Growing watermelon is not as easy as it looks. Last year I grew two nice-sized, ripe watermelons with no problems. It seemed the odds were in my favor this year to grow another watermelon and reap a harvest, but it turns out that was just beginner’s luck. A lot more care must be put into growing fruits than growing vegetables. They need more sun and water fruits in particular (watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, etc.) also need a ton more water. I definitely learned what not to do when growing watermelon this summer. Check out this list of what I learned growing watermelon this summer.
When Growing Watermelon You Need a Ton of Water, Sun & Space
Watermelons are actually native to Africa. So, it needs similar conditions as it would have in the Motherland. That means it needs sandy, well-drained soil, tons of sun and heat, and will grow up to 6 feet wide. I made the mistake of planting my watermelon at the edge of my garden bed. My watermelon has grown into the grass over the garden bed and even along the fence and over into the grass in the front of my house. It has literally taken over any plant within 6 feet of it. It will grow up, over and through any plant. It actually grows small tendrils along the stems of each leaf and will attach itself to anything nearby. Most gardeners recommend growing it no less than 8 feet away from any other plant life.
It’s Normal to Get 2-3 Watermelons per Plant
Your watermelon will sprout tons of little yellow flowers. Most gardeners know that just like with a cucumber plant, these yellow flowers are a sign that a watermelon can sprout there. However, if you live in a colder climate or are growing your watermelon in a container, most of those flowers will likely brown and die. I’ve actually read that if you see any signs of browning where a flower is growing, you should pick them so that the plant can give maximum energy and nutrients to the buds that will actually grow fruit. This applies whether you are growing your watermelon in a plant or growing it in the ground. Yes, you can absolutely grow watermelon in a container. My stepmom grew two watermelons in a container this summer. Check out this video on growing your watermelon.
Watermelons Need a Long Growing Season
The ground must be around 70 degrees for your watermelon plant to even begin growing. In addition, it needs about 85 days of summer weather to produce fruit. Growing watermelon in Pittsburgh is not ideal considering we only get about 100 days of summer weather each year. By the time my fruit begins to get big enough to pick, our Pittsburgh weather is transitioning to fall weather. As I said previously, I’ve grown ripe watermelon here in Pittsburgh before and my stepmom has two small watermelons that she’s harvested this summer. However, you will certainly need to give your watermelon plenty of attention and even use some gardening hacks; like putting foil under each small melon to give your watermelon maximum heat.
I hope this helps mamas! [icon name=”li_heart” size=”18px” color=”#ff87ab” link=””] Read More About Gardening: How to Pot Your First Houseplant Hostas, A Gardening Newbies Best Friend Why Every Black Woman Should Garden
[…] from Brown Mamas shares what she learned from growing watermelons this year with lots of great tips for beginning gardeners. She also gives her community a great […]
Thank you for the tidbit about plucking a browning flower! I had never heard that before but will be watching my vines closely now to ensure I get any flowers that look like they may be dying plucked off!
Thanks for commenting Tina. Happy growing! I hope you harvest lots of watermelon this season.