Planting Guide

How to Grow Watermelon In A Little Space

Do you think of watermelons when you think of Africa or Egypt? Because humans in Africa’s Kalahari region learned how to cultivate watermelon vines about 5000 years ago. You, too, can know! But us know how to grow watermelon in a little space?

Watermelon is most often linked with the summer months, vacations, picnics, and holidays since it is sweet, juicy, and flavorful. People appreciate it as a meal or a drink in both sweet and savory uses. It’s not difficult to understand why they’re so popular! 

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They’re also surprisingly simple to grow, even though they take up a lot of room. Let’s go into how to cultivate watermelon vines in your yard so you may savor this sweet and delicious fruit all summer long! 

🍉 How to grow watermelon in a little space?

When personal-size watermelons (Citrullus vulgaris) grow in a support structure, two current garden trends collide. The first is the increasing trend of producing considerably more diminutive melons, ranging from one to seven pounds, to be eaten by a single person. The second inclination discusses utilizing vertical space to optimize a garden plot by teaching spreading plants to grow upward. May produce watermelon in a 4-by-4-foot bed or even a big container if you have enough room. 

🍀 Fences, trellises, and tepees 

You may support the growing fruit by attaching the vines to the fence at intervals by planting your melon patch against an existing chain-link fence. If this isn’t feasible, you may construct a strong A-frame support using 2-by-4s and mesh or wire to fill the gaps between the slats. The frame is made portable by adding hinges at the top.

Watermelons may also be grown atop strong teepees that are tied together with rope. Must direct the vines to the support since they do not naturally climb. Tie them in place with a soft cloth or string. As an additional bonus, fruit-bearing vines will grow more robust than those left to rot on the ground. Remove every fruit off the vine save the finest examples since the plant must divide the sugar it generates among all of them. The sweeter each melon becomes as the number of melons per vine increases. 

🍀 Growing in a Container 

Choose a receptacle that is at least 18 inches deep for a plant the size of a watermelon. Should place other support next to the plant to conserve space and improve output. However, if possible, the trellis should be attached to the ground rather than merely put into the pot. Alternatively, place the base of the support in a big bucket of concrete.

A trellis may also be made from solid wires secured to a garden wall. The shade produced by these vines growing vertically may benefit sun-sensitive, shorter plants below in the warm areas where watermelons grow best, U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10a. 

🍀 Slings

Individual slings are required for any melons weighing 3 pounds or more. Stretchy fabric slings, such as an old T-shirt or repurposed pantyhose, enable the fruit to grow while being firmly cradled. Cut the cloth to suit the watermelon’s expected maturity size, leaving extra fabric to tie it to the trellis. Tie one end of the material to the frame, then connect the other end to the framework, draping the center beneath the fruit. Tie the sling ends to ropes looped around and between the structure’s legs if using a tepee to support the crop.

🍉 Watermelon Vines: How to Take Care of Them 

Watermelons don’t come out of anywhere, no matter how much we’d want to believe otherwise. Even if they did, they might not taste as well as those produced under ideal circumstances. So, let’s talk about how to grow watermelon in the best possible cases, and you may make adjustments as required. 

🍀 Sun 

The sun is a favorite of watermelons. If you’re learning how to grow watermelon for the first time, you should be aware that they are sun-loving plants. They generate their shade under their leaf cover, which protects the vine and its fruit. 

Watermelons need 8 hours of sunshine each day to grow. In shadier circumstances, they will thrive, but the fruit will be smaller and less delicious. 

🍀 Humidity and Temperature 

Temperature is a component to consider while learning how to produce watermelon, although it is not significant. 

Watermelons thrive at temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night. On the other hand, watermelons are heat resistant and may readily thrive in even hotter circumstances once established. 

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Your watermelon vines will be the most vulnerable while they’re young when they’re still vining and spreading out. If the heat becomes unbearable until the leaves form a canopy to protect the vine underneath, could you possibly want to use a shade cloth to keep the plants cool? 

In terms of humidity, watermelons thrive in both semi-arid and humid environments. The risk of microbiological diseases such as powdery mildew and downy mildew increases as humidity rises. Look out for potential threats like these. 

🍀 Watering 

Watermelon plants need a large amount of water to produce those delicious fruits. After all, watermelon is composed of 92% water! However, how do you know how often you should water them? 

Stated, have a look at the dirt. Because watermelons have deep roots, you’ll have to dig a little deeper. If the top 2′′ or so of the plant is drying out, you should water it again. Maintaining constant wetness will result in sweet, luscious fruit in the future! 

