Features of growing watermelons in Siberia

It is very difficult to imagine watermelon beds in Siberian open spaces, and growing a ripe large berry is something from the realm of fantasy. Nevertheless, the cultivation of this culture in Siberia is quite possible if you follow the useful recommendations of experienced melon growers.

The best varieties of watermelons for Siberia

The first step is to choose a watermelon variety that meets the conditions of Siberia. Pay attention to a short growing season, frost resistance, weight of berries (up to 5 kg). The main task is for the fetus to ripen. In most cases, varieties developed by local breeders and adapted to the Siberian climate are selected. These requirements are met by the ultra-early and early varieties Sibiryak, Sugar Baby, Siberian Lights, Northern Lights, Spark, Ultra-Early, intended for open ground.

Table: Characteristics of varieties of watermelons for open ground

Grade nameRipening periodThe average weight of berriesDescription
Twinkle71–872 kgThe fruit is spherical, thin smooth peel black-green

with blurry pattern, red flesh.

Sugar baby75–801 kgThe fruit is spherical, thin peel is green with visible black stripes, bright flesh.
Siberian-9775–824, 5 kgThe fruit is roundish, a thin crust of dark green color with almost imperceptible stripes, sweet bright flesh; resistant to sudden temperature jumps.
Siberian lights70–802.5–3 kgThe fruit is spherical in shape, the skin is thin, dark in color with longitudinal light green stripes, juicy, bright flesh; beautiful presentation, resistance to Fusarium. The plant is weakly branched (up to 2.5 m).
Northern Lights65–752.5 kgThe fruit is spherical, a thin crust is dark green, the scarlet pulp is juicy and sugary.
Ultra early804–5 toThe fruit is spherical in shape, granular scarlet flesh, high sugar content, cold resistance. The plant is compact, moderate branching.

The watermelon variety Ogonyok is small in size and manages to ripen during the short Siberian summer

Varieties of watermelons for the greenhouse

For greenhouses or temporary film shelters, early ripening and mid-ripe watermelon hybrids, tested in cold climates and inadequate lighting, have proven themselves when grown in the northern regions.

Table: Characteristics of varieties of watermelons for open ground

Grade nameRipening periodThe average weight of berriesDescription
F1 Kai70–75 days7kgOval-elongated fruit with a thin dark skin and longitudinal intermittent light green stripes, fragrant raspberry pulp. The plant is long-climbing.
F1 Crimstar55-60 days8-10 kgThe fruit is spherical in shape with alternating light and dark stripes on the peel, delicate red pulp, with high sugar content; high transportability.
F1 Crimson Sweet67–82 days3-4 kgAn oblong fruit with a peel of a dark green hue with longitudinal light stripes; in crisp pulp of honey taste and bright saturated color there are no transverse veins; high immunity to diseases of anthracnose and powdery mildew.
F1 Gift to the North75–85 days10 kgThe fruit is spherical, the peel is green with a darker longitudinal stripe, bright crisp flesh, excellent taste characteristics; high transportability, disease resistance.
F1 Beijing joy85–90 days5–8 kgThe fruit is round in shape, with alternating stripes of light and dark green in color, dense and thick peel, granular red flesh; high transportability, resistance to disease.
F1 Pannonia73–80 days3-5 kgThe fruit is spherical, dark, with bright red crispy pulp, excellent taste characteristics, delicate aroma; high productivity, keeping quality and portability.

All of these varieties are ideal for greenhouse cultivation in northern regions with short summers and a variable climate. According to the reviews of summer residents, the F1 Kai hybrid has recently gained special popularity, which is able to please Siberians with its berries with crumbly fragrant pulp not only in the greenhouse, but also in open areas.

F1 Kai watermelon hybrid ovaries have time to ripen in Siberia even in open areas

Video: a review of varieties of watermelons for Siberia

Growing conditions

It is guaranteed to get a watermelon crop in such difficult climatic conditions only by the seedling method, although some gardeners manage to sow seeds immediately in open ground. In abnormal weather, when the very height of summer can overwhelm with a sharp drop in temperature, the choice of the second method will be unsuccessful.

An important role is played by the correct choice of time for sowing seeds for seedlings: so as not to outgrow, but at the same time, the ovary could mature later.

Note! For watermelon, the most suitable seed material will be seeds no older than a two-year shelf life!

Whether an attempt to grow a ripe berry will be successful will largely depend on the length of daylight hours and temperature conditions. Watermelon is a rather photophilous and thermophilic culture. The plant requires lighting at least 12 hours a day, and the heat makes special demands. The daily temperature during tying should be within + 19 ° С, and the night temperature should not fall below + 15 ° С. Active seedling growth is possible only on well-heated soil (from + 12 ° C and above).

