Watermelon

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Botanical name: Citrullus lanatus

Plant type: Fruit

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Sandy

Everyone seems to love juicy watermelon in the summertime. Native to Africa, melons need warm temperatures (up to 80 degrees during the day) and a long growing season. Gardeners in colder climates can still have success in growing watermelon by starting seeds indoors and choosing short-season varieties. Days to maturity range from 70 to 90, depending on the variety.

Planting

  • If you live in warmer climes, you can direct sow seeds outdoors, but wait until the soil temperature warms to at least 70 degrees to avoid poor germination.
  • Watermelon vines are very tender and should not be transplanted until all danger of frost has passed. (To be safe, wait at least two weeks past your last frost date.)
  • If you are in a cooler zone, start seeds indoors about a month before transplanting. 
  • Amend soil with aged manure or compost before planting. Watermelons are heavy feeders.
  • Watermelons prefer a soil pH between 6 and 6.8.
  • Growing the vines in raised rows, known as hills, ensures good drainage and will hold the sun’s heat longer. Space the plants about 2 feet apart in a 5-foot-wide hill. 
  • If you're growing in rows, space 6 feet apart by 6 feet apart. 
  • Watermelons like loamy, well-drained soil. Handle them gently when you transplant. 
  • After you transplant, cover the plants with row covers to keep pests at bay. You'll remove the row covers when you see both male and female flowers on the vine.

Care

  • Mulching with black plastic will serve multiple purposes: it will warm the soil, hinder weed growth and keep developing fruits clean.
  • While melon plants are growing, blooming, and setting fruit, they need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Water at the vine's base in the morning, and try to avoid wetting the leaves and avoid overhead watering. Reduce watering once fruit are growing. Dry weather produces the sweetest melon.
  • Pruning isn't necessary, but vine productivity may be improved if you do not allow lateral (side) vines to grow and stick to the main vine. When the plant is young, just cut off the end buds as they form (before the side shoots become vines). You can also pinch off some blossoms to focus the energy on fewer melons (though it's a challenge to kill off a potential fruit!).
  • Vines produce male and female flowers separately on the same plant. They often begin producing male flowers several weeks before the females appear. Do not be concerned if the male flowers fall off. The female flowers (which have a swollen bulb at the base) will stay on the vine and bear fruit.
  • Blossoms require pollination to set fruit, so be kind to the bees! 
  • As fruit is ripening, prevent rotting by gently lifting it and putting some cardboard or straw between the fruit and the soil.

Pests

Harvest/Storage

Watermelons don’t sweeten after they are picked, so harvest time is important. They generally ripen over two weeks so keep you eye on them.

Dr. Bill Rhodes, professor of horticulture at Clemson University, offers the following advice on how to tell if watermelons are ripe:

  • Thump it. If the watermelon sounds hollow, it's ripe.
  • Look at the color on the top. The watermelon is ripe when there is little contrast between the stripes.
  • Look at the color on the bottom. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a cream- or yellow-colored bottom.
  • Press on it. If the watermelon sounds like it gives a little, it's ripe. (Rhodes doesn't like this method because it can ruin the quality of the fruit.)
  • Check the tendril. If it's green, wait. If it’s half-dead, the watermelon is nearly ripe or ripe. If the tendril is fully dead, it's ripe or overripe; it’s not going to get any riper, so you might as well pick!
  • Stems should be cut with a sharp knife close to the fruit.
  • Watermelons can be stored uncut for about 10 days. If cut, they can last in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Wrap tightly in plastic.

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Sugar Baby’ 80 days to maturity. Produces 10-pound melons with bright red flesh. This variety of smaller fruit can be planted just 4 feet apart.
  • ‘Sweet Beauty’ 80 days to maturity. A 2004 All-America Selection. Bears 6-pound, oblong melons with red flesh.
  • ‘Golden Midget’ 70 days to maturity. Bears petite, yellow-skinned 3-pound melons with pink flesh. Good for Northern gardeners.

Recipes

Wit & Wisdom

What’s in a name? Watermelon is 90% water.

The pumpkin vine never bears watermelons.

Comments

We have some watermelons

By Carolina ambriz on October 1

We have some watermelons growing without us doing any planting we just ate watermelons and spit the seeds outside and they grew we have no idea when they will be ready or how big there auppose to get hopefully we don't wait to long or pick them to quickly. Help

my watermelon plants are just

By jackie from ill. on September 22

my watermelon plants are just now getting female flowers I'm afraid it's going to get too cold too soon is there any way to transplant them into the house using a trellis and a five pound bucket or will this just kill the plant anyway??

You can certainly try this,

By Almanac Staff on September 22

You can certainly try this, but there is a possibility that it might shock the plant enough that it will die. You would also need to hand-pollinate the flowers (use a paintbrush to transfer pollen from a male flower to a female flower). Allow 8 hours of sun per day, and keep up with watering until fruit is fully developed. Keep temperatures warm.
 
Or, you might try keeping the plants outdoors and carefully placing black plastic down on the ground around the plant to help keep the soil warm. Also, put row covers over the plants to help protect them from frost; remove the row covers during the warm parts of the day so that pollinators can find the flowers, but put them back on as temperatures cool for the day and keep them on overnight. In either case, good luck!

I grow various melons (musk,

By Erik333 on September 11

I grow various melons (musk, honeydew and watermelons). My melons are successful and watermelons are not. The 2 main issues are odd shape and not growing to full size. I will note that the taste is unaffected and although they are small and mis-shapen, they taste great. But i'm growing melons that should reach 15-20lbs and only get them 2-4 lbs.

I will also note that my musk/honeydew melons reach normal size and shape.

I have heavy clay soil - but I plant the watermelons in hills that contain mostly bagged compost. Is this insufficient in terms of getting them enough food to grow?

I water deeply at least 1x per week with a soaker hose.

Any ideas why my melons come out great and watermelons are runts?

Sandy soil is much better

By Almanac Staff on September 12

Sandy soil is much better than clay when growing watermelons. They have long tap roots and grow deep into the soil for nutrients. You can grow them larger by adding lots of compost to the clay soil. And do not let the plant set too many melons. Leave only about two per plant.

I picked one of my melons to

By Kathy S on September 10

I picked one of my melons to see if it was ripe,and when I cut it ,it was a yellowish orange. I tasted it was very sweet, but I don't know if it had to turn red or not. Can someone help me?

There are watermelon

By Almanac Staff on September 11

There are watermelon varieties which have yellow flesh inside. Otherwise, just see our tips above to know when it's best to harvest watermelons. Of course, if you liked the taste, it doesn't matter!

How to cut the main vine for

By abdoul faye on September 10

How to cut the main vine for the watermelon what the main vine means

how many hills can i plant on

By terry w on September 9

how many hills can i plant on one acre of land

It really depends. We'll let

By Almanac Staff on September 10

It really depends. We'll let you do the math but you'll want 6 to 8 feet between hills on bare ground without irrigation. With irrigation, use a spacing of 5 to 6 feet between hills. With plastic mulch and trickle irrigation, use an in-row spacing of 3 feet and between-row spacing of 6 to 8 feet. The amount of seed required (usually 1 to 2 pounds per acre) depends upon seed size, germination and plant spacing.

pls, where do I get

By tijani ridwan on September 8

pls, where do I get watermelon seeds for planting

I am having a problem with my

By Kelly Haines

I am having a problem with my watermelons not getting completly ripe but have started to rot inside. I just cut one open and it is not completely red and is rotting. I live in Oklahoma, Edmond area. Help I do not know what is going on with my crop.

Thank You,
Kelly

I'm in the UK and for the

By John Bowley

I'm in the UK and for the first time I'm growing water melons. The plant is in the greenhouse and was doing well. There is one melon (about 4 inches in diameter) and three or four smaller fruits. However, the plant seems to be dying with the leaves going brown and any shoots with flowers seem to be withering.
I water every day with the addition of Tomerite. Can anyone help as I haven't got a clue what to do next?

Hi, I grow about 1/2 acre of

By Lisa Pilz

Hi, I grow about 1/2 acre of assorted watermelon varieties. Years past have been great in flavor and quality. This year, they all seem to be going "Dead" before they are ripe according to tendril and yellow belly. The few we have cut a little early don't have much flavor. We are barely watering them, just enough to keep alive. Nice composted ground, black plastic and drip tape. Not sure what could be causing this problem. Any other advise on this?

