Watermelons need hot days, warm nights and plenty of room to spread out. Choose the right varieties for your conditions, employ these simple, organic techniques and you'll have a hefty harvest of juicy, sweet melons this season.
Hill or row?
Some gardeners like to position three or four watermelon plants together in a clump or "hill," spacing their hills 6 to 8 feet apart. Other watermelon growers space individual plants 2 to 4 feet apart in conventional rows.
Weeding is easier with the hill method. But if you water with soaker hoses or drip irrigation lines, planting in rows will be easier.
That's why they call it watermelon.
As much as 95 percent of a watermelon's weight is water. Regular deep watering is especially crucial during the first 3 to 4 weeks that the vines are growing in your garden. Cut back on the water once the plants have begun to set fruit; overwatering dilutes the melon's sugars and makes the flavor weaker and less sweet.
Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are the best
way to give watermelons a steady supply of moisture. And in humid climates, watering the roots directly rather than soaking the leaves, too, helps prevent many common foliar diseases.