Growing Watermelon

Watermelons grow large -- but how do you know when they are done growing? With the many different types of watermelons and the many different sizes, it can be confusing. There are some signs to watch for that can indicate your watermelon is fully grown. We'll show you how to grow and harvest watermelons here.

You can determine if a watermelon is ripe by knocking on it gently.
A ripe watermelon will sound hollow.

How to Grow Watermelon

Watermelons require warm soil and warm days. Night temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the flavor of the fruit to deteriorate. They must have full sun and prefer well-drained soil that holds moisture well.

Grow watermelons in inverted hills either by seed or transplants. You can either purchase transplants or start your own indoors three to four weeks before the planting date. Sow seeds or set out transplants two to three weeks after the average date of last frost, when the soil has warmed up.

Space the hills 6 feet apart and plant four to five seeds in each hill. When the seedlings have grown large enough, thin to leave the strongest one or two seedlings in each hill. With transplants, set one or two transplants per hill.

Watermelons are 95 percent water, so make sure they have enough water to keep them growing well. Don't let the soil dry out and use a mulch to keep the moisture even.

How to Harvest Watermelon

Knowing when to pluck your watermelon from the garden can be daunting. However, there are ways to tell it is done growing.

A watermelon is ready to harvest when the vine's tendrils begin to turn brown and die off. A ripe watermelon will sound dull and hollow when you tap it with your knuckles.

Types of Watermelon

You may have noticed a difference between the watermelon varieties you've sampled over the years. There are several types of watermelon, such as:
  • Golden Crown Hybrid, harvest in 80 days; is an All America Selection that produces juicy, golden-yellow flesh.
  • Sugar Baby, harvest in 75 days; gives round, l2-pound fruits with red flesh and thin rinds.
  • Bush Sugar Baby, harvest in 80 days; provides sweet, l2-pound fruit on a compact bush.
  • Redball Seedless, harvest in 80 days; gives fruit with red flesh that has a few white seeds.
  • Sweet Beauty, harvest in 77-80 days; is a large, elongated icebox melon and an All America Selection.
  • Park's Lemon Ice, harvest in 80 days; is a seedless yellow.
In the next section, we'll discuss selecting watermelon.

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