The watermelon, scientific name Citrullus lanaus, is one of the most popular consumption fruits when the warm months arrive. Its sweet and refreshing flavor is one of the best companions of spring and summer and, therefore, it is worth making a place for this tasty cucurbit in our garden. if you want to learn how to plant watermelonsjoin us in this EcologíaVerde article in which you will see a practical guide on how to plant a watermelon seed step by step and more tips for growing and harvesting it.
When are watermelons planted?
Watermelon seeds need a temperature of at least 15ºC to germinate, and it develops in an ideal setting between 23 and 30ºC. Because of this, it is usual plant watermelon seeds in springabout April and May in Spain, when the risk of frost, which would kill the seedlings, has passed.
However, as long as you keep this temperature range and your local climate in mind, you can plant your watermelon seeds earlier if the weather allows. Another option at your disposal is to plant the seeds in a seedbed and keep them under cover in a controlled environment, later transplanting the watermelons outside when the temperature rises. With this method, you can advance the entire process between 2 and 3 months.
Now that you know when watermelons are planted in Spain, let’s see what watermelon planting is like.
How to plant watermelons step by step
Now we explain how to plant a watermelon seed or how to plant watermelons step by step:
- prepare the ground: If you are going to plant your watermelons directly outside, you will need to clean the soil of weeds and stir it to aerate and loosen it. Break up the big clods and make it all even and light, so that it drains as well as possible. Watermelon is a plant that needs good levels of humidity, but at the same time it is sensitive to fungal attack, so adequate drainage will be vital in its cultivation. It is also not a very fussy plant for soil nutrients, so you don’t need to add organic matter at this point.
- Share the distances: This watermelon plant gets very big, so you’ll need to give each plant about 2 meters of space from each other, both in the same row and between different rows.
- dig the holes: the seed does not need to be very deep, but we will make the largest hole to prepare a bed for it with some organic matter. About 10 cm deep will suffice.
- Add organic matter: the ideal thing to plant watermelons is to use earthworm humus, which is a very complete and beneficial organic and ecological fertilizer. If you don’t have it, compost is also a good option. Add to cover three-fourths of the hole.
- Sow the watermelon seed: leave the seed on top of the layer of organic matter that you just put, finally, just cover it with soil.
- Mulch and water abundantly: with watermelon it is advisable to be especially careful with the development of weeds, so mulching the soil is a very interesting option, which will keep adventitious weeds away and at the same time increase the temperature of the soil. Then, water abundantly but without flooding.
- Final recommendations: if when your seedlings germinate and start to grow you see a wave of cold arrive, you can use bottles or jugs of water with the base cut off and without a cap as improvised greenhouses, which protect them from the worst of the cold.
You have already read all the necessary steps to know how to plant watermelons step by step, we are going to see below some of the basic care of the watermelon so that you can have it in the best condition.
Basic watermelon care
As we have said, now we are going to mention some of the basic care of watermelons:
- I usually: it is not demanding in terms of organic matter but it does need very good drainage to be able to shine.
- Irrigation: frequent. The soil must be kept constantly moist or the fruit will crack. Without flooding or wetting the plant.
- Climate: it needs temperatures above 20 ºC to develop optimally. It is very sensitive to frost, which will wreak havoc on the crop.
- Light: the watermelon plant needs a lot of sunlight, from its very germination. In the early stages, the seedlings run the risk of shriveling if they do not receive enough light, a detail that is especially important if it is planted in a nursery for later transplantation.
When to harvest watermelons
Watermelon is one of those plants in which the time of harvest may not be as obvious as we would like and, therefore, a good measure of experience is needed to learn to distinguish the exact point of harvest of the fruit.
Here are some tips to know when to harvest watermelons:
- Harvest time will usually come about 2 to 3 months later having transplanted it to its final location outdoors.
- Another clue that the watermelon plant itself gives us is when the tendrilwhich develops where the fruit joins the plant and it shows already dry completely.
- The last sign is when the part of the fruit that is in contact with the ground shows yellow markings.
How many watermelons gives a plant
Now that we know how to plant watermelons and how to care for them, we are probably wondering how many watermelons come out of a plant. Well, the production of each watermelon plant it is quite variable and it largely depends on how optimal the conditions in which the plant is developing are.
The most usual thing is that the production is maintained in a number of between 2 and 3 watermelons. It is possible for the plant to bear a single fruit, as it is also possible for it to bear more than 6, but in the latter case it is difficult for all of them to be of good quality for consumption.
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