Watermelon in the middle lane: how to grow a delicious berry on your own

The most delicious watermelons grow in hot countries and in the very south of Russia, but they learned to get good crops even in the middle lane, in particular, in the Moscow region. True, direct sowing of seeds in open ground can be achieved only in the most favorable years, therefore seedlings are usually prepared in advance. Often the use of greenhouses helps in the cultivation of watermelons.

The best varieties of watermelons for the middle strip

Varieties of watermelons are conditionally divided into early ripening, mid-ripening and late. There is no question of growing late-ripening varieties (such as Spring, Icarus, Kholodok, etc.) in the middle lane, mid-ripening can only be grown in a greenhouse, and early-ripening watermelons can be planted in unprotected soil.

Varieties for open ground

In the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation there are not so many varieties of watermelon recommended for the Central region, but enthusiastic gardeners grow at least two dozen. Among the most popular are:

  • Spark - an early-ripening variety known to most summer residents, has been grown for several decades. The fruits are small (about 2 kg), with small seeds, the flesh is tender, of excellent taste. The bark is thin, painted dark green, the stripes are weakly visible.

    The light is easily recognizable and extremely popular.

  • Suga Baby (aka Sugar Baby). In the State Register there is a record of a recommendation for landing in the Central Black Earth region, but it is successfully ripening and a little to the north. It is cold-resistant, ultra-ripe, bears fruit in small berries, weighing up to 1 kg, the usual color for most watermelons. The taste is excellent, the crop is well transported.

    Sugar baby is one of the first

  • Trophy F1 ripens in no more than 68 days, the fruits are widely ellipsoid, smooth, weighing 8–11 kg. The color is yellowish-green with wide stripes, the taste of pulp is excellent. Watermelons of this hybrid are perfectly transported and stored for 1.5 months, high productivity.

    Trophy - one of the giants among the early varieties

You can also pay attention to the varieties Victoria and Skorik.

Varieties for the greenhouse

Varieties grown in unprotected soil are also suitable for greenhouses. Also in it you can manage to get mid-season fruits, for example, it can be Lezhebok with fruits weighing up to 5 kg or large-fruited (up to 10 kg) Ataman. However, when planting in a greenhouse, they often prefer small-fruited options, which are guaranteed to give high yields. Ripening periods are also chosen as short as possible. Among the popular varieties and hybrids can be identified:

  • Crimson Sweet is a fairly new variety coming from France. One example of large-fruited varieties, but with greenhouse cultivation rarely fails gardeners. Fruits of classical watermelon color, crisp flesh, very sweet. It is well stored and transported, the variety is disease resistant, and tolerates extreme drought.

    Crimson Sweet - a Frenchman who has taken root in our beds

  • The peasant is an early ripe variety bearing medium-sized berries (weighing about 3 kg), light green in color with dark green stripes. The pulp is medium density, great taste. The fruits are stored for about a month.
  • Joy F1 - in shape and color of fruits, as well as consumer properties resembles a peasant, but the fruits are slightly smaller, and the flesh is not bright red, but dark pink in color. It is successfully grown in the Central region not only in greenhouses, but also in open ground.

    Joy is a watermelon that grows well in both the greenhouse and the melon

For planting in the greenhouse, you can also choose varieties and hybrids:

  • Ultra early
  • Cinderella,
  • Krimstar F1,
  • Gift to the north F1.

Growing conditions

In a temperate climate, growing watermelons is not easy. The area of ​​their hassle-free cultivation begins approximately from the southern regions of the Saratov region (Rivne watermelons are well known) or Volgograd (Kamyshin). After all, the birthplace of watermelon is Africa. Therefore, it becomes clear that this culture does not need moisture as high as heat: it is a heat-resistant plant. In addition, the melon should be constantly lit by the sun: it is impossible to grow sweet berries even in partial shade.

At the same time, the watermelon normally tolerates cooling, if it does not come to frosts and does not drag out for a long time. He is not picky about the composition of the soil. Feels best on light sandy loam with a pH of 6.5–7, responds well to organic fertilizers. The roots of the watermelon penetrate deeply and themselves produce moisture, but with additional artificial irrigation during plant development and fruit growth, yield increases significantly.

The watermelon has small-looking bushes, but the nutrition area is significant, and this should be taken into account when choosing a garden. Thickened plantings are unacceptable, between plants should be at least 70 cm.It is optimal if it grows on a small hill in the middle lane: excess water accumulating in the lowlands is detrimental to the roots, causing their decay, especially in cool weather.