When you stop watering, the soil should be moist for at least 6 inches below the surface. A leak irrigation system is the simplest way to obtain excellent water penetration without putting the plant in danger of mildew or other fungal diseases. 

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Watermelons need to be watered thoroughly at least once a week. More irrigation is required in hotter temperatures. You must water them no less than an inch each week in moderate weather, and in hotter weather, you should water them twice as often. 

You may not need as much evaporation from the soil if you mulch with black plastic or wood chip mulch; therefore, you may be able to use less water. Watermelon roots, vines, and fruit are vulnerable to disease, so keeping the soil wet but not waterlogged is essential. 

🍀 Soil 

Because soil is such an essential aspect of growing watermelons, let’s go through the best soil mixes for them! 

Hard-packed soils are troublesome since your plants will be unable to extend their roots out. A loamy, well-draining soil supplemented with compost is preferable. Watermelons are robust feeders. Therefore aged manure or seaweed are also excellent additives. 

The ideal pH range for your vines is 6.0-6.5, but they can tolerate up to 6.8 and perhaps even 7. Just keep in mind that anything below a six may cause fading foliage or vine stunting. 

Manganese poisoning may be a problem for watermelons, mainly if the pH range isn’t ideal. Before planting, get your soil tested at your local agricultural extension to see if any amendments are required. 

🍀 Fertilizing 

Watermelons need fertilization at two stages: when the plant is young and while the fruit is developing. 

A young plant’s growth surge will need a substantial nitrogen boost. So, during the first several weeks after planting, a high-nitrogen fertilizer is the ideal option. This will supply your watermelons with all of the nutrients they need to grow their foliage. 

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When the vines start to bloom, it’s time to move to a fertilizer with less nitrogen but more phosphorus and potassium. A mix of potassium and phosphorus is required for floral production and fruit production to be healthy. 

However, be sure that you swap! If you keep using the high-nitrogen fertilizer, your vines will continue to bolt all over the place, but you won’t get much fruit if any at all. Isn’t it true that the entire purpose of cultivating watermelon is to consume it? 

🍀 Propagation

Clean watermelon seeds are the most acceptable method to produce watermelons. Seed-grown plants are generally healthier and more vigorous than non-seed-grown plants. You may also apply a seed treatment like beneficial mycorrhizae or another seed inoculant in this manner if you like. 

May also use watermelon cuttings to cultivate the fruit. Examine your vine and cut it just beyond one of its leaf nodes. A 9-12 inch cutting is ideal. Put your cutting in a sterile potting mix and bury it at least a couple of inches. 

Maintain a 70-degree temperature by keeping the soil damp but not soggy. Keep your cutting out of control sunlight until it begins to actively grow again, at which time it will have established roots. 

If you take cuttings too late in the season, they may have a hard time ripening. Growing plants from seed are generally more straightforward in the first place. 

🍀 Transplanting 

When it comes to transplanting, watermelons are notoriously picky. Because these plants have a large taproot, it may coil around the inside of the container and cause the plant to become rootbound fast, making transplanting more difficult. 

Should plant any watermelon seeds you want to start early in a plantable container, such as one made of peat or coconut coir. Just before planting, cut the bottom of the container slightly to enable the roots to spread out quickly. 

Watermelons that are older do not transfer well. They grow a deep and complex root system that may extend almost a foot and a half from the vine’s base, making any attempt to relocate them very difficult. It’s not required since they’re a one-season crop. 

If you must transfer a watermelon seedling from a plastic container, be very careful not to harm the plant’s primary taproot. Because the vine will grow additional roots along its length, you may plant it at or just slightly above where you previously planted it. 

🍀 Pruning 

Pruning watermelon vines is problematic since it may interfere with ripening. 

Watermelon vines are monoecious, which means they have both male and female flowers on the same plant. While this means they self-pollinate, it also implies that pruning may destroy blooms necessary for fruit production. 

Male blooms will often emerge first on your vines, followed by female blossoms farther down the vines. When the vine is producing female flowers, there should always be some male blooms present. 

If you have the room to let your vines develop at their speed and size, go ahead and do so! Nevertheless, there are certain disadvantages to this method. 

The more fruit that a plant produces, the less delicious each one gets. In addition, the melon’s quality will deteriorate in various ways. The rind may be less firm, or the interior of the apple may be somewhat mushy. As a result, the shelf life of the product diminishes. 

The same plant produces many vines. You’ll want to decide on the maximum amount of melons that each plant will have to get the finest, sweetest melons. That may be 8-10 melons for lesser kinds, but 4-6 melons for bigger ones. 

If you want to grow a prize-winning big melon, your plant should focus all of its time and energy on producing only one melon. However, you don’t want to cut off all the other vines since the plant needs leaves to collect solar energy and provide shade! 

