Tasty striped berry: how to grow a watermelon yourself
The best watermelons are brought from the southern regions, but you can get a good harvest of this huge striped berry in the conditions of the Moscow Region; plant watermelons even in the Leningrad region. It turns out that this is not difficult, you just need to know the basics of melon breeding and make a little work. The basic operations are familiar to every gardener, and only too cold summers can be an obstacle.
Watermelon belongs to the pumpkin family, is an annual plant. Most varieties have a long creeping stem, extending up to two meters. The leaves are dark green in color, large, with a strong dissection. According to the biological classification, the fruit is a berry, very large, usually spherical in shape. In some varieties, it is not a ball, but an elongated berry shaped like a torpedo. The weight of the fetus is significant: it can be from 500 g to 20 kg. Watermelon bark has various shades of green; most often it is covered with dark or light stripes, but it can also be monophonic. The pulp is juicy, in most cases red or dark pink, but there are varieties with an orange or yellow core. There are usually a lot of seeds, they are large, 1-2 cm long, flat, hard, black or brown.
How watermelon grows
The main part of the watermelon crop is obtained in the subtropical zone, much less in a temperate climate. In Russia, watermelon is grown mainly in the Lower Volga region and in the North Caucasus, but amateur gardeners promote the culture much to the north. Watermelon comes from the African continent. This culture tolerates heat and drought, it needs warmth and bright sunlight. However, the watermelon normally tolerates short-term cooling, is undemanding to the composition of the soil. The roots are able to suck water from considerable depths, so the watermelon is able to grow in conditions of moisture deficiency. At the same time, it responds well to artificial irrigation, which, in combination with planting on light sandy loamy soils, yields very high quality fruits.
Watermelon should be in the sun, and adult plants get their own water
Watermelon is good for people of any age. In its juice simple digestible sugars prevail - glucose and fructose, moreover, by the content of the latter, he is one of the champions among cultivated plants. Watermelon contains various organic acids, including folic acid, which is of great importance for the human body. Watermelon helps regulate fat metabolism, which determines its use in medicine and nutrition, contains iron salts and other trace elements. There is even the concept of a watermelon diet.
Watermelon is used mainly fresh, as a wonderful summer dessert. It can be eaten in an almost unlimited amount, although doctors warn against excesses in the presence of certain diseases. At the same time, during the massive harvest, watermelons are also allowed on various harvests. Juice can be prepared from them, and with slow evaporation of the latter, honey can be obtained. Delicious candied watermelon is known. There are many lovers of salted and canned watermelons: small fruits are consumed for such preparations, including not quite ripe ones.
All known varieties of watermelon are conventionally divided into early ripening, mid-ripening and late. If we talk about our country, then later varieties (for example, Spring, Icarus, Holodok) it makes sense to plant only in the most southern regions; in Central Russia only early varieties, such as Victoria, Skorik, Ogonyok, have time to fully mature. Varieties of medium ripening (Lezhebok, Ataman, etc.) occupy an intermediate position. Among the "classic" varieties of watermelon, the most popular are the following.
- Spark is an extremely popular early ripe variety, known since the days of the USSR. The fruits are small (about 2 kg), the seeds in them are very small, and the flesh has an excellent delicate taste. The bark is thin, its color is black-green with a blurry pattern. The variety is able to fully ripen in the Central Black Earth, East Siberian and Far Eastern regions.
- Chill is one of the most famous varieties of late ripe watermelons. Fruits are stored for more than 3 months, the variety is very productive, has a great taste. The chill appeared in the early 1990s, is intended for planting in the North Caucasus and Lower Volga regions. The bush is very powerful, with long (up to 5 meters) lashes, medium resistant to diseases. The fruit is somewhat elongated, weighing about 4 kg, dark green with almost black stripes. Watermelon can not be called thin-bodied, but it is well transported and stored. The flesh of a watermelon is bright red, very sweet, tender.
