Sweet, succulent watermelon grown in your own home garden are a summertime favorite. There is nothing better than there sweet, cool, refreshing and delicious taste on a hot summer day. This warm climate crop thrills with the growing growing seasons in warm climates, but there are varieties for cooler areas that will preform just fine and as tasty.
When planting, choose a location that will get full sunlight and with a good air circulation. They can grow in many different types of soil, but prefer a good healthy soil structure that is light, loose, fertile and well drained. Working in a generous amount of compost, composted manure or composed leaves into the soil will greatly benefit the soils structure for your watermelons to thrive. A soil that keeps moisture well is very important when growing watermelons, they like a steady supply of water.
Sow seeds directly into the garden once all dangers of frost have passed, soak the seeds for a half hour before planting in compost tea will help the seeds germinate. Plant on hills with 4 seeds per hill and space the hills 8 to 10 feet apart for vine type or 3 to 4 feet apart for bush type. Once the seeds have germinated remove 2 of the seedlings leaving the 2 best plants.
Watermelons are heavy feeders and need a steady supply of water, giving them a feeding of compost tea every two weeks will add the nutrients needed for your plants to thrive. Do not overdue it with nitrogen, especially once the flowers form.
Harvesting your watermelons can be a tricky task. There are three methods that can be used in figuring out if a watermelon is ripe. Look, listen and feel are what it takes to check for ripeness in a watermelon.
First sign is visual, the underside of the fruit that rests on the ground will turn a gold color or yellow straw color. Next look for the curly tendril that is attached to the vine closest to the fruit, it will be dry and brittle when a watermelon is ripe.
Second is the thump test, tap the watermelon with your knuckles and it should make a hollow sound when ripe. This method will take some practice, but once you get the feel for it you will most likely you this method the most.
Third is feel, if you run your fingers around the center of the watermelon you should feel ridges on the rind when it is ripe. This is done around the center and not from end to end or from stem to blossom. A watermelon that is not mature will be smooth.