How to Grow Watermelon

Watermelons are one of the most popular summer fruits to grow in a backyard garden, and with the proper care and attention, you can successfully have your own homegrown watermelons. Growing watermelon is easy and rewarding, as these juicy fruits can be enjoyed fresh off the vine. If you want to try your hand at growing watermelon, here are some tips and tricks for a successful harvest.

two photos of watermelon growing in the garden with text, how to grow watermelon.

What is the best way to grow watermelon?

Gardeners should take special care when planting and maintaining their watermelons to get the best results. Here are some important things to take note of:

Select the best seeds 

The best way to grow watermelon is to start with high-quality seeds or seedlings that are adapted to your climate. In addition, it’s important to choose varieties of watermelons that are suited to both soil type and temperature in your area – while there are some varieties suitable for warmer climates, others require cooler temperatures for optimal growth.

Select the best location

The best locations have well-draining soil, ample sunlight, and plenty of space for the vines to spread. 

When selecting a particular spot for planting, look for an area with six hours of full sunshine per day and soil that is nutrient-6+3 but low in nitrogen content. The pH level should also be around 6; if it’s higher or lower than this ideal range, adding lime or sulfur can adjust it to the right level. The area should provide enough room for the watermelon plants to mature; at least eight square feet per plant is recommended. Additionally, make sure there’s good air circulation around the plants; this will help reduce disease problems.

Plant in warm soil

Planting watermelon seeds directly in warm soil allows for an earlier harvest than if the seeds were started indoors or planted later in cooler temperatures. It’s important to note that direct-seeded watermelons require more attention and maintenance than those started indoors but will produce a crop far sooner! 

Give enough water

For starters, it’s important to water your melons regularly but not too often. Watermelons thrive when given an inch or two of water once or twice a week, depending on climate conditions, soil type, and weather. During hot spells, they may need more frequent watering but be sure not to overdo it as this can cause disease issues such as root rot and blossom end rot.

Feed your watermelon

The first step in fertilizing watermelon plants is to prepare the soil by adding organic matter such as aged manure or compost. This will help improve drainage, supply essential nutrients and create air pockets that allow root penetration. 

Once the soil has been prepared, it’s time to add fertilizer specifically designed for watermelons. A balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 works well for most varieties; apply one tablespoon per plant along with two tablespoons of Epsom salts mixed into the top inch of soil around each plant’s base.

Mulch your watermelon

Spread a layer of organic mulch over the planted soil bed. You can use straw, hay, or untreated grass clippings – all are effective options. Make sure to create a layer that’s at least 3-4 inches thick so that it acts as a protective barrier against heat loss during cold nights and excessive moisture loss in the hot summer months. During summer months, you should add extra layers throughout the growing season to help maintain optimal temperatures.

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How many watermelons do you get from 1 plant?

On average, a watermelon plant will produce between 2-4 melons. This number is based on optimal growing conditions, including plenty of sunshine, sufficient space for the plants to grow, and nutrient-rich soil that is regularly fertilized. 

Growing watermelon in the garden.

What month do you plant watermelons?

For most regions of the United States, the best planting time for watermelon crops is late spring or early summer. This means that May or June is usually the ideal month to plant your watermelons outdoors. For states with shorter growing seasons, such as those in the colder northern climates, the window of opportunity may be more limited and begin sometime around mid-May instead. 

No matter what region you’re in, it’s important to keep an eye on weather forecasts and temperatures when deciding when exactly to get your watermelons into the ground.

Is watermelon easy to grow?

While watermelons are relatively low maintenance and require little effort, there are some points of consideration when determining whether they’re easy or not. 

For starters, watermelons need plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures throughout their growth cycle in order to thrive. Depending on your climate and time of year, this may be a challenge. 

Watermelons also require ample water during the hot summer months; however, overwatering can lead to rot and fungus so it’s important to strike a balance between hydration and drainage. Additionally, soil quality and pH level testing will help ensure that the conditions for growth are optimal.

Do watermelons need a lot of water?

Watermelons are actually surprisingly resilient when it comes to their water needs. Unlike other fruits and vegetables that require frequent watering, such as tomatoes or potatoes, watermelons thrive with less irrigation. In fact, too much water can cause the fruit to split open during its growth stage. The ideal soil conditions for growing a healthy watermelon crop are adequate drainage and moist soil – not soggy or overly dry. Watering should be done at the root zone rather than from overhead sprinklers, which can lead to fungal diseases in the plants’ leaves.

How long does it take to fully grow a watermelon?

The growth rate of watermelons depends primarily on the variety and weather conditions. Most watermelon varieties require between 70-100 days of growing time before they are ready for harvest. The warm temperatures that accompany the summer months make it the perfect season for watermelon harvesting. During the ideal conditions, some varieties can even mature as quickly as 50-55 days after planting. Some gardeners opt to get an early start by starting their seeds indoors and transferring them outside when temperatures warm up. 

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