Planting and growing watermelons in the open field
Many summer residents probably had to be upset more than once about the unsuccessful cultivation of watermelons on their plots. You can enjoy the taste of a ripe juicy berry if you take into account the advice of experts and experienced gardeners. In this article, we will consider the question of whether it is possible to plant watermelons at home, how difficult it is to care for them, and how often you need to fertilize and feed to get an excellent harvest.
Is it possible to grow watermelons at home in the country in the open field?
Growing a watermelon in your own garden is not as difficult as it might seem. In the open ground in the country, planting occurs in several ways:
Sowing technology directly to the garden is used mainly in the warm regions of the country. As soon as the soil warms up to + 12 ° C, the preparation of seeds for planting begins. In more severe climate conditions, you cannot do without preliminary cultivation of seedlings. Otherwise, the berries tied on the stem will not have time to ripen before the end of summer.
The key to the successful cultivation of watermelons in the open field is the correct choice of varieties, the growing conditions of which correspond to the climatic characteristics of the region.
Before planting, you need to sort the seed by size, removing damaged and affected seeds. Sizing (sorting) provides for a breakdown into groups according to size characteristics in order to ensure uniform growth of shoots. Otherwise, stronger shoots will not allow small ones to develop.
There is another preparatory procedure used by gardeners in the middle lane. This is scarification, the essence of which is the deliberate damage to the surface of the seed to stimulate growth. It is enough to rub the spout on fine sandpaper. In this case, the main thing is not to overdo it.
An obligatory step is to warm up the seed material. To do this, it is kept in a thermos with hot water (+ 50 ° C) for about half an hour. Due to the temperature effect, all biochemical processes are accelerated.
Disinfection is considered an integral part of the preparation. The material is kept in a weak solution of potassium permanganate for about 20 minutes. After that, it remains to dry it under natural conditions (do not use an oven or battery).
The most popular varieties of watermelon for planting in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
When choosing varieties of watermelon, preference is given to early and mid-season species. Regardless of where you are going to plant melons: in Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, you need to choose the type of watermelon that will be suitable and will have time to ripen in these climatic conditions.
The vegetative period lasts 80-95 days. The average weight of the fetus reaches 5-7 kg. The pulp is deep pink, juicy with a characteristic sweetness reminiscent of honey. The skin is dark green with yellowish stripes, medium thickness. The plant is quite unpretentious, tolerates moisture well.
Vegetative period - 58-62 days, the average berry weight is 7-8 kg. A covering material is used to provide conditions for rapid ripening. Large leaves and spreading of the stem prevents the root system from sunburn. The hybrid is appreciated for its high sugar content and dense, but delicate structure of red flesh.
Gift to the North
The fruit ripens in 75-85 days with an average weight of 10-11 kg. The plant is not very productive, but it bears fruit steadily. The bright red berry pulp is juicy and crunchy with a characteristic watermelon sweetness. The skin has a striped color, the thickness is small. The variety is immune to disease and moisture. The crop is well preserved and transported.
The variety belongs to the early maturing species, the fruit ripens in just 65 days. The shape of the berry is elongated, the color is striped with alternating dark green and yellowish tones. On average, a watermelon weighs 12-14 kg. The red pulp is very juicy and tender with a high sugar content.
From the moment the seedlings are planted, the fruit ripens after 62-65 days, which refers it to the mid-early species. The ten kilogram berry has a round, slightly elongated shape with red flesh and an incredibly sweet taste. The plant is adapted to the climatic conditions of the middle zone. Among other varieties, it is the leader in yield, marketability and safety of fruits.
Rules for planting plants in open ground
Before planting seeds for seedlings at home, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the features of growing watermelons in the open field. This will help you get a good harvest, taking into account climatic factors.
Choosing seeds for planting at home
The seeds should be healthy with no signs of damage. Experts recommend giving preference to hybrids that are immune to many diseases, resistant to weather disasters, and a short growing season.
Inoculum preparation includes the following steps: calibration, warming up and disinfection. Scarification is optional.