- Suga baby - a variety that was included in the State Register not so long ago, is intended for the Central Black Earth region, but can be grown north as it easily tolerates cooling, including in the spring. A variety of ultra-early ripening. The bush and leaves are medium-sized, the fruit is round and rather small: the bulk of the specimens reaches a mass of 1 kg, and only a few grow to 4 kg. The fruit is thin-legged, striped, outside the usual dark green color. The pulp is dark red in color, with very small seeds. Taste qualities are characterized as excellent. Since “Suga Baby” is translated as “Sugar Baby”, you can find a description of the variety under both names on the network, which can cause some confusion. Thus, when describing “Sugar Baby”, they indicate that it is recommended for severe weather conditions, including cultivation in Siberia, as it is extremely resistant to low temperatures. However, the variety under this (Russian) name is absent in the State Register, but at the same time, the main part of the description corresponds to both Russian and English names. Variety of universal purpose: good not only fresh, but also in pickling. Easily transfers transportation.
- Crimson Suite is one of the fashionable varieties grown in most European countries, of French origin. Watermelon ultra-early ripening, but in its segment - one of the largest. Spherical fruits weigh an average of 10 kg, and can grow even larger. Coloring - classic watermelon, striped (lighter stripes against a dark green background), flesh of dark red color, without streaks, very sweet and tasty, crispy. The fruits are transportable, well stored, and the plants themselves are drought and disease resistant.
Photo Gallery: Popular Watermelon Varieties
- Spark is a well-deserved early variety growing in almost all regions
- Chill arrives on the shelves in September and can please you for several months.
- Sugar baby ripens very quickly, so it is planted in almost all regions
- Crimson Suite - One of the Biggest Fruits Among Early Varieties
In addition to the ones listed on this list, in recent years, various exotic varieties have been used, which do not fit into our usual image of a striped berry with a red inside filled with numerous seeds. So, for example, there is a very expensive and scarce black watermelon. Densuke variety is grown in Japan. Outside, it is absolutely black, glossy, without stripes, weighs 5-7 kg, and inside it contains the usual bright red flesh that looks normal. True, gourmets who have tasted it describe the taste not just as sweet, but as magnificent. At the same time, in Russia there are domestic, very inexpensive, varieties that look like Densuke. Such, for example, the Black Prince or the Black Excellent. Perhaps they are not so tasty, but they do not cost so much in the market.
Densuke's black watermelon is very expensive, but is it right to decide for gourmets
In recent years, watermelons with yellow flesh have come into fashion. These are hybrid plants; externally they are no different from traditional watermelons, but inside they are yellow. They have almost no seeds (and sometimes not at all), the taste is very different from the usual one. The flesh may contain flavors of mango, lemon, pineapple and other southern fruits. So, for example, about 10 years ago, the Lunniy watermelon was included in the State Register of the Russian Federation. Like all other yellow watermelons, it is characterized by early ripening. The bush is medium-sized, the fruit is elliptical in shape, small: its mass is from 2 to 3 kg. Outside is striped, but the flesh is light yellow in color, delicate, of excellent taste. Capable of short storage (about a month).
Lunar outside is a regular watermelon, but inside it looks very unusual
Already in the middle of the last century, varieties of watermelons with a complete lack of seeds were bred. As a rule, such watermelons are sweeter, the shape of most varieties is oblong, and the mass is relatively small (about 4 kg).
A reasonable question: how to plant seedless watermelons? For this, seeds are obtained by special crossbreeding with other varieties, but this procedure leads to the fact that growing seedless watermelon is somewhat more difficult than usual.
Seedless hybrids are, for example, Imbar F1, Regus F1, Boston F1. So, the watermelon Boston F1 is included in the State Register of the Russian Federation and is recommended for cultivation in the North Caucasus region. Refers to early ripening hybrids, forms a long-bush bush. The fruit is spherical, light green, with narrow barely visible stripes. The usual weight is up to 4 kg, individual representatives grow up to 10 kg, thin-skinned. The pulp is tasty, pink-red color. The fruits are well transported, but stored no more than two weeks after harvest.
Reviews of some varieties
Last year I decided to try to grow a watermelon in KALININGRAD for the sake of "pampering"! I chose the early grade "Spark" of the company "Siberian Gardener". Germination was 100%. Left only 2 pcs., The most active. Monthly sprouts planted in a greenhouse. They fit well with tomatoes in the neighborhood))) Not climbing, I didn’t even have to remove the excess))) Soon 2 watermelons appeared on each plant. He went on to crawl and blossom further, but I pinched the whole thing, we would not have time to ripen. By the end of August, 3 watermelon ripened. The fourth did not have time to ripen. Small in size but weighty. The pulp is orange-red. Juicy. Little bones! In general, I am delighted !!!