I got some weedkiller on one

By Mikey ********

I got some weedkiller on one of my watermelon plants it turned a whitesh gray so is it dead or will it pull out of it

Please i need detail

By Ukamaka Onele

Please i need detail guidiance on the proper management of watermelone to ensure maximum growth and yield.

If you got weedkiller on your

By georgewilson

If you got weedkiller on your fruit, I wouldn't eat the fruit.

I have two watermelons thumb

By Jacqueline McNeil

I have two watermelons thumb size. How fast will they grow and how long will it take before picking?

Hi Jacqueline, If you planted

By Almanac Staff

Hi Jacqueline,
If you planted your watermelons from seed the days to maturity should be printed on the seed packet. How fast your melons will mature all depends on what variety you have and your climate. Watermelons love hot weather. Generally, watermelons are ready to be picked about 65 to 90 days after sowing.

I planted watermelon seeds

By Jeff wants melons

I planted watermelon seeds from a yellow watermelon that I bought. It is spouting fast but someone told me that seeds from a watermelon don't usually produce melons. Am I wasting my time? Or should I let it continue to grow?

It depends. If your

By Almanac Staff

It depends. If your watermelon came from a grocery store, it likely was a hybrid (a cross between two watermelon varieties). In this case, the watermelons that come from that seed may be different from the parent melon and may have inferior characteristics (such as poor quality, taste, etc). Sometimes, something better than the parent might form, but that's rare. If you think your seeds came from a hybrid, and want to just grow the plant to see what develops, good or bad, then continue to grow it.
 
If, on the other hand, you got a watermelon from a farmer's market, and you know that it was an open-pollinated variety (a cross between plants of the same variety), the seeds will likely come true to type, having the same features as the parent. In this case, if you continue to grow the plant, it most likely will produce fruit like the original watermelon (providing it has the proper light, nutrients, water, temperature, etc.).

Hi. I have several watermelon

By DonMass

Hi.
I have several watermelon vines doing great, got lots of flowers, half of the fruit died as expected when pea-sized, but I still have about 6 fruit the size of baseballs/softballs across 6 different vines. I thought they were doing great until I noticed over this past week it doesn't look like they are getting any larger. There is only one that I can say is definitely getting larger. the other 5 stay about the size of a baseball or softball. Should I cut the main vine past the fruit to focus energy on the fruit? The vines are still actively growing....thanks!!

Yes, it is a good idea to

By Almanac Staff

Yes, it is a good idea to prune the vines to focus the energy to the growing watermelons. Water more frequintly and feed them a high-phosphorus fertilizer.

I am growing watermelons for

By Valerie Reynoso

I am growing watermelons for the first time this year. I live in Southern California and it has been fairly hot. I also have an irrigation system that waters them every day for several minutes twice a day. My vines are going crazy and I have seen a lot of fruit starting on the plants. I have just noticed that the fruit is falling off the plant when it gets to be about an inch or two long. Also, they are fairly oval in shape. Even at this tiny stage, they already look like watermelons with the lines and markings on them and they are staying green (not turning yellow or any other color) when they fall off. I have read the previous questions and comments and the only conclusion I can come to is poor pollination. I have seen many bees (even the tiny little ones) all throughout my garden and all of my other veggies and fruits are thriving. Could this just be due to poor pollination or do I need to water more or less? Thank you in advance.

Young fruit falling off may

By Almanac Staff

Young fruit falling off may be due to several factors, usually about pollination. Even though pollinators may visit the flowers, the fruit can develop for a time but then stop. A flower is viable for only about a day, and pollinators must visit it about 7 times for best pollination results. If the fruit aborts or becomes misshapen, the pollinators may not have transferred enough pollen; perhaps not enough visited the flower due to bad weather conditions (too cool or hot, too windy or rainy).
 
High heat (above 90F) for several days may hurt the pollen, so that the plant eventually rejects the growing fruit. In this case, you may get more flowers later, for further fruits to develop in better weather.
 
If you have a seedless watermelon type, you'll need to plant a seeded type nearby that blossoms at the same time for proper pollination and fruit set.
 
Watermelons should be watered deeply, about 1 to 2 inches per week, as well as more during a drought or high heat. Be consistent especially during fruit development. Drip irrigation is best. For overhead irrigation, water during the morning so that the leaves can dry during the day, to discourage diseases.
 
Too much water will make a bland tasting melon. Too little water may stunt the plant and cause misshapen fruit, but it doesn't sound like your plants are lacking water.
 

My watermelons are just

By Donna Pipes

My watermelons are just starting to get big. The biggest one i have is a little bigger than a baseball. Yesterday my fiance was weed eating and hit the largest watermelon. I almost cried. Truthfully, i did cry. I love these plants. He cut 3 gashes into it, is there anyway i can save it?? And do i need to keep them on the ground? The vines are climbing the fence and i have some fruitbon them. Do i need to get them off the fence?? Thanks!!

I'm a first time grower. I

By Jacqueline McNeil

I'm a first time grower. I planted watermelon plants in april 2014 ;I live in Mem.TN. I have vines all over the place but,everytime my yellow flowers bloom on the vines,the next day they are gone. Please tell me what I am doing or not doing right?

Water melons growing on

By Tony Phylactou

Water melons growing on pavement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOER24yKWo4

Hi, Jacqueline: If you

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Jacqueline: If you haven't espied any insects or slugs, it's possible that what you are doing right is providing a nice, free, all-you-can-eat buffet for a woodchuck or deer -- or maybe even a reallllly hungry rabbit. Try fencing around and above, plus some sort of noise-making, lit mini scarecrow -- er, scarechuck.

how long will the vines

By edward haraz

how long will the vines produce fruit after first melons are picked ?

Watermelons often produce 2

By Almanac Staff

Watermelons often produce 2 to 3 fruits per plant. Once they start fruiting, it happens fairly quickly. Perhaps they grow within 10 days of each other. It all depends on the variety.

This is my first time growing

By Tasha060

This is my first time growing watermelon and I didn't think they would grow to be so long. Can I wrap them around a stick vertically or do they have to grow close to the ground? I only ask because it seems like they would be able to get more sunlight that way since I planted them in a tiny garden. Thanks!

Hi, Tasha: You most certainly

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Tasha: You most certainly can grow watermelons vertically, but you will most likely need something bigger than a stick for each. Try to make some sort of trellis or latticework for the vines to grow on. Be creative. Maybe an old stepladder, for example, if you don't have a "real" trellis. Or a bunch of branches tied together. Our neighbor used an old metal bed headboard. Three rules: 1. Make sure that your support structure is strong. 2. Make (and adjust) slings for your melons out of panty hose, mesh produce bags, or the like and tie the slings to the structure, not the vine. 3. Use strips of fabric or some other gentle way to tie your vines to the structure and give them support as they grow longer/taller. Oh ... 4. Let us know when they're ripe -- we'll be right over!

Will black plastic be okay

By fgabrams

Will black plastic be okay under melon vines? I want to use it to control weeds but I do not want to burn the vines from the sun.

Black plastic is fine for

By Almanac Staff

Black plastic is fine for heat-loving melons, and will cut down on the weeds. You would need to make sure that the plants get enough water, though, as this material is not water permeable. In very high heat, though, it might cause plant damage. If temperatures are above 90F, add shade cloth over the plants or add straw over the black plastic to keep the surface temperature cooler. Remove once air temperatures cool.
 
See:
http://agdev.anr.udel.edu/weeklycropupdate/?p=3203

I planted some watermelons

By Lindsey Jena

I planted some watermelons about a month or two ago and so far little green leaves have popped up but it seems like they are growing really slowly. What can I do to help it speed up?

Just make sure your

By Almanac Staff

Just make sure your watermelons have lots of sunshine, good circulation (not crowded), and plenty of water. Watermelons do start out a bit slow and don't really take off until the temps have been consistently high and then watch out! They take off.

I have planted 14 crimson

By Andres J

I have planted 14 crimson sweet watermelon seedlings in an incorrect spacing however, the plants are small right now. Should i remove most of the seedlings, how many? and what is thining and how do you thin the plants? Thanks

If your seedlings are

By Almanac Staff

If your seedlings are established, thin to the best 3 plants per hill. By thin, we mean remove the seedling. You don't want it to be crowded or the plants will complete for nutrients and none of them will thrive.

