How Long Does It Take for Watermelon to Grow

Have you ever wondered how a watermelon starts from a tiny seed? It grows into a sweet, juicy fruit over time. Watermelons have a unique journey as they grow. Their development is affected by temperature, water, and soil. Let's look at the step-by-step process of growing watermelons.

From the time you plant the seed until the fruit is ready to eat, it can take 65 to 100 days on average. Imagine, in about two to three months, a watermelon grows from a small seed to a big, ripe fruit. This time can change based on the type of watermelon and where it's grown.

While growing, watermelon plants change a lot. They start as little seedlings and become big vines. The vines of some watermelon types can grow up to 6 feet long, showing how much they can grow.

Watermelons need the right conditions to do well. They like soil that's a mix of sand and loam. Watermelons need a good amount of water, about 1 inch a week. And they grow best in warm weather. They don't like cold and can't live through frost.

To start growing a watermelon, plant the seeds in good soil when it's warm outside. Before planting, mix a complete fertilizer into the soil to help your plants grow strong. Watermelons do best in places that get a lot of sunlight every day.

When you pick which watermelon types to grow, think about how much space they need. Some kinds need a lot of room, around 18 to 24 square feet for each plant. But if space is limited, there are smaller types of watermelons that also need less space.

As watermelons grow, they show their unique traits and might face some issues. For instance, seedless watermelons have tiny and soft seeds that don't grow into new plants. These watermelons are special types made through mixing other varieties together.

Now, we've looked at the basics of watermelon growth and what they need to thrive. Next, we'll cover each step of growing watermelons. From planting them and taking care of them, to when they're ready to pick, we'll explore everything about watermelons. Come, join us on this enjoyable and informative journey!

Watermelon Plant Characteristics and Requirements

Watermelons belong to the gourd family and thrive in warm temperatures. They have vines with large leaves and flowers that are pale yellow. These plants require lots of sunshine, plenty of space, and regular watering. They grow best in well-drained soil.

For watermelons to grow well, it's important to know what they need. This includes the right space, sunlight, and soil type. Understanding their needs is key to growing healthy watermelons.

Space Requirements

Each watermelon plant needs a lot of space, about 18 to 24 square feet. This space lets their vines grow freely. It makes sure air can move around them, which helps prevent diseases. Also, it lets the fruits grow big and sweet.

Sunlight

These plants love the sun and need at least 8 hours of it each day. Sunlight is important for their growth and making sweet fruits. Without enough sunlight, they won't be as healthy.

Watering

Watermelons need to be watered regularly. They should get about 1 inch of water every week, either from rain or you watering them. It's best to water them deeply. Sprinklers can wet the leaves too much, leading to diseases. So, use a drip system or soaker hoses near the roots.

Soil Requirements

While watermelons adapt to different soils, they do best in well-drained, loose soil. This type of soil helps water flow through. The best soil pH for watermelons is between 6.0 and 7.5. Before planting, add compost to the soil. This will help the plants grow strong.

Temperature

Watermelons need warm weather to grow, between 70ºF and 85ºF. Cold weather can harm them, especially frost. Always plant them after the last frost date in your area. The soil should be warm by then.

Plant Spacing

Watermelon plants should be at least 2-3 feet apart when planting in hills. If in rows, they should be 6 feet apart. Enough space ensures they get enough sun and air. This prevents them from being overcrowded.

To grow watermelons well, make sure they have the right conditions. This means giving them the space, sunlight, and water they need. Healthy plants will give you lots of tasty watermelons in the summer.

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Growing Watermelon Varieties

Watermelon growing goes back a long way, all the way to China in the tenth century. Today, you can pick from many types, each with its own tastes and looks.

If you love big, juicy fruit, look into types like 'Charleston Grey', 'Crimson Sweet', and 'Jubilee'. Their sizes range from 6 to 200 pounds, making them great for summer fun.

Need something small for your garden or for snacks? Try the "icebox" varieties. Melons like 'Sugar Baby' and 'Sweet Beauty' may be little but are big on flavor.

