Lester C. Fretz
Watermelons: Tasty and Terrific To Grow
Watermelons are fun and easy to grow. there are some simple things to do for successful results.
The first decision is whether to grow seedless or seeded; seeded tend to be sweeter. In selecting the seed, consider size (e.g. up to 14 kg.) and length of growing season (80 days plus).
The growing time can be shortened by planting 5 seeds in each peat pot indoors 10 days prior to setting out. Thin to 3 plants per hill.
Watermelon do well if the vines (up to 6 meters long) are allowed to grow on rocks. Using crevices between rocks for a place to discard compost can become an ideal location to grow watermelons.
Creating a hill of cow manure covered with good soil induces needed warmth. Side dress with nitrogen when the vines begin to grow. When the fruit sets (3 to 5 cm.) apply borax water with 1 tablespoon borax to 4 litres of water to provide needed magnesium or 1 tbsp. Epsom salt to 4 litres of water
Because watermelon have deep roots, a generous watering which will go deep is better than frequent watering of lesser amounts. Excessive watering can cause Fusarium wilt. Reduce watering as ripeness nears (e.g. 2 weeks) to prevent reduction of sweetness.
By noting when the female flower is in full bloom, the melon should be ready to pick in 35 days. Two other good predictors are when the underside turns yellow and the vine to the melon dries and turns brown.
As the photos show, melons do well growing on rocks; the yellowing colour with dried, brown vine indicates the melon is ready to eat!
Lester C. Fretz, M.Sc,
Member: Dunnville Horticulture Society