The way to Plant and Develop Watermelons

Citrullus lanatus

They’re huge. They’re scrumptious. They usually’re not as tough to develop as you’d count on!

I’m speaking about watermelons, the various and candy melons that are available as many alternative varieties as there are methods to benefit from the ripe fruit.

I’ve had the pleasure of rising a number of completely different cultivars of this melon over time, and I can inform you that nothing beats the flavour of a sun-ripened watermelon contemporary from your individual backyard!

Small watermelons growing on the vine in a home garden.

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Rising watermelons isn’t the big endeavor you would possibly suppose it’s certain to be, although somewhat backyard planning will assist.

I’ll cowl the whole lot it is advisable find out about rising these juicy fruits in your individual backyard, and earlier than you already know it, you’ll be consuming homegrown watermelon by the slice at breakfast, at your summer season picnics, and blended into cocktails.

A close up of a summer picnic scene, with a basket full of grapes and a sliced watermelon, set on a red blanket on the ground, with a straw hat and rustic wooden boxes with bright green striped melons arranged in a pile.

Right here’s what’s forward:

Cultivation and Historical past

Watermelon is understood for being not solely candy and juicy, but in addition extremely refreshing, maybe extra so than some other fruit.

A close up of the red flesh of freshly sliced watermelon, with dark seeds visible.

A number of years in the past, once I was dwelling by means of a warmth wave with no air-con, a big serving of watermelon each afternoon was what pulled me by means of the worst of it.

Watermelons are 92% water – which ought to assist clarify why they’re so darn refreshing on a scorching day.

And consider it or not, this fruit’s means to hydrate us is a vital a part of its historical past, main us all the way in which again to its first use by people.

Watermelons are native to Africa, the place they have been first used not a lot as a meals supply, however as a supply of water.

The thick rind allowed folks to retailer these melons for lengthy intervals of time, and transport them with out injury, utilizing them as a water supply in scorching desert climates.

There are numerous several types of wild melons rising in Africa which have been thought of to be the potential ancestor of our cherished cultivated watermelon. These embrace the citron melon, from the Kalahari, and the egusi melon, native to West Africa.

A close up of the rich red soil in a dry, arid climate covered with a trailing vine and two developing melons, with light green, mottled skin, pictured in filtered evening sunshine.

Nevertheless, proof factors to northeastern Africa because the hometown for contemporary watermelons, with its ancestor most definitely being Citrullus lanatus var. colocynthoides.

In components of north Africa, these hydrating fruits nonetheless develop wild on drought-tolerant, vining crops.

This fruit has been cultivated for over 4,000 years. Watermelon seeds and work of watermelons have been present in King Tut’s tomb, in addition to in these of different historic Egyptian the Aristocracy.

This fruit ultimately unfold from Africa to the Mediterranean area, and was recognized in historic Greece because the pepon.

A close up of a pile of freshly harvested, ripe melons with pale and dark green mottled skin.

Watermelons continued their journey into the remainder of Europe, and have been ultimately launched to the Americas by European colonists and enslaved African folks.

Within the US, it’s primarily the flesh of watermelons that’s consumed, however the seeds are a well-liked snack in different components of the world, and the rind can be edible. Pickled watermelon rind, anybody?

Watermelons develop on sprawling vines – similar to their kinfolk, honeydew and cantaloupe melons, squash, gourds, and cucumbers.

Whereas for many of us these fruits could conjure up visions of one thing hefty and rectangular with gentle and darkish inexperienced stripes, watermelons are available a variety of pores and skin patterns and sizes.

While you develop your individual at dwelling, you open up your choices to a surprising array of types. I’ll get to these somewhat later.

First let’s speak about greatest rising practices. Now that we all know a bit about the place these melons come from, this information ought to assist us in deciding how and the place to develop them.


Earlier than you run out to your backyard together with your seed packet in hand, be sure to examine the variety of days required in your selection to achieve maturity.

Relying on how this quantity compares to the variety of days in your rising season, chances are you’ll need to begin your crops indoors as an alternative of direct sowing.

A close up of a tiny seedling, just sprouted, pictured on a green soft focus background.

These melons are most profitable when sown straight within the backyard since their roots are pretty delicate – nevertheless, direct sowing could not work for all varieties and definitely doesn’t work for all climates.

Some varieties can take 100 days or extra to supply ripe fruit.

There’s nothing extra disappointing than watching a wholesome, vigorous plant run out of time to deliver its fruit to maturity due to an early fall frost.

