Watermelon in the middle lane: how to grow a delicious berry yourself
The most delicious watermelons grow in hot countries and in the very south of Russia, but they learned to get good harvests even in the middle lane, in particular, in the Moscow region. True, direct sowing of seeds in open ground can only be achieved in the most favorable years, therefore, seedlings are usually prepared in advance. Often the use of greenhouses also helps in the cultivation of watermelons.
The best varieties of watermelons for the middle strip
Watermelon varieties are conventionally divided into early ripening, mid-ripening and late. Growing late-ripening varieties (such as Spring, Ikar, Holodok, etc.) in the middle lane is out of the question, mid-season varieties can be grown only in a greenhouse, and you can try to plant early ripening watermelons in unprotected soil.
Open ground varieties
In the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation, there are not so many varieties of watermelon recommended for the Central Region, but enthusiastic gardeners grow at least two dozen. The most popular are:
- Ogonyok is an early-ripening variety known to most summer residents, has been grown for several decades. Fruits are small (about 2 kg), with small seeds, tender pulp, excellent taste. The bark is thin, dark green in color, the stripes are weakly visible.
The fire is easily recognizable and extremely popular.
- Suga Baby (aka Sugar Baby). In the State Register there is an entry about the recommendation for planting in the Central Black Earth Region, but it is successfully ripening and a little further north. Cold-hardy, ultra-early ripening, bears fruit with small berries, weighing up to 1 kg, the color usual for most watermelons. The taste is excellent, the harvest is well transported.
Sugar baby is one of the first to keep up
- Trophy F1 ripens in no more than 68 days, the fruits are broad-elliptical, smooth, weighing 8–11 kg. The color is yellowish-green with wide stripes, the taste of the pulp is excellent. Watermelons of this hybrid are perfectly transported and stored for 1.5 months, the yield is high.
Trophy is one of the giants among the early varieties
You can also pay attention to the varieties Victoria and Skorik.
Varieties grown in unprotected ground are also suitable for the greenhouse. Also in it you can have time to get the fruits of mid-season varieties, for example, it can be a Lezhebok with fruits weighing up to 5 kg or a large-fruited (up to 10 kg) Ataman. However, when planting in a greenhouse, they often give preference to small-fruited options, which are guaranteed to give high yields. Ripening periods are also chosen as short as possible. Among the popular varieties and hybrids are:
- Crimson Sweet is a fairly new variety that came from France. One of the examples of large-fruited varieties, but when grown in greenhouse, it rarely fails gardeners. Fruits of classic watermelon color, crunchy flesh, very sweet. They are well stored and transported, the variety is disease-resistant, easily tolerates extreme drought.
Crimson Sweet is a Frenchman who has taken root in our beds
- The peasant is an early ripe variety that bears fruit of medium size (weighing about 3 kg), light green in color with dark green stripes. Medium density pulp, excellent taste. The fruits are stored for about a month.
- Joy F1 - in the shape and color of the fruits, as well as consumer properties, it resembles the Peasant, but the fruits are somewhat smaller, and the pulp is not bright red, but dark pink. It is successfully grown in the Central region, not only in greenhouses, but also in the open field.
Joy - a watermelon that grows well both in a greenhouse and on a melon
You can also choose varieties and hybrids for planting in a greenhouse:
- Ultra early,
- Krimstar F1,
- A gift to the north F1.
Growing watermelons is not easy in temperate climates. The area of their trouble-free cultivation begins approximately from the southern regions of the Saratov region (Rovno watermelons are well known) or Volgograd (Kamyshinsky). After all, the homeland of watermelon is Africa. Therefore, it becomes clear that this culture does not need moisture as much as high temperature: it is a heat-resistant plant. In addition, the melon must be constantly illuminated by the sun: it is impossible to grow sweet berries even in partial shade.
At the same time, a watermelon normally tolerates a cold snap, if it did not come to frost and did not drag on for a long time. He is picky about the composition of the soil. It feels best on light sandy loam with a pH of 6.5–7, and responds well to organic fertilizers. The roots of a watermelon penetrate deeply and extract their own moisture, but with additional artificial irrigation during the development of the plant and the growth of fruits, the yield increases significantly.
A watermelon has small-looking bushes, but a significant nutritional area is required, and this must be taken into account when choosing a garden. Thickened plantings are unacceptable, there should be at least 70 cm between the plants.It is optimal if in the middle lane it grows on a small hill: excess water accumulating in the lowlands has a detrimental effect on the roots, causing them to rot, especially in cool weather.
Watermelons need a lot of space
If the soil on the site is clay, it is advisable to add sand during the autumn digging, and if it is too acidic - chalk or dolomite flour. The amount depends on the severity of the situation: sand can be up to a bucket per 1 m2, chalk - one or two handfuls. It is best to use a bucket of good compost or humus as fertilizer, not fresh manure. In the spring, with the final preparation of the bed with a cultivator or a rake, add 1 m2 a liter can of wood ash and 30–40 g of superphosphate. Watermelon also reacts well to small additions of magnesium fertilizers (about 5 g per 1 m2).
