Step-by-step instructions for growing watermelons for beginners
For many summer residents, growing watermelons on their own personal plot has long become a common process. This is a simple matter, however, it has certain nuances and subtleties that must be taken into account when growing this melon crop.
The content of the article
- Variety selection
- Seedling care instructions
- How and when to transplant watermelons outdoors
- Seedless growing method
- Further care
- Harvesting and storage
- Features of growing in a greenhouse, greenhouse
- Tips from experienced gardeners
Getting a high yield largely depends on the right type of watermelon. Let's take a look at the most suitable ones for cultivation in the middle lane and southern regions of Russia.
What are and by what criteria to select
Largely the choice of variety watermelon depends on the climatic zone in which it is planned to grow.
For example, the middle zone of Russia does not differ in a long summer. In this case, it is better to give preference early maturing varieties. They will not produce fruits that are too large, however, the ovary of such varieties and hybrids ripens as quickly as possible:
- Yellow Buttercup F1;
- Winner 395;
- Prince Hamlet F1;
- Regus F1;
- F1 sagas;
- Sunday was in a hurry;
- Sugar baby;
- Charleston gray.
The ripening time for these varieties is within 60-80 days, which is quite enough for the Russian middle latitudes.
For growing watermelons in regions located in warmer climatic zones, varieties and hybrids with longer ripening periods are suitable.
- Delicacy F1;
- Imbar F1;
- Crimson suite;
- Black Prince.
The fruits of these mid-ripening varieties ripen in 80-90 days, but they are somewhat larger in size.
As for the southernmost, and, accordingly, the warmest regions, the following late-ripening varieties are suitable for growing watermelons:
- King of Hearts;
- Melitopol 60;
- Favorite of the farm of Pyatigorsk 286;
The ripening period for melons of these varieties is the longest - more than 90 days. However, their fruits are the largest.
In the photo - watermelons of different varieties.
Often, seedlings are used exclusively in order to be subsequently transplanted into a greenhouse for faster ripening of fruits. However, for those who grow watermelons in open ground, you do not need to deal with seedlings.
To achieve good germination of seeds before sowing, perform:
- Calibration - sorting of seeds by size. It is necessary to separate them because the largerbonesdevelop more actively, and score those that are smaller. To balance the forces, the seed is divided into groups and sown in different beds according to size.
- Scarification - intentional damage to the seed coat. This procedure is not necessary at all. However, it accelerates seed germination. The operation is carried out by short-term rubbing of each seed with a spout on fine-grained sandpaper.
- Warming up - unlike scarification, it is compulsory. The procedure significantly accelerates seed germination. To do this, they are immersed in water heated to + 50 ° C for 30 minutes.
- Disinfection - the recommended decontamination procedure. It is carried out by immersing watermelon seeds in a light pink solution of potassium permanganate for 20-25 minutes, followed by natural drying without the use of heating devices.
Some summer residents, in addition to the above procedures, also germinate watermelon seeds immediately before sowing them. They are wrapped in a damp cloth and placed in a warm place near a heater or radiator. Complete drying of the fabric is unacceptable, therefore it is necessary to regularly spray it or moisten it with a damp hand.
Soil and tank preparation
Seeds of watermelons are difficult to transfer, so each seedling is grown in a separate container, the diameter of which is at least 10 cm, and the height is 12 cm.
Humus or peat-humus soil is suitable for growing watermelon seedlings. You can also use a mixture of humus and turf soil in a 3: 1 ratio. In any of the mentioned substrates, it is necessary to add superphosphate or wood ash (1-2 tablespoons per 1 kg of substrate) before sowing seeds in them.
In order to avoid subsequent picking, as well as possible injury to the root system of seedlings, it is very important to choose the right containers. The ideal option is plastic or peat cups, pots with a volume of 0.5-1 liters and a diameter of about 10 cm.
The main condition for such containers is the presence of a drainage hole. This does not apply to peat pots, which already allow moisture to pass through.
- A drainage layer of 2 cm is laid on the bottom of the previously prepared containers (broken brick, small expanded clay or perlite will do).
- Fill the container with the soil mixture, not reaching the edges of 20-30 mm.
- Moisten the soil abundantly with clean, settled water.
- In the soil in the center, make a hole 3-4 cm deep. You can make it with a wooden stick, pencil or finger.
- Place 1-2 watermelon seeds in the hole and cover them with soil, which is then compacted a little.
- Produce abundant watering.
- Cover containers with lids or foil.
Seedling care instructions
From the moment of sowing seeds to planting in open ground, the seedlings grow for about 25-35 days. During this period, the watermelon needs good care according to all the rules:
- Immediately after sowing, containers with seedlings are placed in a warm place with a temperature of + 23 ... + 26 ° C.
- They are ventilated daily for 10-15 minutes, removing the covers or film.
- After the first shoots appear, the pots are placed on the south side. The temperature in the room is reduced to + 21 ° C during the day and to + 17 ... + 19 ° C at night.
- Daylight hours for growing seedlings are maintained for 12 hours using phytolamps.
