Watermelon is such a delicious summer treat! There’s nothing like a fresh, ripe watermelon on a sunny day! That watermelon is likely to be even more delicious if you know it grew in your own backyard! While growing watermelon can be very rewarding, it’s also a little tricky. To help you out, here are 6 Expert Tips for Growing Watermelon!6
Expert Tips for Growing Watermelon
1. Give the plants enough space. Watermelons need space. A lot of space, in fact. Not only do most watermelon plants grow large fruit, but they also need a lot of space for their vines. Some vines can travel as far as 20 feet from a plant! To ensure your plants have enough space, place each watermelon hill 3-4 feet apart from the other and plant each row of hills 8 feet apart.
2. Plant multiple plants, then thin. An easy way to grow great watermelons is to plant multiple seeds from the start. When they start to grow, you can decide which ones look like they have the most promise, and thin out the rest. You should plant about 8-10 watermelon seeds in each hill, placing the seeds about 1 inch deep in the soil. When the seeds have grown into seedlings, thin them so that only 3 are left in each hill.
3. Watch out for bugs. Like most crops, watermelons are susceptible to damage from insects. In particular, you should watch out for vine borers and cucumber beetles. To protect your watermelon plants from these pests, you can use floating row covers. However, those aren’t a permanent solution as you’ll need to remove them when it’s time for the watermelons’ flowers to get pollinated by bees and other insects. If necessary, you could use a chemical or natural insecticide instead.
4. Don’t water too much. One of the great things about watermelons is that they have long roots that go deep underground. As a result, if you want to grow great watermelons you should only water them occasionally. Try to keep their soil moist, but not sopping wet. And when you water, try to water the ground directly, not the foliage, as that could lead to fungi developing. While it’s normal for watermelon leaves to wilt during the hottest part of the day, they shouldn’t still be wilted by nighttime. If so, your plants are dehydrated.
5. Weed early. All plants need weeding. With watermelons, you’ll want to stay even more on top of the weeds, especially when the plants are young. This is because you’ll find it difficult to get among the watermelon vines to weed once the vines are fully developed. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself accidentally cutting vines, or even stepping on them! So try to remove weeds early on in your watermelons’ development and put down mulch to prevent other weeds from growing.
6. Prevent soil contact. When you’ve got watermelon fruits growing, you’ll want to make sure they don’t touch the soil. In order to grow great watermelons, you’ll need to put a barrier between the watermelons and the ground. This is to reduce the risk of rot and disease. Good ground barriers are straw, or even cardboard.