How to grow watermelons outdoors. Part 2
Read the previous part of the article: How to grow watermelons outdoors
Planted seedlings of watermelons
In my garden, I conducted such an experiment: in early spring, I covered a third of the beds with transparent film, a third with black, and left the rest without film at all. Measured soil temperature at a depth of 20 cm in the morning and evening.
The results were confirmed: under the transparent film, the soil warmed up much stronger and faster than without the film. The soil was even colder under the black film during the day than without the film. Any gardener can do this experiment.
Film mulching reduces the evaporation of moisture from the soil surface in dry weather and reduces waterlogging during heavy rainfall - this is just a godsend for watermelons. It is warm and humid under the film - the roots of the plant love this. There is no stagnation of air above the film - this is what the aerial part of watermelons likes. It is interesting that many wise gardeners of central Russia have long been using transparent film for mulching the soil when growing many vegetable crops. They found this method empirically.
So, it was decided: I cover my inclined bed with transparent film. I took two strips of stretch packaging film 17 microns thick and half a row wide (the same is used to pack food in supermarkets), and laid them along the ridge. In the middle, along the ridge, there was a cut line of the film. In this section, I planted watermelon seedlings. 5 plants were planted on the garden bed, because watermelons need a feeding area of about 1 m2 for normal development. With less food, watermelons will be smaller. On such a bed, I grew watermelons for two years.
Now - oh seedlings... I have worked out the technology of growing seedlings for a long time, and it is constant: on April 15-20, I soak the seeds until they hatch. For this I use a Petri dish, keep it at a temperature of 25 ... 27 ° C, usually on a central heating battery. Seeds are pecked in 5-7 days. I plant the hatched seeds in 0.5-liter bags - each seed in its own bag in order to work without picking, which watermelons really do not like.
I fill the bags with the same soil as for peppers, but with the addition of dolomite flour or chalk - 2 tbsp. spoons for 5 liters. Usually this is a 1: 1 mixture of purchased soil with garden soil. The seeding depth is about 2–3 cm, so that the seeds, crawling out of the soil, were able to throw off their “caps”. I put the crops in a warm place, cover them with a film so that the soil surface does not dry out. When the loops appear from the ground, you need to immediately put the watermelons in the brightest and coolest place, otherwise they are pulled out at a fantastic speed.
By the time the seedlings are planted in place - and this is June 5-6, when the threat of frost has passed, the seedlings grow up to 10-15 cm. I plant them in place without deepening.
In addition, I install metal arcs over the garden bed, on which at night, and in cold weather and during the day, I put on a thin lutrasil - one or two layers, depending on the weather.
In rainy weather, polyethylene was also thrown over it. Under such shelters, the plants felt very good, grew very quickly, and soon spread like patterned leaves on the film lying on the surface of the ridge. When the weather was warm, all the shelters were removed.
Three weeks after planting the seedlings, the first watermelons bloom, and after about a week their mass flowering begins. In watermelons, male flowers appear first, and only 3-7 days later - female flowers. They show charming tiny watermelons under the corolla of a flower.
I pollinate by hand for reliability, because for some reason we have few bees. I always buy a pollination brush with dark hairs. They clearly show the pollen taken from the male flower. If the pollen has not yet ripened, it will not be on the brush.
Usually, at the end of June, some of the watermelon plants will surely die from root rot. On an inclined bed, covered with a transparent film, for two years of cultivation, not a single plant got sick, although June was cold all the time. I would like to think that the reason for this is in the measures taken to warm the soil.
I did not form the plants in the garden in any way and did not pinch anything from them. We grew as we wanted, and with great speed. In mid-July, I pulled out a film from under the plants, because the ground under it was very hot, the watermelons even wilted slightly, and the weeds were completely burnt out. After that, she poured warm water over the garden.
We ate the first watermelon from the Skorik variety (and he always ripened first) weighing 4-4.5 kg in August. On average, it turned out two watermelons weighing 3-5 kg per plant.