Thanks

By Andres J

Thanks

Thisis my first time growing

By trav's dad

Thisis my first time growing watermelon. I planted two plants per hill in two hills. Anyways there are big plants with yellow flowers that are now probably two feet high right where I planted the melons. There are now finally some vines growing too. Are the big plants in the middle weeds are part of the melon plant?? I thought watermelon just grew off big vines like pumpkins? Please help, I don't know if I should pull these or if they are part of the melon plant itself.

The two-foot high flowering

By Almanac Staff

The two-foot high flowering thing does not sound like watermelon. You are correct: watermelon would be a vine that pretty much creeps across the soil. Instead of pulling the invader and risking upsetting the watermelon's roots, cut it as close to the soil like as you can (be careful not to nip the vine). Do that as often as needed. Good luck with the melons!

What can I do to keep

By Merry

What can I do to keep groundhog from eating ? my melons.Does the vine end have to dryup before watermelon is ripe?

I've used garlic, rosemary,

By William G. Lawler

I've used garlic, rosemary, dried blood; extracts that are commercially available or homemade. They work for one day. The best deterrent is a moving or inanimate object. I use pinwheels, balloons, and a dog cutout that pivots like a weather vane(I've heard fake owls work also). It works well with deer and rabbits (so far this year anyway).

Why did my watermelon split

By MADELINE COREY-THOMAS

Why did my watermelon split on the underside. How can I prevent the others from doing the same?

Reduce watering amount as the

By Almanac Staff

Reduce watering amount as the fruits ripen to improve flavor. Even watering is extremely important especially in the last 2 weeks of growth. Excessive watering at this stage can cause the fruits to split.

I'm confused as to when to

By janet grandma

I'm confused as to when to water after it begins to grow. Have not had rain but told shouldn't rain unless very dry because watermelons have deep roots.

Watermelons need a lot of

By Almanac Staff

Watermelons need a lot of water. In fact, water makes up 92% of the fruit. Instead of frequency, go by the moistness of your soil. You want to always have the soil moistened to a depth of 6 inches, given those deep roots. Watermelons need an immense amount of water during fruit set and development.

MY WATERMELON PLANT IS

By WILLIAM TYRRELL

MY WATERMELON PLANT IS GROWING WATERMELONS THEY JUST KEEP DRYING UP AND FALLING OFF WHATS UP

They are most likely not

By vocea

They are most likely not pollinated. If a pea size watermelons form but don't get any bigger than the size of a gumball than they are not pollinated.

I have a quick question, I

By Amanda Turner

I have a quick question, I have watermelon plants that just fruited. They have pea sized watermelons on them and I wanted to know how long before they would be ready to harvest?

Sorry but my kids are excited and I want to be able to tell them about how long before they were ready to pick and eat. Thank you in advance to whoever can answer my question.

what color seed do u need too

By adriana

what color seed do u need too grow them?

Amanda, I too have a very

By gary Cottonball

Amanda, I too have a very impatient nephew who just cant wait too eat "his watermelon" so what I did was played a little trick on him. I kept him out of the garden for a few days & went to the store and bought a small melon and put it in the garden, then I took him out to "harvest his melon" Amd explained that it's going too be a while until another one is ready to eat..WORKED LIKE A CHARM !!

Its a hard thing to say

By vocea

Its a hard thing to say because there are many variables involved. If the fruit that you see gets pollinated and starts growing from my experience you can try to pick the first one that started to form around the beginning of September or late august. My grandparents parents and me have grown watermelons and that's kind of what we've always did.

I am growing watermelon for

By Daniel Neal

I am growing watermelon for the first time and I have a bunch that have turned black on the ends. Why is that? Thank you.

Blossom-end rot is caused by

By Almanac Staff

Blossom-end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in the fruit and occurs when the plants are subjected to drought stress or too much water. Too much nitrogen rich fertilizer may also cause black spots.

Can someone please help me?

By sharon marie smith

Can someone please help me? I'm fairly new to growing fruit and as i'm in the UK i'm trying,yet again,to grow watermelon in my greenhouse.The plants have grown well again this year but the fruits aren't as big as a pea.What do i need to do? Getting very frustrated now.

Have you hand pollinated the

By Almanac Staff

Have you hand pollinated the flowers? In a greenhouse, you likely will not have enough pollinators, so you need to do hand pollination to get fruit. The larger female flowers will have a slight bulge at the base (perhaps the pea fruit that you see?), even though they are not pollinated. They will not grow further, however, until pollinated. In the morning (best time), take a small male flower and rub its pollen (on the anther) onto the stigma of the larger female flower (the top of the central structure in the female flower). You can use a small paintbrush for this, or just gently rub the two flowers directly. Do this for all female flowers (using several male flowers).

A watermelon vine came up in

By MemeCH

A watermelon vine came up in my back yard. I just let it grow and is huge. have watered but have fed it only once. Tons of blossoms. no fruit. Where it is growing was at one time a compost heap a few years back. It has been blooming for about a month but I do not see any baby melons. What should I do?

If you do not see flowers of

By Almanac Staff

If you do not see flowers of different sizes (small and large), then they are likely all male flowers (the small types). The larger female flowers should start to appear soon. If pollinated, the female flowers will form the fruit.
 
If you do have both male and female flowers, it could be that you do not have enough pollinators. In this case, you might want to try hand pollination. To do this, in the morning (best time), take some of the smaller male flowers and rub some of their pollen (on the anther) onto the top of the tall structure in the center of the larger female flower (top part is called the stigma).

My watermelon plants have

By JOSEPH MUSCAT

My watermelon plants have grown quite nicely. I have six plants each of red and yellow varieties. The yellow ones all have one watermelon in each plant while the red ones have one on two of the plants. However as I live in MALTA we are now experiencing scorching heat (average 31 degrees celcius). Should I cover the plant or watermelons to protect them? Some watermelons have already grown to tennis ball size. Also, shall I water them every day and how much water (in Litres please) by water can. Final query. Can the plants have more than one watermelon? Thank you.

I have a 20 X 20 raised bed

By Joe Henthorn

I have a 20 X 20 raised bed melon patch to ensure perfect soil conditions, a tilled combination of top soil, compost and sand. Using mounds about 24 inches in diameter,and 4 feet apart, I plant a circle of 6 seeds around the center of each mound. My question is how many plants should I leave (thinning) once they are up and I have established the stronger ones. Should I leave all 6, thin the mound to only 2 to 3 plants per mound, or leave just one? Thank you

Sounds like a perfect setup

By Almanac Staff

Sounds like a perfect setup for your watermelons! Once the seedlings emerge and you've determined which are the stronger ones, you can thin to 2 or 3 vigorous plants per mound. Happy gardening!

I have two different

By Jeremy Becker

I have two different varieties of watermelon and certain plants are growing faster than other plants. I was considering hybridizing them, so my question is this: will the plants continually produce male and female flowers throughout the growing season or does each plant need to be roughly the same age so that they flower at same time? Also, some of the same plant variety are emerging from the soil about 4 to 6 days after their brothers and sisters. I'm new to growing watermelons, but who doesn't love a couple slices of watermelon during the summer. Thank you for your assistance. :-)

Watermelons have separate

By Almanac Staff

Watermelons have separate male and female flowers on the SAME plant so they don't need another plant to pollinate. What they need are the pollinators—the bees. Watermelons do cross-pollinate with other watermelon varities. If you do decide to encourage cross-pollination, then I imagine you would want flowers opening around the same time. The female watermelon flowers do not open for very long and this is a morning event. You can always hand pollinate by plucking off a healthy male flower, removing its petals, and wiping the pollen on its stamen on to the center of the female flower. Note that you will not have a hybrid in this first generation. You need to save the seeds from the crossed melon and plant them next season to see what you get!

My watermelons are developing

By ptg

My watermelons are developing both male and female flowers, but the plants are still quite small. Should I pinch off the flowers to let the vines develop more, or is it fine for them to put out flowers despite being fairly small? (I would say square foot large plants.) I grew watermelon last year and the vines were huge and sprawling, so I'm a little concerned despite the vines otherwise looking very healthy.

I'm going to be planting

By Electriccow12

I'm going to be planting watermelon next year and I want to make sure everything is perfect so I can have an excellent and successful harvest. :)
Using a tool provided by our local university I have found the watermelon seeds recommended for my area. However since I have never grown a watermelon before I don't know which of these watermelons are the sweetest.