Select a spread that may mature inside your rising season or contemplate beginning your seeds indoors and setting out transplants after your final spring frost.

I’ll cowl each strategies of propagation – however let’s begin with direct sowing.

Direct Sowing

Watermelons are warm-season crops that don’t tolerate chilly climate and can succumb to late frosts.

So be sure you train somewhat persistence – the most effective time to plant your seeds is no less than two weeks after your common final spring frost date.

A close up of a ripening watermelon on the vine, with dark rich soil in the background, pictured in bright sunshine, surrounded by foliage.

For watermelon seeds to germinate, the soil must be a minimal of 60°F. When you can wait in your soil to warmth as much as the 70-95°F vary, germination might be extra profitable and sooner.

The supreme soil temperature for watermelon seed germination is 95°F.

After getting ready your melon patch (as described beneath) and the soil is heat sufficient, you’re able to sow your seeds.

Soil that’s moist however not soggy is good, so both water your planting space a number of hours forward of time, or wait a number of hours after rainfall.

A close up of a hand from the left of the frame with an open palm holding seven small seeds, ready for planting into the freshly prepared soil in the background, pictured in bright sunshine.

You’ll need to plan on planting these seeds about 3/4 to 1 inch deep, so scrape about an inch of soil to the aspect of your planting space.

Subsequent, clean the floor of the soil in your planting space in order that it’s even, then press three or 4 seeds flat into the floor of the soil.

Now use the soil you scraped to the aspect to cowl the seeds. Pat the soil gently to make sure good contact with the seeds.

Gently water the seeds in with a watering wand or a watering can.

In my dry local weather, I water my freshly planted seeds as soon as a day till the seedlings have sprouted and have grown a few units of true leaves.

Chances are you’ll not must water fairly so typically in case your soil isn’t liable to drying out, and in the event you get common rain showers.

Inside 5 to 10 days, your seedlings ought to germinate.

A close up horizontal picture of two seedlings growing in rich soil in the garden, pictured in bright sunshine.

When your seedlings are a number of inches tall, with two or extra units of true leaves, skinny your crops.

Select the 2 greatest wanting seedlings and snip the opposite ones off with a pair of scissors, leaving two crops per hill or crater. (Undecided what hills and craters are? We’ll get to that somewhat later, so maintain studying!)

From Transplants

In case your rising season is shorter than the variety of days required to develop your most well-liked watermelon selection, you’ll need to begin these seeds indoors and set out seedlings when daytime temperatures are no less than 70°F.

These crops have delicate roots and don’t prefer to be transplanted.

I like to recommend that you just begin seedlings in biodegradable, ideally peat-free, pots comparable to these CowPots which might be out there from Arbico Organics, that are made out of composted cow manure.

A close up of a biodegradable seed starting tray made from composted cow manure on a white background.

CowPots, Biodegradable Seed Trays

This fashion you’ll have the ability to plant your seedlings straight into the soil, pots and all, with out upsetting their root programs.

A 3-inch pot is the perfect measurement, since these younger seedlings are pretty giant.

Verify your seed packet to calculate the most effective time to start out your seedlings – normally that is about two to 4 weeks earlier than your final frost.

A close up, top down horizontal image of two hands wearing pink gloves, holding a small seedling with a black plastic seed tray in the background.

When you’ve by no means began your individual transplants earlier than or need a refresher, take a look at our information to beginning annuals indoors.

Listed here are the fundamental steps to observe:

  1. You should definitely use a sterile seed beginning combine to germinate your seeds. Fill your pots with beginning combine to about an inch beneath the rim.
  2. Plant three seeds per pot, cowl with 1/2 inch of potting combine, after which water gently.
  3. Set the seed trays subsequent to a heat, sunny south-facing window, or below a develop gentle, and water each day with a sprig bottle.
  4. To assist your seedlings germinate extra shortly and efficiently, you may additionally want to make use of a warmth mat.
  5. When seedlings are round two inches tall, with a few units of true leaves, it’s time to skinny them.
  6. Select the most effective wanting seedling in every pot to maintain, and snip the stems of the opposite ones off with a pair of scissors proper above the floor of the soil.
  7. Round per week or so after your final frost, when daytime temperatures are no less than within the 70s, begin to harden off your seedlings. To do that, place them outdoors in a protected location for an hour or so. Every day, improve the period of time they spend and the quantity of direct daylight they’re uncovered to outdoor.
  8. About two weeks after your final frost, if daytime temperatures are no less than within the 70s, you need to be able to transplant your seedlings. Plan on planting two seedlings per hill or crater.
  9. To do that, trim the highest rims of your biodegradable pots in order that they’re even with the soil degree inside.
  10. Dig a gap within the hill or crater that may accommodate the pot – you need the rim of the biodegradable pot to be on the soil degree.
  11. Backfill with soil, and gently water your transplants in. Proceed to water each day for the subsequent a number of days to assist forestall transplant shock.

