Watermelon Growing Guide

A Watermelon seedling with two cotyledons and one true leaf

Citrullus lanatus

No order may include more than 2 packets of any watermelon variety.

How to Grow: Culture of watermelon is similar to Muskmelon (Cantaloupe). Space 12-18 in. apart in rows 6-8 ft. apart. Vines require anywhere from 36-100 sq. ft. of vine space per hill, depending on variety. Don't disturb vines while fruit is ripening or else fruit may ripen unevenly. When planted in good soil under good environmental conditions, melons will do well, but are not as consistent producers as some other crops. The fruit weights we list are for what the variety can achieve given ideal conditions.

Harvest: For most varieties, fruit is mature and most desirable during a 10-14 day period. It may take some experience to tell when a watermelon is ripe. There are four methods commonly used to determine peak harvest stage: (1) The spot where the fruit touches the ground turns yellow. (2) Look for the presence of a dried-up tendril on the portion of the vine nearest the fruit. (3) The rind feels slightly rough and ridged, and has a dull, opaque appearance, whereas immature fruits are smoother and glossier. Yellow Fleshed Moon and Stars Watermelon (4) When a watermelon is ripe, it will have a hollow sound when you thump it with your knuckles: The melon sounds more like your chest when it is ripe; when green, it sounds more like your head; when over-ripe, it sounds more like your stomach. Mark Twain described it this way: "A ripe melon says 'punk' when thumped, a green one says 'pink' or 'pank'."

Culinary: Watermelon seeds are edible, have a nutty taste, and are commonly sold as a snack in some parts of the world. Seeds that mature to black are easier to eat than white seeds.

Seed Savers: Isolate varieties by at least 1/8 mile for home use, or 1/2 to 1 mile for pure seed.

Packet: 1-3 g (20-58 seeds, average 39 seeds).

Watermelon varieties

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