Before sowing, you can slightly germinate the seeds by wrapping them in a damp cloth. After 1-3, a sprout will break through from the spout. The main thing in the process is not to let the napkin dry out. Then you can sow them in the ground according to a certain pattern.
Preparing the soil for sowing
The culture does not tolerate transplanting, therefore, the soil must be prepared for subsequent transfer with the sprout into the hole. For this, soil of a loose structure is poured into a pot or other container. Melons and gourds grow well in soil enriched with humus and peat. Therefore, you need to fertilize it in advance. If the density of the earth is high, sand and peat should be introduced into it. Do not forget also about nutrients: superphosphate, wood ash, etc.
Planting: at what distance from each other to plant seedlings in the ground?
In open ground, seeds are planted no earlier than the 20th of May, when warm weather sets in with a temperature regime of + 14 ° C and above. Seeds are sown for seedlings in the second half of April. In one pot with a diameter of 10 cm and a height of 12-14 cm, 2 seeds per 3 cm are buried.After germination, you need to leave a stronger sprout, and remove the other. The main conditions for good germination of the material:
- moderate watering;
- temperature regime + 25-30 °;
- lack of drafts;
- good illumination.
Under favorable conditions, the shoots will appear after 6-8 days. Further, the temperature drops to + 18 ° until the formation of a shoot of 4-5 cm. After removing a weak seedling, you can increase the mode to + 25 °.
At the time of transfer to the garden, the shoot should already have at least 4 leaves (age 30-35 days). 5-7 days before transplanting, the seedlings need to be watered less and the temperature should be set not exceeding 20 °.
It is better to transplant in the morning, so water the pots well in the evening. It is also advisable to treat the shoots with a 1% solution of Bordeaux liquid. The seedling is transferred into the hole with the soil and deepened to the cotyledon leaves. The spacing between the bushes is 70-100 cm.
How to care after planting on the site?
Young shoots need protection, therefore, after transplanting, the bed is covered with a film. You need to ventilate the shelter regularly to prevent condensation from forming. You can completely remove the protection in June.
To attract bees for pollination, it is recommended to plant honey plants near melons. If it rains during the pollination period, you need to carry it out manually
Melons and gourds love moisture, but you should not overdo it with irrigation. It is enough to water the beds once a week. After the opening of female flowers on the plant, the moisture rate decreases. After the fruit has formed, irrigation is not required.
Top dressing and fertilization for melons
After 12 days, the seedlings need to be fed with a nutrient mixture. based on fermented mullein (10 parts of water and 1 part of manure). After a couple of weeks, a second complementary food is introduced with the addition of superphosphate (50 g per liter of solution), ammonium sulfate (15 g), potassium sulfate (30 g) to the mullein.
Similar groundbaits are used when growing seeds outdoors.
The culture is propagated with the help of seeds. In nature, this is facilitated by the round shape of the berry. After overripe, it opens and seeds are poured out along with the juice. The zealous owners, eating a delicious watermelon, wash the black grains in clean water and dry them. Store at room temperature in a dry place until the next season, after which they are grown in seedlings or non-seedlings.
How to properly grow melons in the garden: the main mistakes
In order not to repeat the mistakes of other gardeners, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the most common ones.
- Giving preference to one or another variety, it is worth studying the ripening period of the berry. Mid-late and late species should be discarded, no matter what taste they have.
- Seeds are often thrown deep into dense soil. In such a land, the plant does not develop well. Clay or heavy soil must be diluted with sand and peat to give the structure a friability. You need to sow seeds at a considerable distance from each other.
- You should not choose a plot overgrown with perennial weeds for melon. Burian will kill young shoots, preventing them from spreading and blooming.
- The opinion of some summer residents that the watermelon loves partial shade is considered erroneous. Planting under trees and bushes will not allow the berry to ripen, the culture loves a lot of sun.
- Cultivation of melons without treatments for pests and diseases casts doubt on obtaining a good harvest.
- The lack of nutrients in the soil reduces the fruiting period and the quality of the berries. The berry definitely needs top dressing and fertilization.