Seedless watermelons are growing in popularity because they are easy to eat. 'King of Hearts' and 'Majestic' are two favorites for their sweet taste without the seeds.

For small spaces or if you like to grow in containers, bush varieties are wonderful. Look for 'Bush Jubilee' or 'Cal Sweet Bush.' They grow fewer fruits but are perfect for tiny gardens or pots.

Some watermelons are made to ripen faster, letting you enjoy them earlier. 'Early Crimson Treat' is one of these early champions.

Watermelon Variety
Description
Size
'Charleston Grey'
Large-fruited, juicy, and sweet
6-200 pounds
'Crimson Sweet'
Known for its sweet flavor and crisp texture
10-25 pounds
'Jubilee'
Popular for its vibrant red flesh and high sugar content
20-25 pounds
'Sangria'
Deep red flesh with a high sugar content
10-20 pounds
'Moon & Stars'
Unique appearance with yellow spots resembling moons and stars
15-40 pounds
'Royal Sweet'
Desirable for its sweet taste and crisp texture
15-25 pounds

Watermelon VarietiesPin

Trying out different watermelon kinds can make your garden and meals more fun. Whether you like big or small, or even without seeds, there's a type for you.

Planting Watermelon

Planting watermelons at the right time and in the right conditions is key to a good harvest. These planting tips will guide your watermelon cultivation:

  1. Choose the right time: Plant watermelon seeds when the soil is 60°F to 65°F (15°C to 18°C) deep. This is about two weeks after the last frost.
  2. Prepare the soil: Make small mounds of soil. This warms the soil and lets water drain well for the plants.
  3. Spacing: Follow your watermelon variety's recommendations for plant spacing. For example, standard vines need 36-48 inches apart and rows 6 to 8 feet apart.
  4. Seed depth: Place watermelon seeds four inches deep in the soil. Cover them well with soil.
  5. Hill size: Create soil hills that are 6-8 inches high and 18-24 inches wide. This gives the roots enough room to grow and keeps moisture in.
  6. Thinning seedlings: A week after the seedlings appear, keep the two strongest. This helps them grow better by reducing competition.
  7. Purchasing young plants: You can also buy young watermelon plants from a nursery. Transplant them for an earlier harvest.

Keep the watermelon plants well-watered and in the sun. Give them the nutrients they need. Watch out for pests and diseases and rotate your crops. This keeps your watermelon plants healthy. Follow these tips for a great watermelon garden.

Planting WatermelonPin

Watermelon Care and Maintenance

Caring for watermelon plants well is key to their success. With the right conditions and care, gardeners can enjoy healthy plants and lots of fruit.

Watering

Watermelon plants need a lot of water because they are big and full of water. They should get water often to keep the soil moist. Giving them about 1 inch of water each week is a good rule, use drip systems or water in the morning. Don't water from above to avoid fungal diseases like powdery mildew.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing is crucial for watermelon plants to grow well and make fruit. When planting, mix a complete fertilizer, like 10-10-10, into the soil. Do this at three pounds per 100 square feet. This will feed your plants. While they grow, add nitrogen fertilizer, like 34-0-0, by sprinkling it alongside the plants. For every 100 feet of vines, use one pound when the vines start to spread out.

Disease Prevention

Watermelons can get sick from diseases like gummy stem blight and mildew. To keep diseases away, change where you plant watermelons every few years. Always watch your plants for any signs of disease. Act quickly if you see anything wrong. Sometimes, you might have to use fungicides to protect your watermelons.

Watermelon carePin

Watermelon Care and Maintenance Guidelines

Care and Maintenance Aspect
Guidelines
Watering
- Provide about 1 inch of water per week
- Use drip systems or water plants in the morning
- To keep away disease, don't water from above
Fertilizing
- Mix a complete fertilizer in the soil before planting
- Add more nitrogen as the plants grow
Disease Prevention
- Change where you plant watermelons every few years
- Check plants often for diseases and act fast if you see something
- Use fungicides as a last resort
See also
How to Trim Hydrangeas in the Spring

Stick to these guidelines for the best watermelon care results. Make sure your watermelons get enough water, the right fertilizers, and you watch for diseases. With the right care, your harvest will be both tasty and plentiful.

