Watermelon is an annual herbaceous plant of the Pumpkin family. Its requirements to growing conditions (high light levels, loose soil, etc.) are dictated by its origin: watermelon is native to the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. In temperate latitudes, the melon crop can be grown in the open ground in a warm climate (southern regions). But in the Urals and Siberia this is not possible. Here you can create a suitable microclimate only in a protected ground. But it can be not only a greenhouse, but also a balcony, window sill.
Choosing the seed
Since the feeding area in the pot is limited, in our opinion, you should choose varieties with a weight of pumpkins not exceeding 2-3 kg. Although at home it is unlikely to exceed 800 g. In addition, take into account the shade tolerance and maturity. For room cultivation, early-ripening varieties that tolerate the lack of light well are suitable:
“The Gift of the Sun;
Choose only quality pips of large size without any visible signs of illness or damage. Remove small specimens immediately. Soak the rest in brine to pick out conditioned ones. The latter will sink, but the un-sprouted ones will float on the surface. Then the seeds are washed with clean water and dried before sowing.
Features of sowing
The watermelon grows fast thanks to its powerful root system. For its development the crop requires a large supply of nutrients. Since it quickly depletes in a limited space, use a spacious container.
Watermelon likes good air access to the roots. High aeration qualities have a loamy sandy soil. The necessary soil with a neutral reaction can be bought in a specialized store, where it is already enriched with nutrients, or make it yourself. In the latter case, take 1 part each of turf soil, sand, humus, add one tenth of ground wood ash.
When preparing the soil mixture on its own, make sure to decontaminate it. Three methods are effective:
In a steam bath
Soak for 1.5 to 2 hours
In the oven
Grill for 20 minutes at 200 °C
With boiling water
Soak well with boiling water
On a side note!Cassettes are suitable for growing watermelon seedlings. But then intermediate replanting is required.
Better to sow in spring, when the level of natural light is high. In our opinion, in the autumn and winter period, you should refrain from the work, because, in addition to the need to constantly dosveschivate watermelons, it is more difficult to provide a high temperature regime.Sequence of steps during sowing:
The selected containers are filled with soil.
Dip 2-3 seeds into each of them.
Cover with substrate and moisten with a sprayer.
Seeds are covered with glass to create greenhouse conditions – high temperatures and humidity.
The melon crop is thermophilic, which owes its origin to. For the germination of the seeds the ground temperature should be 15-16 °C. The optimal temperature for the emergence of shoots is 25°C. At this rate sprouts happy happy friendly appearance after 7 days. The critical minimum at which the seed will simply die – 10 ° C.
During the maintenance of the crops in the mini-greenhouse, they are regularly ventilated and watered if necessary. After the sprouts appear, remove the glass. When several true leaves develop, the seeds are pulled through, leaving the strongest seedling in each container. If you have sown in cassettes, place the seedlings after the third true leaf has emerged in larger containers. In our opinion, the nutritional elements for watermelon growth and fruiting will be enough in a container of 10 liters. But do not immediately sow the culture in such containers: the soil can begin to sour, which will lead to the development of diseases.
Since watermelon is not afraid of the direct rays of the summer sun, a container placed on the south side of the house. Eastern and western windows are also suitable. But on the north side of the culture can not be grown without installing an artificial light source.
The presence of bright light – an important component in the successful cultivation of watermelons at home. It is easier to provide the necessary level of light on a balcony or a bright loggia. Duration of light hours for normal photosynthesis in watermelons – 12-14 hours. If there is not enough natural light, use phyto- or fluorescent lamps as additional light sources. On cloudy days, they are left on for the whole period of time.
For growth and development the plant needs a temperature of 25-30°C. At night the mercury probe can fall to 18 °C. But the average daily temperature should not be less than 15°C.
Since watermelon comes from the desert, it grows very well in low humidity. In the spring, it is grown close to heaters to maintain the right temperature regime. Streams of warm and dry air do not harm the melon culture, but, on the contrary, have a beneficial effect on the rapid growth of shoots.
Care of watermelon
After the formation of the 3rd true leaf, the first feeding is carried out, stimulating the growth of vegetative mass. Water-soluble complexes containing macro- and microelements are effective. A good result demonstrates “Kemira”, which feeds the plant and gives strength for further development not only of the shoots, but also the formation of the ovary.
In general, during the growing season, the culture is fed three times. Before fertilizing the soil must be watered.Preparations are selected depending on the phase of watermelon development:
After the formation of three leaves and replanting in a large container add nitrogen.
During budding and ovary formation use phosphorus-potassium agents.
During the fruiting period repeat application of phosphorus and potassium in the form of mineral complexes or organics.
An important characteristic of watermelons – high drought resistance. They need moderate watering without overwatering. The crop needs moisture more after sprouting and during ovulation formation. At this time, watermelons are watered weekly. Use warm, standing water. Stop watering as soon as the fruit starts to sing. The crop does not need water to increase the sugar content.
Of all agro-technical activities watermelon likes loosening. The soil under the culture is loosened weekly, not allowing the formation of an airtight crust. Since the watermelon has roots close to the surface, do not bury the tool heavily, so as not to traumatize the underground part
Pruning is carried out over 3-4 leaves, stimulating the development of lateral shoots. They can be pulled upright or plucked horizontally. It is possible to grow watermelon and in one plume.
Flowering and fruiting
The start of flowering is noted 50-60 days after the appearance of seedlings. Male flowers form first, followed by female flowers (after 10-12 days). Under room cultivation due to the lack of insect pollinators will require artificial pollination. From male specimens with a brush transfer pollen to stigma of female ones. As soon as the buds of the latter are formed, in our opinion, it is effective to use the preparations “Zavyaz” or “bud” for artificial fertilization.
At room cultivation on one plant it is possible to grow 1 watermelon. Each pumpkin needs around 10-12 leaf blades. To avoid wasting the plant’s energy in the formation of excessive vegetative mass, unnecessary side shoots are cut off. The procedure is carried out as soon as the pumpkin has set and started to grow. Count off 6-7 leaves above it and snip off the rest along with the top. If under the wilted watermelon does not count the required number of leaf plates, some of the leaves on the side shoots are left. But the tops are still cut off.
It takes about a month to ripen the fruit after successful pollination. Achievement of technical ripeness is evidenced by drying of the place where the stalk is attached, and then the stalk itself. When the latter has wilted, the crust of the fruit is glossy, shiny, and it makes a resounding sound when tapping it with the fingers, then the watermelon has reached biological ripeness. If the fruit is removed at this time, it can be preserved at room temperature for 2 months.
Diseases and other difficulties
Indoor watermelons can only be harmed by melon aphids and spider mites. Sucking pests infest the shoots at low levels of humidity. Spraying with soap solution helps in pest control. It is better to refuse to use chemicals. It is resorted to in case of heavy infestation with a waiting period – so that the fruit is safe.
Of the diseases, the most dangerous are plant wilt caused by the soil fungus Fusarium, as well as anthracnose and powdery mildew:
FusariosisOften affects plants with prolonged hypothermia (below 12 °C), due to constant excessive moisture, when growing on heavy soil, poor air access to the root system. For preventive purposes, the soil before sowing is disinfected by pouring a solution of “Fitosporin”. Every 2-3 weeks the procedure is repeated.
Anthracnose and powdery mildew.To prevent the development of diseases, plants are treated with a mixture of “Zircon”, “Epin-extra” and “Citovita.
Watermelon is an unpretentious crop. But to raise it at home and harvest it, you need a lot of hard work. The main thing is to maintain the conditions of cultivation strictly, and not to forget about pollination during flowering.