The watermelon has come to be gardening favorite. It is a delicious and refreshing food enjoyed best during the hot days of summer. Watermelon is a warm season vegetable that can be grown in most areas of the continental US and Hawaii. It can also be grown in most areas of the world that enjoy a 95-100 day growing season.
Watermelon is native to Africa, but today China is the world’s leading producer. There are hundreds of varieties of watermelon available with the red and yellow flesh type the most common.
It is a good idea to start your watermelon indoors as seeds. Small flower pots and sprouting trays are ideal for the job. Plant indoors about six weeks before the date of the last killing frost of spring.
Watermelon seeds sprout in 7-10 days. Starting seedlings indoors and later transplanting them outdoors makes for hardier plants. Use biodegradable paper or peat pots to start seedlings. These break down due to the action of rain and wind and do not add more waste to our sorely strained land fills.
Select a sunny part of your garden for growing watermelon. Start by adding a three inch layer of compost or dried manure to the soil. Till the solid thoroughly to a depth of about twelve inches.
Plant the watermelon seeds one inch deep . If planting them in four inch pots, place 3-5 seeds per pot. Watermelon grows best in beds about four feet wide. When planting outdoors, build up the soil into a mound and plant 3-5 seeds in each mound.
When the plants are about three inches tall, transplant seedlings outdoors. If you planted seeds outdoors, thin the plants to allow six to teen feet between each. Watermelon vines can grow to lengths of up to twenty feet and need lots of room to spread.
Watermelon need lots of water, especially during the warmer days of summer. Keep the soil around your plants moist. It is a good idea to mulch your plants when they are about five inches in height. Dried straw makes a great mulch. Spread a two inch layer of straw around your plants. Mulching helps to conserve water and, at the same time, it helps protect the roots from the more intense rays of sunlight.
Some varieties of watermelon can weigh over ten pounds. The watermelon is ready to harvest when the stem attached to the melon start to dry out. Some gardeners can tell when the watermelon is ready by thumping the rind. A dull hollow sound is usually a good indication that it is ready to harvest.
Watermelon is high in Vitamins A, B1, B6 and C. Watermelon also contains potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. The watermelon is a sweet and refreshing summer drink. A refreshing energy drink can be made by removing the seeds and processing the watermelon pulp in a blender. Cubes of watermelon are often added, along with cantaloupe, pineapple and any other fruit to make a delicious fruit salad.
Watermelon is a gardening favorite. I requires little care and can be harvested in a little over three months. This refreshing and delicious food crop can be grown in many regions. Plant some in your garden and enjoy a great harvest of this delicious food.