If you love to bury your face in a cold slice of watermelon on a hot summer day, learn to grow them in your own backyard.
Step 1: Start indoors Start your seedlings indoors, especially if you live in a cooler climate. Plant two to three seeds per pot and choose the healthiest seedling for transplantation.
TIP: For best results use peat pots that can be transplanted whole without uprooting and potentially traumatizing your seedling.
Step 2: Give space Give your watermelons space to grow. Seed hills in a row, and space the rows 7 to 10 feet apart. If you don’t have that much room, consider a smaller bush variety.
Step 3: Plant Plant your seeds or seedlings outdoors after the last frost. Plant one to two seedlings per hill, or thin your plants to this number once they have taken root.
Step 4: Feed well Feed your watermelon plants with fertilizers rich in nitrogen early in their growth, followed by fertilizer rich in phosphorous and potassium after flowers have formed.
Step 5: Water if necessary Water your watermelons only when necessary, such as during a prolonged dry spell.
Step 6: Protect Protect your plants and their roots by aggressively weeding with a shallow hoe. Stave off cucumber beetles and other pests with appropriate pesticides.
TIP: Use black plastic as mulch in your watermelon rows to reduce weeds and keep your plants warm and moist.
Step 7: Harvest Harvest your melons after 75 to 100 days. Signs of ripeness include yellowing on the underside, a dulling of the overall color, resistance to thumbnails on the rind, and browning of the stems near the fruit.
FACT: Some varieties of watermelon can grow to over 200 pounds.