Pests and problems of growing watermelons
The culture is susceptible to the same diseases as cucumbers. It:
- powdery mildew;
When growing, the same preventive measures and treatments are used as when cultivating pumpkin plants: Ordan, colloidal sulfur, Abiga-Peak, HOM, etc.
Of the pests are considered dangerous:
- meadow moth;
- sprout fly.
If you detect the presence of insects or products of their vital activity, you should not hesitate with processing, most of the crop or all melon can die. If biological products did not give the desired effect after application, chemical insecticides should be used: Tantrek, Aktaru, Decis, Fufanon.
You need to remove berries from the garden at a certain time. If you do this later, the watermelon will not be stored for a long time. The interval between the first stage of maturity and full ripeness is only 5 days, so it is important not to miss this period. Correctly harvested crop does not lose the sweetness and firmness of the pulp for a long time.
The ripeness of the fruit is indicated by the following signs:
- drying of the tail;
- formation of a clear pattern on the crust;
- the disappearance of bluish plaque;
- the presence of yellow spots on the surface of the berry;
- the smell resembles that of freshly cut grass;
- during tapping, a ringing sound is heard.
A hint of the ripeness of a berry can be the approximate ripening time of the fruit:
- early varieties - 32-35 days;
- medium varieties - 40-45 days;
- late varieties - 50-53 days.
It is quite possible to grow a delicious juicy berry on your site, if you take into account all the nuances and rules. Even if you grow watermelons in Khabarovsk or Bashkiria. Watermelon culture, although unpretentious, still requires attention. Diligence and work will certainly be rewarded with a generous harvest with a record-breaking berry.
The variety is selected depending on the climate and local conditions. Hybrids develop very well in different climatic zones: "Honey Giant", "Skorik", "Gift of the Sun", "Suga Baby", "Prince Albert F1", "Sugar Baby", "Williams F1", "Ogonyok". They ripen quickly and are not afraid of minor frosts.
In southern latitudes, it can be used for planting varieties: "Ataman F1", "Spring bush 334", "Volzhanin", "Astrakhansky", "Kholodov's gift", "Jubilee", "Delight", "Chill", "Black Prince".
When to plant?
In the regions of the middle lane, it is customary to breed melon by seedling or sowing dry seeds into the ground. Growing seedlings begins in the second half of April, and the seedlings are ready for transfer to open ground in 4–5 weeks from the moment of sowing. It is not recommended to rush with a transplant - the procedure is carried out with the arrival of stable heat.
At the end of May, dry seeds are sown into the soil, provided that the bed during the spring was covered with a film or non-woven material. In this case, the shelter is not removed, but small cross-shaped slots are made in it for sowing.
After planting watermelons in a permanent place, you need to take care of the plants. When growing in a garden in the country, you need to water the culture, cut the whips, pinch the plantings, apply fertilizers. Complex and correct agricultural technology is one of the key conditions for obtaining a large crop with high taste characteristics.
Watering and feeding
The watermelon has taproots that lie at a depth below 1 m, and the lateral adventitious roots take up a large space in the upper layers of the soil. After planting, it is allowed to moisten the culture not often, but abundantly, using 3 buckets of water per square of land. During the flowering of the bushes, watering is performed at least 2 times a week. By the time of ripening, irrigation is stopped.
Top dressing from a solution of mullein or chicken droppings is introduced into the ground during the formation of lashes. In the same period, superphosphate is used to saturate the earth with minerals. The second portion of fertilizer is applied during the formation of ovaries.
Trimming the lashes
After waiting for the formation of a sufficient number of fruits, it is necessary to form whips so that several sheets remain above the ovaries. The main shoot will constantly overgrow with shoots, so weekly pinching is required. At the request of the gardener, you can choose one of the following plant formation schemes:
- Several ovaries are left on the main shoot, and the lateral ones are completely deprived of ovaries. Each stepson is shaped so that a few leaves remain on it.
- Plant ovaries are left every 5 leaves. The rest of the ovaries are cut off.