Charleston Gray
Crimson Sweet
Dixielee
Jubilee
Tendersweet (Orange)

The only one I think is sweet (based off a youtube video I saw of this harvest) is the Jubilee watermelon. Any thoughts/help on this? Thank you :)

The tendersweet orange is the

By wilber50050

The tendersweet orange is the sweetest with crimson sweet after that.

I don't know every variety

By Almanac Staff

I don't know every variety but there are some very sweet watermelons on your list (Crimson Sweet, Jubilee) based on this reference chart which lists the "Brix" sweetness level: 

http://agsyst.wsu.edu/watermelonphotos.html

I have probably 10 water

By charlie2

I have probably 10 water melon plants growing in a 30 gallon container, can i just let them spill from the container and ramble on the ground?

Watermelon plants should be

By Almanac Staff

Watermelon plants should be spaced 3 to 5 feet apart.

I am in the southern part of

By Uncle k

I am in the southern part of Nigeria, i planted watermelon and it started well, but after producing fruit, It started rusting and some are even cracking. Please what can i do to prevent these terrible damage to my farm? at least almost 45 percent of the fruits are affected, please help.

First looks like you don't

By BROTHER RAY

First looks like you don't give enough water and food to them, you must prepare you soil before planting, make a canal about 1 feet deep x 2 feet wide, start with manure mix with hay or grass, then put some sand and after mix good dirt with compost, try to make elevated beds for them about a feet high you can plant 4 plants in a 9 feet bed in between you can plant beans or peas to feed the grown, then live 9 feet free where you can plant other crops, and again 4 watermelons in a 9 feet bed, if you need more information about Poly Culture feel free to contact me B r o t h e r a y i n j e s u s at p r i e s t dot c o m I will be more than happy to help you! I hope this tip help a lot of people. The Peace of Our Good Lord Be with You All!

It sounds like charcoal rot.

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like charcoal rot. There are no effective controls for this fungus. Try altering irrigation to prevent water stress. This may alleviate the problem.

We live in Central fl, and

By downsouth

We live in Central fl, and planted jubilee water melons in grow box's. have 3 and 4 vines in both box's.
Have lots of fruit the size of quarters now, doing well. The leaves are looking a little dry and some look wilted. We water 2 times a day down the tubes. When planting we added a rather large row of slow release Fertilizer down the middle. Do I need to do any thing else?

Make sure the water is at the

By Almanac Staff

Make sure the water is at the proper level (including, not too high). Watermelons may wilt during the heat of the day, but should perk back up at night. If not, check for pests such as aphids or squash bugs, or the squash vine borer. Fusarium wilt can also cause vines to wilt at midday, with leaf margins drying, but hopefully that's not the case with your plants. As the plants grow, they will need support--provide trellising, and support the fruit as it grows.

i have about three acres of

By Am Ken from kenya

i have about three acres of watermelon can be able to get a good market were i can sale at once.

Are Carlina cross sweet

By Joe Guinn

Are Carlina cross sweet melon.? 1st time farmer

Carolina Cross is a giant

By Almanac Staff

Carolina Cross is a giant watermelon. You can see an example on www.burpee.com/

I live here in South Florida,

By Charles Goldy

I live here in South Florida, Zone 10,
I planted watermelon 1 month ago, March, I have a nice vine growing now. How much direct sun should this plant get? Should I have it grow on the ground or set up a trellis?

Watermelons grow in full Sun

By Almanac Staff

Watermelons grow in full Sun and love hot, humid weather and light, moist, fertile, well-draining soil. During harvest, watermelons must be shaded from burning sunlight to minimize heating and sunburn. The dense leaves help provide that shade.
Many people just grow the melons on the ground, however trellising would improve air circulation and reduce disease problems. If growing melons on a trellis, support fruit with slings made from netting, fabric, or pantyhose. Choose a smaller-fruited variety for trellising.

I have planted water melons

By Muyonga Dickson

I have planted water melons at the Kenyan coast.They're turning yellow before even growing fruits.What can i do to remedy this?

Newbie here. Have started

By Courtntx

Newbie here. Have started seedlings indoors and done built our raised boxes. Live outside of Houston Texas. We have 4 4x4 boxes, and We did kind of a wrap around box that is 8 ft on left and right and 24 feet in the back but 2 ft wide. Wanting to know best place to plant what where. I am doing watermelon and cantaloupe. was hoping the long 24 ft but 2 feet wide with maybe a trellises on the back would be enough room but doubting myself. Cucumbers I thought would go in its own 4x4 box. And then we also have tomatoes, onions, broccoli, carrots, green beans. I am maybe wanting to do another box of undecided size for strawberries, and maybe blueberries if they grow well here. My boyfriend, wants to get the miracle grow soil, and I want reassurance that is enough fertilizer and whatever is needed to use for soil and I am digging up the ground beneath the boxes to get rocks,grass and roots out. And we are going to use newspaper and cardboard to line in between. Anything you see that I shouldn't do or make any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks in advance. :)

I grow using raised square

By Natalie11

I grow using raised square foot gardening methods as well. I use 1 melon per foot. I do clip side vines and try to keep to 2 vines max per plant. I made some adjustments to my beds. My melon beds have an 8 foot tall trellis made with three 2x4s and chicken wire. A cattle panel would work well too. The net fell last year due to weight of the melons. The 2 foot bed will be fine. I wrap my vine up, over, down, then back up again tying the vine gently every few inches for support. A cattle panel would probably allow you to wind the vine in and out, but I used what I had. I get better results with the stronger trellis. I wouldn't go more than 4 feet without a 2x4. We helped our friends put together their square foot garden beds and they bent the cattle panels over from one bed to another in an arch and planted shade loving veggies under it. Works well. Slanting it would help support fruit too. Hope this gives you some ideas.

You can use trellises for the

By Almanac Staff

You can use trellises for the vining melons and the cucumbers. Just be aware that the melons may need extra support when the fruit starts developing. Cucumbers will do well on a trellis. Mix compost and/or aged manure into the soil in the raised beds. Make sure that the soil drains well. During the growing season you can add more compost or use fertilizers for the specific needs of the different veggies and berries. Note that blueberries need acidic soil.
almanac.com/content/raised-garden-beds-how-build has more information about raised bed gardening.

What is the best soil for

By Matt Ron

What is the best soil for growing watermelons? I hear sandy type soil, but I never heard anyone mention the names of the soil, and where it can be purchased? Example, can you give me an example of sandy type soil? What other minerals need to be added?

Thanks.

Hi Matt, Watermelons like

By Almanac Staff

Hi Matt,

  • Watermelons like rich soil that drains well. Amend the soil with aged manure or compost before planting. If you have clay soil you can mix some sand into it. Watermelons are heavy feeders and prefer a soil pH between 6 and 6.8.

I live in kenya, coast

By Benard

I live in kenya, coast province, specifically kilifi. I want to plant watermelon. when is the right time to do that

the right time would be just

By Levi Simiyu

the right time would be just before the end of the short rains to allow for germination and early vegetative growth using available rainwater .
For more info contact me at siyulesi@gmail.com. Am in Kitale Kenya working as an agronomist.

approximadetly how many

By sonny lopez

approximadetly how many watermelon plants can you grow in 1 acre of land how many fruits does each plant harvest ,thank you

The fruit size of a

By Almanac Staff

The fruit size of a watermelon varies from 5 to 30 pounds, depending on variety. See this page for more information about producing watermelons for market:

http://extension.psu.edu/business/ag-alternatives/horticulture/melons-an...

I am presently in Nigeria and

By Adewale Oke

I am presently in Nigeria and about to start watermelon for the first time. Is this the right time for me to start planting. Here we have two seasons(Rainy season and Dry Season). We are presently in the dry season when we have much sunlight and higher temperature. is it compulsory I have to raise them in the nursery before transplanting them?

i grew my mellons five days

By lawi ngetich

i grew my mellons five days ago,which pesticides should i use and when.

Does underground salty water

By dennis paschal

Does underground salty water suitable for watering watermelon?

i hope you will answer

By said

i hope you will answer

No . They will not grow if

By Mark Bohrer

No . They will not grow if the water has too much salt . Even ground water .

I am planning on planting

By Anne K.

