People growing in the tropical countries have a very sweet association with hot summery days – the huge large Watermelon! It is one of the sweetest, juiciest, and cooling fruits that you can find in nature. It's interesting to note that the Watermelon is actually a berry! It is classified so because botanically it's called a Pepo – or a berry which has a hard rind but no internal division! First grown in the Kalahari desert of Africa, the first records of harvesting this popular heat-dasher, dates back to 5000 years ago. In India there presence was recorded in the 7th century. More than just a fruit, the watermelon also has special connotations in the Freedom struggle of Africans and also became a symbol of their freedom. Eventually, they also found their way into the warmer parts of the Mediterranean region. The flowering plant belongs to the flowering vine-like family called the Cucurbitaceae and is an annual. It is usually grown for the special edible fruit.
The fruit, which is 91% water and 6% sugar, is one of the most nutritious fruits to include in your diet. With a very high content of Vitamin C, A, B6, and lycopene. Its seeds are edible too and are usually dried and roasted before consumed. They are known to be extremely rich in micro-nutrients and provide many life-sustaining essentials. The popular ways of eating watermelon include slicing or cutting it into cubes and enjoying on a hot summer day. You can also add it to salads, fruits salad, desserts and even pickle it.
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Growing guide for Watermelon - Round Black Seeds
Watermelon vines are really tender, wait at least two weeks after frosty winters/ spring before sowing. Start seeds indoors around a month before transplanting.
Amend soil with aged manure, seaweed, and/or compost before planting. Watermelons are heavy feeders.
Growing the vines in raising rows, known as hills, ensures good drainage and will retain the sun’s heat longer. Place the plants about 2 feet apart in a 5-foot-wide hill.
If you’re growing in rows, space them 6 feet by 6 feet apart. After you are done transplanting, cover the plants with row covers to keep pests at bay.
While melon plants need 1 to 2 litres of water per week. Avoid overhead watering. Reduce watering once fruits start to grow.
These pests are known to attack watermelon- Aphids, Cucumber Beetles, Squash Vine Borer Moths, Fusarium Wilt, Anthracnose, Cabbage looper, Cutworms. The above mentioned pests may cause the following symptoms - Small, yellow-brown spots; irregularly shaped or circular dark brown lesions on leaves; fruits are small and pale in color,Large or small holes in leaves.
Watermelons prefer a soil pH between 6 and 6.8. Watermelons grow well in loamy, well-drained soil.
Watermelon plants need a minimum of 6 hours of sun every day.
Melons need warm temperatures. The optimum soil temperature for root growth is in the range of 20 to 35°C [68 to 95°F].
how to harvest
Look at the colour at the bottom. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a creamy or yellow coloured bottom.
Check the tendril. If it’s green, wait. If it’s half-dead, the watermelon is nearly ripe or ripe. If the tendril is fully drained, it’s ripe or overripe.
Stems should be thin with a sharp knife close to the yield.
Watermelons can be stored uncut for nearly 10 days. If cut, they can last in the refrigerator for approximately 4 days. Wrap tightly in plastic, refrigerate.