The way to Develop

To develop your individual watermelons at dwelling, you’ll need to be sure you present your crops with the very best rising situations for a scrumptious and beneficiant harvest.

However initially, you’ll have to pick a superb website in your crops, one which has the very best soil, copious solar publicity, and loads of room.

Web site Choice

Watermelons are like some other veggie or fruit vine, in that they unfold out and take up as a lot area as you’ll give them.

Like pumpkins, they’ll additionally go outdoors of their boundaries, looping over fences and even wrapping round different crops.

A horizontal image of a large melon vine growing in the garden, with a large, dark and light green striped fruit surrounded by foliage.

You’ll need to take this tendency to sprawl into consideration while you put together your watermelon patch.

To verify your melons have loads of room to develop (and to forestall them from disturbing neighboring crops), chances are you’ll need to choose a planting space far-off from the remainder of your backyard.

In case your backyard area is restricted and making a separate melon patch isn’t possible for you, contemplate planting them on the fringe of your backyard and prepare the vines to develop the place they aren’t in the way in which.

Or you may even go vertical and check out your hand at rising your melons on a trellis – although the fruit will want assist and the trellis will must be very sturdy.

Another caveat to contemplate is that it’s greatest to not plant watermelons the place you grew cucurbits – squash, cucumbers, gourds, or melons – in the previous three years, to scale back the chance of pest and illness points.

Conserving observe of crop rotations is pretty straightforward if you find yourself gardening in raised beds – particularly with the assistance of your backyard journal.


After getting a possible rising website picked out that gives sufficient room for 10-foot vines, you’ll need to be sure it additionally will get loads of solar.

These crops require a full solar location, which implies eight to 10 hours a day – or extra – of direct daylight.

A close up horizontal image of a small seedling growing in filtered sunlight with rich, dark soil in soft focus in the background.

You’ll additionally want loads of warmth, so in the event you reside someplace the place it’s a must to placed on a sweater in the course of the day in midsummer, your greatest guess could be to develop these fruits in a greenhouse or chilly body.

When making ready your backyard beds, be sure to go searching and determine any bushes that may shade your backyard as soon as they absolutely leaf out, and website your melon patch away from any potential shade.

Bear in mind, at their origins these have been desert crops that grew below direct solar with solely the shade of their very own leaves for cover.

However, it’s additionally clever to contemplate that these crops are descendants of these desert crops and have misplaced a few of their pure resilience to warmth by means of selective breeding.

The fruits of some varieties are liable to sunburn.

When you’re involved about this danger, choose a sunburn-resistant selection comparable to ‘Charleston Gray,’ ‘Klondike Blue Ribbon Striped,’ or ‘Sugar Child.’


Watermelons develop greatest in free, nicely drained, sandy soil. When you’re not sure what sort of soil you might have, it’s a good suggestion to conduct a soil take a look at.

This gives you an understanding of your soil, its pH, and what sort of fertilizer, if any, you’ll want.

A close up horizontal image of a large dark and green striped melon ripening on the vine in the garden, pictured in light filtered sunshine, surrounded by foliage.

When you get your soil take a look at outcomes again and study that you’ve got sandy loam, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll need to combine some sand into your backyard soil while you put together your melon patch.

There may be an exception to this – if you’re working with clay soil, including sand could cause the soil to show right into a cement-like substance.

For gardeners with clay, first work on making a lighter texture by amending it with compost.

Within the meantime, your greatest guess could also be to develop your melons in raised beds with a mix of backyard soil and sand.

Your soil take a look at can even present details about the soil pH. Watermelons develop greatest in soil with a pH between 6.0-7.5.

A close up vertical picture of a dark green, striped watermelon growing on a vine over a wooden fence, with foliage in soft focus in the background.

Whether or not you plant in raised beds or within the floor, work compost into the soil on the price of 50-100 kilos per 1000 sq. ft to enhance soil construction – and be sure you fertilize.

I’ll get to that half shortly.

To maintain your soil free, keep away from strolling on or in any other case compacting your planting space.

Chances are you’ll need to contemplate no-till model gardening, however do be sure you loosen up the soil earlier than planting.

Creating Your Melon Patch

Until you reside in an arid local weather like I do, you’ll must mound up small hills to plant your melons on.

This supplies somewhat further room for the vines to sprawl over and likewise prevents water from pooling round the primary stem.

For these of us in arid climates, I like to recommend a shallow “crater” somewhat than a hill to preserve moisture.

To create such a crater, dig a gap about two to a few ft throughout and 6 inches deep. Take the soil you take away and mound it across the rim.

The depth of those “craters” will assist to forestall water from evaporating, and the upper rims will present your vines with somewhat further room to meander down.

A vertical image of a garden with small craters created for planting large, vining plants, pictured in bright sunshine.

A great rule of thumb is to create your mounds or craters about three to 6 ft aside in rows which might be six to 18 ft aside.

These measurements are versatile – simply remember that the vines can simply attain 10 ft in size, and plan accordingly.

In humid climates chances are you’ll need to go for the extra beneficiant spacing, to assist with air circulation and scale back the chance of illness.

Smaller varieties may be planted nearer collectively. Verify the unfold of your chosen cultivar in your seed packet.


After getting ready your melon patch and earlier than planting, add some fertilizer to your soil.

Earlier than deciding on what sort of fertilizer to make use of and the way a lot, it’s greatest to consult with the outcomes of your soil take a look at.

These outcomes will warn you to any nutrient deficiencies and supply suggestions for the suitable sort and quantity of fertilizer to make use of in your explicit backyard soil.

Regardless of the outcomes of the soil take a look at, the compost you’re employed into your soil might be a superb type of slow-release fertilizer.

A close up of a spade from the right of the frame digging the dark, rich earth, while wearing bright blue socks, pictured in bright sunshine with foliage in soft focus in the background.

Nicely-rotted manure is a wonderful pure fertilizer – simply ensure that it comes from a trusted supply.

If livestock have been consuming feed sprayed with herbicides, chemical compounds can typically move by means of within the manure and trigger issues when used as a backyard modification.

Personally, I add each well-rotted manure and compost each spring as I’m prepping my soil.

When you determine to skip the soil take a look at and don’t need to cope with manure, you need to use an all-purpose, balanced fertilizer comparable to Right down to Earth’s 4-4-4 (NPK) vegetable backyard fertilizer.

A vertical picture of the packaging of Down to Earth Vegetable Garden All Natural Fertilizer on a white background.

Right down to Earth Vegetable Backyard 4-4-4 Fertilizer

It’s authorized for natural growers, and is obtainable for buy from Arbico Organics. Apply it in line with the directions on the bundle.

As soon as crops are established, feed them with a month-to-month aspect dressing of all-purpose fertilizer, a foliar spray of comfrey tea, or some worm compost.

Care and Upkeep

Whereas your watermelons develop, there are a number of methods you’ll must take care of them to make sure the very best harvest.


Water is vital for the expansion and growth of watermelon crops, so that you’ll need to be sure you present your crops with sufficient water – however not too a lot.

Whereas seeds are germinating and when seedlings are younger, in my arid local weather, I like to verify to water day by day if the soil has dried about.

I stick my finger within the soil about an inch deep to check it. If it’s dry, I give the crops a drink.

A close up horizontal image of tiny seedlings growing in the garden, pictured on a soft focus background.

As soon as crops are established, water deeply and persistently, however much less continuously – these crops require one to 2 inches of water per week, so chances are you’ll not must irrigate on weeks while you get rain.

As fruits ripen, even watering is essential, to forestall fruits from cracking. Since watermelons maintain a lot water, they’ll cut up or crack whereas ripening if watering is erratic.

Some varieties are proof against cracking, comparable to ‘Sugar Child,’ ‘Mini Love,’ and ‘Gold in Gold.’

A close up horizontal image of a tiny dark and light green fruit developing on the vine, with dark soil and foliage in soft focus in the background.

When the fruit are per week or so from maturity – you’ll have the ability to calculate this primarily based in your planting date and the variability’s common variety of days to maturity – withhold water to make sure that your fruits are as candy as potential.

Rather less water will create extra concentrated sugars in your melons.

And yet one more factor to recollect while you irrigate: attempt to water at floor degree to keep away from splashing water on the foliage, which might unfold illness.


So that each one your cautious watering doesn’t go to waste, mulch round your crops to forestall the soil from drying out and to maintain weeds down.

If weeds do pop up round your seedlings, take away them, however take care to not disturb the seedlings’ roots.