When the nights were colder, I covered the plants at night with lutrasil, and in the rain - also with film, as in June. After August 10, I cut off all the freshly set watermelons: they still do not have time to ripen. The remaining watermelons ripened well and were very sweet.
Thus, the slope of the garden bed to the south and the cover of the soil with a transparent film allow you to grow a good harvest of watermelons. However, this method also has one drawback: the work on the tilt of the bed is very laborious. And our task is not to overwork ourselves on earthworks. But what if you do not make a bed with a slope? Perhaps heating the soil by covering it with a transparent film will be enough? After all, for many years, southern varieties of pumpkins have been growing on a compost ridge covered with a transparent film. And these pumpkins are no less thermophilic than watermelons.
This is how the harvest turned out
And last year I decided to grow watermelons in the same way as these very heat-loving pumpkins. Namely: on a compost ridge 3 m long and 2 m wide, where I put all plant residues last summer and autumn, I made five pits, half a bucket each, filled them with a mixture of garden soil and compost.
The entire ridge was covered with a transparent film for heating throughout May. In early June, cruciform cuts were made in the film over the pits. Through these incisions, watermelon seedlings were planted in the pits. The stalks were laid on top of the film. The plants grew rapidly, bloomed early and set many fruits. Unfortunately, this experiment could not be completed: once on a cold night, a plastic wrap was placed on the plants with fruit set, which I could not remove for two months.
As a result, some plants under the film got sick with white rot, and not all watermelons grew and matured. But the ripe ones weighing 3.5-4.5 kg were very tasty. I was especially pleased with the Lezhebok variety - it is very sweet and lay for a long time without spoiling.
The most valuable result from this experience: when the soil was covered with a transparent film, none of the plants got sick with root rot. But before it was the main scourge of plants. In the beginning season, I plan to repeat the experience of growing watermelons on a compost ridge covered with transparent film since early spring. I will try to grow them on an ordinary ridge with fertile soil, but also covered with a transparent film.
And there is another way to protect plants from root rot - to plant watermelons on a pumpkin at the stage of open cotyledons or the first true leaf. Now I am actively mastering this method. The results obtained so far on several plants are encouraging. In Japan, thousands of grafted watermelon plants grow on melons, including their famous square watermelons. So we will continue to search for methods of growing watermelons in the open field in the conditions of the Leningrad region.
Photo by the author
How to grow watermelons outdoors
The opportunity to grow Watermelons is not only among residents of warm regions of Russia, but also among gardeners of other regions. Thanks to breeding work, many early ripening varieties have been bred.
Now, even in the Far East, you can taste the hand-grown Watermelon. Of course, this cannot be done in the open field, but in a greenhouse, they grow beautifully.
Watermelon planting and care
When choosing a variety, you should focus on the daylight hours in your region. The farther north you live, the shorter the ripening period of the Watermelon should be. The most popular among gardeners are varieties of early and medium ripening periods.
For example, one of the popular early-maturing varieties of Ogonyok, ripens in 75 - 80 days. Moreover, the weight of the watermelon does not exceed 2.5 kg. In early varieties, the ripening period from germination to full ripeness is 80 to 90 days. Average weight of Watermelon is about 3 kg.
If there is a choice, then it is worth stopping at hybrids. They are more resistant to climatic conditions. Less susceptible to disease, which is also important.
Some gardeners advise to rub the tip a little with sandpaper before soaking the seeds. I planted a watermelon Spark, and the seeds sprouted beautifully without the use of sandpaper. Follow this advice from gardeners or not, decide for yourself.
Wrap the seeds in cheesecloth and immerse them in a potassium permanganate solution for 20 minutes. Then, rinse and dry well. This method will help disinfect the seeds from possible diseases.
Next, we place the dried seeds for germination. Most often, germination is carried out in a saucer, wrapping the seeds in a damp cloth. To prevent it from drying out, the saucer must be placed in a plastic bag.