Watermelons need a lot of space

If the soil in the area is clay, it is advisable to add sand during the autumn digging, and if it is too acidic - chalk or dolomite flour. The amount depends on the severity of the situation: sand can be up to a bucket per 1 m2, chalk - one or two handfuls. As a fertilizer, it is best to take a bucket of good compost or humus, but not fresh manure. In the spring, during the final preparation of the bed by a cultivator or a rake, 30-40 g of superphosphate are added per 1 m2 per liter jar of wood ash. Watermelon also responds well to small additives of magnesium fertilizers (about 5 g per 1 m2).

It is better if the watermelon is planted after cabbage, peas, onions or garlic, you should not plant it after solanaceous (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant). For more than two consecutive seasons, they try not to place watermelons in one place.

Growing seedlings

It is not difficult to grow watermelon seedlings at home, although many prefer to do this in greenhouses or light greenhouses: the apartment is not always light enough and the required temperature.

Sowing dates

Watermelon seedlings will be transplanted into open ground or a greenhouse approximately 30–35 days after sowing. In the middle lane, planting in unprotected soil before the start of summer is fraught with risk: night frosts are still possible, so seeds need to be sown in late April or early May.

The timing of planting in the greenhouse depends on its quality, but in any case in mid-May this can already be done, which means that the time for planting seeds in pots is the beginning or middle of April. When calculating the time, it is necessary to take into account the fact that unprepared seeds can germinate 10-12 days; if they are properly prepared, seedlings can be expected earlier.

Prepared watermelon seeds sprout faster

Sowing seeds for seedlings

Sowing watermelons in a common box is not worth it: they transfer the transplant extremely painfully, so you just need to find individual pots with a capacity of 250 ml and a depth of 10 cm.It is better if they are reusable cups with a retractable bottom, optimally - peat pots.

For growing several bushes, ready-made soil is easier to buy in a store, it will come out no more expensive than preparing it yourself, but more reliable.

The best composition consists of equal parts of humus, sand, peat and good fertile land. If there is no peat, you can replace it with scalded wood chips. If the components are of doubtful origin, after mixing, the soil should be shed with a pink solution of potassium permanganate, and do this a few days before sowing. Putting the soil in pots, it is worth pouring a centimeter layer of large clean sand at the bottom.

For watermelon seedlings, you should choose the largest of the available peat pots

Watermelon seeds retain their germination for a long time, up to 8 years, so you do not need to buy them annually, but it is worth preparing for sowing:

  1. First, the largest seeds are selected.
  2. Then they are disinfected by soaking for 20-30 minutes in a dark solution of potassium permanganate.
  3. After washing with clean water, it is sent for a day in a wet rag to the refrigerator: hardening in the middle lane will not hurt, especially when grown in open ground.

Even better, if the seeds are slightly bent before hardening: they are kept in the refrigerator for 5 hours with protruding tails.

If the seeds are reliable, you can’t do all this, but to speed up the germination, it’s worth soaking them for several hours in warm water. Honestly, I have never done anything with seeds for more than thirty years of gardening; dry plants sprouted and yielded good crops.

Sowing Algorithm:

  1. Before sowing, the soil in pots is slightly moistened if it has managed to dry out. You can water it and then, after sowing.

    Before sowing watermelon seeds, the earth is moistened

  2. Watermelon seeds are sown to a depth of 2.5-3 cm, placed in a pot of 2 pieces (extra seedlings are then removed).

    Watermelon seeds are sown to a depth of 2.5–3 cm

  3. Watering the crops with warm water, sprinkle the soil with clean, dry sand a layer of several millimeters.
  4. To create a greenhouse effect, the pots are covered with glass and placed in a warm place. Prior to germination, it is desirable to maintain the temperature not lower than 25 ° C (although the seeds will rise in a colder atmosphere, only later).
  5. Immediately after emergence, without interfering, the pots should be placed on a cool, lighted window sill: in the first 3-4 days, the seedlings should not be allowed to stretch, but in the heat they will do it instantly. In the future, the best temperature is around 22 ° C during the day and 18 ° C at night.

    To prevent watermelon seedlings from stretching out, in the first 3-4 days, plants should be kept in a cool place

Seedling Care

In addition to observing the required temperature, it is important to monitor the lighting: daylight hours should last at least 12 hours. If the windowsill faces north, it is advisable to equip it with lights, turn it on in the morning and evening. Watering is needed moderate, warm water, under the root.