It is better if the watermelon is planted after cabbage, peas, onions or garlic, you should not plant it after nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants). For more than two seasons in a row, they try not to place watermelons in one place.
It is not difficult to grow watermelon seedlings at home, although many people prefer to do it in greenhouses or light greenhouses: the apartment does not always have enough light and the required temperature.
Transplanting watermelon seedlings into open ground or a greenhouse will take place about 30–35 days after sowing. In the middle lane, planting in unprotected soil before the beginning of summer is fraught with risk: recurrent night frosts are still possible, which means that you need to sow seeds in the last days of April or early May.
The timing of planting in a greenhouse depends on its quality, but in any case, in mid-May this can already be done, which means that the time for sowing seeds in pots is early or mid-April. When calculating the timing, it is necessary to take into account the fact that unprepared seeds can germinate 10-12 days; if properly prepared, emergence of seedlings can be expected earlier.
Prepared watermelon seeds will sprout faster
Sowing seeds for seedlings
Sowing watermelons in a common box is not worth it: they are extremely painful to transplant, so you must immediately find separate pots with a capacity of 250 ml and a depth of 10 cm.It is better if these are reusable cups with a retractable bottom, peat pots are optimal.
For growing several bushes, ready-made soil is easier to buy in a store, it will not be more expensive than cooking it yourself, but more reliable.
The best composition consists of equal proportions of humus, sand, peat and good fertile soil. If there is no peat, you can replace it with scalded sawdust. If the components are of doubtful origin, after mixing, the soil should be shed with a pink solution of potassium permanganate, and this should be done a few days before sowing. When placing the soil in pots, it is worth pouring a centimeter layer of coarse clean sand on the bottom.
For watermelon seedlings, choose the largest peat pots available.
Watermelon seeds remain viable for a long time, up to 8 years, so you do not need to buy them annually, but it is worth preparing for sowing:
- The largest seeds are selected first.
- Then they are disinfected by soaking for 20-30 minutes in a dark solution of potassium permanganate.
- After washing with clean water, they are sent for a day in a wet cloth to the refrigerator: in the middle lane, hardening will not hurt, especially when grown in open ground.
It is even better if the seeds are slightly baked before hardening: with protruding tails, they are kept in the refrigerator for 5 hours.
If the seeds are reliable, you can not do all this, but to accelerate germination, just soak them for several hours in warm water is worth it. To be honest, for more than thirty years of gardening life I have never done anything with the seeds, they germinated dry and gave good yields.
- Before sowing, the soil in the pots is slightly moistened if it has dried out. You can water it then, after sowing.
Before sowing watermelon seeds, moisten the earth
- Watermelon seeds are sown to a depth of 2.5–3 cm, placing 2 pieces in a pot (excess shoots are then removed).
Watermelon seeds are sown to a depth of 2.5-3 cm
- Watering crops with warm water, sprinkle the soil with clean dry sand with a layer of several millimeters.
- To create a greenhouse effect, the pots are covered with glass and placed in a warm place. Before germination, it is advisable to maintain the temperature at least 25aboutC (although the seeds will sprout in a colder atmosphere, only later).
- Immediately after the emergence of seedlings, without delay, the pots should be placed on a cool, lighted windowsill: in the first 3-4 days, the seedlings should not be allowed to stretch, but in the warmth they will do it instantly. Further on, the best temperature is around 22 ° C during the day and 18 ° C at night.
To prevent watermelon seedlings from stretching, in the first 3-4 days the plants should be kept in a cool place
In addition to observing the required temperature, it is important to monitor the lighting: daylight hours should last at least 12 hours. If the window sill faces north, it is advisable to equip it with lighting, turn it on in the morning and evening. Watering is needed moderate, warm water, at the root.
Picking watermelons is unacceptable: after damage to the central root, the seedlings may not die, but they will no longer give good fruits. Therefore, any transplant is highly undesirable and should be carried out only if necessary with extreme precautions.
In 8-10 days after the emergence of seedlings, the seedlings can be slightly fed with a solution of any complex fertilizer (strictly according to the instructions on the package) or with an infusion of ash. A week before transplanting the seedlings into the garden, the seedlings are tempered by periodically opening windows or taking the pots outside. Good seedlings, ready to plant, are viable bushes with a short, thick stem and 4–5 large leaves.
Good seedlings have very large and bright leaves.
Transplanting seedlings into the ground
Planting seedlings in unprotected soil is possible when warm weather is established. It should be at least 15–20 in the afternoonaboutC, and at night - not lower than 8aboutC. However, if such indicators in the middle lane are observed in early May, one should not think that this is summer, and plant watermelons. The cold weather will return, and it is better to wait until the beginning of June. In extreme cases, you can land, but be ready to cover the landings with at least a spanbond. The plastic wrap is only good for a very short time.
