soil over others. Growing watermelons also requires space, as the plants are vines and take up a lot of room.
Another of the tips for growing watermelon I’ve heard is that the transplanted watermelon seedlings should be planted by themselves two to three feet apart. You should definitely include seven to ten feet between rows. The plants should be started indoors and then put outside, but don’t start them too early because large growing watermelon seedlings don’t do well when transplanted.
When thinking about how to grow watermelons, you want to be sure that you keep the area free from weeds. A good, shallow hoeing is best. You do not want to disturb the roots, and you certainly don’t want to cut any shoots off the main plant.
Another thing to think about when considering how to grow watermelons is that they need plenty of water. You should especially give them water when it gets dry, as it often does in the dead of summer.
So how long does watermelon take to grow? Growing watermelons takes about 120 days from start to finish. How do you know they are ripe and ready to harvest? You will notice that those little curly tendrils that start forming will turn brown and get a little crisp. Also, the color of the melon will get duller. The skin of the watermelon will become resistant to the penetration of your fingernail when you try to press it into the melon. Another way to know if the melon is ripe is to pick one up and turn it over. If the bottom where it sits in the soil is yellow, the watermelon is probably ripe.