Watermelon picking is unacceptable: after damage to the central root, the seedlings may not die, but they will not yield good fruits. Therefore, any transplant is extremely undesirable and should be carried out only if necessary with the utmost precautionary measures.

8-10 days after the emergence of seedlings, the seedlings can be slightly fed with a solution of any complex fertilizer (strictly according to the instructions on the package) or with an infusion of ash. A week before transplanting, the seedlings are tempered in the garden, periodically opening windows or taking out pots to the street. Good seedlings, ready for planting, are viable bushes with a short thick stem and 4–5 large leaves.

Good seedlings have very large and bright leaves

Transplanting seedlings into the ground

Planting seedlings in unprotected soil is possible with the establishment of warm weather. Day should be at least 15–20 ° C, and at night - at least 8 ° C. However, if such indicators in the middle lane are observed in early May, one should not think that this is summer and plant watermelons. The cold will return, and it is better to wait until the beginning of June. In an extreme case, you can land, but be prepared to cover at least a spanbond planting. Polyethylene film is suitable only for a very short time.

In unprotected soil, watermelons are planted more freely. In real melon, for some varieties between plants leave from 1.5 to 3 m. In summer cottages of the middle lane when planting early ripe varieties this is unnecessary, the optimal pattern is 100 x 70 cm, in extreme cases - 70 x 50 cm. Planting seedlings for an experienced gardener familiar:

  1. In the designated places, they dig holes slightly deeper than the size of the pots with seedlings.
  2. A handful of ash is introduced into the wells, mixed with ground and watered a little.

    Holes are made at a fair distance from each other

  3. Very carefully removing seedlings from the pots (if they are not peaty), plant it a little deeper. Peat pots are planted with seedlings.

    All voids between the roots and the rest of the beds must be carefully filled with soil.

  4. They fill the voids with soil, pour warm water under the root, mulch with clean sand.

    It is necessary to water very carefully, and then fix the plant

Video: planting watermelon seedlings in the garden

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Growing watermelons by sowing seeds in the garden

Watermelon seeds germinate at a minimum temperature of 16 ° C, plants die at 0 ° C. Therefore, when planning sowing seeds in unprotected soil or in a greenhouse bed, you need to focus on these indicators. Sowing in open ground and in a greenhouse, as well as further care for plants in both of these cases are slightly different.

Open sowing

When choosing a sowing date, it is worth remembering that not only air should warm up well: at a soil temperature below 14 ° C, the seeds germinate with great difficulty. Therefore, in the middle lane, sowing of seeds, although it is possible somewhat earlier than transplanting seedlings, is carried out not earlier than May 25. While they bend and ascend, the threat of frost will pass. But sowing germinated seeds during these periods is not worth it: there is a high probability of their death in the event of a sudden cooling. It is better to use dry seeds, and hatching ones - not earlier than summer.

The beds are prepared in the same way as for planting seedlings, in the same places they prepare holes, introducing local fertilizers. Only the holes with ash are buried back, and the seeds are buried in them to a depth of about 3 cm. As with growing seedlings, 2-3 seeds should be put next to them. 5-6 days after germination, the excess plants are removed.

Often in the middle lane they equip a “smart bed”: when digging, they bring in increased doses of organic matter, and then cover with a dark film, as a result of which the earth quickly warms up in the sun. In the right places, cuts are made in the film, where seeds are sown (you can also plant seedlings). The film is left for the whole season, and at first it is also covered with a spanbond bed.

Video: growing on a smart bed of watermelons grafted onto a pumpkin

Sowing in the greenhouse

The beds in the greenhouse are prepared long before sowing watermelons. And this applies not only to the absolute need for autumn digging of the land with fertilizers and cleaning of all plant residues. Sometimes a complete soil replacement is required if any diseases raged in the greenhouse.

It is recommended to sow any greens or radishes in the greenhouse before watermelons. They will almost have time to ripen by mid-May, when it will be necessary to sow watermelons. If sowing is planned at an earlier date, then even in the greenhouse you need to prepare cover materials just in case.

The sowing pattern in the greenhouse is a little more compact, the distance between plants is more than 50 cm, it is rarely possible to allow here. The earliest varieties of watermelon, many gardeners do sow two in a hole, then directing the lashes of neighboring bushes in different directions. Due to cramped spaces, trellis is often arranged in the greenhouse, raising watermelon lashes above the ground and tying shoots to the supports first, and then the fruits that appear.

The technique of sowing seeds in a greenhouse is no different from that in open ground.

Often watermelon bushes alternate with melons or cucumbers. If the first option is absolutely logical, then the question is debatable with cucumbers: they like moist air, and watermelons are used to growing in arid conditions. Nevertheless, such a joint landing is possible, but in the future, a reasonable regulation of temperature and humidity in the greenhouse will be required.

In a greenhouse, watermelon is grown on a trellis

Landing care

Caring for melons is no more difficult than caring for any vegetables. True, to the usual work (watering, loosening, top dressing), the need to form bushes is also added. In the open ground and the greenhouse, the events are similar, the nuances are insignificant.

Outdoor Watermelon Care

Watering watermelons before setting fruits is necessary moderate, but the soil should always be slightly moist. Moisture is especially necessary during a period of intense growth of leaf mass. It is necessary to water in the evening, warmed up in the sun by water, under the root. With the growth of fruits, watering is significantly reduced, and then stopped: during the ripening of the berries, the soil is even dried so that the watermelons pick up more sugars. Until the leaves have grown, after irrigation, the soil is loosened, destroying the weeds.

The first top dressing is carried out 1.5 weeks after transplanting, or 2-3 weeks after emergence. It is better to use organic and ash, in extreme cases - mineral fertilizers strictly according to the instructions. Then they are fed an additional 1-2 times, but without an excess of nitrogen, and with the beginning of the growth of the fruits, the feeding is stopped.

To feed watermelon, it is better to use organics, but mineral fertilizers are also suitable.

As the lashes grow, they are laid out evenly in the bed, trying not to disturb again. Planks are placed under the fruits to prevent possible decay in case of inclement weather.

Planks are placed under the watermelons to prevent decay.

The formation of the bush is aimed at ensuring that it does not spend its energy on the growth of excess green mass. The main part of the incoming nutrients should go to the formation and maturation of the crop. Unnecessary ovaries are also removed, because even under the most optimal conditions, the plant will not be able to provide full nutrition to all that has arisen. Shaping operations are carried out in sunny weather so that the slices immediately dry out and cannot rot.

Pruning and crop rationing are especially important for large-fruited varieties.

There are several options for the formation of bushes, the choice depends on many factors. In some cases, they try to grow a crop on the central stem, removing side shoots to the maximum. In others, on the contrary, pinch the main shoot almost immediately and grow fruit on the side. For different varieties, one or another approach is preferable. The easiest way is as follows:

  • no more than six fruits are left on the bushes, cutting off the excess when they reach the size of a chicken egg;
  • on each shoot, only one fruit is guaranteed to grow in the case of large-fruited varieties and two in the case of small-fruited;
  • after the fruits have acquired, the average apple leaves no more than 4–5 leaves above it; the rest of the shoot is cut off.

Even after the formation of the bush during the filling of the fruit from the axils of the leaves, stepchildren still appear, they must be broken out right away, being careful not to injure the lashes by turning them over.

All extra shoots must be broken in time

Features of growing in a greenhouse

The main approaches to growing watermelons in a greenhouse are the same as outside. True, one should carefully monitor the humidity and temperature conditions: it does not rain in the greenhouse, and it can overheat without airing. But, in addition to ordinary events, you have to pay attention to two more points.

  • artificial pollination may be required. If the vents are mostly closed, there is no reason to hope for pollination by insects. The owner himself must arm himself with a brush and, taking pollen from the recently blossomed male flowers, carefully transfer it inside the female. Immediately after fertilization, fruit sets and their fast growth begins, which can be helped by weekly top dressing with small doses of complex fertilizers, or better with liquid solutions of mullein or bird droppings;
  • in the greenhouse, watermelons are usually grown vertically, forming bushes with a simultaneous garter to the supports. The fruits do not lie on the ground, but hang in the air, and upon reaching a critical mass they can fall and break. Therefore, berries the size of a fist are placed in soft nets of any durable material, where they will grow. So the fruits are evenly lit and gain more sugar. Nets are tied to a trellis.

    In the grids, watermelons are lit from all sides

Diseases and Pests

Diseases and pests with proper care visit this gourd very rarely. Summer residents sometimes dispense with even preventative treatments, although in large agricultural enterprises, of course, melons are sprayed a couple of times a season.