In unprotected ground, watermelons are planted more freely. On a real melon for some varieties, from 1.5 to 3 m is left between plants.In summer cottages of the middle lane, when planting early-maturing varieties, this is unnecessary, the optimal scheme here is 100 x 70 cm, in extreme cases - 70 x 50 cm. Planting seedlings for an experienced the gardener is accustomed to:
- In the designated places, holes are dug somewhat deeper than the size of the seedling pots.
- A handful of ash is brought into the holes, mixed with the ground and watered a little.
The holes are made at a fair distance from each other.
- Very carefully removing the seedlings from the pots (if they are not peaty), they plant it slightly deepening. Peat pots are planted with seedlings.
All voids between the roots and the rest of the bed must be carefully filled with soil.
- The voids are covered with soil, watered with warm water under the root, mulched with clean sand.
Watering must be done very carefully, and then fix the plant.
Video: planting watermelon seedlings in the garden
Growing watermelons by sowing seeds in a garden bed
Watermelon seeds germinate at a minimum temperature of 16aboutC, plants die at 0aboutC. Therefore, when planning the sowing of seeds in unprotected soil or in a greenhouse bed, one must focus on these indicators. Sowing in open ground and in a greenhouse, as well as further care of plants, in both of these cases are slightly different.
Sowing in open ground
When choosing a sowing date, it is worth remembering that not only air should warm up well: at soil temperatures below 14aboutSeeds sprout with great difficulty. Therefore, in the middle lane, sowing seeds, although it is possible a little earlier than planting seedlings, is carried out no earlier than May 25. As long as they naklyuyutsya and ascend, the threat of frost will pass. But it is not worth sowing germinated seeds in the garden at these times: there is a high probability of their death in the event of a sudden cold snap. It is better to use dry seeds, and hatched seeds not earlier than summer.
The beds are prepared in the same way as for planting seedlings; holes are prepared in the same places, applying local fertilizers. Only the holes with ash are buried back, and the seeds are buried in them to a depth of about 3 cm. As in growing seedlings, 2-3 seeds should be placed side by side. Excess plants are removed 5–6 days after germination.
Often in the middle lane they equip a smart bed: when digging, they introduce increased doses of organic matter, and then cover it with a dark film, as a result of which the earth quickly warms up in the sun. In the right places, cuts are made in the film, where the seeds are sown (you can also plant seedlings). The film is left for the whole season, and at first they also cover the bed with spunbond.
Video: growing watermelons grafted on a pumpkin in a smart garden
Sowing in a greenhouse
The beds in the greenhouse are prepared long before the sowing of watermelons. And this applies not only to the unconditional need for the autumn digging of the land with fertilizers and the harvesting of all plant residues. Sometimes a complete soil replacement is also required if any diseases raged in the greenhouse.
It is recommended to sow any greens or radishes in the greenhouse before watermelons. They will almost have time to ripen by mid-May, when it will be necessary to sow watermelons. If sowing is planned for an earlier date, then even in the greenhouse, covering materials should be prepared just in case.
The sowing pattern in the greenhouse is slightly more compacted, the distance between plants is greater than 50 cm, which is rarely allowed here. The earliest varieties of watermelon, many gardeners even sow two per hole, then directing the lashes of neighboring bushes in different directions. Due to the tightness, they often equip trellises in the greenhouse, raising the watermelon lashes above the ground and tying the shoots to the supports first, and then the emerging fruits.
The technique of sowing seeds in a greenhouse is no different from that in an open field.
Often, watermelon bushes alternate with melons or cucumbers. If the first option is absolutely logical, then with cucumbers the issue is controversial: they love moist air, and watermelons are used to growing in arid conditions. Nevertheless, such a joint planting is possible, but in the future, reasonable temperature and humidity control in the greenhouse will be required.
In a greenhouse, a watermelon is grown on a trellis
Caring for melons is no more difficult than caring for any vegetables. True, the need to form bushes is also added to the usual work (watering, loosening, feeding). In the open field and in the greenhouse, the events are similar, the nuances are insignificant.
Outdoor watermelon care
Watermelon watering until fruit sets should be moderate, but the soil should always be slightly moist. Moisture is especially necessary during the period of intensive growth of the leaf mass. It is necessary to water in the evening with water heated in the sun, under the root. With the growth of fruits, watering is significantly reduced, and later stopped: during the ripening of the berries, the soil is even dried so that the watermelons collect more sugars. Until the leaves have grown, after watering, they loosen the soil, destroying the weeds.
The first feeding is carried out 1.5 weeks after planting the seedlings or 2-3 weeks after the emergence of seedlings. It is better to use organic matter and ash, in extreme cases - mineral fertilizers strictly according to the instructions. Then they are fed 1–2 more times, but without excess nitrogen, and with the beginning of the growth of the fruits, the feeding is stopped.
