Watermelon is a crop that some gardeners call "extraordinary berry." It is a bit like some berries, but you can’t call it that by several definitions. Berries can be eaten whole, watermelons - no, they are usually cut into pieces. All berry fruits have thin peel, watermelon - pachyderm. Berry seeds are easily removed or absorbed by the body, with watermelon seeds such is impossible - they have an additional shell that is difficult to digest.
Scientists have not fully decided how to call this miracle of nature, they attribute it to the genus Watermelons, the Pumpkin plant family, or simply to false berries. To simplify all these concepts, in the following we will call watermelon a melon culture. Our story will go about when and how to sow the seeds of watermelons, to grow seedlings from them, how to care for this crop on melon seedlings, in the garden or in the greenhouse.
They start growing watermelons from sowing seeds for seedlings, then care of the seedlings follows, the next stage is transplanting the seedlings to the ground, the final stage is taking care of the seedlings and getting the first fruits. It was in this order that we made a plan for our article and posted the appropriate photos, adding our comments to them.
Selection and preparation of seeds
To grow watermelons in central Russia with its cool and unstable climatic conditions can only be seedlings. Getting a strong and healthy seedlings of watermelons at home is directly dependent on the quality of seed (see video). It is necessary to carefully choose varieties of watermelons, zoned precisely to your region and with early ripening. Of the seeds intended for planting in the southern regions of the country, the fruits are unlikely to have time to ripen in northern latitudes. This is the main condition for growing watermelon seedlings, pay attention to this when buying seeds.
Watermelon seeds are small, medium-sized and large, easy to work with. The photo shows the seeds of medium size. In structure and shape, it is an embryo covered with a dense rigid shell, oval, tapering at one end. The structure of the shell can be rough or completely smooth.
The timing and time of sowing watermelon seeds depend on the intended transplanting to the ground. If you plan to plant seedlings on open beds or in greenhouses in May, sow the seeds of watermelons in April, that is, 30 days before transplanting the finished seedlings to its permanent place.
The main activities at this stage:
- Selection of quality watermelon seeds. Immediately remove dried and damaged seeds. This can be determined visually and by touch.
- Disinfection and soaking. Place the watermelon seeds in a pinkish potassium permanganate solution for 30 minutes, rinse with clean water. Put on sprouting as indicated on the top photo. The time before the appearance of the first root is from 3 to 7 days.
From them good seedlings will not turn out, they will be hurt for a long time or will not ascend at all. Watermelon seeds are best purchased with a shelf life of more than 2 years, they form more female flowers, from which the fruits grow.
Sowing on seedlings
Growing watermelon seedlings at home can be difficult for the following reasons:
- Experienced growers who have been growing watermelons in their gardens for more than one year are advised to sow sprouted seeds in large containers at once, that is, not to do intermediate transplanting of seedlings, and this requires large-sized containers, respectively, will require a lot of ground substrate;
- the roots of the seedlings are very gentle and sensitive to any changes, they can be damaged during transplants, and their further development will be slowed down, this will slow down the whole process of growth of seedlings;
- The root system of watermelons develops very quickly, increasing a large number of shoots, and very soon occupies all the space in the pots.
Planting seeds already germinated, produce in the following order:
- Prepare the soil mixture. Suitable fertile garden soil with the addition of light compost, ash or peat. For disinfection, the earth is sprinkled with boiling water, roasted over a fire or treated with special chemical means.
- Tanks, as we have said, need large. One sprout of a seedling requires a container with a height of at least 25-30 cm, a volume of about 3 liters.
- In the center they make a recess of 3-5 cm, place the seed with the germinated embryo, fill it with compost.
- Lightly compact the ground and water.
What number to make the sowing of watermelon seeds on seedlings determine on your own, the main thing is to know that this should be done a month before transplanting to the ground.
The next stage of growing watermelon seedlings begins - caring for seedlings. This period lasts about a month. To care for seedlings in this short time is very simple:
- it is necessary to moisten the soil with watermelon seedlings in a timely manner, preventing the soil surface from drying out (just moisten, not pour);
- at home, the indoor temperature should not be below + 25 ° C;
- the seedlings will have to be provided with additional lighting, in April and May the days are still quite short, and the seedlings need light and heat. In case of insufficient lighting, the plant is stretched to a height, and on the thin, weak stem, cotyledon leaves are formed, which are the same underdeveloped. As a result, an ugly and non-viable sprout can be obtained.
