The Q&A Archives: watermelon plants

Question: how to grow

Answer: Watermelon vines require considerable space. Plant seed one inch deep in hills spaced 6 feet apart. Allow 7 to 10 feet between rows. After the seedlings are established, thin to the best three plants per hill. Plant single transplants 2 to 3 feet apart or double transplants 4 to 5 feet apart in the rows.

Start the seeds inside 3 weeks before they are to be set out in the garden. Plant 2 or 3 seeds in peat pellets, peat pots or cell packs and thin to the best one or two plants. For expensive seedless types, plant one seed to a pot or cell and discard those that do not germinate. Do not start too early - large watermelon seedlings transplant poorly. Growing transplants inside requires a warm temperature, ideally between 80 and 85?F. Place black plastic film over the row before planting. Use a starter fertilizer when transplanting. If you grow seedless melons, you must plant a standard seeded variety alongside. The seedless melon varieties do not have the fertile pollen necessary to pollinate and set the fruit.

Watermelons should be kept free from weeds by shallow hoeing and cultivation. The plants have moderately deep roots and watering is seldom necessary unless the weather turns dry for a prolonged period. In cooler areas, experienced gardeners may find floating row covers, drip irrigation and black plastic mulch advantageous in producing a good crop in a short season.

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