The Q&A Archives: Watermelons

Question: The last 3 years I have planted watermelons, each year I get big beautiful vines but the watermelons are always small compared to the size listed on the seed package. They are watered by a clock controled water system. I fertilize with a 15-15-15 fertilizer and spray with Miracle Gro.

Answer: Watermelons need really warm summer temperatures, lots of water and ample fertilizer to grow really big fruit. But it sounds like you may be overfeeding them, and when plants are overfed (especially on nitrogen - the first "15" of the fertilizer analysis) they tend to put on lots of leaves and little or no fruit. Before you use any more fertilizer, have your soil tested (the extension service can help - call them at ph# 916/621-5502). The results will tell you what, if anything, is lacking in thesoil, and make suggestions for improvement.<br><br>Another way to encourage large fruit is to select just two or three fruits on each plant and remove the rest. That way the plant can put its energy into growing just a few large-sized fruit. You might also want to try a variety that matures in a shorter season, to give the plants ample opportunity to grow. Better luck next year!

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