There’s nothing like plopping yourself down on the front porch with a freshly cut watermelon and spitting seeds into the lawn. Especially when that watermelon is homegrown!
It’s the perfect time to start growing watermelon as they require 2-3 months of warm weather to set fruit. Here’s a few varieties you won’t want to miss and make sure to scroll down for tips to get started!
Moon and Stars
Don't miss the rare and unusual heirloom 'Moon and Stars' Watermelon! Introduced in 1926, it's dark green rind is adorned with small yellow speckles the "stars" and one or two big yellow splotches - "the moon."
Melons are medium sized, roughly 25 lbs. and slightly oblong with juicy red fruit inside.
Sugar Baby is an heirloom variety and the most popular little melon out there! A delicious, very sweet and refreshing small ice-box size melon (8-12 lbs) with bright red-pink flesh and a dark black-green striped rind growing on compact vines 4-5 feet vines.
You won’t find Crimson Sweet watermelons at your local grocery store! Weighting 22-25 lbs, these large melons are light green with dark stripes (or vice versa) and have incredibly sweet dark red, firm and fine textured flesh. With a 12% sugar content at that! They are also fusarium wilt and anthracnose resistant.
Sweet Dakota Rose
An early watermelon, Sweet Dakota Rose is generally considered to have the sweetest taste and fewest seeds! Growing on 8-10 foot vines are medium sized melons with bright red flesh. It grows well in short, cool seasons (hello Berkeley and Oakland gardeners!)
Developed at the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station in Leesburg in 1963, Jubilee produces large, elongated melons known for their finely textured, bright pink-red flesh and deliciously sweet taste. They are also fusarium wilt and anthracnose resistant.
No matter what watermelon you choose, you’re bound to have a delicious harvest! Read on to learn our tips on planting, watering and fruit care:
Before planting, amend your soil with Paydirt (recommended for edibles, roses and top dressing flower beds too!) Watermelons are heavy feeders so you’ll be happy to have amended soil from the start!
When planting, space your watermelons 3-5 feet apart. Vines can reach 20 feet long, depending on the variety, so make sure to give them room to roam!
As the vines begin to flower, remember that there are both male and female flowers. Don’t worry if flowers fall off - male flowers appear first and will fall off shortly after they open. They are followed by the female flowers that will then bear fruit.
Watermelon need deep watering, this means soak ‘em long so their roots will grow deep. To help them retain water, be sure to mulch. It’s typical for their leaves to wilt under the hot summer sun, but don’t worry too much - they should prop back up in the evening!
Watermelons take a while to mature, make sure to give them regular feedings to help with fruit development! We recommend E.B. Stone Organics Tomato and Vegetable Food 4-5-3. Amending your soil will also help lend extra nutrients to your soil and thus to your plant as well.
Cucumber beetles and vine borers are the most common watermelon pests. We recommend applying Caterpillar Killer Spray with Bt (Bacillus Thuringensis). This formula is safe around humans, pets and our beneficial insects.
If you have any issues with your watermelons, be sure to snap a picture and come visit us! A picture or even an infected leaf is the best help for us so we can provide you with an accurate diagnosis.
It’s important to keep ripening watermelon from direct contact with soil in order to prevent rot. Once it gets to the size of a softball, place straw or a piece of cardboard underneath it for protection.