Most often, watermelons are affected by the following diseases:

  • powdery mildew: manifested by white spots with a fluff, which first form on the leaves, then go on shoots and fruits. Leaves crumble, shoots die off, fruits rot. Risk factors are cold and waterlogging. With proper agricultural technology, the risk of infection is minimal, but in case of illness, the plant should be sprayed with simple fungicides, for example, Bordeaux liquid;

    Powdery mildew is hard not to recognize - the leaves are covered with a whitish coating

  • Anthracnose is a fungal disease commonly found in greenhouse cultivation. It appears brown spots of various shapes on all parts of the plant. Following the formation of spots on the fruits, they turn into ulcers with a pinkish coating. The disease is especially scary in conditions of high humidity, so you need to ventilate the greenhouse more often. Control measures - as with powdery mildew;

    With anthracnose, spots on the leaves are brownish

  • Fusarium infection is another fungal disease that causes the plant to wilt. It is carried by non-disinfected seeds and soil, spreads quickly, leads to the complete destruction of plantings. There are modern varieties that are resistant to this disease. In the initial stages, treatment is possible, for example, with the help of Previkur;

    With fusarium, the entire bush withers

  • mosaic disease - a viral disease, manifested in the appearance on the leaves of spots of different colors, shapes and sizes. The leaves dry, the plant lags in development, the yield drops sharply. A full-fledged treatment is impossible, but in the early stages, the disease can be significantly inhibited by spraying Karbofos.

    When mosaic spots have a variety of colors

For the treatment of other diseases that are even less common, the gardener must have the preparations Fundazol or Decis, but the disease is easier to prevent, carefully observing all the rules of agricultural technology.

There are few pests in a watermelon, most often they visit it:

  • melon aphid is a small insect that settles in whole colonies: first from the bottom of the leaves, then it moves to shoots and further. It sucks plant juices, sometimes even leading to its death. With timely detection, folk remedies help: infusions of mustard powder, tobacco dust. In advanced cases, it is necessary to spray with Iskra, Inta-Vir or similar strong insecticides;

    The ubiquitous aphid settles on leaves in whole colonies

  • паутинный клещ проявляет себя сначала с нижней стороны листьев мелкими тёмными точками, быстро растущими. Затем все части растения покрываются паутиной, засыхают, растение гибнет. Профилактика настоями огородных растений очень эффективна, но если беда настигла, требуется опрыскивание серьёзными ядохимикатами, например, Актофитом или Актелликом;

    В результате атаки паутинного клеща растение покрывается паутиной

  • проволочник — тот же вредитель, который поражает и картофель. Пробуравливает плоды, после чего они загнивают. Особенно часто он появляется в кислых почвах. Проще всего против проволочника устраивать ловушки с приманками — банки с кусочками овощей. Периодически ловушки осматривают, вредителей уничтожают. Хорошо отпугивают проволочника посаженные по соседству бобовые культуры или листовая горчица. При массовом нашествии приходится применять препараты Гром-2, Провотокс.

    Проволочник известен любому огороднику

Harvesting and storage

Собирать арбузный урожай надо вовремя: перезревшие плоды не хранятся, а недозревшие годятся разве что для засолки. Признаки спелости известны всем, но часто они не срабатывают даже в руках опытных бахчеводов: ведь пока не разрежешь арбуз, не будешь точно знать, насколько он готов.

При хранении арбузы почти не дозревают: лишь почти готовые немного добирают сахар в срезанном виде.

Характерные признаки зрелости полосатых ягод:

  • матовая поверхность кожуры становится блестящей;
  • корка твердеет, не повреждается ногтем;
  • плодоножка засыхает;
  • на боку, прикасающемся к земле, образуется жёлтое пятно;
  • при постукивании созревающие арбузы издают звонкий звук.

Ягоды срезают секатором или острым ножом, оставляя плодоножку длиной до 4–5 см. К месту хранения плоды везут на мягкой подстилке, аккуратно, без ударов. В хранилище их располагают одним слоем, время от времени осматривают. Оптимальные условия хранения — температура около 7оС и относительная влажность воздуха 70–85%. Срок хранения даже самых лёжких сортов не превышает 3 месяцев.

Видео: урожай арбузов в средней полосе

Growing watermelons in central Russia is a problem, but it is completely solvable. To do this, you need to choose the right variety, in time to grow seedlings and plant it in the garden. In a greenhouse, a watermelon will grow, but in natural light it will be much sweeter. But direct sowing of seeds in open ground in the middle lane is a lottery, the success of the event depends on how warm the summer will be.

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