Watermelons are one of the most popular summer fruits. These fruits are soft, watery, and sweet. Besides being delicious they are also very healthy. They contain a lot of vitamins, proteins, and nutrients. They are rich in lycopene, niacin, riboflavin, lycopene, thiamine, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and betaine.
Growing watermelon is easy and it does not require much space as you can grow them in pots. You can also place them anywhere you want whether it is on your porch, balcony or even yard. If you want to learn how to grow watermelon in containers successfully, read the below information.
There are more than 500 varieties of watermelon and all of them can be grown in containers successfully if you follow the right instructions. The most recommended varieties to grow in pots are:
- Carolina cross
- Golden Midget
- Moon & Stars
If you want to learn more about watermelon varieties, you should read this guide at Washington State University site.
2. Choosing a container or a pot
Choosing the right container is crucial for growing watermelon. An ideal container should be at least 2 feet deep and 1 foot wide. Watermelon is known to have a long taproot. Its roots require depth to grow. A large container is not enough. You should also make sure that the container has a lot of drainage holes.
3. Seeds or seedlings
It is highly recommended that your start watermelon from seeds. These gorgeous fruits have a delicate root system that does not like transplanting. In fact, transplanting may shock your plant. For planting watermelon, you should sow no more than 3 seeds in the same pot.
The best time for planting watermelon is between the end of the winter and the beginning of spring. The seeds usually take 6 to 10 days to germinate. Once you start to see the seedlings above the top of the soil, thin out the weak ones and leave only the strongest one.
4. Position and support
Watermelon requires daily access to direct sunlight thus it is crucial that you choose a sunny position for your container. You should also provide watermelon with support. You could either use a trellis or some sticks. Either way, you should make sure that your support is strong enough to hold the weight of melons without breaking. The trellis or the sticks should be at least 4 feet tall.
Watermelons love warmth. They are better grown in tropical climates. But, they can also grow in temperate climates. The ideal temperature degrees for growing watermelons vary between 65-85 F (18-30 C). You can also grow them in temperature around 50-95 F (10-35 C). However, if the temperature degrees fall below 50F, your fruits will be tasteless.
Watermelons grow best in loamy, well-drained soil. When filling the containers, make sure to remove any debris, weeds, and clays. You should also add some well-rotted horse, rabbit or cow manure to improve the quality of your spoil. They are rich in nutrients.
Watermelons love water. You should water them daily on regular basis. They need the soil to be constantly moist. However, do not overwater them. Waterlogged soil is harmful to watermelons. One of the best ways to avoid overwatering is to dig enough drainage holes in the containers.
You can decrease the watering when the fruits start to swell up and mature. They need moderate and careful watering to develop a sweet flavor.
During their growth, apply a liquid fertilizer to your watermelons. When your plants develop flowers and start to set fruits, start applying a fertilizer with less nitrogen. liquid seaweed fertilizer is the most recommended one.
Pruning is recommended in order to obtain healthy and productive plants. Keep the main vain and remove all the side branches while the plant is still young. You should also remove any diseased or damaged stems.
Pollinating watermelons is usually done by pollinators such as bees and butterflies. But it is advisable that hand pollinate your watermelons as soon as you see the flowers. This is will make sure that you will get fruits since watermelons are known to produce both male and female flowers separately. After 40 days of the pollination, ripe fruits will appear.
11. Pests and diseases
Watermelons grown in containers are less prone to pests and diseases than those that are grown in gardens. Yet they remain subject to diseases caused by hot-humid and too cold weather, or waterlogged soil. The most dangerous pests that may attack your plants are aphids and cucumber beetles. However, any pest that may infect quashes and cucumbers can infect watermelons.
Usually, your plants will be ready for harvest 80 to 90 days after sowing the seeds which mean 30 to 50 days after flowering. However, you should keep in mind that many factors such as climate, season, and variety determine how long your watermelons will need to mature and ripe.
You can’t tell by sight whether the fruits are ripe or not. Ripe fruits are similar to non-ripe fruits in smell and color. However, there are two methods to tell whether the fruits are ripe or not. The first is to knock with fingers on the watermelon. If you hear a dead sound, then the fruit is ripe. The second is to check the tendril. If it is faded, this means that the fruit is ripe.
- If you want to grow watermelons in summer, you should start growing them indoors. They can grow indoors if you provide them with extra care and attention.
- Watermelons are heavy feeders. You should apply a lot of organic matter to them. Add manure and compost once a month.
- Watermelons do not like stress. Stressful factors such as the change in temperature, pests or diseases, overwatering or lack of water will result in tasteless fruits.
- You can save a lot of space by adding a trellis to your container.
- If you want quality rather than quantity, don’t let your plant grow more than 2-3 fruits. Cut the rest when they are still young.
This is how to grow watermelon successfully in containers. Follow these instructions and will enjoy a heavy yield of tasty and fresh watermelons.