Farm Store | articles | How To Grow Watermelons

How To Grow Watermelons

Growing Watermelons In Your Backyard or Garden

Planting Watermelons

Watermelon growing in a gardenWatermelons like sunny, hot weather. Plant seeds once the chance of frost has passed and daytime temperatures reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ground should be dry and warm. Watermelons thrive in rich soil, so fertilize as needed.

Transplants can be started indoors about three weeks prior to outdoor planting. If planting outdoors early in the season, use black plastic sheeting or landscape fabric to trap heat in the ground.

Planted vine crops like watermelons in small hills about a foot wide. Sow four to five seeds an inch deep in each mound. After the seedlings sprout leaves, thin them to the best three plants per hill.

Space the hills two to three feet apart in rows that are six to eight feet apart. The vines need space to spread.

Watermelons are thirsty plants that need up to two inches of water a week. Watering early in the morning using drip irrigation is the best method.

A watermelon vine produces both male and female flowers. The male flowers are smaller and appear first. The later female flowers are larger and require pollination by bees to develop the fruit.

Weed regularly and watch for pests. Watermelons also are prone to mildew caused by humidity and dampness. If your garden is near the woods, remember that wildlife enjoy ripe melons, too.

Seedless watermelon varieties are a favorite because of their sweetness and ease of eating. But because they lack the fertile pollen needed to pollinate and set fruit, a traditional seeded variety must be planted nearby in the garden. Remember to plant varieties that look different. Otherwise, it will be difficult to tell the difference between the seedless and the seeded at harvest.

Picking Watermelons

Long, hot summers produce the sweetest watermelons. A few weeks before the end of the growing season, reduce the amount of water to encourage sweetness.

Most varieties are ready to pick 75 to 95 days after seeding and 42 to 45 days after pollination. Gardeners usually pick four to 10 watermelons for each 10-foot row. Harvest watermelons only when they’re completely matured. They’ll continue to ripen on the vine, but not after they’re picked.

The best indicator of ripeness is the color of underside that sits on the ground. When turned over, it should be yellow or cream colored. If the underside is still pale green or white, it’s not ready yet. The watermelon rind also becomes duller and less shiny as it ripens and the stem’s green, curly tendrils turn dry and brown.

And while many people think they can accurately tell if a watermelon is ripe by knocking on it, listening for a dull thud is not foolproof.

After harvesting the watermelons, clean-up the vines to keep insects and diseases from overwintering and harming next year's crop.

Shop Melons

Related Products

More Products Like This:
Grid View
List View
  • Southern States Pelleted Limestone 40 lb

    SKU 10237218
    Ideal for lawns and gardens, Southern States Pelleted Limestone offers the best quality and value over pulverized and granular lime. Pellets are easy to spread with little dust and they are water activated, which means they will begin to work immediately!
    to see pricing & availability
  • Potato Kennebec 1 lb

    SKU 02180211
    Perfect for culinary needs, the Kennebec Potato features a medium maturity rate with a high yield of large oblong tubers. You can tell these potatoes apart from others because of their white skin and white flesh. Their specific gravity ranges from 1.075 to 1.100. Excellent for baking, boiling, chipping and frying. Price above represents a per pound price for a 50 lb. bag.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Potato Red Pontiac 1 lb

    SKU 02180271
    Red Pontiac Potato features a late maturity and is a mid-season table stock with a high yielding return and medium specific gravity. Tubers are round to oblong with medium deep eyes, dark red skin, sometimes netted and white flesh. This seed is drought tolerant but susceptible to potato virus Y, bruising and scab. Price above represents a per pound price for a 50 lb. bag.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Solu-Lime 50 lb

    SKU 11110750
    Increase soil pH with Southern States Solu-Lime 50 lb. This formula works faster and more efficiently than traditional lime, resulting in healthier soil within weeks, instead of months. Apply with a fertilizer spreader on lawns, landscapes, trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables, and wildlife food plots.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States 10-10-10 Granular Fertilizer 50 lb

    SKU 60020231
    Southern States 10-10-10 Granular Fertilizer provides an even granulation for spreading. Ideal for flower and vegetable gardens.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Potato Yukon Gold 1 lb

    SKU 02180421
    Yukon Gold Potato features a medium maturity, mid-season table stock and yellow flesh. Guaranteed to produce a high yield with a high specific gravity. Tubers are oval with shallow pink eyes and a yellowish-buff skin. Susceptible to scab but resistant to potato virus A and potato leaf roll virus. Price above represents a per pound price for a 50 lb. bag.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Premium Vegetable Grower Fertilizer 40 lb

    SKU 60033156
    Southern States Premium Vegetable Grower Fertilizer features a blend that can be used with a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. This fertilizer provides all the nutrients needed for a strong garden. AVAIL technology makes needed phosphorus more available to the plant. Comes in a convenient bag for easy spreading.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers