Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Watermelons
What I have learned growing watermelon...don't buy plantlings. Watermelons do not like to be messed with once they start growing and very rarely get all the water they need causing stress from the beginning. Don't bother with seed starting. See above and also they tend to develop root rot easily. Dig a shovel deep hole. put in good compost or aged manure, cover with good dirt, make a mound, drop in 5 seeds, cover with more dirt, pat down and water gently but thoroughly. Don't let the mound dry out, don't move the long vines. You can move the new ones out of your way. Don't worry about weeds or grass, none of that will bother the melons and the more cover they have the more likely they will grow. Know your zone. My zone is 7b. It makes a big difference. Know your area. A small part seems to be in a dip and will have problems with light freezes. I found this works with all melons. Plant well , water a lot and leave the heck alone.
Each summer I take a STRAIGHT straw from a straw broom about 4 to 5 inches long and carry it in my pocket notebook which I use to check ripeness. I set the melon level and lay the straw across it on the highest part of the melon. The straw will try to turn the length of the melon. The more it turns the riper the melon. It has to do with the water content. The higher the water content , the riper the melon. It has worked for 50 plus years. Watch out for any breeze.
When we we raided watermelon patches in high school we learned to thump them:
An echo sound or hollow sound not ripe.
A solid thump sound meant ripe.
It works with this thump test even in the market. (May take big hands and fingers for true results). I thump with 2nd or long finger)
Kathy, it sounds like you may be describing Black Diamond watermelons. They were common in Texas when I was growing up. Not so common now. Seedless watermelons sound like a good idea, but have ruined the watermelon experience. Today's kids have no memories of what a really sweet watermelon tastes like, or of seed spitting contests.
Here are the temperature requirements in watermelon farming
The temperature requirement for watermelon germination is between 26°C -33°C, with night temperature expected not to be lower than 25.
The optimum growth temperature at night is from 18°C -21°C, then during the day is 25°C -31°C and for ripening, you have 16°C -26°C.
Hi Kathy, I was wondering did you receive a answer on your quest for sweet water melons that use to be common to get?
I want to find a watermelon that i grew up on before they started this seedless no taste watermelon .. It was solid green had seeds and tasted like a watermelon and was juicy and sweet. I grew up in the fifties.. Have only had a few watermelons over the years since seedless that actually tasted good.. Want to grow my own next year. What melon is that
Sugar babies. They are solid green, about 10lbs and the size of a basketball. Not elongated. Very sweet, easy to grow, and fit in the fridge easily.
How many melons should I leave on each vine? Would I have better results if I culled back to one per vine?