For feeding watermelon, it is better to use organic matter, but mineral fertilizers are also suitable.
As the lashes grow, they are laid out evenly over the garden bed, trying not to disturb them once again. Planks are placed under the fruits to prevent possible rotting in case of inclement weather.
Planks are placed under the watermelons to prevent decay
The formation of the bush is aimed at ensuring that it does not waste its energy on the growth of excessive green mass. The main part of the incoming nutrients should go to the formation and ripening of the crop. Extra ovaries are also removed, since even under the most optimal conditions, the plant will not be able to provide adequate nutrition for everything that has arisen. Shaping operations are carried out in sunny weather, so that the sections dry out immediately and cannot rot.
Pruning and rationing of the crop is especially important for large-fruited varieties.
There are several options for the formation of bushes, the choice depends on many factors. In some cases, they try to grow the crop on the central stem, removing side shoots to the maximum. In others, on the contrary, they almost immediately pinch the main shoot and grow fruits on the side ones. For different varieties, one or another approach is preferable. The simplest way is as follows:
- no more than six fruits are left on the bushes, cutting off the excess when they reach the size of a chicken egg;
- on each shoot, only one fruit is guaranteed to grow in the case of large-fruited varieties and two in the case of small-fruited varieties;
- after the fruit has acquired the size of an average apple, no more than 4–5 leaves are left above it, the rest of the shoot is cut off.
Even after the formation of a bush during the pouring of fruits, stepchildren still appear from the axils of the leaves, they must be broken out right there, trying not to injure the whips by turning them over.
All unnecessary shoots must be broken out in time
Features of growing in a greenhouse
The main approaches to growing watermelons in a greenhouse are the same as outside. True, one should carefully monitor the humidity and temperature conditions: it does not rain in the greenhouse, and it can overheat without airing. But, besides the usual events, you have to pay attention to two more points.
- artificial pollination may be required. If the vents are mostly closed, there is no hope for insect pollination. The owner himself must arm himself with a brush and, taking pollen from the recently blossoming male flowers, carefully transfer it inside the female ones. Immediately after fertilization, fruit setting and their rapid growth begin, which can be helped by weekly feeding with small doses of complex fertilizers, or better - with liquid solutions of mullein or bird droppings;
- in the greenhouse, watermelons are usually grown vertically, forming bushes with a simultaneous garter to the supports. The fruits do not lie on the ground, but hang in the air, and upon reaching the critical mass, they can fall and break. Therefore, berries the size of a fist are placed in soft nets made of any durable material, where they will grow. So the fruits are evenly illuminated and gain more sugar. The nets are tied to the trellis.
In nets, watermelons are illuminated from all sides
Diseases and pests
Diseases and pests, with proper care, visit this melon crop very rarely. Summer residents sometimes do without even preventive treatments, although in large agricultural farms, of course, melon is sprayed a couple of times per season.
Most often, watermelons are affected by the following diseases:
- powdery mildew: manifests itself as white spots with fluff, which first form on the leaves, then move to shoots and fruits. Leaves crumble, shoots die off, fruits rot. Risk factors are cold and waterlogging. With proper agricultural technology, the risk of infection is minimal, but in the event of a disease, the plant should be sprayed with the simplest fungicides, for example, Bordeaux liquid;
Powdery mildew is hard not to recognize - the leaves are covered with a whitish coating
- anthracnose is a fungal disease, usually found in greenhouse cultivation. It manifests itself as brown spots of various shapes on all parts of the plant. On fruits, after the formation of spots, they turn into ulcers with a pinkish bloom. The disease is especially terrible in conditions of high humidity, therefore it is necessary to ventilate the greenhouse more often. Control measures - as with powdery mildew;
With anthracnose, the spots on the leaves are brownish
- Fusarium is another fungal disease that leads to plant wilting. It is transferred by non-disinfected seeds and soil, spreads quickly, and leads to the complete death of plantings. There are modern varieties that are resistant to this disease. In the initial stages, treatment is possible, for example, with the help of Previkur;
With fusarium, the whole bush withers
- mosaic disease is a viral disease that manifests itself in the appearance of spots of different shades, shapes and sizes on the leaves. The leaves dry up, the plant lags behind in development, the yield drops sharply. Full treatment is impossible, but in the early stages, the disease can be significantly inhibited by spraying with Karbofos.
With mosaic, the spots have a variety of colors.
For the treatment of other diseases, which are even less common, the gardener's arsenal should contain the drugs Fundazol or Decis, but it is easier to prevent the disease by carefully observing all the rules of agricultural technology.