A close up horizontal image of a small seedling growing in front of a wooden fence, surrounded by straw mulch to assist moisture retention.

One other benefit of mulching is that when positioned below ripening fruits, mulch will assist forestall the fruits from rotting.

You may also use mulch to regulate the temperature round your crops.

As talked about, watermelons are heat season crops, they usually develop greatest in scorching climate.

As soon as seeds sprout, crops choose temperatures starting from 70-90°F in the course of the day and 60-70°F at evening.

So if temperatures in your space are hotter than that, strive utilizing straw mulch below your crops to maintain the soil cool.

The sunshine colour will keep cooler than darker coloured mulch.

A horizontal image of a large watermelon developing on the vine, surrounded by straw mulch, with foliage in soft focus in the background.

And in case your temperatures are on the cooler aspect? As a substitute of straw, use a darkish coloured mulch.

I exploit darkish compost as a mulch in my high-altitude location the place the nights are cool. The darkish mulch absorbs warmth in the course of the day and releases it at evening, maintaining the soil hotter.

Rising Suggestions

  • Plant with loads of room for lengthy vines to sprawl.
  • Present a full solar location.
  • Be sure that crops obtain one to 2 inches of water per week.

Cultivars to Choose

Large, juicy watermelons with purple or shiny pink flesh are scrumptious, however there are a lot of completely different cultivars to select from when rising these fruits within the dwelling backyard.

Do you want the big, oval formed fruits greatest? In that case, go along with a picnic sort.

A close up horizontal image of five different watermelons in various shades of green, set on straw mulch in the garden, with foliage in soft focus in the background.

Do you like the smaller spherical ones that may simply match within the fridge? Then you definitely’ll need an icebox selection.

Or are you the adventurous sort, searching for stunning options comparable to yellow flesh or golden pores and skin? There are alternatives in a wide range of colours as nicely!

You’ll uncover a variety of scrumptious watermelon varieties in our roundup, however to get you began, listed here are a number of of my favourite cultivars:


A picnic selection giant sufficient to feed a crowd, ‘Congo’ gained the All-America Alternatives award in 1950.

This selection has agency, purple flesh with a excessive sugar content material, and is deliciously candy.

These rectangular melons have medium-green rinds with darkish inexperienced striping and max out at 30-40 kilos when absolutely ripe.

After you’ve loved the succulent purple flesh, don’t throw out the rind! The thick rinds on these fruits are nice for pickling.

A close up, square image of a 'Congo' watermelon with a large section cut out of it to display the red flesh, contrasting with the dark green skin.


Crops develop to 15-24 inches tall with vines spreading 72-96 inches, they usually have some resistance to fusarium wilt and good resistance to a few races of anthracnose.

Are you prepared to provide ‘Congo’ a go at your summer season gatherings?

In that case, yow will discover seeds in an assortment of packet sizes out there at Eden Brothers.

Sugar Child

‘Sugar Child’ is a compact icebox sort, a heavy producer that thrives in smaller gardens. Fruits are small, spherical, and completely candy.

This cultivar is a favourite amongst novice and knowledgeable gardeners alike, due to its sturdy rind that may resist cracking. Crops are additionally proof against blight.

A close up, square image of a slice of watermelon, showing the bright red flesh, in contrast to the dark green skin of the whole fruit pictured in the background.

‘Sugar Child’

‘Sugar Child’ produces melons with darkish inexperienced rinds and purple flesh that weigh in at round 12 kilos.

Crops mature to 15-24 inches tall with 6 to 8-foot vines which might be proof against each cool climate and drought. Fruits resist cracking and have good sunburn resistance.

That is an early maturing selection – you’ll be harvesting watermelons in simply 75 days.

You’ll find ‘Sugar Child’ seeds in a wide range of packet sizes out there at Eden Brothers.

Moon and Stars

‘Moon and Stars’ could be one of the crucial lovely, fascinating varieties to have a look at.

Its darkish inexperienced rind shows shiny yellow spots, paying homage to a darkish sky twinkling with a big moon and tiny stars.

These unique-looking fruits common 25 kilos at full ripeness and comprise candy, purple flesh.

A close up, square image of a watermelon sliced in half and placed on a wooden cutting board, with whole fruits in a box in the background.

‘Moon and Stars’

Crops develop 15-24 inches tall with vines spreading 72-96 inches and might be prepared to reap in round 100 days.

You’ll find ‘Moon and Stars’ seeds for buy in an assortment of packet sizes at Eden Brothers.

