Organic Watermelon Seed

 
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Heat-loving watermelons can be a challenge to grow in cooler regions of New York. To increase success, choose short-season varieties, start them inside, warm soil with black plastic or IRT mulch, and protect young plants with fabric row covers.

 
   
 

Seeds or Seedlings

3 to 5 days, 60F to 95F

4 years

High Fertility

Full Sun

12" apart

4' to 6' apart

65 to 86

Growing Guide
GROWING NOTES
Prefers warm, well-drained, soil, high in organic matter with pH 6.5 to 7.5. Consistent, plentiful moisture needed until fruit is about the size of a tennis ball. Soil temperatures below 50 F slow growth. Consider using black plastic and fabric row covers to speed soil warming. Sandy or light-textured soils that warm quickly in spring are best.

Tender annual.

In many areas, successful crops require starting plants indoors, using plastic mulch to warm soil, and fabric row covers to protect young transplants.

MAINTAINING
If you have long, hot growing seasons direct-seed into garden. To ensure ripening in areas with shorter growing seasons and cooler weather, choose fast-maturing, small-fruited cultivars, start plants inside, and use black or IRT plastic mulch and fabric row covers to warm soil and protect plants.

Direct seed 1 to 2 weeks after average last frost when soil is 70 F or warmer. Plant ½ inch deep, 6 seeds per hill, hills 3 feet apart each way for bush varieties, or 3 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart for vining types. Thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill.

For transplanting, sow seeds indoors ¼ inch deep in peat pots (2-inch square or bigger), 2 to 4 weeks before setting out. Set outside 2 weeks after average last frost, 3 plants per hill, hills 3 feet apart each way for bush varieties, or 3 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart for vining types. Transplants are delicate. Keep soil intact when transplanting.

Mulch plantings after soil has warmed to help maintain consistent moisture and suppress weeds.

If using fabric row covers, remove at flowering to allow pollination by bees. Good pollination is critical to fruit set.

Plants require consistent moisture until pollination. Once fruit are about the size of a tennis ball, only water if soil is dry and leaves show signs of wilting.

To prevent insect damage to developing fruits, place watermelons on pots or pieces of wood.

If growing melons on a trellis, support fruit with slings made from netting, fabric, or pantyhose. Trellising improves air circulation around plants and can help reduce foliar disease problems. Choose small-fruited varieties and reduce plant spacing.

Avoid planting cucumber family crops (melons, squash, pumpkins) in the same spot two years in a row.
 

 
   
     
   
 

Harvesting Guide
HARVESTING


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