There are few pests in watermelon, most often it is visited by:
- melon aphid is a small insect that settles in whole colonies: first from the bottom of the leaves, then moves to the shoots and further. It sucks out the juices of the plant, sometimes even leading to its death. With timely detection, folk remedies help: infusions of mustard powder, tobacco dust. In advanced cases, it is necessary to spray with Iskra, Inta-Vir or similar strong insecticides;
The ubiquitous aphid settles on leaves in whole colonies
- the spider mite manifests itself first on the underside of the leaves as small dark dots, rapidly growing. Then all parts of the plant are covered with cobwebs, dry up, and the plant dies. Prevention with infusions of garden plants is very effective, but if trouble overtakes, spraying with serious pesticides is required, for example, Aktofit or Aktellik;
As a result of a spider mite attack, the plant becomes covered with cobwebs.
- the wireworm is the same pest that attacks potatoes. It bores the fruits, after which they rot. It appears especially often in acidic soils. The easiest way to set up bait traps against the wireworm is jars of vegetable pieces. Traps are periodically inspected, pests are destroyed. Nearby legumes or mustard leaves are well scared away by wireworms. In case of a mass invasion, it is necessary to use the preparations Grom-2, Provotox.
The wireworm is known to any gardener.
Harvesting and storage
It is necessary to harvest the watermelon crop on time: overripe fruits are not stored, and unripe fruits are only suitable for pickling. The signs of ripeness are known to everyone, but often they do not work even in the hands of experienced melon growers: after all, until you cut a watermelon, you will not know exactly how ready it is.
During storage, watermelons almost do not ripen: only almost ready-made ones get a little sugar in a cut form.
Characteristic signs of ripeness of striped berries:
- the matte surface of the peel becomes shiny;
- the crust hardens, is not damaged by the nail;
- the stalk dries up;
- a yellow spot forms on the side touching the ground;
- when tapped, ripening watermelons make a sonorous sound.
The berries are cut with a pruner or a sharp knife, leaving the stalk up to 4–5 cm long. The fruits are taken to the storage site on a soft bedding, carefully, without blows. In the storage they are placed in one layer, from time to time they are examined. Optimal storage conditions are about 7aboutC and relative humidity 70–85%. The shelf life of even the stubborn varieties does not exceed 3 months.
Video: harvest of watermelons in the middle lane
The cultivation of watermelons in central Russia is a problem, but it is quite solvable. To do this, you need to choose the right variety, grow seedlings on time and plant them in the garden. In a greenhouse, a watermelon will definitely grow, but in natural light it will be much sweeter. But direct sowing of seeds in open ground in the middle lane is a lottery, the success of the event depends on how warm the summer turns out to be.
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The sweetest watermelons, of course, come from hot regions. The striped berry feels good in the southernmost regions of Russia and even in the south of the Saratov region. And Kamyshinsky watermelons (Volgograd region) are not very much inferior in taste to Astrakhan ones. It is unrealistic for the residents of the center of Russia to reach such a quality, but good harvests of sweet berries are quite accessible to enthusiasts. Sometimes it even turns out to grow a watermelon by sowing seeds directly into the garden bed, but it is safer to first prepare seedlings in the apartment.
Watermelons are also planted in greenhouse conditions, but, of course, real delicacies should ripen under the sun.
Knowing that watermelons come from Africa, it is easy to understand that the most important thing for them is the high temperature of the air, and moisture, oddly enough (after all, it consists almost entirely of water), is secondary. Water, of course, watermelon needs, but it has powerful roots that can find it drop by drop everywhere. But lighting is necessary: even in partial shade, the plant will suffer, it will tie the fruits, but they will not be sweet.
No need to try to grow large watermelons in the middle lane, small-fruited ones taste no worse
It may seem surprising, but a watermelon normally tolerates short cold snaps (not frost, of course, but low positive temperatures). Almost any soil is suitable for it, but it is better that it be nutritious and neutral. Based on this, it is clear that it is possible to grow watermelons without shelter in the central part of Russia, but this is a little risky business, and its success depends to a large extent on how good the weather turns out to be, whether it is warm enough.
In the fall, you need to choose a place in the garden for mini melons so that onions, cabbage or potatoes are the predecessors. It is convenient to grow watermelons in holes. In the places designated for them, we add 1 bucket of sand, perennial humus of chicken droppings, humus from compost. If the ground is heavy, then 2 buckets per hole can be added to the sand. We mix everything right on the surface of the soil - and leave it without digging until spring.
Watermelons grow well where onions grew last year
Watermelon varieties need to be hardy and early ripening, suitable for a short summer. In recent years, the following have shown themselves well: 'Spark', 'Sugar Baby', 'Gift to the North F1', 'Beijing Joy of Peasant F1'. To avoid cross-pollination, different varieties should not be placed nearby, and 1-2 holes should be set aside for especially large-fruited varieties, for example 'Astrakhansky'. In the hot season, they ripen well and produce rather large watermelons.
In our market, which brings together large online stores, you can choose a reliable seed for your summer cottage. Section Watermelon Seeds.