Managing Pests and Illness

When you’ve chosen your varieties, planted your seeds, and are patiently ready to reap your crop, you’ll must be looking out for injury brought on by pests and illness.

This a part of gardening is an element and parcel of the method – and may even be fairly satisfying when you’ve gained a little bit of expertise with it.

Be sure that to follow built-in pest administration, a way that takes a longer-term strategy to the well being of your backyard.


It appears everybody’s a fan of watermelons – and that features a few of our neighboring wildlife.

Deer are keen on this fruit and can wreck your ripening crop in the event you haven’t deer-proofed your backyard.

To maintain these four-legged pals out of your melon patch, fencing is vital.

Try our article on the greatest deer fencing to study extra.

A vegetable garden with a shed, surrounded by high deer fencing to keep animals out.

Maybe surprisingly, coyotes additionally love this tasty and refreshing yard fruit.

Fencing is an effective technique to maintain coyotes out of your backyard, however you’ll require a barely completely different model than what you’ll use for deer.

Russel Hyperlink, wildlife biologist with the Maine Division of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, explains that coyotes don’t soar over tall fences in a single certain. As a substitute, they climb them.

To stop coyotes from moving into your backyard, you’ll must construct a fence they’ll’t climb over – or dig below.

Hyperlink recommends beginning with five-foot-tall fencing. Then he suggests including outward-tilting 15-inch extenders to the highest of the fence to forestall the canines from climbing over.

And to forestall them from digging below, prolong the fence underground about eight inches, utilizing wire mesh.

Alternatively, create an “apron” on the bottom that extends 15 inches on the skin of the fence.


For a lot of gardeners, bugs could also be extra problematic than the furry, four-legged sort of backyard pest.

To stop injury, it’s useful to know which kinds of bugs plague your backyard, what they appear to be, and tips on how to forestall them from destroying your crop.

A close up of a hand from the right of the frame holding a light green vine and inspecting for insect damage, pictured on a soft focus background.

Conserving bugs below management is essential not solely as a result of these pests can chew up your crops, however as a result of they’ll additionally unfold illness.

Melon aphids and spider mites can colonize leaf undersides and leaf suggestions, interfering with photosynthesis. When you discover both of those in your crops, take away them with a robust jet of water out of your hose.

One other pest to be looking out for is the striped cucumber beetle. Forestall injury from these cucurbit pests by utilizing floating row covers up till flowering – and with common inspection of your crops.

When you discover pests, choose them off and destroy them.

Study extra about these and different bugs that may bug your crops in our article on watermelon pests. (coming quickly!)


Similar to different backyard crops, watermelons can also succumb to illness occasionally.

Prevention is your greatest line of protection. Listed here are some good preventive measures to take:

  • Be sure that to supply your seeds or crops from respected distributors. Unwitting seed savers could by chance move on illness from contaminated crops.
  • Rotate your crops by crop households. Watermelons are members of the Cucurbitaceae household, together with cucumbers, squash, and different melons. Wait three years earlier than planting from the identical household in the identical spot in your backyard.
  • Splashing water can unfold illness, so irrigate on the base of crops with a watering wand or drip irrigation – don’t use a sprinkler!
  • Keep away from dealing with crops when they’re moist, since that is a simple option to unfold illness from plant to plant.
  • To stop illness from harboring in your soil, by no means compost or until below contaminated crops.

Now that you just’ve familiarized your self with these efficient methods for watermelon illness prevention, maintain a watch out for brown lesions and holes in plant leaves, an indication of anthracnose.

When you discover vine suggestions wilting, fusarium wilt stands out as the offender. There are resistant varieties to every of those fungal illnesses, and beginning off with these will give your crops a bonus over different cultivars.

A close up of a gloved hand from the left of the frame holding a small watermelon suffering from a physiological disease known as blossom-end rot, pictured on a green soft focus background.

Even be looking out for blossom-end rot, a nutrient deficiency which additionally impacts tomatoes.

Study extra about these and different frequent issues in our information to preventing watermelon illness. (coming quickly!)


It’s essential to attend till your watermelons are absolutely ripe earlier than you choose them. That is one fruit, in contrast to apricots or avocados, that may not proceed to ripen after harvest.

Nevertheless, watermelons can go from unripe to spoiled in only a few days, so be vigilant about checking them as they strategy maturity.

While you see the fruit beginning to develop giant, it’s time to examine each day for ripeness.

A close up horizontal image of two hands from the left of the frame holding and inspecting a green watermelon still attached to the vine, pictured with foliage in soft focus in the background.