I am planning on planting water melon here in Kenya however my concern is the climate of the area i want to farm. Its at the foot of Mt. Kenya and the temperatures are very low and especially during the rainy season. Generally its a cold place. Would watermelons do well in such climate? What advice would you give to a first time farmer like me and considering the climate i intend to work under.

Thank you. Will be grateful for the feedback.

I would like to see the video

By willie James Wilburn

I would like to see the video on the square watermelon, or how , or what to use to make it that way...

No . Watermelons want a warm

By Mark Bohrer

No . Watermelons want a warm climate ..21-37 c. If you would like to grow a crop there . Just tell me a few things about your farm . Exposure when is you longest day of the year . When is your rainy season . When is your dry season water source ? Flat or hillside ? Mark

Hi I'm trying growing

By achapa vincent

Hi I'm trying growing watermelons in the greenhouse in Kenya.The most obvious challenge here is limited space.After my first harvest,I realized I have to invest heavily in pruning.An experiment I carried out on the same revealed that watermelon can actually be made to have two stages of growth,i.e primary and secondary stage.I am still working on the research that is aimed to produce nothing but extra large fruits for competition.
I just needed to know if you can help me with some tips,please.

Hello, What is the

By Kt_US

Hello,
What is the temperature in the greenhouse?
We planted seeds in April in an old bathtub in specialized vegetable soil, and the vines started coming up in the next couple of months.
You WILL need plenty of space because the vines get very long.
We also tried transplanting some of the vines and those died very quickly because they weren't watered as often, so they dried up.
We had a VERY hot summer so we had to water twice a day.

So, Miracle-Gro or fertilized soil, Plenty of sunlight, warm temperature, and water once a day. DO NOT over-water, too much and the vines will drown.

After the peak of harvest, we had some vines sprout in the soil patch of an old chicken coop. We had fed them some rinds and they digested the seeds!

Good luck. I am also looking to try a greenhouse for watermelon. Let me know the results!

I'm growing watermelons for

By Poe Dean

I'm growing watermelons for the first time and i think i'm doing o.k. After so many weeks i finally got my first watermelon fruit growing. As it's growing bigger i'm starting to wonder if i actually did do o.k because it's growing like the shape of a pear. What does that mean?

Usually, an odd melon shape

By Almanac Staff

Usually, an odd melon shape is related to poor pollination which can happen because of weather conditions, lack of bees, or too little pollination. You can always try pollinating by hand by using a Q-tip to transfer pollen from the male to female flower.

Thanks alot for the tips.Iam

By Aidah walakira

Thanks alot for the tips.Iam anew farmer and planted my watermelon this season,I didn't know anything about watermelon growing but just planted as a test.

It is mid September and my

By JEAN BD

It is mid September and my watermelon are not ripe yet? It is starting to get cool and I am worried that my babies might go bad before they ripen. They are in great sun and morning temps are in 60's for now. When should I get worried?

Watermelons require a longer

By Almanac Staff

Watermelons require a longer growing season with constant warm temperatures--which is why the plant favors the southern regions and can be a challenge to grow in northern regions. At this point, you can try to cut back any leaves that block the sun and stop providing water to speed up the ripening process. However, the day length is shortening as we near the autumnal equinox and nature is taking its course.
If you try again next year, you've gained some learning. Consider using transplants and selecting early varieties with short growing seasons. Mulch with black plastic film to warm the soil. Use floating row covers to protect from cooler temps.

I mistakenly cut the vine of

By JoEllen

I mistakenly cut the vine of my watermelon. Is there any chance I can get the vine to stay alive until the melon ripens? If so, what should I do?

Did you completely cut the

By Almanac Staff

Did you completely cut the main vine? If so, there's not much you can do. The watermelon can no longer receive the nourishment and water and will stop growing. If it's just a slit, then you could try some pine tree gum and duct tape!

Yes, unfortunately it's all

By JoEllen

Yes, unfortunately it's all the way through. I figured there wouldn't be anything I could do. Thank you very much for replying. I'll be much more careful in the future. :)

My watermelons are getting

By gardner_jones

My watermelons are getting big, about the size of a cantaloupe, but none have stripes. I think I have 'Sugar Baby' watermelons. Does that variety get stripes?

Sweet Baby Watermelon has

By Almanac Staff

Sweet Baby Watermelon has district stripes when immature and become almost black when ripe.  A Bush Sugar Baby has a dark green rind with no stripes.

My watermelons never seem to

By Jennifer T

My watermelons never seem to ripen. I keep checking them but no ripe melons. I have had actual melons growing for 4 months. Cut them open and still not rip. This happens every year. What am I not doing? Can't seem to grow radishes either. Thanks.

We can only suspect the

By Almanac Staff

We can only suspect the weather conditions. Melons need heat to ripen properly. Cool cloudy weather in the spring will slow down thier development. Also, have you used plenty of fertilizer and water? Watermelon plants are heavy feeders.

You provide spectacular

By Jodi N.

You provide spectacular information on this website. Thank you for your help!

How many melons can be

By Javy

How many melons can be harvest from a single vine. This is my first time gardening watermelons. I have followed every step one by one. I lived in Puerto Rico and the temperature is aroumd 90 degrees all year around.

There are lots of opinions

By Almanac Staff

There are lots of opinions about how many watermelons to expect—or let grow—on one vine. Consider that if several fruits get started, it might be to your benefit to remove the weakest or smallest ones, so that a few do very well. Of course, in your environment, many may do very well. Watch your plants and decide as they appear and grow.

I have a lot of watermelons,

By Shirley12

I have a lot of watermelons, some that are older than others are smaller than the newer ones? And I can't figure out when they will be ready to harvest? They have been growing for a couple months now and they are still white on the bottom?

Water melon do not slip from

By Almanac Staff

Water melon do not slip from the vine or give off an odor to indicate they they are ripe. People use all kinds of methods: First, check your seed packet for the number of days to maturity, consider when you planted these and count the days since then. Some say that a "waxy" rind means a watermelon is ripe. The "thump" test involves knocking on the rind with a knuckle and listening for a dull, muffled sound. (Some say a watermelon always sounds dull and muffled when rapped that way.) White colr means only that that side was away from the sun.
When you harvest your melon, cut it from the stem, do not pull it, and do it in the morning.

My volunteer melon was

By grammamil

My volunteer melon was growing well, until placed on a flat brick. It grew for a.couple of days, then stopped. I checked the bottom and it had split. What happened?

Oh, so sorry to hear.

By Almanac Staff

Oh, so sorry to hear. Typically excessive watering or heavy rain will cause a ripening watermelon to split.
The rule of thumb is water less as the melon is ripening; this improves flavor.

hi. I live in south Texas and

By Keyanna

hi. I live in south Texas and it's my first time planting watermelon, and I was wondering how you could keep bugs away and some tips. thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

how offten should i water the

By louise johnson 1956

how offten should i water the melons when they have gotten a little big but not ready to come off yet.

Water your melons until one

By Almanac Staff

Water your melons until one week or so before you're ready to harvest. At this point, stop watering in order to sweeten the melon's taste. The same goes for feeding/fertilizer.

I am a first time grower and

By Gigi0430

I am a first time grower and just realized that I will need to hand pollinate. I have three females that are getting ready to flower. If the pollination takes, is it too late for them to grow and ripen before fall? I live in northern Ohio so we can never tell if we will have an early autumn or not.

I pollinated the females and

By Gigi0430

I pollinated the females and now have 5 melons growing! I have plenty of bees but they aren't interested. Will they have time to ripen before fall?

If your melons are growing,

By Almanac Staff

If your melons are growing, the bees already did their job pollinating. Check your seed packet for days to maturity to get a sense of timing.

I am growing where there

By In Demand Organics

I am growing where there really arent any bees . . . is the only way to get watermelon to pollinate them myself with a Q-tip?

You can use a Q-tip or select

By Almanac Staff

You can use a Q-tip or select a newly opened male flower and gently remove the petals surrounding the male stamens. Brush them against a nearby female flower 10 to 15 times. Hand pollination requires patience and may be effective only 50 percent of the time; bees are a far more effective option. Also, research shows that hand pollination is most effective between 6am and 9am.

Or bugs for the matter?

By JordanRW

Or bugs for the matter?

I did not pollinate my

By JordanRW

I did not pollinate my flowers and they are bearing fruit! Do you not have bee's in Ohio?