Another trick of the Siberians is the construction of special "warm" beds, which are prepared in late autumn. The soil at the site of the future warm beds is dug up to 50 cm. Most of the trench is filled with plant debris, peat, manure, and on top it is covered with soil mix from two parts of sod land, one part of humus and sand so that the soil is 20 cm higher than the soil level. In such a bed in Siberia, even with heavy incessant rains, the melon crop will not get wet.

Warm bed - the most successful way to grow Siberian watermelon

Sufficiency of light and heat, competent pinching and top dressing of plants are the main secrets for caring for watermelon in Siberia.

Growing seedlings

To succeed in growing Siberian watermelon, you first need to grow strong seedlings.

When and how to plant for seedlings?

In open ground, seedlings are planted in the second half of June. Considering that her age at the time of planting should be at least 25-30 days, sowing should be done in mid-May. If the seedlings are designed for a polycarbonate greenhouse, they can be sown 2 weeks earlier.

Watermelon seeds are purchased in specialized stores to avoid overshoot. How to prepare them for seeding? Siberians have their secrets about this. Many soak the seeds in warm water (50-60 ° C), adding a growth stimulator (Epin-extra, Zircon). After complete cooling, they are disinfected for half an hour in a 1% solution of potassium permanganate and immediately sown.

The substrate for seedlings of watermelons should be quite nutritious. To prepare it, take 2 parts of turf and humus, 1 part of sand, 2 tbsp. tablespoons of dolomite flour and ammonium nitrate and 1 tbsp. spoon of superphosphate, mix well.

The best containers for watermelon sprouts are ready-made peat pots. Seedlings with them are planted in the ground, and its delicate roots are not injured.

In each pot, the diameter of which should be at least 8–9 cm, 2 seeds are laid out “on a barrel”. So cotyledonous leaves sprout faster from the seed. Make a 3 cm deepening with a spoon, moisten it with water (50 ml) and fill it with dry soil mixture. The containers are covered with glass or plastic wrap until shoots appear.

Peat pots with planted watermelon seeds are covered with a film

Seedling Care

Temperature conditions for crops: daytime air temperature at least 25 ° C and night air temperature at least 15 ° C. After a week, the first shoots appear, and so that the seedlings do not stretch, it is desirable to reduce the temperature to 20 ° C. At the same time, the root system needs more heat, so the containers are kept on the windowsill above the batteries. Five days later, you will be pleased with the first real leaflet. With the appearance of 3 such leaves, the sprouts can already be fed with complex mineral fertilizer or a solution of bird droppings (1:20). So that nitrogen in the litter does not evaporate, it is not insisted, as usual. After another week, a second top dressing is performed.

Seedlings of watermelons in peat cups better take root in the open ground

Watering seedlings should not be excessive, it is enough to pour it with warm water 2 times a week. A few days before the transplant, the sprouts are watered daily!

In some cases, a lack of light requires additional lighting. So that the seedlings can get their daily norm of light of 10, 000 lux, it is illuminated with fluorescent lamps of daylight for at least 10 hours a day.

Transplanting seedlings into the ground

Monthly seedlings are planted in open ground, in greenhouse beds or in a greenhouse.

In mid-June, when the threat of late spring frosts passes, seedlings are planted on a raised warm bed prepared from autumn. 3 days before planting, make mandatory hardening of the sprouts. First, they are taken out to a cooler place for 15–20 minutes and every day they increase their time spent at a reduced temperature.

Wells on a warm ridge are prepared in advance immediately after sowing the seeds. While the seedlings will grow, the soil will have time to warm up in them to the required temperature. The holes are dug at a distance of at least 0.8–1 m from each other, with a row spacing of 1.4 m. The recesses should be a couple of centimeters greater than the height of peat or plastic cups. To fill the holes, a soil mixture is prepared from two parts of humus, one part of ash and sand, mix well and moisturize. After that, the entire bed is mulched with a black plastic film, due to which moisture will remain longer, temperature differences due to accumulated heat will decrease. However, plants will receive protection against weeds, and berries can ripen a week earlier.

In place of the holes make cross-shaped slots with a diameter equal to the diameter of the pot. Carefully take out the soil, pour it abundantly with warm water, insert a peat pot with seedlings so that it does not protrude above the surface of the soil and fill it with dry mixture of soil removed from the hole.

