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Watermelon

Botanical Name
Citrullus lanatus
Hardiness
Tender annual
Height
1 to 2 feet
Width
3 to 20 feet
Fruit
Red and yellow flesh, maturing in 70 (early) to 85 days, seedless varieties available, 6 to 25 pounds
Light
Full sun
Soil
Moist, well-drained, organic, warm
Planting & Care
  • Watermelons germinate in warm temperatures of 60°F to 95°F
  • Direct seed after last frost and the soil has warmed to an ideal 70°F and above. Plant seeds in hills 1/2 inch deep, 6 seeds per hill. Thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill. Space hills 4 to 6 feet apart.
  • Or sow seeds in rows - spacing plants 3 feet apart and rows 8 feet apart
  • When growing in areas with cooler temperatures or a shorter growing season, select varieties that are fast growing or start plants indoors 3 to 4 weeks before planting outside
  • When starting indoors, plant seed in individual peat pots so not to damage this plant's tender roots. Melons do not transplant well when their roots are disturbed. Set 2 to 3 plants per hill. Space hills 4 to 6 feet apart. Or set in rows, spacing plants 3 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart.
  • Mulch soil around plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds
  • Use a floating row cover to protect young plants from a late frost, to combat insects and to warm the soil. Remove once plants begin to flower to allow for bees to pollinate.
Problems
Powdery mildew, cucumber mosaic virus, squash vine borer, striped cucumber beetle, aphids, scab, flea beetles, fusarium wilt
Varieties
  • Sweet Favorite - 20 pound fruit
  • Golden Crown - early, skin is yellow when ripe, All-America Selections winner
  • Cotton Candy - seedless, red, 15-20 pound fruit
  • Sweet Beauty - 5-7 pound oblong fruit with dark skin and medium green stripes, harvest in about 80 days, AAS winner
  • Shiny Boy - globe-shaped melon up to 20 pounds, sweet fruit and high yielding plant, AAS winner
  • Faerie - 7-8" creamy yellow rinded fruit with subtle stripes, pinkish-red super sweet flesh, disease and insect resistance, AAS winner
  • Harvest Moon - medium sized sweet fruit, crisp pinkish-red flesh, dark green rind with yellow dots, seedless, AAS winner
  • Mini Love - compact plants produce sweet fruit, AAS winner
  • Gold in Gold - oblong fruit with yellow rind sporting gold stripes, flesh is orange gold, high sugar content, high yielding, 11-16 pound fruit
  • Cal Sweet Bush - very compact plants ideal for small spaces, each plant produces 2-3 10-12 pound round fruit, sweet taste, AAS winner
  • Mambo - the 9" fruit weighs up to 11 pounds, nearly seedless, AAS winner

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