Red, squashy summer fruit is watermelon. Well, is it a fruit or a vegetable? Some call it fruit, and some call it a vegetable.
On pretty summer days, people enjoy this fruit a lot. This is refreshing and soothing. Well, it’s not always you have to buy this summer fruit you can grow this tasty sweet fruit in your garden.
You might think it takes a lot to grow a seasonal fruit. But it isn’t. Watermelon growing stages are pretty obvious and if you abide by the techniques of every stage then you will surely have a watermelon bumper in your summer garden.
Why is watermelon a goodie fruit in summer?
Well, this juicy fruit can not only give you a refreshing vibe in summer, but it also has a couple of goodness/ I can say health benefits for you. Among its health benefits, hydration is at the top. Because watermelon has high water content of around 92%. According to a finding of LSU college of Agriculture.
In the summer season due to excess heat, we feel thirsty and watermelon can definitely quench our summer thirst. The best health benefits are the following-
- Has essential nutrients like vitamin C, antioxidants, and magnesium.
- It has anti-cancer nutrients
- A pack of healthy nutrients like lycopene and citrulline can keep your heart healthy.
- Watermelon nutrients are also good for skin and hair.
Facts about watermelon
Before knowing the watermelon growing stages, we should know more about the watermelon background. Well, this fruit grows well in the USDA growing zone 2-11. However, this annual plant is native to the Southwestern part of Africa mainly in the sub-Sahara of Africa. Citrullus lanatus is the scientific name of watermelon and it is a famous tropical fruit. It belongs to the squash plants list like cucumber, melon, cantaloupe and other squashy veggies.
- It is a vine species
- The fruiting season of watermelon is in the summer season. By the end of summer, the fruits are ready to ready to harvest.
- Usually, a watermelon tree can take 9 – 12 weeks to get mature.
Top 5 watermelon growing stages
Different watermelon growing stages has a different requirement. For example, the watermelon seeds to harvest is a journey in which you can find so many odds and wins. So, to make the best result of harvest you should properly carry out the watermelon growing stages. The watermelon growing stages are:
- Seed Germination and Sprouting: Once you collect the seeds from fruit/market-bought seeds, you should germinate the seeds indoors. How to do that? Water propagation is a nice technique to apply. You should not place the seeds directly into the soil. Also, the temperature is a vital thing. So in water seeds will sprout and you can easily place them in a garden bed/ pot. The sprouts can be 5-10 inches long.
- Planting seeds/ seedlings: The second stage of growing watermelon is to collect healthy seeds/ young seedlings for a larger yield. There are many varieties of watermelon you need to pick the right variety according to your growing zone. Apart from that, the cooler and warmer zone has a different approach to growing watermelon. In cooler zone like Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota, you need to germinate the seeds 1 month before the last snow. And gradually when the temperature will be 18-20°C, your seeds are ready to transplant/re-pot. On the other hand, in warmer zones like Florida, and Texas, you can throw the seeds after the spring. If you are planning to cultivate the watermelon in a garden bed then, you can keep the spacing of seedlings/seeds around 5 feet and the depth should be 1-2 inches.
- New leaves and vines: After you have potted or placed the germinated watermelon seeds into the garden, new vines/branches and leaves will appear. If you maintain the proper environment for your melon harvest then the growth will be massive. You need to put regular fertilizer in this watermelon growing stage. Once in 2 weeks and regular watering is a must. The vines can be 350-370cm long.
- Flowering time: When the growth is the maximum and the melon vine is getting much food and nutrients it goes for flowering. Flowers are generally yellow in colour and tiny less than 1-1.5 inches in diameter. At this watermelon growing stage, watermelon is self-pollinating/natural pollinators can help them. Hand pollination is also a technique for home gardens to apply.
- Fruiting and Harvesting: So when you see the happy yellow bloom in your watermelon plant, that means fruits will appear very soon. There are male and female flowers of watermelon, that will eventually cross and produce this tasty fruit. During the fruiting time, you must apply some bone meal compost/ other liquid fertilizer. Gradually, your fruit will become larger. From a tiny bud in the female flower to the giant green watermelon. Well, it takes a month to pick the watermelon. This is the last watermelon growing stage when you actually can taste your melon. The large watermelon has a yellow ground spot and the rind is hard, you are ready to pick the melons. Also, to know whether it is sweet/not, you can go for a hollow sound and black/brown spots on the watermelon. Then you can pick the sweet melon.