The black film on the watermelon bed retains heat, creates comfortable conditions for seedlings

Plants planted in plastic containers are obtained by transshipment, well-watered before this procedure. After transplanting seedlings, air pockets can form, so you should water it as soon as possible. An intact root system will quickly grow. To better adapt the seedlings in an open space and protect it from possible cold and wind, cover the beds with non-woven material for 2 weeks.

Planting seeds

As already described, sites for watermelon beds are prepared in the fall, choosing the most sunny and open places. And in order to prevent the influence of the north wind, they create a backstage from several rows of corn.

In open ground

Watermelon seeds for sowing in open ground are prepared in the same way as for sowing seedlings. They are pickled, washed with water, soaked in a growth promoter, and then in hot water, wrapped in soft material and kept warm until germination. Ensure that the material is always slightly moist. It takes almost a week to germinate, but the plant will thank with friendly and strong seedlings, and the crop can be obtained up to 2 weeks earlier.

Crop patterns are different, and choosing them, you need to take into account the characteristics of a particular variety. Varieties of watermelons with compact bushes can be planted at a distance of about 6 m from hole to hole and 1 m between rows. Moderate-thawed bushes give a little more room for development: 0.8 cm x 1.2 m, and long-thawed watermelons are sown according to the 1m x 1.5m pattern.

In the last decade of May, when the soil is sufficiently warmed up, seeds are sown on high beds or in pre-prepared holes, as is the case with seedlings. If the seeds germinate before planting, it is enough to put 3-4 seeds in each well. When planting, use tweezers so as not to damage the fragile hatching bores. Wells are watered with warm water, and on top they are covered with dry soil. Rows mulch and set up temporary shelters.

Germinated watermelon seeds will sprout together, and the crop can be obtained up to 2 weeks earlier

In each well, 2 strong shoots are left and the rest are removed. Later, their branches are sent in opposite directions so that they do not intertwine and do not interfere with each other's development.

The first dressing can be carried out with an unstable solution of bird droppings (1:20) in the development phase of three real leaves, and later it will be enough to feed 2 times a month with infusion of weed herbs. Sprouts are watered with warm water 2 times a week.

To the greenhouse

The term for planting a watermelon on greenhouse beds depends on the temperature in the greenhouse. In polycarbonate greenhouses, air reaches a temperature of + 25⁰C during the day and +15 ⁰C at night a few weeks earlier than in less airtight glass and film. In the Siberian regions this happens in the twentieth of May. Preparatory work and planting technology are no different from planting in open ground. Only in greenhouses do plants take up less space in connection with growing them on trellises, therefore, a compact planting scheme of 0.5 x 0.7 m is used.

When planting seeds, only precocious varieties of watermelons are selected. To avoid the negative effects of unforeseen frosts, the crops are covered with paper boxes, plastic bottles, etc.

Experienced melon growers recommend laying out opaque plastic water bottles on the beds. The water heated in them during the day gradually cools at night, giving off its heat and creating comfortable conditions for plants.

Care

In order not to be left without a crop, growing watermelons in Siberia, you need to regularly monitor watermelon beds and carry out their competent care, which varies slightly depending on the place of growth.

In the open ground

Watering plants with mulched soil is enough 2 times a month, given the rare hot days. Together with watering, it is recommended to feed them with a mullein solution (1:10) or a mineral fertilizer solution with trace elements. Pollination is done manually in the middle of the day in dry, calm weather.

Nailing is required. In most cases, leave 2 lashes and remove all stepchildren on them. Such an operation is done weekly, constantly monitoring the appearance of growing lateral shoots. 2-3 flowers are left on the central stem, so that the watermelons are not too large and have time to ripen.

As soon as the ovaries reach a diameter of 5-6 cm, pinch off the top of the shoot, leaving up to 5 leaves after the last green. Future fruits are placed on the boards so that they do not touch the wet ground and do not rot.

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In open ground, row spacing is regularly loosened, and near the plant itself weeds are carefully picked so as not to harm the delicate roots of the watermelon, which immediately reacts negatively even to slight damage. In the last phase of the growing season, loosening is stopped, they try not to trample the soil near the plants.

In July, feeding with phosphorus-potassium fertilizer will not hinder. Experienced Siberian melon growers stop watering 5 days before harvesting, although in many sources it is recommended not to water the watermelons for a whole month before harvesting. This should not be allowed, especially in hot weather. There is a misconception that watering contributes to the development of wateriness. Watermelon is not as drought-resistant as it seems to many. Without water, its fruits become smaller and tasteless. Of course, watering in Siberia is regulated by the weather. It happens that plantings have to be covered with film during prolonged rains.

