Watermelon is a favorite melon culture of many gardeners, which gives a taste of summer. She is quite capable of growing even a novice gardener. However, for this it is not enough to prepare the site and provide appropriate care to the plants after planting: it is also necessary to correctly select and prepare the seeds for sowing.
Selection and preparation of the plot and soil for planting watermelon
To grow watermelon in the open ground and get a good harvest, you need to take care of choosing a place that must meet the following requirements:
- to be well lit;
- protect from the effects of winds;
- provide plants with the necessary nutrition.
Based on these factors, you need to take into account that the watermelon section should receive a sufficient amount of light during the day, warm up well and ventilate. It is best if the soil preparation is done in advance: to sow the future bed with green manure, to make the necessary fertilizers.
Siderata - plants that are grown for the purpose of their subsequent incorporation into the soil, which allows to improve its structure, enrich it with nitrogen and prevent the growth of weeds.
An important point is the previous culture, i.e., which were grown on the site before the watermelon. Most preferred are onions, garlic, carrots and early cabbage, as well as potatoes and tomatoes. Gourds (watermelon, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, melon) should not be constantly planted in the same place, as pathogens accumulate in the soil.
It should be noted that watermelons and other melons require light, loose and fertile soil. The most suitable option if the land will consist of sandy or sandy loamy soil, and the necessary organic fertilizers (humus, compost) will be introduced for digging in the fall. Organics contribute at the rate of 2.5 buckets per 1 m² of land. In addition, attention should be paid to the acidity of the soil: for watermelons, it should be in the range of pH 6-7.
In the spring, the watermelon bed is also worth fertilizing with mineral fertilizers for digging. For 1 m² you will need:
- 24-35 g of ammonium sulfate;
- 40-45 g of superphosphate;
- 15-25 g of potash fertilizers.
The combination of mineral and organic substances can increase the productivity of watermelon.
Preparation of watermelon seeds for sowing
For experienced gardeners it is no secret that an important role in obtaining good and friendly seedlings is played by the quality preparation of seeds for sowing. This process is quite important and consists of several stages that must be performed in a certain sequence.
The watermelon variety for growing in your garden plot must be selected very carefully. If you do not have sufficient experience in the cultivation of this type of melon, it is best to give preference to hybrid varieties. This is due to the fact that they are characterized by better quality characteristics compared to varietal watermelons. Hybrids are characterized by faster maturation, resistance to a number of diseases and adverse environmental conditions.
Calibrate the seeds
At first glance, seed calibration may not seem like a significant procedure. If we examine in more detail, then the germination of seeds and the subsequent development of young plants will directly depend on it. Everything is really simple: stronger and healthier seedlings develop better, thereby inhibiting weaker seedlings. When dividing (calibrating) seeds by size, seedlings will be more amicable and plentiful.
Such a procedure as heating the seeds before planting allows you to activate biochemical processes in the planting material. To do this, put the seeds in a container of suitable size and fill it with water at a temperature of about + 50 ° C. After half an hour, the water can be drained.
Preparation of watermelon seeds involves their disinfection, i.e., disinfection. In most cases, gardeners and gardeners use manganese for these purposes, from which potassium permanganate is prepared (a solution of low concentration). In order to prepare the substance, a little manganese is added to a small container filled with water. After stirring the solution, the seeds are soaked for 15-20 minutes, and then washed with water.
Disinfection minimizes the likelihood of young plants becoming infected with diseases or damaged by pests.
After all the previous procedures are completed, you can begin to germinate the seed material. To begin with, it is recommended that the watermelon seeds be kept for 12 hours in a nutrient solution: this is done to saturate the seeds with microelements, which will ensure active growth and accelerate germination. Today, many drugs of this kind are offered, for example, Kornevin, Zircon, Heteroauxin.
After the seeds are soaked in a growth stimulator, it is not worth rinsing them with water in any case: just dried in the sun is enough.
Before soaking watermelon seeds to soften a dense peel, they are poured with hot water for 10 minutes. Then you need to make a gauze bag, folding the material in several layers, and place the seeds in it at a certain distance from each other. A bag of planting material is placed in a saucer or a shallow plate, after wetting the gauze, while the seeds do not need to be poured with water - they must "breathe". After that, the container is placed in a warm place (about + 25 ° C) and the gauze humidity is periodically controlled: it is moistened as needed.
