It has been found that watermelon should be in most people’s diets because of all the health-promoting vitamin C and antioxidants in every bite. These fruits combine great taste with excellent nutrition, with no cholesterol and nearly no fat and that’s why it is the perfect dessert.
Sweet, juicy homegrown watermelons capture the magic of summer with explosive taste. Watermelons demand 2 to 3 months of heat to produce ripe fruit, which makes growing watermelons in northern regions challenging, but not impossible. By using plastic mulch to warm soil and floating row covers to trap warm air near plants, gardeners in any part of the world can experience the homegrown goodness of watermelons.
Growing watermelons requires warm soil. Don’t tuck plants into the garden until soil temperature is above 70 degrees F, which typically occurs about the time peonies bloom in northern zones. To be safe, wait until at least 2 weeks past your area’s last frost date. Prior to planting, cover soil with black plastic to save warmth of soil. Because watermelons are heavy feeders, prepare your planting bed by adding seaweed, compost, or rotted manure. If you live near a horse farm, another option that works well is to excavate the soil 1 foot deep, add a 9-inch-thick layer of fresh manure, and then cover that with 3 inches of soil mixed with compost. This creates a bed with a high-nitrogen soil base that’s naturally warm. Some gardeners even plant melons in their compost piles to ensure a warm footing and nitrogen.
Water plays an important role in keeping vines healthy and producing delicious fruit. Vines are most sensitive to drought during the time from planting to when fruits start to form. Avoid overhead watering. Keep soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, as it will kill plants. Water vines early in the morning so leaves can dry before sunset, which will further help prevent fungal diseases.
In colder regions, remove any blossoms that start to develop within 50 days of your area’s first average frost date. This will help ensure that larger fruits will ripen before frost.
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Watermelons typically ripen over two weeks. As soon as one melon is ripe, the others won’t be far behind. About a week before a melon is ripe, water only as necessary to keep vines from wilting. You can judge a watermelon’s ripeness by its skin color. The rind changes from a bright to a dull green, and the part that touches the soil shifts from greenish white or straw yellow to rich, creamy yellow. Gardeners also judge a watermelon’s ripeness by rapping on the skin and listening for a low-pitched thud. Tune your ear to the incorrect sound by rapping on a few fruits that aren’t ripe. Under-ripe fruits resonate with a high-pitched, tinny sound.
Watermelons can be kept 2 to 3 weeks unrefrigerated. Place them in a cool basement to increase their holding time. After cutting, refrigerate unused portions. If you have extra melon on hand, dice or cut the flesh into balls and freeze for slushies.
If you have any additional information about watermelons, share them in the comments down below.
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