- an important factor for the normal development of watermelon seedlings is an indicator such as air humidity, if this value is below 70%, it is necessary to eliminate this state of affairs by applying artificial humidification, sprinkling the room with water or using special devices for this;
- One week before planting, seedlings need to be fed with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers at a permanent place; it is not recommended to add nitrogen-containing components during this period.
If you follow the basic rules of care, your efforts to grow watermelon seedlings at home will be rewarded; you will receive high quality seedlings, as shown in the photo below. And we proceed to the next stage.
All watermelons love spacious, well-warmed and lighted areas, so you should choose such a platform for planting watermelon seedlings. Far from all gardeners have areas that meet these requirements. Vertical fixing of watermelon lashes to supports and additional devices to support heavy fruits (nets, trays) will help to avoid such problems.
When planting watermelon seedlings in open ground or in greenhouses, we recommend sticking to the following sequence:
- Two weeks before the main work on transplanting seedlings prepare the soil in a new place. Add chemical and organic fertilizers in accordance with the norms prescribed for melons, dig and level the area. It is better to do this in the autumn, and in spring only to once again burst the beds.
- Make a marking of melon, every 2 meters dig a sufficiently deep and wide hole to fit a seedling with a clod of seedling land. Depth - more than 30 cm, hole size - 30x30 cm.
- Next to the hole, install strong, stable supports, the distance from the center of the pit should be no more than 0.5 meters. On the support, hooks or notches should be provided for hanging the fruit.
- On the day that the watermelon seedlings are planted, pour half a bucket of water into each well and wait until it is completely absorbed.
- Carefully free the watermelon sapling from the seedling container, taking it along with a clod of earth. Put this lump in the center of the fossa, sprinkle it with earth collected on the edges of the hole, slightly compact the earth. Water once again with a small amount of water (1 liter), and above, pee or compost.
From the moment of sowing the seeds to the first fruit, it takes from 2.5 to 3 months, if you sowed seeds in April, then wait for the “firstborn” in July or August.
It is interesting! In China and other countries in the Middle East, all parts of watermelon are consumed. Crusts fry and stew, and toasted seeds eat snacks, as we do with ordinary sunflower seeds.
Diseases and how to deal with them
Amateur gardeners grow watermelon seedlings at home and achieve excellent results. For beginners, we remind that any violation of the technology of such cultivation can lead to undesirable consequences: the plants will often hurt, there will be a delay in their growing season, the fruits, if ripe, will be of much worse quality, will lose useful properties.
During its development, watermelon seedlings are very susceptible to environmental conditions, some diseases of the plant during this period, the causes of their occurrence and ways to combat them are listed below:
- The leaves of watermelon seedlings turn yellow. This is not a disease, but a precursor of its occurrence. The seedling makes it clear to the grower that his roots no longer have enough space in the tank, the air temperature is too low, the illumination is not enough, there is a shortage of nutrients or an excess of nitrogen in the soil. Necessary measures: immediately eliminate all adverse conditions.
- The stalks of watermelon seedlings stretch upwards, the size of leaves decreases. Causes: lack of light, too hot in the room or made watering with cold water. Measures: add light, achieve the desired temperature, water only with warm, settled water.
- The leaves of watermelon seedlings dry around the edges. Causes: again, the lack of light, the wrong mode of watering, it is too abundant or insufficient. Measures: to establish regular watering, to comply with the rules (2-3 times a week, 0.5 liters per seedling).
- Watermelon seedlings sluggish, drooping. Causes: a lot of nitrogen in the soil, the seedlings are freezing. Measures: do not use organic and mineral nitrogen-containing feedings, water the seedlings only with warm water not lower than + 25 ° C, the temperature in the room should be identical.
- On the leaves of watermelon seedlings white spots are formed. This plant is affected by powdery mildew, white rot or spotting. These diseases are almost impossible to cure, the plant will have to be destroyed. For the purposes of prophylaxis, treat seedlings not affected by fungus and treat them with antifungal drugs.
- The stems at the base of the watermelon seedlings are blackened and thinned. Reason: the development of the disease "black foot" or root rot, which arise due to frequent and unreasonably abundant watering. Measures: seedlings are destroyed, then watermelon seeds are sown before treatment in special chemical solutions.
Growing watermelon seedlings at home, and then getting a good harvest from their beds is not an easy job, but gardening enthusiasts do not retreat before anything, achieve remarkable results. We wish them good luck, and we recommend that you follow their example. Plant this melon crop in your country house, in greenhouses, on balconies. You will get an environmentally friendly, tasty and healthy ARBUZ.