Fruit and Vegetables

Watermelon cultivation

Watermelon cultivation

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The varieties

There are different varieties of watermelon (a fruit known for about five thousand years), and among these you will surely find the most suitable to be cultivated in your garden.
In addition to the classic watermelon (the one with a round shape, the most widespread) there are also elongated watermelons with yellow flesh (instead of the most famous red).
But those who do not have much space in the garden and still want to devote themselves to this type of cultivation, may be interested in trying to grow a dwarf watermelon (also called "baby watermelon"). All these varieties are widespread in Italy, and you can buy the seeds of each of them in stores that deal with gardening and horticulture.

Grow watermelons

The different varieties, however, have the same method of cultivation: it is necessary to pay attention to the needs of the plant, to the space it has available and not to create puddles of water that would make it rot.
Watermelons are a summer fruit, and they need warm temperatures: for this reason, they are sown in spring so that the fruits are ready in August. In the warmer regions it is possible to proceed with sowing already from the end of March, while in the colder ones it is necessary to wait until the end of May: a sudden frost or a sharp drop in temperatures would in fact cause the newly born plants to die. This care must be used for whatever variety you have decided to plant: all of them are equally sensitive to cold.

Many people do not have space in the garden: they will certainly be pleased to know that watermelons can also be grown in pots. It is useful to obtain a rather large terracotta vase (if round, fifty centimeters in diameter, if rectangular, likewise long). Terracotta should be preferred instead of plastic, as it allows the oxygenation of the soil and roots (even if the plastic pots have the advantage of being lighter and therefore easier to transport). The important thing is that the soil is properly prepared to house the plants, exactly as we would do if we were to cultivate them in the open field. We use a mixture of garden soil (also available in supermarkets) with fine-grained sand or peat: this will make the soil drain. The presence of expanded clay on the bottom of the vessel itself is also essential, which will allow for better water reflux. Once the soil is ready and fertilized, it is sufficient to dig a hole a few centimeters deep, to plant some seeds which will then have to be covered and watered.It is recommended to always keep the soil moist, without the earth being soaked with water. Allow the plant to grow out of the pot, and fertilize the soil with appropriate fertilizer once the fruit is born, and for as long as it continues to swell.Watermelon cultivation: Open field cultivation

In this case, the soil should be prepared about four weeks before planting. The digging must be at least thirty centimeters deep, and the soil must be fertilized with manure. Any infesting weeds must be removed. After about four weeks, the soil will have absorbed sufficient nutrients, and the plants can be sown. It is recommended to dig holes at a distance of about one and a half meters from each other, so that the watermelons have room to grow, and to grow long roots. Even between one row and the other it is necessary to leave a space not less than one meter and a half (better if two meters or more).
Also in this case, the seeds must be covered with moist soil: once they are germinated and the seedlings have begun to grow, they must be thinned, choosing only the strongest, which will thus be able to develop better (watermelon plants). they grow very fast, becoming very long and taking up a lot of space in the field).
The greatest enemy of watermelon plants is humidity: in the event that water stagnation is created, this will cause the roots to rot, and could lead the plant to death. But too much heat is dangerous. In the event that the temperatures on summer days rise too much, it is necessary to protect the plant by covering it with straw: otherwise, it would risk being burned, exactly as it happens for human beings.


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