Sowing and planting
In the spring, when it is already getting warm enough (May 15–20), we dig up the planned and prepared areas. It is advisable to walk on the melons as little as possible so as not to compact the soil. We form holes with a diameter of 1 m, leave a free space between them 1.5-2 m (between the edges). We immediately sow dry seeds: in each hole - at least 10 pcs. to a depth of 3-4 cm. Water with warm water heated in the sun and mulch with peat.
It is possible to plant watermelons in Siberia in the second half of May. Photo from the book “Vegetable Garden. How I Grow Healthy Vegetables "
In some holes at this time, you can plant watermelon seedlings, which already have 2-3 true leaves, and between the finished plants, you can still sow seeds. After a week, sowing with seeds should be repeated in all holes. Even if the seedlings or the first seedlings die or start to hurt from the cold, the second echelon of seedlings will survive. It often happens that seedlings of later sowing overtake even seedlings in development, and it is they that give the best fruits.
It is worth sowing so densely so that later there would be an opportunity to leave the strongest plants that have formed in the conditions of the fiercest competition. The consumption of seeds is very large, but if you harvest them yourself and always with a margin, then this will not be a problem.
The consumption of seeds is very large, but if you harvest them yourself, then this will not be a problem
When the shoots of watermelons appear and begin to gain strength, then gradually they need to be thinned out - and by the time 3-4 true leaves grow back, leave one plant in each hole, maximum two. At this time, some of the young watermelons can be transplanted to another place. Despite the prevailing opinion that this culture should not be disturbed, such settlers do not get sick at all and give excellent yields, if everything is done correctly.
When watermelon shoots appear and begin to gain strength, then gradually they need to be thinned out. Photo from the book “Vegetable Garden. How I Grow Healthy Vegetables "
In Siberia, in the first ten days of June, dangerous night frosts still occur. In such cases, the melon has to be covered at night. A non-woven fabric cut into strips is suitable for this.
You can choose covering material of different density to protect plants from recurrent frost in our market. A selection of Covering materials for plant protection.
Growing watermelons should be watered regularly; in hot weather, this should be done 2-3 times a week. Watering should be abundant, and not only the holes themselves, but also the entire melon area should be moistened. The holes must be weeded and loosened very carefully, but only at the very beginning of the growing season. In general, it is better not to walk between watermelons - or only as a last resort: the roots of these plants spread widely to the sides, and it is very easy to damage them. When the plantings grow, the weeds will no longer be able to inflict any harm on them, and they simply will not need to be paid attention to.
Growing watermelons should be watered regularly. Photo from the book “Vegetable Garden. How I Grow Healthy Vegetables "
In June, when 2-3 true leaves appear on the watermelons, it is good to feed the plants with a solution of fresh chicken droppings (1:15) at the rate of 1 bucket per well. We do the second same top dressing in a month, but only if the plants grow poorly in green mass. The pinching of the lashes should be done only once, again - in order to trample less on the melon.
Watermelon flower. Photo from the book “Vegetable Garden. How I Grow Healthy Vegetables "
When the ovaries of watermelons reach the size of a large apple (about 10 cm in diameter), 2-3 lashes should be left on each plant and no more than 2 fruits - on each shoot. After the ovary, leave 3-5 leaves, and remove the end of the lash. The yield is no more than 3-6 fruits per plant. This is quite enough, but watermelons grow large and ripen perfectly.
In August, when the watermelons begin to sing, then periodically (once every 7-10 days) they must be carefully turned over with the underside of the fruit towards the sun.This is to ensure that they ripen evenly. And in order to exclude rotting, in wet weather, small boards should be placed under them.
Watering, especially in hot weather, should never be stopped until the very end of the season. This can only be done 3-5 days before harvest. If someone thinks that the fruits will turn out to be savory, then he is very mistaken! Quite the opposite: if there is not enough moisture, then the watermelon will not taste good. In order for him to grow up sugar, he needs a lot, a lot of sun and plenty of water.
Great watermelon! Photo from the book “Vegetable Garden. How I Grow Healthy Vegetables "
In the last fruitful year for watermelons, about 40 fruits were harvested from mini-melons from 6 holes (10 plants in total). Of these, 20 pieces were 5-6 kg each, the rest - 2-3 kg each, and the 2 most-most - 8 and 9 kg! Almost all the watermelons are fully ripe, a few of them were allowed to pickle. Not a single one was completely green and unripe. And they ate watermelons - to their fill and to their fill, I still remember! And how can you forget: fresh, ripe, delicious watermelon on the table is a real miracle, it just melts in your mouth!
Gardening in Siberia requires a special approach. Viktor Sergeenko has accumulated solid experience: he successfully grows various crops and reaps good harvests. The author shares his best practices in his book “Vegetable Garden. How I Grow Healthy Vegetables ”, which can be purchased from the publisher's official online store.
