A prosperous home watermelon crop begins with choosing the proper watermelon variety to your area. Most varieties are best suited to southern growing regions, however there are varieties that grow well in northern regions. Watermelons require a long-growing season using a warm summer, humid atmosphere and lots space. These melons are easy to grow when planting in fertile, well-drained soil with complete sun.
Watermelons need full sun for proper growth. For full sun, choose a place where watermelons get eight to ten hours of direct sunlight. The plants need sun to stay healthy and productive. Choose a garden place where trees, buildings or other constructions don’t block sunlight and shade the plants. Watermelons also benefit from black plastic mulch to help attract sun and heats the soil, as these melons need warm soil temperature for proper growth.
Effects of Not Enough Sunlight
Watermelons grown under cloudy circumstances or that don’t get enough sunlight frequently create badly flavored fruit. Sunshine warms the soil, and watermelons need soil temperatures over 60 degrees F for their roots to absorb water. When the sunny weather yields, moisture evaporates from leaves faster than roots absorb water, resulting in rapid wilting and plant death. Transplants can suffer from lack of sunlight too; fresh plants which endure cloudy or rainy weather for four or more days can die.
Warm air temperatures are important for watermelon development, and glowing, summer weather provides the correct growing temperatures. Watermelons are pollinated by insects, such as the honeybee, and cool, wet weather slows honeybee activity and affects the flower structure, preventing the release of pollen while the pistil is receptive. Poorly pollinated watermelons produce misshapen fruit. Watermelons need warm temperatures to produce sweet fruit. Seeds need warmth to germinate also. For success with germination, ensure soil temperatures are between 65 and 95 degrees.
Tip for Growing Watermelons
Plant watermelons after all risk of frost have passed, because they cannot withstand a light frost. Watermelons need good air circulation, so space them about 6 to 12 feet apart. Maintaining the melons sufficient space and sun keeps them moist and helps to avoid infection. Watermelons will need to remain evenly moist and never permitted to dry out. Watermelons are ripe if they create a dull thud when thumbed. When selecting, it is best to cut them from the vine and not pull them.