Nothing is much better than munching on a cold, juicy slice of fresh watermelon on a hot summer day. Growing watermelon may be intimidating to some novice gardeners, but it is a simple fruit to grow. If watermelon vines are given fertile soil, adequate watering and a little bit of attention, they flourish in the garden. For the home gardener who wants more control over the soil conditions, whether due to poor native soil or bad drainage, watermelons can successfully grow in a container.
Many types of watermelon are available on the market. Beginners can try a smaller "icebox" type of watermelon, such as Sugar Baby or Honey Red, or be bold and try the larger watermelons that feed a crowd, including the popular Moon and Stars variety. Watermelon flesh comes in a variety of colors, including red, orange and yellow.
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make when growing in containers is choosing a container that is too small. Give your watermelon plant plenty of soil to grow in. A single watermelon vine can grow in a 5-gallon container as long as you continue to fertilize the soil throughout the growing season. Some specially designed planters can contain multiple watermelon plants.
Watermelons do not transplant well, so it is best to plant seeds directly into the container. Fill the container with a mix of potting soil and compost or composted manure. Watermelons are heavy feeders, so do not skimp on the compost. Make a small hill of soil in the center of the container, and plant three to five seeds around the hill. Water in well and place in a sunny location.
Water, Fertilizer and Support
Because watermelons have a high water content, they need regular watering. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Fertilize watermelon plants every 30 to 60 days with a fertilizer high in phosphorus to encourage fruiting. Watermelons require full sun and warm temperatures to flourish. Watermelon vines growing out of containers need extra support as the vine outgrows the surface area of the container. Support the vine on a trellis, and provide extra support to individual fruits with a hammock made out of pantyhose tied to the trellis.
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