Ripening and Harvesting Watermelon

Watermelon is a beloved fruit of summer. To enjoy its ripe sweetness, it's key to know when to pick it. This ensures you get the best flavor.

Watermelons ripen at different rates. It usually takes 65-100 days after planting for them to be ready. Things like the weather, how often you water them, and the sunlight they get, all play a part.

So, how do you know when a watermelon's ripe? Look for its rind to change from bright to dull green. The part touching the ground will go from green to cream or yellow. Also, notice the tendril closest to the melon; if it's dry and brown, your watermelon is ready.

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Remember, watermelons stop ripening once you pick them. You only have one shot to choose the perfect time for eating quality.

To tell if it's time to harvest, listen for a hollow sound when you thump the watermelon. Its rind stripes should also be less noticeable. A yellow or cream-colored bottom means it's ripe.

After picking, watermelons can last a while. Uncut ones stay fresh for around 10 days in a warm place. Storing in the fridge extends their life to about two weeks. But, for the tastiest bite, eat them soon after picking.

In all, watermelons need about 80 to 100 days to fully grow. Signs that they're ripe include changes in the rind's color. Look for a cream or yellow underbelly and a dried-up tendril. Store-bought or picked, keeping them fresh is simple. Pick at perfect ripeness for the juiciest, sweetest results.

Watermelon Pest and Disease Management

Watermelons are known for being juicy and tasty during summer. Yet, they face challenges from pests and diseases. These can slow down plant growth and lower fruit yields. It's key to know how to manage these issues to grow great watermelon.

Pest Control

Common pests like melon aphids and cucumber beetles can harm watermelon plants. They spread bacterial wilt, which can kill the plants. Checking plants often is a must. If you see these pests, treating them with special soap or insecticides is needed to stop further harm.

Disease Prevention

Fungal diseases such as gummy stem blight, powdery mildew, and downy mildew can affect watermelons. They show up as leaf spots, dead vines, and spoiled fruit. To avoid these diseases, use watermelon types that resist them and rotate your crops. Applying fungicides when needed also helps guard against fungi.

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) offers a whole-picture method for controlling pests and diseases. Its goal is to cut down on chemical use. Instead, it relies on stopping issues before they start, watching closely, and using nature's helpers, like beneficial bugs. With IPM, the environment stays healthier and you use less chemical pest control.

Cultural Practices

Other than managing pests and diseases, certain ways of farming can boost watermelon health. Adequate plant spacing aids in air movement and lowers the chances of fungal infections. Placing black plastic under the plants helps them grow faster and keeps the soil warm. Adding drip irrigation to this setup keeps the leaves dry, warding off diseases.

Growing Watermelons in Different Climates

Watermelons love the heat and do best in hot, sunny weather. That's why they are often seen in places with long, warm summers. But, you can still grow them in cooler areas with the right know-how. Some changes and careful planning make this possible.

In colder places, it's smart to start watermelon seeds inside or buy young plants. This gives the plants a strong start in a warm spot. Later, when you move them outside, they'll be more ready to take on the summer heat. It helps to stretch out the growing season, too.

Using plastic mulch is a clever trick for colder climates. The plastic heats up the soil by trapping the sun's warmth. This makes a cozy spot for watermelon plants to grow. You can also use floating row covers to keep the plants warm and shield them from cold snaps.

Getting the timing right is essential when growing watermelons in varying climates. Wait to plant until any threats of frost are gone and the soil's warm enough. Watermelons need to be in soil that's at least 60°F to 65°F to kick off their growth.

Remember, watermelons thrive in temperatures between 70ºF and 85ºF. If your summers are on the cool side, go for early maturing types. They need less time to grow, which fits better in short warm seasons. This step increases your chances of a good watermelon harvest in cooler spots.

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Container Gardening for Watermelon

Container gardening is great for growing watermelons, especially in limited spaces. With the right care and type of watermelon, you can enjoy home-grown watermelons on a balcony or patio.