- After the formation of fruits on the side lashes, all stepchildren are removed from the main stem. As a result, no more than 6 fruits are left on the plants. On each stepchild, up to 2 ovaries are left, and the top is cut to a height of 3 leaves.
When pinching, it is important not to damage the main stem, since the development of the bush directly depends on it. You need to remove only shoots and side whiskers. It is not recommended to leave a large number of ovaries on one plant, since the bush is capable of forming about 4-6 fruits, depending on the cultivated variety. When the plants begin to actively form fruits, the pinching is stopped.
To pollinate a watermelon, you need to use special insects or create suitable conditions for attracting them to the site at the time of flowering. Adequate pollination improves palatability and increases yields. Male flowers on watermelons form pollen, which is transferred by insects to female inflorescences. The spread of pollen by the wind does not have the desired effect.
Watermelon is a southern culture that loves sunshine and warmth.Therefore, seedlings are planted in open ground only after the soil has warmed up well. Soil temperature should be at least + 15 ° С.
When using the seedling method, the seeds are sown in late April and early May. Plants are planted in the garden one month after sowing.
This stage consists of preparing the soil and seed material.
For watermelons, choose an open sunny area. Unfavorable predecessors for melons are legumes and cabbage. Desirable - potatoes, onions, tomatoes.
Important! Watermelons do not grow well in acidic soil.
They dig up the garden bed in the fall, clean it of weeds, apply fertilizers, compost, humus. If the soil is acidic, add slaked lime, dolomite, wood ash and ground chalk.
Preparing seeds for planting speeds up the emergence of seedlings. The seeds are wrapped in paper or cloth and kept in warm water until pecked.
Seed dressing helps protect young plants from disease. To do this, they are kept for half an hour in a solution of potassium permanganate, and then washed with clean water.
Sprouted seeds are planted in separate containers filled with soil by 2/3 of the volume. Then the elongated sprouts can be sprinkled with earth, and they will give additional roots.
Advice. Choose individual glasses for seedlings with a volume of at least 0.3-0.5 liters.
Watermelons don't like transplanting. Peat or plastic cups with a diameter of at least 15 cm are ideal for plants.
The seeds are laid out in glasses and buried by 2 cm.The topsoil is slightly compacted. The land is well watered. After that, the glasses are transferred to a warm, sunny place.
Plants are transplanted to a permanent place when 2-3 leaves grow. A few days before planting, the seedlings are hardened, gradually lowering the air temperature.
Landing in open ground
Watermelons are transplanted to the garden in early June, when the threat of cold snaps has passed. When using shelters, seedlings are planted earlier, starting at 3 weeks after sowing the seeds.
Seedlings are transplanted into prepared holes, having previously well moistened the bottom of the hole. The distance between the holes is determined based on the recommendations of the seed manufacturer. The earth lump is not buried; it should rise 1-2 cm above the soil surface.
Attention. The deepening of the earthen coma when planting seedlings leads to decay of the root collar.
The planted seedlings are protected from temperature drops and cold winds with a film. The shelter is constantly ventilated to avoid condensation. The protective shelter is removed with the arrival of real heat.
The watermelon bed is watered about once a week. When watering, avoid getting moisture on foliage and whips. Using a layer of mulch reduces the amount of watering and loosening. In addition, mulch increases the temperature of the soil at the surface.
During the flowering period, plants are watered less often, about once every two weeks. Watering is stopped during the filling and ripening of the fruit.
Approximately 20 days after planting the seedlings, top dressing is applied. As a fertilizer, a solution of ammonium nitrate is used (at the rate of 20 g per 1 bush), or complex fertilizers in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. During the budding period, fertilizers are reapplied.
Pinching watermelon lashes is an important agricultural technique that allows you to accelerate the ripening of fruits in a short summer near Moscow.
The pinching begins with the removal of lateral shoots. From 4 to 6 fruits are left on the main lash, after which it is also pinched.
The lash is cut, leaving 4-5 sheets after the last fruit. These leaves help the bush receive adequate nutrition.
