What are the growing stages of a watermelon plant?
And how do they matter?
To ensure a successful and fruitful harvest, it’s a must to understand the life cycle of a watermelon plant.
By knowing what to do at each stage of growth, you can maximize your yields and enjoy the sweet rewards.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the journey of a watermelon plant.
That’s not all.
We will also provide valuable tips and techniques to optimize your returns from watermelon per acre.
Let us start from the beginning of the life of a Watermelon Plant
Seed Germination as a Growing Stage of a Watermelon Plant
The watermelon life cycle begins with seed germination.
Start by selecting high-quality watermelon seeds from a reputable source.
To enhance germination, soak the seeds in warm water overnight before planting.
Plant the seeds in well-draining soil, about 1-inch-deep.
To get a good germination percentage, ensure the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.
Provide warmth, preferably between 75-85°F (24-29°C), and ensure adequate sunlight or use grow lights.
Do this and you should expect germination within 7-10 days.
For the best results when germinating watermelon seeds, sow the seeds in a seedling tray.
Once the seedlings grow into an acceptable height, harden them for 3-5 days, before transplanting them to the open field.
Watermelon seed germinated on seed trays has the following advantages:
- Disease free which means they produce healthy fruit that gives massive profits.
- Protected from seedlings pests like cutworms, thus you’ll spend less in pest control.
- Hardy and easy to adapt to the changing environment.
Once the seedlings emerge, provide them with ample sunlight or 14-16 hours of grow light exposure.
Water the seedlings carefully.
Keep the soil moist but not excessively wet.
To promote healthy growth, thin out weaker seedlings, leaving the strongest ones to develop.
This applies if you’ve grown the seed in a soil nursery.
However, thinning is unnecessary if you’ve grown the seeds in a seed tray. Maintain a temperature range of 70-80°F (21-27°C) during this stage.
Transplant the seedlings to your farm once they have at least two sets of true leaves.
During the vegetative stage, focus on providing optimal growing conditions for your watermelon plant.
Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil enriched with organic matter.
Watermelons thrive in warm temperatures between 75-85°F (24-29°C) during the day and 65-75°F (18-24°C) at night.
Ensure consistent watering, providing around 1-2 inches of water per week. Mulching around the plants helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
Flowering and Pollination:
As your watermelon plant matures, it will start producing flowers. These flowers are crucial for fruit development.
Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in transferring pollen between male and female flowers.
Encourage pollination by planting pollinator-attracting flowers nearby. If pollinators are scarce, you can hand-pollinate by transferring pollen from male to female flowers using a small brush or cotton swab.
Ensure proper airflow around the plants to facilitate pollination.
After successful pollination, the watermelon fruits begin to develop.
Support your growing fruits by gently placing a soft material like a cloth or straw underneath them to prevent direct contact with the ground.
Regularly inspect the plants for signs of pests or diseases, and take prompt action if necessary.
Watermelon plants require consistent moisture throughout fruit development, especially during hot and dry periods.
Harvest time is the most exciting stage of the watermelon life cycle.
Here are a few indicators to help determine when your watermelons are ready for harvest:
- Check the underside of the watermelon. The spot that rests on the ground should have turned creamy yellow.
- Gently tap the watermelon.
- If it sounds hollow, it is likely ripe.
- Examine the tendril closest to the stem that attaches the fruit to the vine. If it turns brown and begins to wither, it indicates ripeness.
Check the size and color of the watermelon. Different watermelon varieties have varying characteristics at maturity, so consult the seed packet or plant label for specific information.
Understanding the life cycle of a watermelon plant is crucial for maximizing your returns.
By following the recommended practices at each stage, you can ensure healthy growth, robust fruit development, and a bountiful harvest. Remember the following key points:
- Start with high-quality seeds and ensure proper germination conditions.
- Provide adequate sunlight, temperature, and water during the seedling and vegetative stages.
- Encourage pollination through natural means or hand-pollination techniques.
- Support growing fruits to prevent direct contact with the ground.
- Monitor for pests and diseases and take timely action.
- Maintain consistent moisture throughout fruit development.
- Harvest watermelons at the right time using visual and auditory cues.
With a little patience, care, and attention to detail, you can enjoy the sweet rewards of a successful watermelon harvest.
So roll up your sleeves, follow the life cycle guidelines, and savor the satisfaction of growing your own delicious watermelons.
What are your thoughts about the growing stages of watermelon plant? Share them in the comments section below.