When picking watermelon types for containers, go for ones that don't need much room to grow. Look for varieties that are bushy and small. These are best for small spaces. Some good picks are:

  • Sugar Baby watermelon
  • Moon and Stars watermelon
  • Crimson Sweet watermelon
  • Early Moonbeam watermelon
  • Jubilee watermelon
  • Golden Midget watermelon
  • Jade Star watermelon
  • Millennium watermelon
  • Orange Sweet watermelon
  • Solitaire watermelon

These special watermelon types are bred to fit in containers.

To grow watermelons in containers, pick a big one with drainage holes. Use a container that's at least 7 to 10 gallons for each plant. It should be 18 to 24 inches wide and 20 to 24 inches deep. This gives the watermelon enough room to grow its roots and stay healthy.

Put a mix of light soil and organic matter in the container. This soil type gives the plants the nutrients they need and allows water to drain properly. Water the plants well but make sure the soil doesn't get too wet.

If you want the best outcome, use a soaker hose or drip watering system. Watermelons need a lot of water, especially in hot weather. How often you water them depends on the air temperature. If it's under 80°F, water once a day is enough. But, if it's over 80°F, water them twice a day to keep them from drying out.

Adding fertilizer is key for healthy watermelons. You can use a water-soluble fertilizer every week or a slow-release granular fertilizer every month. Pick a fertilizer that's safe for plants you eat and follow the instructions on how to use it.

Watermelons really love the sun and need at least 8 hours of it every day. Put your containers in a place that gets a lot of sun, like a balcony or patio that faces south. This way, they get all the sunlight they need.

Tips and Tricks for Growing Watermelon

Growing watermelon can be very rewarding. With the right advice, you'll see a great harvest. These tips work whether you're just starting out or have lots of experience.

1. Start with the Right Variety

Picking the right watermelon for your area is key. Consider types like Crimson Sweet, Moon and Stars, and Sugar Baby. Each one thrives in different conditions. Do some research to find what's best for your garden.

2. Prepare the Soil

Watermelons love rich, sandy soil. Make sure your soil is fertile and drains well. A pH level of 6.0 to 6.8 is ideal. Add compost or manure to give your plants a nutrient boost.

3. Planting and Spacing

Start seeds when the ground is warm, at 70°F (21°C). Follow the directions for spacing seeds or plants. They need 3 to 5 feet of space. This allows their vines to spread out.

4. Watering and Fertilizing

Watermelons need about 1-2 inches of water a week. Deep watering helps their roots grow stronger. Use slow-release fertilizer to keep them nourished. This feeding is crucial for big, healthy fruits.

5. Disease and Pest Control

Keeping your plants safe from pests and diseases is important. For aphids, use insecticidal soap or a strong water jet. Planting disease-resistant types can help ward off mildew. Keep an eye on your plants to catch problems early.

6. Ripening and Harvesting

Watermelons usually take about two weeks to ripen. Harvest them when they lose their shine and sound hollow. Check for a creamy spot under the melon. This method ensures the best taste.

Growing watermelons is both fun and rewarding. With a little patience and these tips, a tasty harvest is within reach.

Conclusion

Watermelon farming can be both rewarding and profitable, especially in places like Oklahoma with long, warm summers. By providing the right care, one can grow plenty of quality watermelons. It's important to choose watermelon varieties that are disease-resistant, like Fusarium wilt and anthracnose.

Watermelons need sandy loam soil with a bit of acidity. Good soil prep and managing how you water are essential. Many farmers are now using drip irrigation for its efficiency. Windbreaks are also used to shield watermelon plants from harsh winds and sand.

Selling watermelons offers several options, from wholesaling to auctioning or joining marketing groups. You can also sell directly through roadside stands or farmers' markets. The demand for fresh watermelons is always high, which is good for those growing them as a business.

Watermelon farming isn't just about making money. It also provides a tasty, cooling treat for people. With the right information and effort, growing watermelons can be a very successful venture. It helps contribute to the growing needs of the agricultural sector.

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