- Provides moderate soil moisture in seedling containers. Watering is carried out exclusively with filtered or settled warm water.
- The seedlings of watermelons are placed freely so as not to be crowded.
- Seedlings need feeding. This is done in 2 stages: the first time - 7 days after the appearance of the first shoots with mineral complex fertilizer, the second - 7 days before planting the seedlings in open ground.
If the lower cotyledon leaves turn yellow, it is recommended to perform top dressing ammonium nitrate or carbamide (urea), bird droppings or mullein, diluted in water in a ratio of 1:10.
How and when to transplant watermelons outdoors
In each region of Russia, the requirements for transplanting seedlings into open ground are different due to climatic features. Let's consider this issue using the example of the Moscow region:
- The optimal time for planting is the end of May, when the seedlings will be 33-37 days old.
- The presence of 4 real leaves on each sprout.
- Before planting in open soil, the seedlings must be hardened by exposing them to fresh air for 2-4 hours.
- Before planting, the seedlings are sprayed with 1% Bordeaux liquid.
- Watermelons love free space, actively weave, so the optimal distance between them is 1 m.
Seedless growing method
It is best to start sowing watermelon seeds in the first half of May, as this culture is very thermophilic. If this is done too early, the plant will gain strength at a slow rate and will not have time to fully develop during the warm season.
How to grow a watermelon without seedlings:
- Dig a hole 15-20 cm deep and 25-30 cm wide, pour water over it.
- The hole is filled with a previously prepared soil mixture, carefully leveled and poured with water at room temperature.
- 5-7 sprouted watermelon seeds are placed in the ground and sprinkled with earth. Depth landing - 0.5 cm.
- The ground is lightly tamped to avoid wind blowing seeds or injury.
Growing watermelons in the open field is not too laborious, but still requires some effort.
How to care for watermelons:
- Water once a week. When flowers appear and in conditions of intense heat - twice. Water consumption - 7-9 liters per 1 sq. m. When fruits appear, watering is stopped.
- Top dressing is carried out 10 days after planting. Chicken manure is diluted in water in a ratio of 1:12. Consumption - 1 liter per 1 sq. m. After a couple of weeks, nitroammophoska diluted in water is introduced - 1 tbsp. l. for 8-10 liters. The expense is the same. The third feeding is performed with ash infusion - 5 tbsp. l. for 1 liter of water. Consumption - 500 ml for each bush.
- Cut the bush, leaving a maximum of 5 fruits.
Possible problems and ways to solve them
Watermelons are often attacked by pests such as meadow moth, wireworm, sprout fly, scoop, and aphid. If they are found, the plantings are treated with biological products (for example, "Fitoverm").
In addition to pests, watermelon is susceptible to:
- Anthracnose. Brown or yellowish spots of indeterminate shape appear on the leaves. Affected leaves dry up and fall off. The stem weakens and becomes brittle. Fruits affected by anthracnose are deformed and stop developing.
- Ascochitosis. Yellow-brown spots appear on the foliage. It loses its elasticity, withers and falls off. Dry gray spots are formed on the shoots, and later black dots. The fruits affected by ascochitis dry up and die off.
Powdery mildew. The first stage of the disease manifests itself in the form of whitish or gray-pink bloom on the foliage of watermelons. It deforms, dries up and falls off. Powdery mildew rarely affects fruits.
- Peronosporosis. Brownish-yellow spots appear on the foliage, followed by the formation of grayish-violet foci. They grow very quickly and cover the entire leaf. In a few days, peronosporosis can destroy an entire plantation.
"Abiga-Peak", colloidal sulfur, "Ordan", "HOM" help to fight such diseases.
Harvesting and storage
The harvesting time for each variety is different, so we focus on the general signs of the ripeness of the watermelon. The main one is a shriveled tail. A ripe berry will make a dull sound if you tap it with your finger. The combination of these characteristics serves as a signal for harvesting. Store watermelons in a cool and dark place.
Productivity from 1 hectare
The yield of watermelons depends on the variety. On average, under favorable weather conditions and proper care, about 35 tons are harvested from 1 hectare.
Features of growing in a greenhouse, greenhouse
Since watermelons love space and are grown exclusively in a trellis method, the greenhouse for this plant should be relatively large in area and at least 2 m high. Otherwise, the principle is the same as when grown in open ground.
Tips from experienced gardeners
The main advice of experienced gardeners is the preliminary disinfection of both the greenhouse (or greenhouse) and the soil... For these purposes, insecticides are used.
From frost, the seedlings are covered with plastic bottles of 1.5 liters with a cut-off bottom with cut-off plastic water bottles with a capacity of 5 liters placed on top of them.
To prevent the fruits from rotting, flat wide planks are placed under them.
To accelerate the ripening of the ovary, to obtain large and sweet watermelons, the lateral lashes are cut, leaving no more than 5-6 fruits.
Growing watermelons is not a difficult task, but it requires compliance with some subtleties. If you follow all these tips, an excellent harvest will be ensured. All season you can enjoy the unique taste of this melon culture.