The watermelon is a herbaceous vegetable plant of the family Cucurbitaceae. Like its cousin the melon, it forms a creeping vine bearing long tendrils. The large leaves are blue-green and very cut. On the same plant, there are male and female flowers.
Of pale yellow color, they appear from May. The female flowers give way to large oval or round fruits with smooth skin. They are fake fleshy and juicy berries whose flesh color varies according to the varieties.
How many watermelons are produced per plant?
Generally, the number of vines determines the number of watermelons the plant will grow.
To get the number of watermelons, you need to understand that each vine will produce between 2 and 4 watermelons during the growing season.
Successful watermelon planting
Sun, heat: good conditions are needed to grow watermelons successfully, even if some varieties like ‘Sugar Baby’ are perfectly adapted to a culture as far as the Paris Basin.
Very demanding in water and nutrients, it will need a rich soil and kept cool. Watermelons particularly like a soil with a sandy and silty aspect.
Sowing and planting
Sow them in a warm place from mid-March to April, watermelons germinate from 68°C in a greenhouse or on a warm bed. Then plant them on a warm layer at 1 m in all directions, under a frame or plastic tunnel that should be maintained until the end of June and then aerate gradually.
You can also sow directly in place at the beginning of May, if the temperature is higher than 68°C, in stacks of three seeds to be thinned out. Place the seeds 1 inch deep. Watermelons are plants with strong development: distance them at least 4 ft in all directions.
The right combinations
Like the melon, the watermelon will appreciate the proximity of the oregano, the onion and the leek which will repel the parasites. It seems to be happy next to all vegetable plants.
Harvesting starts usually 30 days after flowering. Watermelon is best harvested in the afternoon rather than the morning, as it will be drier. To know if it has reached maturity, one can rely on its weight which must be heavy, but also when the tendril opposite to its stalk is completely dry.
How to know if the watermelon is ripe
It is important to observe the watermelon carefully because it is not easy to determine its ripeness. Don’t wait until the watermelon is loose to know if it is ripe as this is not a good indicator.
It is better to avoid watering the last few days before harvesting and to harvest in the afternoon rather than in the morning because it is drier.
- Its weight is a good indicator; it should be heavy as it approaches maturity.
- We can also see that the watermelon is ripe when the tendril opposite to its stalk is completely dry
Conservation of watermelon
After picking, the watermelon does not ripen anymore and can be kept for several days to several weeks depending on the storage conditions.
The ideal temperature of conservation of the watermelon is between 50 and 55°F.
- Avoid storing watermelon in a humid environment as this will greatly reduce the storage time.
- Watermelons will keep longer in the shade than in the sun.
Although the watermelon does not ripen after picking, its flavor and color continue to improve over a period of about a week when placed at room temperature.