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Tips for Growing Watermelon

Growing watermelon can be a challenging endeavor. It’s not that there is anything out of the ordinary about planting watermelon, but it takes approximately ninety days to get to harvest time. Because of the length of time needed to grow a watermelon, there is ample opportunity for diseases and pests to find their way into the watermelon patch. It also means that watermelon can be exposed to many different weather conditions. Watermelon is beneficial to keep body healhty, there are several health benefits taken into consideration.

Watermelons originated in Africa and still need very warm temperatures to produce fruit. Day temperatures are best around eighty degrees and should never drop below seventy degrees. Nighttime temperatures must stay above fifty-five degrees. Growing watermelon requires moist but well-drained soil and exposure to full sun each day.

Depending on your location, watermelon may be started by seed in the garden or inside if you live in a cold climate. If you are starting your own seedlings inside, begin at least a month before they will need to go outside. Watermelon plants should not be transplanted outside in the garden for at least three weeks after the last frost in your area. Watermelon vines require a lot of room and should be planted in hills or mounds that are at least six feet apart. With seeds, you should plant five in each hill and then thin to two plants if all of the seeds germinate. If you start with transplants, place two seedlings in each hill.

Growing watermelon requires that the soil be moist but not wet throughout the season. A watermelon is 90% water, That means if rain is scarce, the watermelon plants will need to be watered. They should also be mulched with straw, grass clippings, shavings, shredded newspaper or plastic as this will help keep the moisture in the soil. One watermelon plant is apt to grow a vine that is between six and eight feet in length. Once yellow blossoms have formed on the vine, they will need to be pollinated by honey bees. This is true for every variety of watermelon, including the seedless ones.

A watermelon is ready to be harvested after the vine has died and is drying up. If you tap a ripe watermelon when it is ready, you should hear a dull, hollow, thumping sound. Sometimes large commercial watermelon producers simply look for a yellow spot to develop on the bottom of the watermelon. That is a little easier than hand tapping hundreds of watermelons. Although the size of a watermelon makes it look pretty hefty, the rind is not very strong. That means in this age of machine cultivation, every watermelon is picked by hand.

There are more than 200 different varieties of watermelon. But while the popular varieties number around fifty, there are fewer than a half dozen types that you will find in your local supermarket. These include Jubilee, Crimson Sweet, and Allsweet which are large picnic varieties; the Triploid Hybrid, which is seedless, an Ice Box type, Yellow Flesh seeded and non-seeded; and Red Flesh and Yellow Flesh mini-watermelon. The mini-watermelon grows to be anywhere from one to seven pounds while a picnic watermelon can grow to be as heavy as thirty pounds.