To create more comfortable conditions for seeds, the container can be covered with a cut-off plastic bottle, film or glass, thus, it will be possible to retain moisture for a longer time. It should be noted that watermelon seeds do not germinate very quickly. Therefore, the first sprouts can be seen at least a week later (depends on the seeds of a particular variety, their quality and the conditions created). Having ensured an optimal microclimate, it will be possible to accelerate the germination of the seed material and bring it closer to the time of its landing in the soil. If the seeds are not soaked before planting, then you can not count on the rapid emergence of seedlings. For the Middle Strip and the northern regions, a soaking and germination procedure is necessary.
Video: watermelon seed germination
Dates of sowing watermelon seeds in open ground
Planting watermelon is quite common precisely in the seed way. The timing of sowing crops depends on the weather and time when it is planned to get a crop. If spring has come early and the weather is warm, you can start sowing seeds from late April to mid-June. If the heat approximation is delayed, the sowing dates are shifted to the end of May.
When landing in the southern regions, you can start working from mid-April, while taking into account weather conditions. For medium latitudes, watermelon is sown with seeds in open ground only after steady warm weather is established. To determine the time of planting seeds, attention should be paid to air temperature. The minimum temperature indicator for the emergence of seedlings is considered to be + 15 ° C. In regions with unpredictable climates, gardeners prefer growing watermelons in seedlings. Seeds in this case are sown in the second half of April, and mature seedlings are planted in open ground in May and early June.
Seed germination - timing and verification
High-quality planting material is the key to a good harvest. An indicator of the quality of watermelon seeds is their germination. In most cases, in preparation for the next season, gardeners revise the seed of various crops, while discovering that some of them are more than one year old. What to do in this case, to throw away and buy new ones or can it still be used for planting? It is enough to know that the germination of watermelon seeds persists for 6-8 years.
In addition, there is a way to check watermelon seeds for germination, which is also suitable for other gourds. To do this, you will need wood sawdust, which is preliminarily poured several times with boiling water (with a frequency of half an hour). You will need to prepare a container, for example, a tray or a small box, which is filled with raw sawdust. The seeds are laid out in rows with a distance of 2-3 cm. A gap of 1-1.5 cm is made between the seeds. Then, the seed is sprinkled with sawdust and rammed, and the container is placed in a warm place with a temperature of + 23-27 ° C and the emergence of sprouts is expected. To determine the percentage of germination, a simple calculation is carried out: if 6 of the 10 seeds germinated, then germination is 60%.
Proper planting of watermelon seeds
When the weather is favorable, and the watermelon seeds underwent preparatory procedures, you can begin to sow them in open ground.
How far to plant
Since watermelon is a very sprawling plant, a sufficient amount of space is needed to grow it. Thus, the bush will feel comfortable and develop normally. Watermelons are planted in open ground in a certain way, namely according to the scheme. In the standard scheme, which is called the row one, the row spacing is 2 m, and in the row 1 m sown 5-10 seeds per hole. After emergence, only the strongest shoots are left, 1 seedling per meter.
In addition to the ordinary scheme, there is also a square-nested one. In this case, the distance between the holes with the planted seeds should be 70-280 cm. The difference in distance depends on the variety of watermelon grown. When planting compact varieties, the gap between the wells is reduced.
Long distances between watermelon plantings are necessary to get enough sunlight. With a close arrangement, the culture will not receive the required amount of nutrients.
When planting watermelon seeds in open ground, it is important to observe the depth of planting. The optimal planting depth for small-seeded varieties is 4-6 cm, for large-seed - 6-8 cm. If the planting material is deepened more, it will be more difficult for it to hatch, which will affect the germination time. In addition to the variety, the soil also affects the incorporation depth. On sandy soils, the seeds are buried by 7-8 cm, on sandy soils - 5-7 cm, on loams - 4-5 cm. In northern regions with heavy soils, seed should not be buried deeper than 4 cm.
It is also possible to grow watermelons under a film. This method allows you to sow in March and thereby earlier get the crop. The film shelter makes it possible to maintain high humidity, which eliminates the lack of moisture and contributes to the rapid development of plants. When using the film, a greenhouse effect is created that ensures the rapid germination of seeds.