While you plant your seeds, it’s a good suggestion to depend forward the variety of days to maturity and mark this date in your calendar or in your gardening journal.

That means, when your fruit is approaching full ripeness, you can begin maintaining a tally of it and can quickly be able to take pleasure in a candy, juicy slice of watermelon.

If the fruit has separated from the vine, or the vine is lifeless, go forward and choose the fruit. It gained’t ripen any additional as soon as it’s off the vine.

A close up horizontal image of two hands separating the foliage surrounding a light and dark green striped melon to check for ripeness, with foliage in soft focus in the background.

If the fruit continues to be connected to the vine, and the vine is alive, there are a number of completely different tips you need to use to determine whether or not a watermelon is ripe or not.

Chances are you’ll need to check out every – or all – of those strategies and determine what appears to work greatest for you:

  • Search for the curly tendril closest to the stem the place the melon is connected. If it’s brown and dry, the melon is ripe.
  • The leaf closest to that tendril must also be yellow or turning brown.
  • Verify the underside of the melon, which turns from gentle inexperienced or white to cream coloured or yellow when ripe.
  • Watch for the pores and skin of your melon to flip from shiny to uninteresting.
  • The blossom finish of the melon will soften when ripe.

What? No thumping?

“Thumping” can be a standard option to decide whether or not a watermelon is ripe, however sadly this technique is unreliable.

A uninteresting thud is meant to point that the fruit is ripe, but it surely’s not the case with all varieties.

Within the case of some cultivars, a uninteresting thud may even point out that the fruit is overripe.

A close up horizontal image of a ripe watermelon with a little piece of dried stem still attached, pictured on a soft focus background.

One other questionable testing technique is the fingernail take a look at, through which you scratch the rind with a fingernail to find out whether or not the fruit is ripe.

The issue with this technique is that any injury to the rind serves as a channel for micro organism to enter, which might velocity up the rotting course of.

When you scratch your melon and determine it’s not ripe, you’re opening the fruit as much as the opportunity of illness.

To reap a ripe watermelon, use a pointy knife to chop the fruit off of the vine, leaving a two-inch-long piece of stem on the fruit.

You might have different melons persevering with to ripen on that very same vine, so be light as you chop.

As soon as the fruit is faraway from the vine, deal with it gently to keep away from bruising or injury to the rind.

Discover extra recommendations on figuring out watermelon ripeness right here.


After you might have picked your melons, examine to see if any have cut up or cracked throughout harvest – in that case, these fruits must be used instantly.

Intact fruits can deal with some storage. Freshly harvested melons will final seven to 10 days when saved indoors at room temperature within the 68-72°F vary.

A horizontal close up picture of two people holding and slicing watermelons on a wooden table, with a stone wall in the background.

Based on Jim Shrefler and colleagues on the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension, watermelons can really enhance in taste and colour when stored at room temperature for as much as per week.

Watermelons will maintain for 2 to a few weeks in a location with a temperature of 52-60°F and 85-90 % relative humidity. This may very well be your basement or root cellar.

What in regards to the fridge? Chilling harm can happen when the fruit is saved at temperatures beneath 50°F.

As soon as the fruit has been reduce, it’ll maintain within the fridge for as much as 5 days in an hermetic container.

After all, chances are you’ll choose to eat your melon as quickly as you harvest it.

Some folks choose it contemporary from the backyard, whereas others (this author included) take pleasure in it extra after it has been chilled within the fridge.

Nevertheless you like your melon, simply be sure you completely clear the rind earlier than slicing it open, since micro organism comparable to E. coli may be transferred from unwashed rinds to the flesh when it’s sliced.


There are a number of methods to protect this glorious summer season fruit as a way to take pleasure in it even within the depths of winter.


Drying or dehydrating is one option to save this fruit for later enjoyment.

Dried watermelon isn’t precisely commonplace in North America, however maybe it’s able to develop into the subsequent huge factor.

This dried deal with can be known as “watermelon jerky,” which ought to offer you an concept of its leathery texture.

A close up top down horizontal picture of dehydrated slices of watermelon set on a stone surface.

Drying fruit leads to a extra concentrated bundle of sugars and taste, and watermelon is not any completely different.

If you’re utilizing a dehydrator, consult with the producer’s suggestions on how lengthy to dry the fruit.

For watermelon, reducing it into 1/2-inch-thick slices and drying for round 20 hours at 135°F is an effective rule of thumb.

When you’d prefer to study extra in regards to the course of in larger element, take a look at this information to dehydrating fruits and veggies on our sister website, Foodal.