If you want to know even more about the cultivation and harvesting of watermelons, these publications of our site will be useful to you:
- Watermelon watermelon strife
- Long live watermelon time
- A little about melons. Watermelon
- How to keep a watermelon until the New Year: 7 ways
- Watermelon honey: how to prepare this heavenly delicacy.
How to grow watermelons outdoors?
Watermelon belongs to the gourds of the pumpkin family. For normal growth, it requires a lot of light and heat, especially in the first stage of plant development. Therefore, it is not always possible to get a good harvest of ripe, juicy and tasty watermelons in central Russia in the open field.
If the summer falls out cold and cloudy, then no care will help to get a real ripe, ripe watermelon. The fruits will grow, but the watermelon pulp may not reach a rich red color, but only turn out to be pink. And the taste will not be the same. But even in this case, a real gardener does not despair, but uses unripe fruits for salting. If such watermelons are properly salted, then it turns out to be a real delicacy!
But if summer comes hot, then you can enjoy plenty of magnificent ripe watermelons with amazingly beautiful bright red pulp. And the taste of a ripe, just plucked watermelon, but from its own melon - and words cannot convey! Well, very tasty! Eat such watermelons even every day from morning to evening - and they will not become boring! Therefore, I still grow watermelons in Siberia (Altai) in the open field.
In the fall, I choose a place in the garden for mini-melons so that the predecessors of watermelons would be onions, cabbage or potatoes. I grow watermelons in holes, and in the places designated for them I put one bucket for each hole of perennial humus of chicken droppings, humus from compost and sand. The soil in my garden is heavy, so sometimes I bring in two buckets of sand. I mix everything right on the surface of the soil and leave it without digging until spring. Watermelon sprouts
I select varieties of watermelons that are hardy and early ripening, suitable for growing in the short Siberian summer. In recent years, varieties such as Siberian Lights, Sugar Kid, Olginsky... In order to avoid cross-pollination, I do not place different varieties nearby. I always set aside one or two holes for larger varieties, for example, Astrakhan... In the hot season, they ripen well and give rather large fruits.
In the spring, when it is already getting warm enough (May 15-20), I plow the designated areas for the holes with a cultivator, and I try to walk on the melon as little as possible and not to compact the soil. Immediately I form holes with a diameter of 1 meter, leaving 1.5-2 meters of free space between the holes (between the edges). I immediately sow dry watermelon seeds in each hole (at least 10 seeds) to a depth of 3-4 cm. I water the holes with warm water heated in the sun and mulch with peat.
In some holes I plant grown seedlings of watermelons (with 2-3 real leaves), and between the seedlings I still sow seeds. After a week, sowing with seeds is repeated in all holes in exactly the same way. Now, if the seedlings or the first seedlings die or start to hurt from the cold, then the second echelon of seedlings will survive. It often happens that seedlings of later sowing overtake even seedlings in development, and it is they that give the best fruits. I sow so thickly in the holes so that later, in conditions of fierce competition, there was an opportunity to leave the strongest plants. The consumption of seeds turns out to be large, but since I harvest the seeds myself and always with a margin, this is not a problem for me.
When the shoots of watermelons appear and begin to gain strength, I gradually thin them out and by the time 3-4 true leaves appear in the plants, I leave them in the hole one by one. Sometimes two. At this time, some of the young watermelons can be transplanted to another place, and this is despite the prevailing opinion that watermelons cannot be transplanted! If this is done correctly, then they do not get sick at all and give excellent yields.
Young bushes of watermelons
In our area, in the first ten days of June, dangerous night frosts still occur. In such cases, the melon has to be covered at night. For this I use non-woven fabric cut into strips.
I water the growing watermelons regularly, in hot weather 2-3 times a week. Watering should be plentiful! Moreover, not only the holes themselves should be watered, but the entire melon area. I very carefully weed and loosen the holes, but only at the very beginning of the growing season. In general, it is better not to walk between the holes (only as a last resort), because the roots of watermelons widely diverge to the sides and it is very easy to damage them. When the watermelons grow, the weeds will no longer be able to harm them, and I simply do not pay attention to them.
In June, when 2-3 true leaves appear on watermelons, I feed the plants with a solution of fresh chicken droppings (1 in 15), at the rate of one bucket per well. I do the second same top dressing in a month, but only if the plants grow poorly in green mass.
Photo: Olesya Timofeeva, personal archive
I carry out the pinching of the lashes only once, again, in order to trample less on the melon. When the ovaries of watermelons appear and reach the size of a large apple (10 cm in diameter), then on each plant I leave 2-3 lashes with such ovaries, and no more than 2 fruits on each lash. After the ovary, I leave 3-5 leaves, and remove the tip of the lash. The yield is no more than 3-6 fruits per plant. This is quite enough, but the watermelons grow large and ripen perfectly.
