Have you ever wondered how to grow watermelon? Maybe you love watermelon, but you struggle to find delicious watermelon at the store, we’ve been there. After an entire summer of nasty store-bought watermelon, we now make sure that we always have some growing in the garden.
Watermelon is pretty easy to grow, which makes it the perfect thing for beginning gardeners. The hardest part about this fruit is finding a place big enough to grow it. Vines can easily reach 20 feet in length so make sure you have enough room for them (even if you have to grow them in the middle of the yard.
How To Grow Watermelon
Our Great-Grandpa Lowery was known for growing the best and biggest watermelon in Boonesville, Missouri so growing watermelon is a bit of a family tradition. Over the years we’ve done our best to discover the best secrets to growing watermelon and wanted to share our secrets for how to grow watermelon with you!
How To Grow Watermelon From Seeds
Fill the pots with seed starting soil to the top, poke a small hole in the center of the pot about as deep as the seed is long. Pop the seed into the hole and cover it over. Place a tag in the pot so you don’t lose track of it. Place your pots in a warm window or greenhouse. Keep the soil moist until your seed sprouts. Harden your seedlings off and then transplant them into the garden.
Growing Watermelon From Plant
If you already planted your watermelon seeds or bought pre-started seedlings and are wondering how to grow watermelon from plants the first step is planting them in your garden. If you’ve started your plants make sure you’ve hardened them off before planting them out.
When To Plant Watermelon
One of the most important things to know when it comes to how to grow watermelon is when to plant it. Watermelon is frost-sensitive and can not hold up to the cold weather. Do not plant watermelon in your garden until the last danger of frost has passed. You can start your seeds inside a few weeks before your last frost date to get a jump on this season.
Growing Watermelon: Soil
The next thing you need to know when it comes to how to grow watermelon is where to plant them and how to prepare the soil for your plants. Select a site with lots of room for your watermelon vines to trail. Before you plant your watermelon amend the soil with well-rotted manure or compost.
You can grow watermelon in a hill by digging a hole 1 foot deep and 1 foot wide, then fill the hole with compost or manure. Add a handful of Epsom salt, worm castings, and phosphate to the hole. Use the dirt you removed from the hole to create a mound on top of the compost and rake flat. Plant watermelon seeds or plants on top of the mound.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Watermelon?
It takes 65-90 days to grow watermelon in your garden. If you need to you can start the plants inside to get a jump start on the growing season.
How Many Watermelon Do You Get Per Plant?
You will typically get 2-4 watermelons per watermelon plant that you grow in your garden.
Tips For How To Grow Watermelon
Here are some of our best tips for how to grow watermelon:
- Spray watermelon plants with 1 tablespoon of fish emulsion per gallon of water weekly until your plants set the first female flower.
- Space the watermelon plants 6-12 feet apart so that they don’t compete for water or nutrients.
- Keep your watermelon beds free of weeds while your watermelon plants are growing so they don’t have to compete for nutrients.
- Water your watermelon plants consistently from first planting until they set fruit.
- When your vines begin to ramble dissolve 1 tablespoon of household borax in a gallon of water and spray on the foliage of your watermelon plants and the base of the plant.
- Select a quick-growing variety if your growing season is shorter then 90 days.
- As soon as you see your first female flower appear on the vine mark it on your calendar, your watermelon will be ready to harvest 35 days later.
How To Care For Watermelon
How to grow the best watermelon comes down to care, watermelon needs consistent water from when you first pant them to when they set their first female flower. But you don’t want to overwater them. In the first 3-4 weeks in your garden, your watermelon plants will develop their root system which will supply both moisture and nutrients. A strong root system will allow the watermelon to take on 95% of its weight in water which allows them to form the large water-filled cells that give watermelon its crunchy yet tender texture.
You never want your watermelon to fully dry out or it could crack them. Water when the top 3-4 inches of your soil is dry. To check if your watermelon needs water stick a finger in the soil near your plant. Apply a heavy mulch around your plants to help keep out weeds and lock in moisture.
When To Water You Watermelon Plants
Once your watermelon has begun setting fruit, it’s really important not to overwater, or you will dilute the natural sugars. Watermelon leaves commonly wilt a little in the late part of the afternoon, if they wilt before noon water your plants immediately. It’s best to use a soaker hose or drip hose to get the water to the roots of your watermelon plant, watering from overhead can cause fungus to attack your leaves.
Stop watering your watermelon plants two weeks before your watermelon are ready to harvest. This will build up the sugar content in your watermelon causing the fruit to be sweeter when you harvest it.
Protecting Your Watermelon From Pests
Watermelon is susceptible to Thrips, Flea Beetles, Twospotted Spider Mites, Cabbage Loopers, Beet Armyworms, Grasshoppers, Leafminer Flies, Spotted & Striped Cucumber Beetles, and vine borers.
You can use:
To help protect your plants from these insects.
How To Harvest Watermelon
The final step when it comes to how to grow watermelon is how and when to harvest your watermelon. The watermelon is ready for harvest when the curly tendril on the stem above the watermelon turns brown and dry up. The spot at the bottom of the watermelon where it has been sitting on the ground will turn from almost white to yellow and the top of the fruit turns a dull color.
Harvest the watermelon by cutting the stem connecting the watermelon to the plant with a sharp knife. Refrigerate before eating to bring out the best flavor.
Growing Watermelon In Your Garden
Now you know how to grow watermelon in your backyard garden! We’ve compiled all of our best tips and tricks for the best-tasting watermelon! Still, have a question about how to grow watermelon? Drop them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them!
Before you go, check these out!