Watermelon-this kind so pleases us with its delicious fruits. Watermelon belongs to the Pumpkin family, genus citrus Forsk. The fruit (melon) — false polyspermous berry. Watermelon flowers are divided into female, male and andromonoecious. The bulk of the varieties-with andromonoecious, but there are those whose flowers on the plant are strictly same-sex.
Watermelon flowers are located on the main shoot in the axils of the leaves according to the ripening period of the variety: in early ripening-in the axils from 4 to 11 leaves, with an average period — from 15 to 18 leaves, late varieties have flowers in the axils from 20 to 25 leaves.
Choose a place
For watermelons, select a place on the South or South-East side of the site, protect it from the winds. Close deposits of groundwater are unacceptable. For the best outflow of water and warming of the soil it is possible to make beds about 15 cm high, with a bias in the southern party. For growing watermelons best suited soil with a neutral reaction, with a light structure-sandy or sandy loam. Under the autumn digging it is necessary to make organic and phosphorus-potassium fertilizers, it is not superfluous to add wood ash or dolomite flour. And watermelon can grow well on the compost heap.
Growing watermelon after related crops is not recommended. But legumes and cabbage are good predecessors.
Sowing watermelon directly into the ground
You can sow watermelons directly into the ground, but to get the harvest, you need to choose the right variety or hybrid for your region. Watermelon should be sown when the soil is heated to a depth of about 10 cm and the optimum temperature for seedlings is +15 °C…+ 16 ° C.
After emergence, they are thinned for the first time, and in the phase of 3-4 real leaves — again, leaving the strongest at a distance of about 1 m from each other. In the greenhouse, you can take a smaller distance, somewhere 70 cm.
Planting watermelon seedlings
The use of seedlings will help to solve the problem of a short warm period required for ripening, poor ovary and excess moisture in early summer. In my climate, the period when the watermelon fruit grows (summer) is shorter than the growing season, even in varieties and hybrids with an early ripening period.
Sow in early may, immediately in separate pots with a capacity of at least 0.3 liters, because watermelon does not tolerate transplantation.
The soil mixture consists of turf land, sand and peat, taken in equal parts. Add about 50 g of dolomite flour and potassium sulfate, about 100 g of double superphosphate, about 50 g of ammonium nitrate to 5 l of the mixture.
Before sowing, it is desirable to warm the seeds for 30 minutes in hot water (50-55 °C). Then germinate them in wet sand at a temperature of about + 25 °C. When the seeds will begin to root, put them in pots, sprinkle with sand, cover with film and put in a warm place. During the day, the temperature should be about + 25 °C, and at night it should be reduced to +20 °C. Somewhere in a week there will be shoots.
Daylight should be at least 12 hours, otherwise the development may stop. With a lack of light, shoots can stretch, so on cloudy days or in a poorly lit room, seedlings need to be illuminated with phytolamps.
When the seedlings already have 3 real leaves, it needs to be fed with liquid mullein and liquid mineral fertilizers. In mid-June, you can plant seedlings in the ground, on a permanent sunny place.
When the seedlings begin to form lashes, feed the plants with a solution of mullein (1:8) or chicken manure (1: 20). At the same time, you need to give the plant and mineral food — superphosphate is perfect.
The next fertilizing with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers should be given at the time of the formation of the ovary.
The root system of the watermelon rod, goes to a depth of more than 1 m, lateral adventitious roots can occupy a sufficient area in the upper layers of the soil. After planting, you can not water often, but abundantly: 30 liters per 1 m², and at the time of flowering watering is carried out at least 2 times a week. During the ripening period, watering is stopped.
The subtlety of growing watermelons is that with a sharp cooling it can get sick and die, for normal development and full fertilization of the ovaries it needs a temperature of + 25 °C… +30 °C.
Already at 15 °C plant growth slows down, so in unpredictable weather conditions, many sheltered watermelon film. On the inside it can form a strong condensate; to remove it, under the film pull the gauze or non-woven material.
Another subtlety of growing watermelons is pollination: if the weather is cloudy, bees are more difficult to do their job, so you need to touch the stamens with one flower of two or more pistils on other flowers.
In the southern regions of our country remove the tops of shoots: their growth stops, they begin to branch stronger, the fruits are larger.