It’s a good idea to cut off the vine tip beyond that point after each vine from the plant base has a maximum of two fruit, leaving enough leaves for the plant to survive. 

Watermelons grown on a trellis may be restricted by the space available, so wait until the fruit develops. Again, aim to keep the number of fruits per vine to a bare minimum. Then, to keep the plant in control, cut off any extra growth. 

To prevent illness dissemination, disinfect your pruners between cuts, just as you would with any other pruning.

🍉 Identifying and Resolving Watermelon Issues

🍀 Growing Issues 

A deficiency of calcium in the soil causes blossom end rot. Calcium is required for your plants to produce healthy fruit. To avoid this problem, mix powdered eggshells or bone meal into the soil before planting. It must be accessible from the roots. 

The soil pH may be wrong in areas where blossom end rot is a common problem for watermelons. Bringing the pH of the soil to a range between 6.0 and 6.5 will generally guarantee that the plants have access to the calcium you’ve added to the ground. 

🍀 Pests 

In your watermelon patch, common cucurbit bugs are typically the perpetrators. Here’s a rundown of the most egregious offenders! 

The cucumber beetle is the most frequent pest of watermelons. Watermelons are a particular favorite of striped cucumber bugs. And the last thing you want to find in your garden is these bugs! Pyrethrins, such as Safer Brand Yard & Garden Spray, may help you get rid of them. 

Squash bugs may wilt or destroy your vines if they assault them. Because they are also sensitive to pyrethrin sprays, Safer Brand Yard & Garden Spray is an effective control technique. 

While squash vine borers love squash vines, they have a hard time resisting a robust watermelon vine. Because these borers may be challenging to detect in your watermelon patch, it’s recommended to spray your plants with neem oil per week to keep them away. 

Aphids and spider mites are well aware that your watermelon vines are dripping with sap for them to drink. Keep them at bay with frequent sprayings of neem oil on all vine and leaf surfaces since they may spread cucurbit illnesses and other diseases. 

Most of these pests may be avoided entirely using floating row covers and proper crop rotation while your watermelon plants are still young. Should remove cow coverings after the plants have grown and bloom to allow for pollination. 

🍀 Diseases 

Fusarium may cause severe damage to your watermelon plants. Younger plants are more vulnerable to damping off, whereas older plants with poor care may suffer root rot. There is no correct “remedy” for this, but we may use several strategies to avoid it. Here’s where you can discover more about the fusarium. 

Watermelons are also susceptible to fungal infections such as anthracnose, powdery mildew, and downy mildew. These are particularly troublesome if your vines and leaves are often damp. To avoid them, use drip watering, and spray neem oil regularly to keep fungus spores at bay. 

Watermelons and other cucurbits are also susceptible to Alternaria leaf blight. It’s preferable to drip-irrigate to prevent splashing and to spread fungal spores dispersed by fungal-contaminated water. If it persists, copper fungicides such as Monterey Liqui-Cop are suggested. 

Tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetable crops are all susceptible to the curly top virus. Leafhoppers transmit this virus, and once a plant has it, there is no cure. The easiest way to avoid leafhoppers is to use neem oil or Safer Brand Yard & Garden Spray.

Q: Is there a minimum amount of area required to produce watermelon? 

A: In a 5-foot-wide mound, place the plants approximately 2 feet apart. If you’re planting in rows, make sure they’re 6 feet by 6 feet apart. 

Q: Is it likely to grow watermelon in a container? 

A: You’ll need to choose a pot that’s big enough for your container watermelon to grow in. Because watermelons develop quickly and require a lot of water, it’s best to use a 5-gallon (19 kilograms) or enormous container. Fill the watermelon container halfway with potting soil or a soilless mixture. 

Q: Is it necessary to have a lot of room to produce watermelon? 

A: Watermelon plants need a lot of room to grow. Plant spacing of three feet apart in rows eight feet apart should be enough for an early variety like 85-95 days. Plant the plants in a grid of at least 6 feet by 6 feet squares for hill planting. 

Q: How long does a watermelon take to reach its full size? 

A: It matures in the shortest period, about 70 to 75 days. Watermelon from the primary season is more prominent and takes longer to develop, typically 80 to 90 days. Watermelons with no seeds are a fascinating study of plant genetics. 

Q: When cultivating a watermelon, how can I make it sweeter? 

A: Plant melons in a place that heats up early in the spring and remains hot until the end of September to bring out their flavor. The south side of a fence or wall is excellent because it absorbs the sun’s heat and light and reflects it onto the melons.

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