I have four boys who wanted

By WendiV143

I have four boys who wanted to try planting something from seed, so last fall I was busy and gave them some watermelon seeds from the watermelon we had gotten at the store. Well, we now have a watermelon plant with about six watermelon on them. I have been reading the posts and have gotten most of my answers but I still have one. Should I try to expose the watermelon that are under the foliage or just let them sit where they are? Thanks!

I am a grower as well and

By JordanRW

I am a grower as well and have not heard if moving the melon helps or not. However while weed picking, I typically rearrange the vines to expose the fruit and even sometimes rotate them. I have not seen a negative effect from doing this.

Sun on the melon is not as

By Almanac Staff

Sun on the melon is not as important as sun on the plant. Leave it go for now and give the plant lots of water, a drip hose, if possible, except of course when it rains. If you have several melon on the same vine, you might have better luck with one strong one by sacrificing the others.

I live in New York. This is

By BCohen

I live in New York. This is my first time planting watermelon. We started getting male flowers last week, but the female flowers haven't opened yet. How long does it take for them to bloom?

Every seventh flower on a

By Almanac Staff

Every seventh flower on a plant vine is female. Flowers open one to two hours after sunrise and female flowers are receptive to pollen throughout the day, although usually pollination occurs by noon. Flowers close in the afternoon and never reopen, pollinated or not.
 

How long from flowering stage

By Tomoscalini

How long from flowering stage to ripe fruit?

I live in Tennessee & i

By dorothy brasel

I live in Tennessee & i bought 6 watermelon plants in June. I planted them on June 5. When should i expect to see watermelon start to come out. There are many yellow flowers on there, but all I see is more male them female. I think there is about 8 male two females. The vines are around 3 to 5 feet long. Thank U,

The male flowers, which open

By Almanac Staff

The male flowers, which open first, will often fall off. The female flowers will follow about a week later so if you have a couple, you're on your way. Both flowers need to open at the same time in the morning with nice warm weather conditions so that your bees can pollinate them. 

I rotate my watermelon

By Melonhead2808

I rotate my watermelon (carefully); will I still have a white or yellow mark on the bottom?

We do not advise that turn

By Almanac Staff

We do not advise that turn your watermelon or you risk having the vine snap. It is better to place a flat rock, board, or hay underneath the melon to avoid rot or pests.

I planted melon and its grow

By Salam Rahmon Amobi

I planted melon and its grow well,i counted like 8 melon and funy part is everything was turn black.what will the way out?.

I want to grow square

By Mark Villafane

I want to grow square watermelons by putting them in square plastic bins. Does the plastic need to be clear? , does the fruit need sun or just the leaves?
I have the same question for pumpkins.

Hi, Mark, See a video on how

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Mark, See a video on how to grow square watermelons by Almanac editor Janice Stillman here: http://www.almanac.com/video/how-grow-square-watermelon

Have one acre of land in the

By Franco Ochola

Have one acre of land in the Northern region of Uganda. Just inquiring what type of watermelon can do well their. Secondly, Like how many harvests can be made on a single melon plant.

Please advise.

Sorry, Franco. We are a North

By Almanac Staff

Sorry, Franco. We are a North American publication and only know about our regions. We harvest two to three fruit per plant.

This is my first time growing

By Lakisha Webster

This is my first time growing watermelons and i just planted the seeds a week ago and there are buds already is that normal? because i am pretty excited right now .

Hi Lakisha, If the soil is

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lakisha, If the soil is nice and warm, watermelon four to six days to emerge. Make sure you keep up the watering (see above) and have plenty of compost for them. Watermelon is a heavy "feeder"!

am a Nigerian, i planted

By udobang Inemeno

am a Nigerian, i planted watermelon, seeds were treated, soil well drained loam. i discoverer that at the point of bearing fruit, when it bore the fruit where becoming soft and decaying at very tender point. am losing out. need some help please, thanks for your assitance

Could you have bloom rot?

By watermelon

Could you have bloom rot?

Blossom-end rot is a common

By Almanac Staff

Blossom-end rot is a common problem. It's caused by a calcium deficiency during fruit development. Avoid Watermelons by providing very steady watering throughout the season--usually, about one inch per week.

Hi, I wish to know how many

By Julius Lubanga

Hi,
I wish to know how many seeds of water mwlon can be planted in one acre and how many fruits can be harvested on one plant.
Regards.
Julius.

from 1 to 4 seeds

By saeed

from 1 to 4 seeds

what kind of plant food do I

By david j

what kind of plant food do I need for growing watermelon?

Watermelons sing summer,

By Almanac Staff

Watermelons sing summer, don't they?
Before your plants flower, use a high nitrogen fertilizer. Once flowers emerge, switch to a fertilizer with less nitrogen and lots of potassium and phosphorus. Liquid seaweed is a good choice.

What are the best companions

By cornbread23

What are the best companions for melons in the garden?

All of the following are good

By Almanac Staff

All of the following are good companions for watermelon: nasturtiums, marigolds, oregano, basil, radishes, corn, and pumpkins.

how fast will my watermelons

By dave evans

how fast will my watermelons grow once they come out of the ground. when will they start to vine etc. pleasegive me a month . update on what I am looking foe.
first time grower

Hi, Dave, It's not possible

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Dave, It's not possible for us to give you this kind of schedule. There are too many variables. Ask around where you got your seeds or transplant; someone there may have grown this variety of watermelon in the past and can draw on their experience. Even with that, you have to consider weather, the quality of your soil, your growing season (number of days of optimum conditions) vs the growing time needed for your chosen variety...among other things. Good luck!

Can I add compost on top Of

By Anonymous

Can I add compost on top Of the planted seeds? Or will it affect it?

Check you package directions

By Almanac Staff

Check you package directions to see how deep the seeds should be planted. You don't want to pile on and make the seed struggle unnecessarily. You could spread compost near the seeds, or better: Wait for the seedings to become established (several inches tall) and sprinkle compost around them then.

Sugar baby watermelon question

By Anonymous

I just planted My sugarbaby watermelons outside. But I forgot to add compost to the mixture. Do you think it will be alright and grow big and healthy? It is my first time growing this and I just read the instructions on the back of the seed package. I hope they will be alright.

Compost is only one of the

By Almanac Staff

Compost is only one of the factors involved in your plants growing big and healthy. Once the plants firmly establish themselves in the soil, you can sprinkle compost around the stems. Do that a few times during the growing season, increasing the amount each time.
Next time, put down and mix compost into your soil FIRST. (Have you started a compost pile? are you aging manure in a pile for use next season?? These are things you can do year round--and so always have healthy soil for your plants.)

First time watermelon grower

By Anonymous

OK, I am a first time watermelon grower. My question is #1 I don't have compost can I use regular potting soil ,if not can I use regular garden soil ? I live in central Fl. and the soil here is very sandy #2 I'm only growing some for me and my husband and maybe a couple of neighbors so can I plant my seeds along my fence? #3 Can I make the hills a little closer than 3 to 7 feet apart? Is there anything else other than whats on the package that I should know?

first-time watermelon

By Almanac Staff

You can use the soil you describe but you probably will not have great results. Sand does not hold water; water filters through it. "Water"melon plants need quite a bit of water as they grow; if there is no soil to hold the water around the plant's roots, you will be watering all the time (almost literally).
If you are going to buy regular potting soil, as you describe, ask at the place you buy it if they have compost. It usually is available in 20- to 40-pound or so bags. (You do not have to use fresh from the farm compost.) You can mix the compost with potting soil. How much?? Maybe 50-50. The goal is to have "soil" with ingredients that hold moisture. (This is desirable for almost any plant, certainly edibles. Many tropicals or types of plants that you see thriving around you in the sandy soil would not do well in compost because they like the dryness that sand enables.)
As to the fence and hills, sure. Those decisions are secondary to the soil. And, by the way, sun. Do not plant the watermelon in shade. It needs about 8 hours of sun per day.
We hope this helps. Good luck!

is it okay

By Anonymous

is it okay to plant it on a base ?

Your question is not clear,

By Almanac Staff

Your question is not clear, but by "base" if you mean a stump or other firm surface, no. The roots need some place to go.

Pink Flesh

By Anonymous

I have had a garden for two years. Planted Crimson Sweet both years,have gotten 5 melons last year 4 this year. I look for the bottom side to turn yellow or cream, I had 2 that were almost the same green color all over. But when I cut them open, only 3 of all of them were red inside, all the others were pink. What did I miss to know when to pick the ripe ones.

how to tell if it is ripe...