Sowing Watermelon Seeds
Seedlings of Watermelon are very difficult to tolerate a transplant. Therefore, the seeds should be planted immediately in separate cups. Peat pots are ideal. If they are not there, then you can use disposable cups.
Remember to make holes for the water to drain. Simultaneously with soaking the seeds, prepare the seed containers. Fill the cups with fertile soil and sprinkle with potassium permanganate solution. This should be done a few days before sowing.
If you use purchased soil for growing seedlings, then disinfection is not necessary. As a rule, the primer is already ready for use.
Spill the earth in cups with warm water. Then, burrow the seeds into the soil to a depth of 2 - 3 cm and sprinkle with earth. Cover with foil and place in a warm, bright place.
To grow Watermelons through seedlings, focus on the climate in your region. Seedlings at home should be from 35 to 40 days.
Try to keep the temperature between 20 and 22 degrees during the day and around 18 degrees at night. When three weeks have passed after germination, take any complex fertilizer for cucumbers and feed the plants.
Seedlings are planted with the appearance of at least 4 true leaves. Previously, it must be hardened. You can take it outside for a short time, while gradually increasing it.
If this is not possible, then open the window. This method also helps to harden the seedlings. The place for Watermelons should be sunny. The soil must be fertile and neutral.
Watermelons do not like waterlogging of the soil, so they are rarely watered. The landing site should be free from stagnant water. In cool weather, the plants should be covered with foil or covering material.
Diseases and pests of Watermelons
Diseases in Watermelon can be the same as in cucumbers. Of fungal and viral diseases, these are Powdery Mildew, Anthracnose, Peronosporosis and Ascochitosis.
Harm to plants - Aphids, Wireworm, Meadow moth, Scoops and Sprout fly.
It should also be borne in mind that melons and gourds need feeding, which are produced according to a special scheme:
- They begin to apply fertilizers almost immediately after planting. As soon as the seedlings of watermelons and melons have adapted to open ground, they need additional feeding with nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.
- The next feeding is done during the growth of the lashes. During this period, melons and gourds require an increase in organic matter in the soil, therefore, at this moment they are fed with chicken droppings, manure and potassium salts.
- The last time feeding occurs when the ovaries begin to form in the plants. You need to fertilize with a special mixture that you can do yourself. For a bucket of water, you need to take 1 teaspoon of superphosphate, 1 tablespoon of ammonium and 1.5 tablespoons of potassium salt.
Growing watermelons in Siberia in the open field
Many gardeners assume that watermelons are grown only where the summer is very hot and the winter is not too cold, and some do not even think about it at all. In fact, even in Siberia, you can grow a watermelon, and not one, but a whole garden or even a field of large and sweet fruits of a wonderful plant. Growing watermelons in the ground in Siberia is a very difficult task, but quite feasible.
- Nuances and features of growing watermelons in Siberia
- The best varieties of watermelons for Siberia
- Landing dates
- When to sow watermelon seedlings in Siberia
- When to plant watermelon seedlings in Siberia
- How to grow watermelons in Siberia in the open field
- Seed preparation
- Sowing seedlings
- Preparation for planting in open ground
- How to plant watermelons in Siberia
- How to grow watermelons in Siberia in a greenhouse
- Diseases and pests
The harvest of watermelons should be taken around the end of August. On average, it takes about a hundred days for the fruit to fully ripen. It all depends on the variety of berries you choose.
There are early ripening, late ripening and medium ripening varieties. In cold climates with short summers, it is best to grow early and mid-season fruits. For example, "Ogonyok", "Melania", "Ataman". Among the late varieties, which can also mature in temperate climates, are well known - "Chill", "Spring".
You can eat watermelons immediately or store them. Jam is made from fresh berries, they can be pickled and pickled.
- They usually store late fruits, medium in size and having a thick skin. This cover should be free of damage and softness.
- During storage, the berries should not come into contact with each other. The place where these fruits lay is cold, dark and well ventilated.
Correct harvesting and storage will allow you to feast on sugar berries for a long time. With enough hard work and perseverance, you can achieve excellent results.
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