In the process of growth, new lashes grow on the bushes. They are also cut off, periodically examining all the bushes.
How to grow a melon outdoors
Melons are of three types. it netted, or Chilean, cantaloupe and winter... For the Non-Black Earth Region of Russia and the Middle Belt, early-ripening mesh varieties are suitable. These can be varieties "Sunny", "Fall", "Rainbow", "Gerda".
The simple agrotechnology of growing our melons and gourds is also pleasing. In order for the berry to feel comfortable in the summer cottage, the soil at the planting site should be fertile, but not very oily and with good drainage. Melon is grown by seedlings. This is due to the fact that plants are planted in open ground only in mid-June to avoid late frosts.
By this time, a plot is being prepared in the country for planting plants. First, you need to dig holes 80x80x20 cm in size, after which they need to be approximately half filled with humus, and then covered with a 2-3 cm layer of earth. A few days before planting melon seedlings, the pits are covered with foil so that the ground warms up as best as possible. It is better if it is not just a film, but prepared mini-greenhouses, made, for example, from slats, with a film attached to them and located in a place completely open to the sun, or solid greenhouses. We grow both melons and watermelons in them.
Melon seedlings planting
When the ground in the greenhouses warms up well, seedlings of the plant are planted. For this, holes are made directly at the corners of the pit, where seedlings are placed along with a lump of earth. When planting, make sure that the edges of the berry sprout protrude a few centimeters above the soil. This will allow the young sprout to avoid bacterial rot.
The first condition is to protect the plant from spring frosts, so it is better to plant a melon in the garden in the second decade of June. Another condition is the correct formation and reduction of the number of fruits on the bush. And the last condition is multiple feeding of the plant. It helps to intensify the growth of melons in the open field.
Water the melon sprouts very carefully, trying not to wet the leaves. Until the plant grows strong and stable hot weather is established, the mini-greenhouse should not be removed. When the fifth leaf appears in the plants, the growing point is removed, as is done when growing cucumbers. This will facilitate the development of the side lashes. After the lashes grow a little, you need to carefully examine them, remove the diseased processes, leave only four healthy ones.
Melons in the country should bloom in the open field, which will contribute to a good fruit ovary. When the ovaries reach the size of a plum, they should be reduced in number to get a good harvest. For this, one healthy, regular-shaped fruit is selected on each lash. Under each growing fruit left, it is necessary to put a board or mulch the ground with hay so that it does not come into contact with the ground and does not rot.
General watering and feeding
To accelerate the ripening and growth of fruits, regular watering is required. The fact that a plant needs moisture can be determined by the appearance of its leaves. If the leaves are lethargic, drooping, then urgent watering is required. However, this does not mean that the melons can be watered abundantly. Excess moisture can cause the fruit to crack.
In order for the dacha fruits to ripen quickly, the plant must be constantly fed. It can be infusions from mullein, chicken or herbal infusion with the addition of wood ash. It is best to alternate the infusions, and feed them every 7 or 10 days until the melons begin to ripen.
Berry harvest readiness
The fact that the melon is ripe can be determined by its appearance and smell. A ripe fruit has annular cracks in its tail, and when pressing on the crust of the opposite part, small dents appear. You need to store the grown false berries in an open container, for example, in a cardboard box, laying them in one row and laying them between them with paper. In this form, they can lie until mid-October.
Melons are not only very tasty, even jam made from them, but also healthy. Since they contain a large amount of potassium, the use of the culture helps to prevent heart attack, stroke.
Fruit picking begins around August. Check for ripeness before cutting the watermelon. Usually, a ripe fruit has a glossy skin and a dried tail.
There are no hairs on the stalks. Usually, when you knock on the fruit, a dull sound is heard. All these signs are conditional, therefore it is recommended to use them together.
Growing watermelons is a rather laborious process, so it should be approached responsibly. Be sure to prepare the landing site well, first dig in the soil and fertilize with top dressing.
Do not forget about the further care of the plant. The future harvest depends on all the correct growing technology.
We suggest watching a video on how to properly plant watermelon seeds for seedlings: