Watermelon, a typical summer plant known for being a juicy fruit rich in vitamin C, starts mainly from seed.There is nothing like the taste of a sweet, juicy watermelon on a hot summer's day. If you live in a warm climate, it is easy to grow your own. You need at least three months of hot, sunny days to grow watermelon from seed to fruit.
The average daily temperature for these three months should be at least 70 to 80 degrees, although warmer is preferable. Follow these planting, care and harvesting tips to learn how to grow watermelons in your backyard garden this summer. If you are planting your first backyard watermelon garden, a few tips can help ensure optimal watermelon seeds germination success.
Watermelon seeds are one of the easiest seeds to collect and save from the ripe fruit. Simply sc out the seeds from the watermelon, rinse them in water to remove any fruit debris or juice, and air dry them on paper towels. Usually, watermelon seeds can survive for about four years. However, the longer you wait, the less chance you have of getting the best germination. For best results, plant watermelon seeds immediately after harvest. When buying commercially packaged seeds, check the expiry date to ensure that the four-year limit has not been exceeded.
Many types of plant seeds can be soaked before planting to soften the seed coat and speed germination. However, watermelons are the exception. Soaking seeds before sowing watermelon seeds increases the risk of various fungal diseases, such as anthracnose caused by the fungus Anthracnose.
Watermelon plants are very sensitive to frost and exposure to cold temperatures will kill them off very quickly. Get a head start on the growing season by planting watermelon seeds in peat pots and get them indoors about three to four weeks before the last frost date in your area. Once all risk of frost has passed, you can transplant your watermelon seedlings into the ground. This will help you to enjoy the fruits of your harvest a few weeks beforehand.
Increasing the fertility level of the soil before planting watermelon seeds will ensure rapid germination and seedling growth. For best results with watermelons, use 3 lbs of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 sq ft of planting space.
Warmer soils result in faster germination of watermelon seeds. For example, watermelon seeds take about 3 days to germinate at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to about 10 days at 70 degrees. If you are planting seeds indoors, consider using a space heater or heating mat to increase the temperature. If planting seeds outdoors, try covering the planting site with black plastic mulch to help absorb sunlight and increase soil temperatures during the day, which in turn speeds up the germination of watermelons.
Seeds sown too deeply will not establish properly. For best germination, bury watermelon seeds at a depth of between 1/2 and 1 inch.