After you harvest and the watermelon to your utmost satisfaction, you can recollect the seeds and plant them for another yield. If you have a seedless watermelon variety that is different, but in most cases, the vines die off and new melon seeds are planted and follow the watermelon growing stages.
The time-lapse of watermelon growing stages
Now that you know the growing stages, you must know how many days after planting the seeds you expect to get the melons. So, mark your time-lapse in the calendar for watermelon growing stages.
|Watermelon growing stages||Time-lapse|
|Seed sprouting||1-3 days|
|Full seed germination||3-10 days|
|Leaves and stem development||10-15 days after seed planting|
|Full watermelon plant||30-35 days after seed planting|
|Flowering||30-50 days after seed planting|
|Fruiting||Within 60-70 days the fruits appear.|
The best combination for your watermelon growing stages
You know the growing stages of watermelon. Now you have to simply follow the different requirements for your watermelon growing stages.
Sunlight: Watermelon plants can do best in the full sun. So, place the watermelon seedlings in a sunny place. 6-8 hours of full sun is required. However, in the cooler climate, the sunlight can’t harm the plant. But in a hot climate, you must plant the watermelon in partial shade so that extreme sunlight won’t burn the vine.
Watering: This essential is required in different amounts in different stages. Regular watering is a must for your watermelon plant. In the watermelon growing stages, for example in the growing season, the plant needs 2 inches of water every week. This water will make the topsoil moist. At least five inches of topsoil should be moist.
Soil type and pH: Watermelon plants love neutral soil that is not alkaline/ acidic. So, pH 6.5-7.5 really supports this vine plant species. Also, the watermelon loves aerated soil that has more air and loose in texture. So, dry sandy loamy soil works well for the soil.
Humidity: The watermelon loves the summer season and so higher humidity. Mostly the humidity from 60-70% or more like 75% is best for the watermelon growing season. Moreover, the flowering and fruiting times of watermelons crave higher humidity.
Mulching and pruning: In the growing stages of the watermelon, you prune the dead leaves and brunches. It will re-boost the watermelon growth. In the warmer climate zone, mulching is the best idea. Because the cut grasses, straw ultimately any mulches will keep the roots safe from drying out and hold the moisture content of the soil.
Fertilization: Well, in the watermelon growing stages, you need to know when to fertilize the growing media. It is best to use 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 fertilizer before flowering which means in the initial growing stage. And then fertilize less in the flowering and fruiting season as it will delay the flower pollination.
Because a big thumb rule for any plant is to reduce fertilizer in the flowering stage. As a result, all the plants nutrients and mechanisms will trigger the flowering and fruiting and you will get your sweet watermelon.
What types of problems happen in the watermelon growing stages?
So, pests, and diseases are common problems for every gardener. In watermelon growing stages, it can face many diseases in each stage:
- Seed germination stage: In the seed germination stage, if you don’t water the seeds it will not have enough growth and eventually fail to germinate.
- Leaf diseases: Due to lack of nutrients and overhead watering of the watermelon leaves can face powdery mildew, downy mildew, Alternaria leaf spot( the brown rigid spots),
- Fruiting diseases: Despite the roots and leaves, the fruits of the watermelon vine can also get fruit blotch, a bacterial disease. It happens before the harvesting stage. So always check the fruits.
So, not only the leaves, fruits can get diseases there are common problems with the roots and wilting is also a major problem. You need to follow the watermelon growing stages in a correct manner and also put fungicides and pesticides in the soil mixture to avoid diseases.
Let’s crack some mostly asked questions about watermelon growing stages-
How many watermelons do I get from one vine?
Well, you can expect to get 1-4 watermelons from each plant/vine if you nurture them well. The yield always depends on the seed quality and others.
What to put under watermelons while growing?
When you get those big, green watermelons in a tree, you need to put something in the ground. These fruits are heavy so they touch the ground. Touching the ground can initiate rotting /diseases so, put nets, straws/ any basket-type thing to protect the fruits.
What is the harvesting month of watermelon?
May to September, the growing season of watermelon. So, you can pluck off the fruit during any time of this growing season, it depends on the time you sow the watermelon seeds. Mostly, after 1-2 months of sowing the seeds, you can enjoy fruiting.
Bringing up rear
Great fruit with goodness for summer is watermelon. The watermelon growing stages are easy to take off but you need to know what to do, when and how. So, after this frost starts to cultivate your watermelons. You grow seedless/ seedy watermelons, as your wish.
So make your garden bed well prepared for the fresh watermelon and enjoy the summer.