On the plot prepared since the fall, ridges are cut with a distance of 70 cm from each other, for which a hiller is used. The film for covering should cover immediately 2 ridges, i.e. a standard width of 1.5 m should be enough. 2.5 m between the rows, which is necessary for the normal development of plants. Wells are prepared in the formed ridges at a distance of 1 m from each other and seeds are sown.
When growing watermelons under a film of a hole, it is recommended to do it in a checkerboard pattern.
The number of seeds sown in one well may be different and depend on the varieties used. Seeds of inexpensive varieties can be laid out 2-3 grains per hole. When shoots appear, weaker plants pinch, leaving one of the most developed seedling. If expensive varieties are used, then one seed is placed in each well.
After sowing, the soil is moistened and covered with a film. To do this, the material is deployed along the length of the beds, pressing against the ground so that it is not carried away by the wind. If the weather is cloudy, then shoots should appear a week after planting. Since the seedlings will soon begin to rest against the film, it will be necessary to make cross-shaped slots for the free growth of plants.
A week after emergence, the watermelon will adapt to the environment. During this period, holes in the film are covered with soil to prevent weeds. In order to avoid damage to young seedlings, the sprout is gently pulled out of the film, put on it a piece of plastic pipe (you can use a jar), sprinkle with earth, lightly tamping it, and then remove the protection. After this procedure, watermelons are considered ready for further development.
Video: growing watermelons under a film
What to do if watermelon seeds have not sprouted
Sometimes gardeners are faced with such an unpleasant situation when the seeds of watermelon are not sprouted. What could be the reason and how to fix the situation? One of the main problems may be poor quality seeds. If seed is purchased at the store, be sure to check the expiration date on the packaging. In addition, you can focus on the price, but it is not always an indicator of quality: good germination can be both cheap and expensive seeds.
If you still have seeds of watermelon from previous years without packaging or you yourself collected planting material, you need to determine the seeds unsuitable for sowing. For this, grains are poured into a container with water and those that appear on the surface - planting does not make sense.
Many factors influence seed germination:
- ripening degree;
- collection and drying conditions;
- storage conditions;
- packing date.
The listed factors depend, as a rule, on the seed producer. However, the success of the whole event directly depends on the conditions that will be created for their germination. This suggests that if the seeds are obviously of good quality, and the humidity or temperature does not correspond to the necessary indicators, then the material may simply not sprout. In addition, when planting germinated seeds in open ground with cold earth, they can slow down in growth or even die.
Further care for watermelon sprouts
When growing watermelon in open ground, important conditions are periodic loosening of the soil and watering.It is recommended to mark the holes when planting seeds, for example, with pegs so that rows are visible when loosening. During the growth of leaf mass and lashes, fertilizing is performed. To do this, you can use urea (150 g) and the same amount of superphosphate, as well as potassium salt (50 g) per 10 m². Fertilizing should be accompanied by irrigation or rainfall.
Particular attention should be paid to irrigation when growing leaves and stems, flowering and the appearance of ovaries. During fruit ripening, on the contrary, watering is extremely undesirable, since excessive moisture leads to the appearance of cracks in the fruit and a deterioration in taste. Watermelon beds are irrigated with warm water once a week, but abundantly. Caring for watermelons also involves the formation of a bush, as a result of which it is possible to obtain larger and sweeter berries. In this case, no more than four fruits are left on one plant. In addition, pinching the shoots is performed and the mustache is removed.
Video: watermelon formation in open ground
Important is the prevention and control of diseases and pests of watermelon. Common pests include sprout fly, gourd aphids, wireworms. If an insect is found before it damages the plant, they are treated with biological preparations, for example, Fitoverm. When invasion of pests, resort to the use of chemicals, such as Decis, Aktara, Fufanon. Of the most common melon diseases, anthracnose, powdery mildew, and peronosporosis are distinguished. As prevention, colloidal sulfur, Ordan, Khom are used.
High-quality planting material, together with the correct preparation for sowing, is the key to a good harvest. In this case, it will be possible to avoid wasting time, increase seed germination and ensure active growth and development of plants.