In Asia, watermelon seeds are eaten very like sunflower seeds.

You possibly can strive making your individual savory seeds for a wholesome snack. Put together them such as you would pumpkin seeds – you may discover ways to do it on Foodal.


When you choose your watermelon contemporary however have a bumper crop you can’t eat abruptly, you may freeze a few of it.

You possibly can find out about the most effective methods for freezing fruit on our sister website, Foodal.

A close up horizontal image of a small white bowl containing round scoops of frozen watermelon set on a gray stone surface.

Freezing does change the feel a bit, so it’s greatest used the place the flavour can shine however the texture now not issues, comparable to in smoothies or slushies.

Or as an alternative of freezing it in chunks, you can work some culinary magic on it first. Doesn’t watermelon sorbet sound scrumptious?

You possibly can discover ways to make sorbet out of any sort of fruit on Foodal.


Watermelon may be canned within the type of pickles, jam, juice, or wine.

Since this fruit is a low-acid meals, you’ll must pickle it if you wish to can it with a scorching water bathtub, or use a stress canner for non-acidic preparations.

A close up horizontal image of two glass jars containing canned vegetables and fruits set on a wooden shelf.

Able to be guided by means of the canning course of? There’s an entire information to canning meals at dwelling additionally on Foodal.

Recipes and Cooking Concepts

Watermelon is so good to eat by the slice that many people in all probability don’t take into consideration including it as an ingredient to our meals.

But when your thumbs are each shiny inexperienced and you find yourself with an enormous crop of homegrown watermelons, you may be open to some new concepts.

A close up horizontal image of two hands from the left of the frame holding a small ceramic bowl containing a green leaf and melon salad. In the background is a marble surface with foliage scattered around.

Right here’s a thought – strive utilizing it as a salad ingredient. Personally, I really like how the flavour of watermelon mixes with feta cheese and contemporary mint leaves.

Watermelon supplies taste and texture in fruit salads, however to shake issues up a bit, how about utilizing a cookie cutter to chop shapes out of watermelon slices as an alternative of going with normal chunks or balls?

A close up top down horizontal image of a white bowl with a fruit salad sprinkled with mint, set on a white wooden surface.

And whereas star-shaped watermelon items would possibly thrill the children (or your inside baby), how about one thing for the adults?

This scrumptious recipe for watermelon daiquiris over at Foodal mixes gentle rum with candy, frozen watermelon and contemporary squeezed lime juice for a drink that’s doubly refreshing.

Closeup closely cropped horizontal image of two watermelon daiquiris in mason jars, with paper straws, garnished with slices of lime.
Picture by Nikki Cervone.

Or depart the rum out and make virgin daiquiris as an alternative.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Annual fruit Upkeep: Reasonable
Native to: Africa Tolerance: Warmth
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 3-9 Soil Sort: Sandy loam
Season: Summer season Soil pH: 6.0-7.0
Publicity: Full solar Soil Drainage: Nicely-draining
Time to Maturity: 70-100 days Companion Planting: Buckwheat, cowpeas, nasturtium, radish, rice, scallions, soybeans, candy clover, tansy, wheat
Spacing: 3-6 ft, in rows 6-18 ft aside Keep away from Planting With: Corn, sunflowers
Planting Depth: 1 inch Order: Cucurbitales
Top: 15-24 inches Household: Cucurbitaceae
Unfold: 10 ft or extra Genus: Citrullus
Water Wants: Reasonable Species: lanatus
Widespread Pests: Aphids, cucumber beetles, cutworms, flea beetles, mites, pickle worms, rind worms, squash bugs, squash vine borer, thrips Widespread Illnesses: Anthracnose, bacterial wilt, cucumber mosaic virus, damping off, downy mildew, fungal leaf spot, fusarium wilt, gummy stem blight, papaya ringspot virus, phytophthora, powdery mildew, root knot nematode, scab, watermelon mosaic virus, zucchini yellow mosaic virus

To Develop Watermelon Is to Love It!

How ’bout it, gardener? Are you able to develop your individual?

When you’ve put a profitable season of watermelon rising behind you, your appreciation for these fruits is bound to develop.

A close up of a ripe watermelon growing in the garden, almost ready to harvest, with dark green, mottled skin.

Are you rising watermelons in your backyard? Tell us within the feedback beneath!

Whereas we’re on the topic of melons, why not hone your cantaloupe-growing abilities too? We have now simply the articles you’ll want proper right here:

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