By Anonymous

The main ways to check and see if your watermelon is ripe is by checking the tendril (the one little vine that looks like a piggy tail closest to the watermelon). The tendril should be completely brown. Also there is another leaf that you should check on the vine. It is called the spoon leaf. This leaf is just a small cup shaped leaf and if it is also located near the watermelon. This leaf should also be brown and dead. If both of those leaves/vines are dead then the watermelon should be ripe. I hope this helps :)

Lots of gardeners have a

By Sarah Perreault

Lots of gardeners have a difficult time determining when watermelons are ripe. Use a combination of the following tips:
light green, curly tendrils on the stem near the point of attachment of the melon turn brown and dry
the surface color of the melon where it was once powdery or slick takes on a dull look
the skin resists penetration by a fingernail and is rough to the touch
the bottom of the melon (where it lies on the soil) turns from light green to rich yellow

concerned

By Anonymous

We are first timers and have a beautiful watermelon plant. There are blooms, and some fruit has started. The only problem is, our fruit will get about thumb size, and the bloom will turn brown, and a few days later the fruit starts to turn black. This has happened with all 6 watermelons. We are in a severe drought this year, and I water my plant 3 times a day. Am I over watering or is it something else? Is there a way to save future fruit that may come on this plant? Nothing else is planted, just this one plant. We are hoping to get at least 1 watermelon off this plant since our daughter brought it home from school in early April.

Several folks have had this

By Almanac Staff

Several folks have had this problem this year (read some below). Your plant probably has a fungus. This can be brought on/introduced several ways; one common one is failure to rotate crops. Curcubits, such as watermelon, should be rotated properly with other crops and not return to the same place/soil in the garden for at least 3 years.
So,okay, you say, you’ve rotated or maybe this is your first year with watermelon. The fungus overwinters in the soil from a previous vine crop. It might be carried by a cucumber beetle. And frequent rains (or watering; you might be giving it too much) can help to spread the fungus. Some sources suggest spraying plants. Certainly some fertilizer—chemical or organic—can help a struggling plant; try it. Can’t hurt. (BTW, I recently heard a farmer observe: If we all drank just water, we’d grow some but we’d be thin and unhealthy.)
If possible, in future, grow cultivars that are resistant to fungus, and control weed growth.
We hope your daughter is not discouraged by this experience. Next year, try a few more kinds of plants. The chance of having greater success is more likely.
Then go to a farmer’s market and buy one, and ask the local grower what he would do or thinks was the problem, too. Sometimes, local conditions indicate more than we can know from here.

watermelon black spot and drying up

By Anonymous

I am new to this but I have some water melon that are about the size of a football but some are shrivleing up at the end not where the stem is but the opposite side and another one has a black spot in the same place at the very end what is this from and what can I do to save my plants please help.....

it sounds like flower end rot

By Anonymous

it sounds like flower end rot to me. I had it really bad on my tomatoes last year. it's aparently common to tomatoes, peppers and some squash. my research told me it was due to a calcium deficiency, and that in most cases the soil has enough calcium, but the plant is unable to absorb it usually due to not enough watering, or irregular watering. I've watered my garden more consistantly this year and have not come across any black spot, or flower end rot so far.

Bite marks

By Anonymous

I'm a first time grower and have been anxiously waiting for my watermelon plants to produce but every time I get a fruit it gets bite marks within a few days. The fruit then turns black and dies. I'm trying to figure out what the pest could be. I have eggplants and cucumbers that haven't had this problem. Also I have some watermelons that are off around level that are doing fine. Please help!

Bite marks

By Almanac Staff

What type of bite marks? Small, insect holes or canine tooth marks? Animal pests might include racoons, deer, crows, and coyote. They like fruits and melons. Look for tracks near the garden.
If your fruit is turning black and dying, this is usually a different problem called blossom end rot. Usually, the reason is dry weather and lack of water. Watermelon needs adequate moisture, especially as it matures.

bite marks

By Anonymous

Go to your local dollar store or costco and buy crushed red pepper and put it on the outside of your planter box or about 6-12 inches from your plant.. It will keep and of the large animals away

Definitely not an animal

By Anonymous

I have a fence surrounding the garden so I'm assuming it's an insect. It does turn black and shrivels but only the fruit that has the bites. I live in the northeast so I don't think it's aphids which are normally south.

This site suggests cucumber

By Almanac Staff

This site suggests cucumber beetles: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/tog/insect.cfm
This site suggests ticks: http://www.princeton.edu/~lawrapts/gardeningtips.html
This site suggests pickleworm: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2207.html

The best thing might be to camp out in the garden and keep an eye on it. And consult your local extension service. It might be something local and the experts there might be hearing about this from several people. Here's our handy list of Cooperative Extension links: http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services

Black and mushy watermelon

By Anonymous

This is our first time growing watermelon, hopefully we didn't start too late. We are just getting fruit. We recently had a lot of rain in the past week and my husband just noticed that our biggest watermelon (about the size of a ping pong ball) is black and mushy on the bottom. Does anyone know if this was maybe caused by the rain we got or a possible disease? Thanks!

Sounds like black rot (unless

By Sarah Perreault

Sounds like black rot (unless it is at the blossom end of the fruit, in that case it would be blossom end rot). It is a fungus that affects much of the cucurbit family. Immediately remove the infected melon. Ensure proper drainage so that when wet weather strikes, your melons are not sitting in water. Treat the remaining plants with fungicide. Good luck!

newb

By Anonymous

can a watermelon grow well in 55 degree weather year round ? What can I do to help it along.

No. Pumpkins need warm soils

By Almanac Staff

No. Pumpkins need warm soils (65°F at 2” soil depth) to germinate or transplant.

turning black and drying up

By Anonymous

I was excited to see 5 small watermelons starting on 3 different plants a few weeks ago, but most of those turned black and dried up. Two of them are growing, but still small like a baseball. I have seen more start, but turn black and shrivel up as well. Today I noticed a few more starting, so I am hoping they survive. What causes them to turn black and dry up? I was surprised, since some of them had been golf ball size, though most are very small, like marbles.
Thanks for your help!

turn black and shrivel

By Anonymous

Few things are as disappointing as seeing fruit shrivel and die on the vine. Hearing about it is almost as bad. Sorry to say, your watermelon is infected. The disease that your fruit appears to have is Anthracnose. It is a fungus that occurs most often when the season has been warm and there has been a lot of rain (or, possibly, watering). There are numerous steps to take to avoid this—but nothing you can do now. In future, rotate your crops (did you plant this in the same place in last year or in recent years? That is a common mistake.). Do not cultivate or touch the plants when they are wet. If, possible, grow cultivars that have a resistance to this disease. In a move to eliminate any traces of the fungus, you should completely clear the area of this plant——now or at harvest time.
Sorry the news is not better . . .
–Almanac editors

When to Harvest

By Anonymous

My watermelon has rough skin is dull and the tendril is dead as well as the tendril on both sides of it. However, the bottom of it is still white. It is growing on black weed blocker could that keep the ground spot from turning yellow. I do not want it to get to ripe

Pick it!

By Anonymous

If the tendril is dead, the melon is ready ripe. As we suggest above:
• If the tendril is green, wait.
• If it’s half-dead, the watermelon is nearly ripe or ripe.
• If the tendril is fully dead, it's ripe or overripe; it’s not going to get any riper, so you might as well pick!
It is not uncommon for the bottom to be white; it doesn't get any sun!
Enjoy your fruit.
–Almanac editors

Multiple Fruit

By Anonymous

This is my 1st year growing and I have some pretty robust Georgia Rattlesnake vines with one fruit that is yellowing on the bottom so getting ready to pick. No other fruit has set except this past week now I have one that has began to grow. My question is how is the best way to pick the ripe one and keep the other growing? More specifically, reducing the watering to sweeten the ripe one without killing off the other? I'm in the high desert of California, and we see temps in the upper 90s, low 100s in the day and upper 60s at night. Thanks!

Wow—lucky you! By most

By Almanac Staff

Wow—lucky you! By most accounts, Georgia Rattlesnake is on the best tasting watermelons. We suggest that the best way to pick your near-ripe melon is...very carefully. As advised above, use a sharp knife to cut the stem close to the fruit. Be careful not to cut the vine, as it will support the next melon.