Bricks are placed under the pouring fruits, which accumulate heat during the day and gradually give it away at night, smoothing out the difference in daily temperatures.

Watermelon pours faster on bricks

Once a week, the berry is carefully turned over so that each side of the fruit gets plenty of sunlight and heat.

Video: how to grow a watermelon in open ground in Siberia

In the greenhouse

In most cases, a watermelon in a greenhouse is grown on a trellis to save space.

On hot days, you can not allow overheating of the air in the greenhouse (above + 30 ⁰C), so it is regularly ventilated by opening the window leaves and doorways. Watering is carried out only with warm water over the area of ​​the entire garden, while avoiding the ingress of water on plants.

Until female flowers appear on the watermelon plant, it is enough to water them 3-4 times a week. Pollination is done mechanically: each pestle of a female flower is pollinated by male pollen by hand. At the end of the petiole, under the female specimen, there is a small thickening - a tiny fruit that is easy to notice and distinguish flowers. Artificial pollination is carried out during the day when the flower is well open and dry. Do it quickly and several times. In order for the fruits to develop normally, after pollination, watering is increased up to 2 times a week. Top dressing is also combined with watering: at the beginning of the growing season, they are fed with nitrogen fertilizer, and a month before the harvest, phosphorus-potash.

When the lashes reach 2 meters, the bush is formed by pinching the tops and removing the stepsons. Siberians already from the experience of growing watermelon know that in the greenhouse it is better to leave only one central shoot with one strong ovary.

Video: how to grow a greenhouse watermelon in Siberia

When the ovaries begin to burden the lashes, they must be tied up with ropes, nets, using string bags, old nylon tights, etc. Thanks to this, the fruits are held on the trellis and evenly lit.

Diseases and Pests

Siberian summer does not indulge in good weather. As a rule, in the second half of July there are sharp cooling, lingering rains. The harsh climate becomes favorable for diseases and harmful insects of watermelon.

Disease

Watermelons in the open ground are especially affected by the extreme climate, since dampness is an excellent environment for the development of many diseases. Most often, watermelon plants are affected by anthracnose, bacteriosis, powdery mildew, fusarium wilt.

Anthracnose

Anthracnose is the disease that causes the greatest damage to the watermelon crop.

The manifestation of this disease is easy to notice on the leaves: they are all covered with yellow spots, which later turn brown and dry. Damaged by the fungus leaves fall, and weakened stems become fragile and quickly break. The deformed ovary stops developing. Melon with completely mutilated plants and decayed fruits is a terrible picture of the dangerous "artist" of anthracnose.

Anthracnosis of the fetus begins with rotting of individual areas on which ulcers form

The causative agent is found in seeds, plant debris, in the soil, and affects new plants, spreading by rain and wind, insects, as well as due to careless watering.

The melon grower should regulate watering, provide ventilation, pay attention to the density of plantings, regularly inspect the melon and remove diseased plants. If signs of anthracnose are found, the crops are saved by dusting them with sulfur.

Fusarium

Fusarium is no less dangerous for watermelon. The causative agent can be in the seeds and soil for about 5 years, so the root system and the base of the watermelon stem are always the first to suffer. From the root, the infection spreads to all parts of the plants.

The first victims of fusarium - the root system and the base of the stem

Due to the accumulation of toxins released by the fungus, the vascular system of the plant is paralyzed, inhibiting its growth. Often, fungal infection occurs in wet weather, with a decrease in soil temperature to 16 ° C or lower, and also through non-compliance with agricultural regulations.

Fusarium wilting is often observed in seedlings. It should be extremely careful and in time to discard the diseased sprouts. Fusarium can be avoided if you properly care for the crops: pickle the seeds, observe crop rotation, loosen the rows, do the necessary fertilizing. Diseased bushes are destroyed and fertilized according to the sheet of the remaining plants with potassium-phosphorus fertilizer (5 g / 10 l).

Powdery mildew

The disease is manifested by the appearance of powdery deposits on the leaves and lashes of watermelon. Его возбудитель спокойно перезимовывает на оставшихся растительных остатках, а весной начинает атаковать растение. Распространение болезни может происходить даже при засушливой погоде, но обильных росах.

Мучнистые налёты появляются на листьях и стеблях арбузного растения

Листья подсыхают, деформируются, а осенью вместо белесых налётов появляются грибковые плодовые тела в виде чёрных точек — источники весенней инфекции. На поражённых растениях наблюдается низкая завязываемость плодов, а сами ягоды становятся несладкими и малосочными.

