When a seed packet says 90 days? - Knowledgebase Question

Watertown, Co
Question by holycrosskid
February 15, 2011
When a seed packet says 90 days what does that mean? For example, on a watermelon seed packet. Does that mean that after the flower has been pollinated, then it will take 90 days to grow to a watermelon? Or does it mean that from seed to fruition it takes 90 days? Thank you!

Answer from NGA
February 15, 2011


There is no clear definition for watermelon seeds but the following has become my rule of thumb:

1) When seeds are directly sown in the garden, count the day the seeds GERMINATE until the first harvest to determine the days to maturity.

2) When seeds are started indoors and then transplanted, begin counting the day you TRANSPLANT them into the garden.

In the case of watermelon in your northern garden, you can start your seeds indoors in April and set them out in the garden the first week of June. If the weather is warm, you can expect to harvest at the end of August. There are a couple of ways that you can encourage rapid growth when you garden in a short summer region. First, plant your watermelon in a raised bed. Soil in a raised bed warms up earlier in the season and watermelon thrives in warm soil. Second, use floating row cover material such as Reemay over your plants to help hold in the warmth. Third, if you cover your raised bed with black plastic (cutting holes in the plastic to receive the transplants), the black plastic will absorb and radiate heat, which will keep the roots warm. Be sure to remove the floating row cover when the plants begin to flower so insects can access the flowers and pollinate them.

Hope this information helps you grow the biggest and best watermelons on the block!

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