Everybody loves summer and everybody who loves summer, knows that the most desirable fruit for this period is the Watermelon. This type of fruit is loved for its fine taste, sweet flavor and interesting texture. And because it contains aproximatelly 90% water, it represents a great source of health. For those who want to cultivate their own melons, there are a few things to consider. Without any aditives, chemicals or special requirments, the cantaloupe is the perfect summer addition to your own little garden.
The watermelon is usually served best in its natural state, but it can also be used in cafeterias for the preparation of jelly, jam or slushies. Because it has a high quantity of water, it also has diuretic properties, which makes it the perfect treatment for kidney diseases. Although many of us don’t know how to grow watermelon, the process is not difficult to understand. Here are a few things you should know:
- The green melon is an annual plant, which requires 100-130 days to grow. Although it is very sensible to temperature changes (it loves heat), the seedlings require about 21 days to germinate at lower temperatures (14-16 degrees) and 6 days at increased temperatures (25-26 degrees ).
- Watermelons require lots of sun and, in its absence, the plants will not develop properly, the flowers become infertile, the sugar intake drops and the production is weak.
- A great trick is to water the plant 2 or three times during the blooming and ripening period. This will help you obtain a better harvest.
In order to grow melons you will require organic seeds, organic fertilizer and gardening tools. Here are the steps to watermelon cultivation:
- Picking the right seeds is extremely important. It doesn’t matter if you have them from an old watermelon, a shop or a renowned producer. What matters is that you avoid the ones found in comerce because they usually contain harmful chemicals. If it is a personal production, you could plant the seeds you found in an extremely sweet and tasty watermelon you ate.
- The next step is to prepare the soil. A fertile and loose soil is very important if you want to obtain juicy fruit. You are advised to use only organic soil, as it is far healthier (manure, straws, organic residues). Prepare a warm, fertile soil which is bathed in sufficient sunlight before planting the seedlings. You can use individual pots if you don’t want to disturb the roots during the replanting phase.
- After you’ve completed these two (very important) phases, it is time to plant your seeds! Bear in mind that the watermelon does’t like to be moved, so you should decide on a permanent location from the start. After leaving the soil 3 days to fertilize, start digging in the soil, and place the seeds in. Depth isn’t very important (5 centimeters are sufficient), but the distance between seeds should be at least one meter. It is not only the fruit itself which requires a lot of space, but also the leaves.
- The crop should be watered from the very first day in order to decrease the germination period. A proper irigation system will do wonders to your little melons. Although it is not necesarry to water the soil everyday, you should do it at least once a week.
- Watermelons are extremely vulnerable to a large number of pests and insects. Cucumber bugs are probably the number one pest because they steal the nutrients from the plant, and also spread numerous diseases, which means, you have to use the proper pesticides.
- As if pests weren’t enough, there are also a lot of viruses and fungi which can affect your crop. Mildew in particular is a great risk. The only way to protect your crop from diseases is by maintaining it healthy all the time. Weeding, pruning and properly spacing the fruit will allow the proper circulation of air. Fungicides can also prove effective, if used in time.
Check the round spot on the fruit, which changes colour from white to yellow as the fruit ripens. To know when it is ready you should also tap it regularly. The sound will change as the melon becomes more ripe. When you think it is ready for harvesting, collect it and reuse the remaining fruit and leaves for fertilization.