Do you know that watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) from the supermarket don’t taste the same as fresh, organic ones grown at home? You can even plant them in a small space like a balcony. Here you have everything about potted watermelon growing and caring for it.
Ideal pot for growing watermelons
Growing watermelons in pots is not very difficult, you just need to understand the basics. Since watermelon has a long taproot, choosing a deep pot is essential.
A large pot or bucket at least 60cm deep and half as wide is needed.
Remember that it is very important that the pot has several holes in the base so that the water can flow freely. Otherwise, the roots will rot and the plant will not grow.
Sow watermelon seeds
Watermelon has a long taproot and does not transplant well. It is best to sow the seeds directly in a pot where the watermelon will be grown.
In warm, frost-free climates, the best time to sow seeds is late winter and early to mid-spring.
Plant 3-4 seeds directly into the desired pot once the temperature reaches 19°C and above in the spring. Bury the seeds 1 cm deep and about 5 cm apart.
Then water enough until the water comes out of the drainage holes and leave the pot in full sun. Remember to water with little water but every day.
Germination takes place in 6 to 12 days. Once the watermelon plants have grown, thin out (remove the weaker ones) and leave only the strongest ones per pot.
How to grow watermelons in a pot
Where to grow watermelon
Watermelons should be grown in a sunny location, they need to receive as much sun as possible.
If you are growing it on a balcony or rooftop garden where space is limited, growing watermelon vertically on a trellis is a good option.
The trellis should be at least 1 meter high and strong enough to support the weight of the watermelons.
You can also use a net, bag, or stretch fabric to create a hammock under the fruit to support it.
Watermelons are warm weather annuals, but can be easily planted in tropical and temperate regions. It is possible to grow watermelons at temperatures around 10-35 C. But the optimum growth temperature is 18-30 C.
Sandy and loamy soils are suitable for growing watermelon in containers. An airy and well-drained substrate favors the growth of the plant. The ideal soil pH is between 6 and 6.8. Avoid compact and clay soils.
Additionally, applying homemade compost, well-rotted horse, rabbit, or cow manure improves soil texture and continuously provides nutrients.
Watermelon requires a lot of water, so it’s essential to keep the soil evenly moist at all times, but not too wet or waterlogged, and the water should drain freely from the bottom.
Since watermelon grows in full sun, you will need to water it daily, and sometimes twice on a hot summer day. Remember to water very early in the morning or late in the afternoon, avoid doing it during the hottest hours of the day.
When the fruits begin to swell and ripen, reduce watering. During this period, water carefully and moderately. Avoid over or under watering for the sweetest watermelons.
Potted Watermelon Care
Start feeding the plant with liquid fertilizer. Once the plant begins to flower and looks ready to bear fruit, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer. You can consider liquid seaweed manure. Watch: How to Make Compost and Liquid Organic Fertilizers
For a healthier, more productive plant, only grow the main stump. When the plant is young, remove the side branches before they grow any further. Also, cut off stems that are damaged and diseased.
Plagues and diseases
Watermelons are prone to disease when exposed to excessively wet or cold weather or waterlogged soil.
Common garden pests like aphids, cucumber beetles, and those that affect squash and cucumbers can infect it.
In case you see some of these plangas, prepare a bottle with water and some kitchen detergent, wet the infested part and remove the pests with your hands, repeat daily until you no longer have them. see more.
The harvest period depends on the climate, the season and the variety. It usually starts 80-90 days after sowing and 30-60 days after flowering.
Flowering and fruit set continue for several weeks until the weather is favorable, and several harvests are obtained.
To find out if the fruit is ripe, tap the surface of the watermelon with your fingers. If you hear a hollow sound, it means that the fruit is already ripe.
Another method is to check the tendril (union between the watermelon and the stem); if it’s wilted and half-dead, your watermelon is almost ripe. If discolored, the fruit is ripe.
How many watermelons can you harvest per pot? It mainly depends on the variety, the size of the pot and the growing conditions. However, you can expect between 3 and 7 watermelons per jar on average.
Useful tips for growing watermelon in pots
In cool, short-summer climates, start seeds early indoors or in a greenhouse directly in a container.
Use plenty of organic matter when growing watermelons in pots, as they feed heavily. Feed your potted plant with manure or compost every 3-4 weeks.
The trick to getting the best quality fruit is to not let the plant bear too much fruit. 2-4 simultaneous fruits are enough for large-fruited varieties, and 4-6 fruits for smaller ones.
It may also be interesting to read: When and how to plant organic melons
Make successive plantations to obtain regular harvests. Plant 2-4 plants and do the same after two weeks.
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