Обнаружив болезнь, посадки поливают раствором коллоидной серы (50г/10л), безвредной для насекомых-опылителей.

Disease prevention

Конечно, лучшей профилактикой болезней арбузов является грамотный уход за ними. Семена перед посадкой обеззараживают, междурядья мульчируют мелом или золой, стараются не допустить излишней влажности почвы. Подгнившие плоды сразу изолируют от здоровых, а их семена не используют для посевов. Остатки больных растений обязательно сжигают.

В условиях Севера бахчеводы применяют профилактическое опрыскивание посадок арбуза от многих грибковых инфекций фунгицидами Фундазол, Оксихом (20г/10 л).

Note! Опрыскивание препаратами системно-контактного действия осуществляют в вечернее время не более чем за 20 дней до сбора урожая арбуза.

Pests

Самыми распространёнными вредителями арбуза в Сибири являются проволочники и бахчевая тля.

Проволочники

Неприятные жёсткие червячки жёлто-коричневого цвета — это личинки жуков проволочников, приносящие большой вред растениям, подгрызая корневую систему. Обнаружить их можно в грунте, под увядающим кустом. Жуки щелкуны и их личинки любят ютиться в многолетних сорных травах. Поэтому уничтожая сорняки, вы сможете избавиться и от проволочников.

Обратите внимание! Многие садоводы с целью профилактики проволочника разбрасывают по участку опавшие ореховые листья, запаха которых не переносят эти вредители.

Жуки и их личинки

Gourd aphids

Тля обитает и откладывает яйца на диких травах, а в начале лета переселяется на арбузы. Она опасна как переносчик вирусов и непосредственный вредитель, высасывающий соки из листьев, стеблей, цветков и завязей арбузных растений. Целые полчища тли, оседающих на нижней стороне листьев, можно заметить по скрученным в трубочку и засыхающих листьях. Если с насекомыми не бороться, за вегетационный период они дают больше десятка поколений. Важно не пропустить первое нашествие бахчевой тли, когда её можно просто смыть водой.

Тля оккупирует нижнюю сторону арбузных листьев

Регулярно пропалывают междурядья, растения опудривают золой, табачной пылью, обрабатывают настоями чеснока, луковой шелухи. Борятся со спутниками тли-муравьями, питающимися липкими выделениями тли и распространяющих её личинок лапками. В условиях сибирского климата на открытых участках инсектициды используют редко, поскольку частые дожди и прохладная погода препятствуют развитию тли.

Harvesting and storage

Малогабаритные плоды успевают вызреть почти на 2 недели раньше крупных плодов. У созревшего плода лопаточка (хвостик), маленький листик возле неё и усик полностью засыхают. Корка становится глянцевой, а рисунок на ней — более ярким и чётким.

Чтобы больше убедиться в созревании, постучите по плоду, и услышите глухой звук. Приподняв ягоду, можно увидеть большое пятно (земляной знак) бледно-жёлтого цвета — ещё один признак готовности к сбору.

Этот «полосатик» полностью созрел

Ранние и среднеспелые сорта с тонкокорыми плодами, которые выращиваются в Сибири, не предназначены для длительного хранения. По этой причине важно вовремя собрать урожай, чтобы сразу насладиться в меру созревшим арбузом.

Для сбора «полосатиков» выбирают сухой день. Осторожно укладывают их в картонные ящики и укрывают бумагой.

Картонные ящики — лучшая тара для сбора арбузов

Прибегая к разнообразным хитростям, можно продлить хранение скороспелых арбузов на месяц, а среднеспелых с более жёсткой коркой (Пекинская радость) на два. К сожалению, на Новогодний стол сибирские арбузы попадут только в засоленном и замороженном виде, что, кстати, тоже очень вкусно и является большим деликатесом.

Некоторые умудряются хранить плоды в пепле в деревянной таре, другие обматывают осторожно натуральной тканью и подвешивают в авоськах, третьи на 1 см покрывают воском.

Арбуз, покрытый на 1 см воском, в подвешенном виде сохранится в подвальном помещении гораздо дольше

Во всех случаях арбузы хранят в подвалах с хорошей вентиляцией, при температуре +2–3°С и влажности 80–85%. В доме арбузы сохранятся дольше в тёмном прохладном месте, если их каждый день переворачивать.

Как видите, и в таком суровом крае, как Сибирь, можно вырастить эту южную бахчевую культуру. Для этого нужно правильно подобрать сорт и грамотно ухаживать за ним, соблюдая все агротехнические приёмы, применяемые в практике сибирских бахчеводов.

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