In August, when the watermelons begin to ripen, periodically (once every 7-10 days) I gently turn the fruits over with their underside to the sun. This is to ensure that the watermelons ripen evenly. And so that they do not rot, in wet weather I put small planks under them. I do not stop watering, especially in hot weather, until the very end of the season. I finish watering only 3-5 days before harvesting. If anyone thinks that the watermelons will be savory, then they are very mistaken! Quite the opposite: if there is not enough moisture, then the watermelon will not taste good. And for a watermelon to grow sugar-free, it needs a lot of sun and plenty of water. Photo: Christie Spear, Shutterstock.com
In the last fruitful year for watermelons, about 40 fruits were harvested from mini-melons from 6 holes (10 plants in total). Of these, 20 pieces - 5-6 kg each, the rest - 2-3 kg each, well, the two most-most - 8 and 9 kg! Almost all watermelons are fully ripe, several of them (about 10) were allowed to pickle. And there was not a single one that was completely green and unripe.
And they ate watermelons, ate - their fill and plenty! I still remember! And how can you forget, because a fresh, ripe, delicious watermelon grown by your own hands is just a real miracle!
Potting soil and containers
If the seeds for seedlings are planted in soil that is not suitable for a given culture, then the seedlings can not be expected, therefore, the choice of the soil mixture must be carefully considered. Watermelons grow well on neutral, moderately dry and loose soil, melons are more demanding on moisture, and these conditions must be taken into account when preparing the soil mixture.
For growing seedlings of watermelons and melons, you can use ready-made soil for cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, you can prepare the mixture yourself. Before planting, it must be spilled with boiling water or a pink manganese solution for disinfection.
- cow humus + sod land (3: 1)
- river sand + sod land + humus (1: 1: 1)
- low-lying peat + sawdust + cow humus (3: 1: 1/2)
- sod land + river sand + humus (1: 2: 2)
- garden land + river sand + humus (2: 1: 1).
The roots of watermelons, melons are very fragile and are often damaged during transplantation, which is why the seedling does not develop well or dies, therefore, in order not to pick, the seeds are planted in individual containers: plastic cups (250-500 ml), cut bottles, cardboard packages from under milk, kefir. Drain holes must be cut in the bottom before use.
On a note! It is convenient to grow seedlings in peat pots: the walls allow water and air to pass through, keep their shape, picking is not required, when transplanting into the ground, you do not need to release the roots.
How to plant
When planting melons, it is necessary to take into account that the seedling grows rapidly, stretches out and, in order to provide it with nutrients, the soil must be poured into the container. The material for drainage is spilled with boiling water in advance, dried.
- pour drainage (2 cm) using expanded clay, small pieces of brick, pebbles
- fill the container with soil mixture by 2/3 of the volume (there should be a place for adding soil), water
- when the water is absorbed and the soil settles, make holes (depth 3-3.5 cm), spread the seeds
- fill the wells, slightly compact the earth, water, pouring water along the edges of the container so as not to wash the seeds
- cover with transparent film, glass and place the container in a warm (22-25 ° C) light (not in direct sun) place
- care consists in airing the greenhouse, moistening the soil.
The shelter, when shoots appear, is removed, and the container is rearranged in a room where the daytime temperature is about 21 ° С, night - 18-19 ° С. If the daylight hours are less than 12 hours, then set the backlight. Additional lighting will come in handy even in cloudy weather. In bright light, young leaves can get burned, so you should provide protection from the hot midday rays. The containers with seedlings must be arranged so that air circulates freely between them, and the leaves do not touch.
"Black Prince" tomatoes - growing and nursing in the open field.
The volume of soil in an individual container is small, so you need to water it regularly, in small volumes, using settled water at room temperature. When watering, try to pour water along the edges of the container so that drops do not fall on the leaves and cause a burn.
Before planting in the ground, fertilizers are applied twice (the norm is 1 glass per plant):
- top dressing No. 1 (when the first leaf appears) - superphosphate (15 g) + saltpeter (6 g) + potassium sulfate (7 g) + mullein solution (1:10)
- top dressing # 2 (two weeks after the first one) - double the dosage of the components of the first top dressing.
10-12 days before transplanting to the garden, the seedlings (they should have 3-5 leaves) begin to harden, lowering the daytime temperature to 15-17 ° C, and the night temperature to 12-15 ° C. The soil in the garden bed should warm up to 17-18 ° С. For the first time, you need to install a shelter to cover young plants at night, during bad weather, strong winds.
- the seedlings are pinched above 3-5 leaves - on the lateral shoots, female flowers form earlier than on the main
- elongated seedlings can be watered with a solution of a root growth stimulator, for example, Athlete
- if the lower cotyledon leaves turn yellow, then feed with fertilizer with nitrogen (urea, ammonium nitrate).
Planting watermelons and melons according to the lunar calendar takes into account natural rhythms, therefore, conditions are created that are favorable for seed germination and seedling development, which allows you to grow strong seedlings that quickly adapt in the open field.