As to keeping the new fruit growing: One of our sources suggest that one fruit on the vine inhibits the setting of another plant on the same vine—as if the plant knows that it can only grow one at a time! It sounds like your plant knows that its first harvest is near. Carry on with what you are/have been doing: reduce watering when the new fruits are about the size of a baseball; when the fruit achieves that size, water only when the plant is completely dry.

It sounds like you are having a great summer, with the garden and the weather.

Thank You!

By Anonymous

Thanks for the response. Great advice and it looks like I'll have another watermelon to refine my skills (watering & harvesting).

After picking watermelon

By Anonymous

After i pick all my watermellon what do i do with my plants? This is my first year to grow watermellon.

After harvesting the

By Almanac Staff

After harvesting the watermelons, remove the plant. Clean-up the vines to keep insects and diseases from overwintering.

Beginner

By Anonymous

How do I protect the watermelons from bugs since i have a few thumb sized melons started? And we're suposed to get 3 days of thunderstorms and rain will I have problems with splitting or anything else?

Compared to other crops,

By Almanac Staff

Compared to other crops, watermelons aren't usually attacked by bugs. However, if you wish to be safe, a good control is the use floating row covers for the first few weeks; you must remove the covers to allow pollination of the flowers by bees. If you spot aphids under the leaves, spray with insecticidal soap. If you spot cucumber beetles, a spray application of rotenone or sabadilla is advised, but speak to your local garden center first. Avoid watering from overhead; water at the soil line. In terms of rain, make sure your soil drains well and the roots won't stay wet. If the melon splits, pick right away and cut out the split area.

How do I pick out the watermolen?

By Anonymous

Do I pick it out of the vine or just cut the split out but still on the vine,and how do I cut out the split area?Thank You.

Pick the split melon off the

By Almanac Staff

Pick the split melon off the vine right away so it doesn't go bad. Then just cut the split out of your fruit.

How do You prune the Plants?

By Anonymous

How do You prune the Plants? Do I need to Pinch off the smaller melons ( size of a lemon)?

You do not need to prune

By Almanac Staff

You do not need to prune watermelon vines. If you want to try and grow an extra-large melon for a competition, you could cut off the lateral vines (as the best fruit is often on the main fine), but there's really no need to prune watermelon vines. You could also pinch off some of the blossoms to focus energy on less fruit.

beginner 2

By Anonymous

This my 2nd time growing melons (sweet babys)Last year I planted to late and the frost got to them. this year I planted in March and I have melon thats almost ready to pick and four more that are just beginning get larger. I been wating for the little curly do dad to dry up before I pick the first one. I'm also waiting to see the bottom of the melon turn yellow.I just read on this site to water less about once a week with two inches of water . please advise

Beginner 2

By Almanac Staff

After the fruit stops growing reduce watering and stop all watering a week or two before harvesting. This allows the flesh to crisp and the sugars to concentrate.

beginner 2

By Anonymous

Thanks for that advise. I got empatient and cut that first melon too soon,it was ony red around the seeds but still juicey, but I was still thrilled that I even have melons and will wait the full term for the next pick. I've got five more with more comining. Oh by the way I live in lancaster CA. thanks again

burned leaves

By Anonymous

I have a lovely watermelon plant that produced a huge and sweet melon then about a week later has sprouted 12 new ones. They are about thumb size now. The plant overall covers about a 4x6 wide area. My son used a mix of soap and water to spray for some aphids (I think) and now half the leaves are burned to a crisp! Should I remove those leaves? Remove some of the fruits? Leave it alone? I will be so sad to loose this plant!! Also, the plant next to it is a smaller one and has bowling ball size fruit but it also is terrible burned! Not sure if the fruit will make it with so much damage!! :(

Burned leaves

By Almanac Staff

You may have a fungal leaf disease. Symptoms begin as small yellow areas on the upper leaves and then turn brown. The entire leaf may wither and die. Remove the "burned" leaves and also remove about half of the small melons. The melons left will then have a chance to grow bigger.

burned leaves

By Anonymous

Thank you! I'm pretty sure the burn is from the spray, not any disease, based on the location and quick show up (no yellow at all, just burned on the specific sprayed areas. I'll do the removal and see what happens! thanks!

watermelons

By anonymous

this is my first time growing watermelons im still unsure if im watering them enough are to much. And it has male flowers and i just saw a female flower that bloomed and has a ball on the bottom how long does it to take fully grow once the female flower starts will i see a melon grow? and do you know about pumpkin plants and honeydews?

watermelons

By Almanac Staff

While melon plants are blooming and setting fruit they need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Reduce watering once fruits are growing. If the female flower is pollinated the fruit will mature in about 60-90 days depending on the variety of melon and your weather conditions.

split watermelon

By Anonymous

We did reaally well this year on watermelons we seen about 5 begin to grow but rotted off. However one did make it to about 4 pounds and when I check the garden it was split. Why is that? We have another growing and its about 1 pound and I wanna try to prevent spliting

Watermelons split when the

By Almanac Staff

Watermelons split when the plant absorbs water too fast. The watermelon will channel that extra water to the fruits (which split).
Did you get extra rain? Or perhaps too much irrigation? Cut back and water consistently. Hope this helps!

split watermelon

By Anonymous

Unfortunely the one pounder has split! We've been getting lots of thunderstorms lately and havent had to water the garden. Is it too late to start planting again?

my watermelon plant

By Anonymous

My watermelon plant fully came out. Its only growing leaves. It sheds them once and while. Is it still alive or no. Please write me back Lilly

Hi, Lilly, On watermelons,

By Catherine Boeckmann

Hi, Lilly, On watermelons, you should see flowers on the vines first (not fruit). The first flowers to appear on the vines are male. The female flowers, which open later, have a swelling at the base that forms the fruit (the ovary). After bees pollinate these female flowers, the fruit develops. Poor fruit set in watermelons is usually a result of poor pollination. Bees are necessary to transfer the pollen from the male to female bloom. Common causes of poor fruit set include lack of bees for pollinating or cool, wet
weather that slows bee activity during bloom. Also, very hot weather or water stress could be a problem.

beginner

By Anonymous

Hi! This is my first time planting a garden and we have watermelons, cantaloupe, squash, collard greens, cabbage and okra. My melons are all producing blooms but no fruit. We live in the south and the weather has been alot warmer earlier in the year and we haven't had much rain. I planted in late March and I water them every other day and use miracle grow once a week. Could you please tell me what we're doing wrong?

Melons have female and male

By Almanac Staff

Melons have female and male flowers. Bees have to transfer pollen from one to the other. 1. Check your fruit. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to see the female flowers and you'll just see male blooms. The females have swelling balls (little melons) underneath. 2. If you have female blooms and no fruit, the usual reasons are high temperatures or lack of pollinators. Do you see lots of bees in the morning visiting the flowers? If you don't have bees, you could explore hand pollinating (and planting bee plants next year!).

Anonymous

By Anonymous

thanks so much for your speedy response. i will continue to check my plants. i haven't seen many bees, only wasps and that could be because of the unusually high temps this year.

watermelons

By cassie10654

last year I planted watermelons and I had vines galore but only a few melons developed but didnt grow very well. this year I have melons galore but they are spliting open before they are completely ripe. the heart is ripe and sweet but they are all splitting open. what can I do to stop this if I can. Its been really really hot here everyday in the 90's.

 Even though it sounds like

By Almanac Staff

 Even though it sounds like it's been hot where you are, rain can cause melons to burst before they're ripe. It depends on where you are located, too. You may have poorer gardening conditions then you had previous years. 

Watermelons Splitting

By Jhanimo

Cassie...This is happening in our garden as well!! If you received any good advice please let me know! Thanks :)

Varieties

By Jamie Lollar

I do like the sugar baby watermelons. My absolute favorite is the Georgia Rattlesnake variety. Charleston gray is good also. Never cared that much for those with other than red flesh. Thanks for the ripeness tips!

Testing ripeness

By Brenda Gale

I have another option for checking ripeness. An older Hispanic man saw me struggling to pick out a watermelon at the store one day. His suggestion was to first look at the end opposite the stem end to see if the little "button" is black. That's a good thing. Then, he said to rub my fingers across the rind. If it feels sticky, it's ready. I haven't picked a bad one since he offered his wonderful advice!

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