I did not make friends with Chill for two seasons. He waved his hand at him, although if it worked out, you could save it until the New Year. Even if there is no good cellar-basement, then on a glassed-in loggia it lies until light frosts. And what kind of taste does Chill have - watermelon for all watermelons.
And I like Suga Baby or sugar baby, watermelons are not very large, but very sweet and tasty.
Crimson Suite is an early-ripening variety, for Siberia - the very thing !!!, which stably gives even though not such large watermelons (currently the largest 4 kg), but in past years, it seems to me, there were up to 6–7 kg - I didn’t weigh it, because I purchased the scales only last fall for daily weighing of my “champion”. It seems that the weight of watermelons could be increased by a small normalization.
Growing watermelon seedlings
In the south and in most areas of the Lower Volga region, watermelons can be grown by direct sowing of seeds in open ground, but in regions not warm enough for this culture, preliminary seedling preparation is necessary. Sometimes seedlings have to be grown in the south, if there is a desire to get the fruits of the latest varieties.
Planting seeds for seedlings
If the seeds were bought in a specialized store and the manufacturer is not in doubt, preliminary preparation of seeds is not required. But if the seeds are taken from a watermelon bought for food, one must be careful. Firstly, it may turn out to be a hybrid, and then nothing good will come of it. Secondly, seeds can carry hidden signs of disease, so they must be disinfected at least. Checking the seeds for germination is not necessary: they are suitable for at least 6 years in a watermelon, but choosing the largest is worth it.
For disinfection, the seeds are soaked for 20-30 minutes in a dark solution of potassium permanganate, and then washed with water. When growing watermelon in the central region and in the north, it is advisable to harden the seeds (hold for about 12 hours in a damp cloth in the refrigerator). This stage will also help in the prevention against most diseases. If you do not do this, you can just soak the seeds before planting, but soaking will give only a two-day advantage in the speed of emergence of seedlings, you can sow and dry.
Watermelon seeds are easy to handle: they are quite large
Based on the possible timing of planting a 35-day seedlings in open ground or a greenhouse, it turns out that you need to sow seeds for seedlings in the middle or end of April (depending on the region). Since watermelons are painful to transplant, it is best to immediately sow the seeds in separate cups with a capacity of at least 250 ml and a depth of about 10 cm (peat pots are best used). As a last resort, preliminary sowing in the general box with the subsequent careful planting in pots is possible. Soil - a mixture of equal parts of garden soil, sand, humus and peat or a mixture bought in a store.
Before sowing, the soil is slightly moistened and seeds are buried to a depth of about 3 cm, pouring a layer of clean sand of 0.5–1 cm on top. You can put 2-3 seeds in a pot (then remove extra seedlings), sow in a common box after 3-4 cm.
It is easy to look after seedlings. Immediately after germination, the “gardener” must be placed in the bright sun and the temperature lowered to about 18 ° C, and after a few days return it to the values of 22 ° C during the day and 18 ° C at night. In the future, it is necessary to monitor the condition of the soil and lighting: daylight hours should last at least 12 hours, so perhaps the seedlings will have to be slightly highlighted. It is necessary to water under the root, but slightly: the soil should be slightly moist.
5-7 days after the seedlings are biting, they need to be thinned out: if the sowing was in pots, leave one at a time, if in the box - remove obviously unnecessary. The day after thinning, you can give top dressing: a weak solution of complex mineral fertilizers (according to the instructions) or infusion of ash.
In a month, watermelon seedlings manage to grow a rather big bush
A week before planting in the ground, watermelon seedlings are taught to fresh air, periodically taking to the balcony. By the time of planting in the garden, it should be strong bushes with 4-5 real leaves.
Is it possible to pick watermelon seedlings
In the classical sense, picking a watermelon is unacceptable: the slightest damage to the central root leads to the fact that further work will be meaningless: even if the seedlings do not die, a normal crop cannot be expected. But if sowing was done in a common box, when the first true leaflet appears, you can plant watermelons in pots, taking out each seedling with a good lump of land and without violating the root system. This can only be done if you have extensive gardening experience and if absolutely necessary: so that the seedlings do not even feel that they have been manipulated.
Video: tips for growing watermelon seedlings
Outdoor Watermelon Care
Watermelon is a warm and photophilous plant, so they plant it when real heat occurs and on the solar bed. Despite the fact that the adult bush does not seem very large, the watermelon needs a lot of space, planting should not be thickened: this culture loves space.
Planting watermelons in open ground
Watermelon is placed in a place protected from the north winds; if possible - on a small hill so that water does not stagnate, from which the roots can rot. The best soils are light loam or sandy loam with a near neutral environment. It is better to plant them in the place where garlic, onions, peas or cabbage grew last year. Do not plant a watermelon after solanaceous vegetables. As for any garden residents, the garden bed must be prepared in the fall, digging the soil with any fertilizer, except fresh manure. Shortly before planting seedlings, the soil must be loosened by adding a liter can of ash per square meter. He likes watermelon and magnesium, so it is advisable to make magnesium-containing fertilizers in a small dose (about 5 g per 1 m2).
Watermelons are planted when daytime temperatures of about 15–20 ° C are reached, and at night - not lower than 8 ° C. The distance between plants on a large field can withstand from 1.5 to 3 meters, but in the country, of course, there is not so much space. However, the holes can not be closer to each other than in a half meter, but it is better to use a 100 x 70 cm scheme.
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- In selected places, they make a scoop of the hole slightly larger than the pots with seedlings.
- Half a glass of ash is brought into the dug holes, mix it well with the soil and lightly watered.
- Carefully taking out well-watered seedlings (in no case damaging the roots), plant it, slightly deepening.
- Each bush is poured with warm water under the root, then clean sand is poured into the bed with a layer of about 1 cm, placing it at least around each plant.
Watermelon tolerates drought well and does not require heavy watering. Water it only until the fruit is formed, moisture is especially needed during the period of rapid growth of the leaf apparatus. Before flowering, the soil should be constantly slightly moist, but not swampy. It is necessary to water under the root, it is better in the evening, the water by this time is warming in the sun. After watering, shallow loosening is necessary. It is accompanied by weeding, but as the bush grows, the watermelon itself suppresses weeds, and weeding can soon be forgotten.
During pouring and ripening of watermelon berries, the soil, on the contrary, is slightly dried: by this time, powerful roots have formed in the watermelon, penetrating to a meter depth and getting enough moisture out of it. Intensive rains occurring in the second half of summer, rather, damage the quality of the crop, making the fruits less sweet.
Watermelons feed moderately; special caution should be exercised in the use of nitrogen fertilizers, it is better not to use them unless absolutely necessary: the nitrogen that is contained in the complex fertilizer will be sufficient. The first time top dressing is introduced a week and a half after transplanting watermelons into the garden, the second time a month later. It is better to take infusions of mullein, adding wood ash to them, and if they are not there - ammofosk or azofosk (according to the instructions for the drug). As soon as the fruits are tied up, feeding should be stopped: the watermelon will find its own nutrition.
It is convenient to carry out top dressing with special compounds for gourds
The formation of the bush (pinching shoots, trimming excess lashes and breaking off stepsons)
In the process of bush growth, watermelon lashes should be periodically shifted so that they do not intertwine with each other. But this is far from the most difficult: it is important to correctly form a bush, removing excess shoots from time to time. When forming a watermelon plant, the main task is that it does not spend its energy on the growth of unnecessary green mass, and directs the maximum of nutrients to the formation and ripening of the crop. In addition, some of the fruits have to be removed, since all those that are tied up, the bush will not be able to provide food even on the most fertile lands. All pruning operations must be carried out on a fine sunny day so that the cut or pinch places dry quickly.
The formation procedure depends on the area in which the watermelon is grown. This work is most important in the northern regions, where the summer is short, and every warm day is important in the issue of ripening. In addition, the course of the procedure also depends on the type of watermelon: the formation of a bush is most important for large-fruited varieties. All work on rationing the crop should be done when the berries grow from a chicken egg. There are several approaches to creating a properly fruiting watermelon plant.
- According to the first option, three to six fruits are left on the main stem (depending on their intended size), and all the ovaries are removed from the lateral shoots. At the same time, the lateral shoots are not allowed to grow and pinch them over the fourth sheet. The meaning of leaving short shoots is to provide food for the main stem. But as the fruits grow, lateral shoots are gradually removed, starting with those closest to the roots.
- In the opposite version, on the contrary, fruits are grown on the side shoots, leaving one berry on each (for powerful bushes - a maximum of two), and in all - from 4 to 6 specimens per bush. Three leaves are left over the fruits, pinch the rest of the side shoots. Fruits formed on the main stem are removed.
- The toughest option is not to leave side shoots at all. Up to five fruits are left on the main stem, but so that between them there are 4-5 leaves. It is believed that the nutrition from these leaves should be enough for the formation of fruits, especially if the variety does not imply the possibility of obtaining very large berries.
How to figure out which option to choose? It seems that an ordinary summer resident does not make sense to think about it, but just remember a few rules:
- do not leave more than six fruits on the bush;
- on each shoot leave only one berry in the case of large-fruited varieties and a maximum of two in the case of small-fruited;
- after the watermelon has grown to a fist, leave a maximum of 4–5 leaves above it.
Even when the formation of the bush seems complete and the active growth of the fruits and the increase in their mass begin, stepsons will periodically appear from the sinuses of the leaves left - additional side shoots. It is worth making a rule to inspect the lashes weekly and break out stepchildren, not allowing them to increase in size. True, at this time it is already undesirable to turn the lashes, so this should be done very carefully. As the fruit grows, plywood or planks should be placed under them so that they do not rot in the rainy summer, lying on damp ground.
All available schemes for the formation of watermelon plants include pinching most of the stems and leaving only a few fruits on the bush
How to grow a square watermelon ("Japanese" technology)
A square (more precisely, cubic) watermelon is only good because it will take up less space when storing or transporting the crop. This “miracle” has no other advantages, and there’s no point in specifically trying to grow it. But lovers of such exotic can get square striped berries from any favorite variety. To do this, you need to somehow make cubic containers of transparent plastic of the appropriate size.
What does the corresponding mean? The diagonal of the face of the cube should be slightly larger than the diameter of the proposed watermelon, which will grow in this tank. In a too cramped dwelling, the watermelon will not really ripen, and in a too spacious one it won’t be quite “square”: only 6 flattened sides will be obtained. For the cube to be reusable, it, of course, must be collapsible, and in one of the faces you need to make a hole 3-4 cm in diameter to escape with the fruit. In addition, you need numerous smaller openings for ventilation, otherwise the berry in this cube will simply rot.
The future square watermelon spends almost all his life inside a transparent cube
Then everything is very simple. As soon as the watermelon grows the size of an apple, it is placed in a mold and continued normal care, watching how it feels. You may have to water a little more, turn the cube, move the fruit in it while it is small. But as soon as he grows up and begins to rest against the verge, he will take the form of a cube. Obviously, in a similar way it is possible to grow not only cubic watermelons, but also, for example, pyramidal ones.
Disease and Pest Treatment
Watermelon is a thermophilic plant, but the rest is completely unpretentious. With proper care, it rarely gets sick or is attacked by pests. Most often, in amateur gourd, even no spraying is required; in large farms, of course, preventive treatments are carried out. To prevent possible diseases (rot, spotting, powdery mildew, anthracnose) use, for example, such well-known drugs as Fundazol or Decis, as well as traditional Bordeaux liquid. Each of them is able to destroy certain pathogens, and if necessary, you should carefully study the instructions.
Watermelon has few pests. The most common - gourd aphids, wireworms, various ticks. To scare away most of them, it is enough to spray watermelons with products based on garden plants or the simplest household preparations. So, against aphids well help infusions of tobacco dust or wood ash (with small additives of laundry soap). Wireworm and leaf-eating caterpillars are harvested by drawing it into sweet baits located in small holes: sweetened infusions of garlic, mustard, wormwood, hot pepper, tomato tops.
Harvesting and storage
When the crop approaches the ripening stage, the question arises: when will watermelons be cut? After all, the fact is that fully ripened berries are very poorly stored, and if you want to eat a delicious watermelon directly from the garden, you have to wait until it becomes as tasty as the variety allows. Poorly stored and those watermelons that have not yet reached the so-called first stage of maturity.
Of course, until you cut the watermelon, you won’t know exactly what it is inside: sometimes even the most experienced melon growers make mistakes. The cut is simple: if the color of the pulp and seeds meets varietal characteristics, the watermelon is ready. A slightly immature specimen (the flesh is lighter than normal) could reach full ripeness and collect sugar during storage. But you will not cut the berries in the garden!
There are several signs of ripeness:
- when watermelon ripens, the matte surface of the peel turns into a shiny one;
- the crust should be firm and not pierced by light pressure with a fingernail;
- in a fully ripened watermelon, the stalk becomes dry;
- a good sign is a yellow spot in the place where the watermelon was in contact with the ground or litter;
- if you knock on a watermelon, then the ripening specimens make a sonorous sound. Muted tones are in fully ripened and, conversely, green (well, to distinguish between them is not so difficult).
The most mellow are late-ripe watermelons, but they must also be removed correctly. The berries are cut with a secateurs or with a sharp knife along with a peduncle about 5 cm long. When transported to the storage, watermelons should lie on a soft litter, and in the storage itself also on a litter, better than straw, and only in one layer. During storage, they should be periodically inspected, discarding instances starting to deteriorate. The best storage temperature is from 6 to 8 ° C, humidity is not higher than 85%. But even the most mild varieties can rarely survive for more than three months.
Growing watermelon at home (in a bucket)
If the house has a sunny windowsill or balcony, you can grow a watermelon on them. True, it requires a lot of free space, and it is almost impossible to get a berry weighing more than 1 kg. The whole process consists of the same stages as usual, only from small seedling pots, plants with a lump of earth are transferred into a large pot, with a volume of not less than a bucket, and better - from 15 liters. Of course, you can immediately sow seeds in a bucket (without forgetting to make drainage holes in the bottom).
On one plant at home, you can leave no more than two fruits, but after they are successfully planted. And they will be established only under the condition of artificial pollination.
The owner should know how female flowers differ from male flowers, and pollen from a male flower (on a thin peduncle) must be independently pollinated by a female (with a thick peduncle).
Otherwise, you need to monitor the temperature, soil moisture and give the watermelon more light.
Greenhouse watermelons, the use of nets
In the cold climate zone, watermelons can only be grown in a greenhouse. The beds are prepared in advance, introducing humus and mineral fertilizers into them. Watermelon seedlings are planted when the night temperatures in the greenhouse do not drop below 6 ° C, which happens in the center of Russia around the end of April. Although, of course, in the greenhouse you can sow watermelons and seeds, immediately in the garden.
Since you have to save space in the greenhouse, watermelons are planted a little thicker, and trellises are arranged to guide the lashes. Usually plants are planted according to a pattern of 50 x 70 cm, and the early varieties even plant two plants per hole, directing the shoots in different directions. If the windows and doors in the greenhouse are kept almost always closed, at the right time there may not be flying insects in it, there is no wind there, so artificial pollination is necessary.
If watermelon is grown on a trellis, the fruits do not lie on the ground, but are at a certain height, so they can fall as they grow. In this regard, when the berries grow to the size of an apple, it is often placed in spacious nets of any material that are firmly tied to the trellis. In this case, the fruits do not lie on the ground and, therefore, do not rot. In addition, when in the grid, they are evenly lit from all sides, which leads to earlier ripening.
The nets mounted on the trellis allow watermelons not to fall and it is better to ripen
Barrel cultivation, film application
Our summer residents are well-known experimenters, and in the pursuit of saving space, they have invented many unique ways of growing vegetable crops. So, many vegetables, flowers and even strawberries are often grown in old unfit barrels with a volume of about 200 liters. You can do this with watermelons. Various rubbish is laid at the bottom of the barrel, which acts as a drainage, and, as it decays, also fertilizer. Top grass, good humus, and then fertile soil. Since the metal barrel warms up well in the sun, this substrate always remains warm.
In a barrel, you can immediately sow seeds or plant seedlings (depending on the climate), but in any case, first you need to cover the watermelon with a non-woven material. Enough space in the barrel for two plants. There is no need for a trellis, and growing lashes will hang down, where flowers will appear at the surface of the earth, and then fruits. Caring for watermelons is usual, but you may need more abundant watering.
Some summer residents instead of non-woven material cover the planted seedlings with plastic wrap. As a temporary measure, this approach can be used, but prolonged exposure to watermelons under the film can lead to root decay. The film can be used in an ordinary garden bed, and in a greenhouse, but only for a short time. Its only true use is to cover crops in order to create a greenhouse effect for the emergence of quick shoots. In the future, you can make holes for seedlings and hold the film for some more time so that the ground does not cool. But long-term maintenance under polyethylene for watermelons is fatal.
Features of growing watermelons in various regions
Hassle-free cultivation of watermelons is possible only in the south, in other regions there are rules, but all of them are aimed mainly at creating warm conditions for this berry.
Watermelons in the South of Russia
In the southern regions (starting with Volgograd) seedlings are only occupied by lovers who want to get very early crops. In industrial production, watermelons are sown immediately in open ground, starting in mid-spring. They are watered only at the first time, before the beginning of flowering, and then the melon, in fact, grows by itself.
Already starting from the Central Black Earth region, options are possible. Here, cultivation is used both through seedlings, and without it, and sowing in the garden is possible in early May. Greenhouses are usually not needed.
For the first time, many summer residents cover the crops with film. Some sow watermelons immediately after planting potatoes in an empty seat. Since the second half of June they have not been watered at all; precipitation is usually enough.
Central regions of Russia, Ural region
In the central regions of the country, and even more so in the Urals, crops can be harvested in open ground only by seedlings. Seedlings (preferably in peat pots) are planted in the garden at the end of spring, but greenhouse cultivation is also often used, planting seedlings immediately after the May holidays. Only the early varieties are used: Ogonyok, Skorik, Sibiryak, and in case of unsuccessful summers in the open ground, even they can not mature and can only be used for salting.
When planting in greenhouses, many alternate watermelons with cucumbers, although this can hardly be considered reasonable: watermelon is a resident of arid regions, and cucumbers need moist air. But with timely ventilation and competent temperature control, both crops can bring good yields.
Video: growing watermelons in greenhouse conditions
North-West Region, Leningrad Region
More recently, it was believed that it was unrealistic to grow watermelons in the open field in the north-west of the country, but in recent years there have been increasing reports that enthusiasts manage to do this even in Karelia and the Murmansk region. True, luck is variable and depends on how the summer turned out, and the fruits are never very tasty. But in greenhouses, watermelons in the Leningrad Region have been growing for a long time and quite successfully. But even greenhouse cultivation involves the use of only early varieties and requires considerable effort. Among agronomists, it is believed that the unspoken border for growing watermelons, even in greenhouses, runs along the line St. Petersburg - Kirov: in the more northern regions, "the game is not worth the candle."
Watermelons in the Far East
Heat in the Far Eastern region is quite enough for growing watermelons in open ground, there are even zoned varieties, for example, Ogonyok, Ranniy Kuban, Skorik, although it is possible to ripen any other varieties, except very late ones. Sowing seeds directly into the garden is, of course, risky, so they practice the seedling method.
The only difference between Far Eastern technology and traditional technology is that in the second half of summer there are often long and heavy rains, as a result of which watermelons can rot. They cope with this simply: they are planted on high ridges, from which excess water flows. The size of the ridges is any convenient for use. In summer cottages, they are made about a meter wide, rising above the furrows to a height of 20–25 cm.
Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, so the climate is very dependent on the region. And if in the north of the country it looks like near Moscow, then in the south it is ideal for the cultivation of gourds. In the south of Ukraine they don’t know the concept of “seedlings”, watermelons are sown directly in the field or in the garden in late April - early May, and care for them is minimal. In the north, it is possible to sow seeds in the garden (at the end of spring), and to pre-grow seedlings.
Growing watermelons is not always a lottery: with some experience and good luck, normal fruits can also be obtained in central Russia. And already at the latitudes south of Kursk or Saratov this striped berry is a traditional resident in the beds of gardening enthusiasts. You can enjoy delicious sweet fruits directly from the garden, with some effort, but they are small: the technology for growing gourds is available to every summer resident.