Best Time To Plant Watermelon For Enjoyment Throughout The Summer

When thinking of summer, one can't help but think about the sweet, delicious first bite of watermelon that they will have. It is practically a staple fruit of the summer. It is a melon that is very versatile, as it can be eaten on its own, or it can be used to create delicious drinks and frozen treats. But knowing exactly when to plant the seeds in order to harvest a tasty crop of your own watermelon is key. 

As an African native fruit, according to Almanac, watermelons cannot really tolerate the cold and should be grown in warm soil. These melons can take quite a bit of time to grow, with some varieties taking over 100 days. Timing is very important when it comes to planting a crop of watermelon to be ready for the summer harvest. A general rule of thumb when it comes to planting watermelons is to plant them in the late spring season in order to enjoy these naturally sweet treats. 

When to start seeds

Watermelon seeds will begin to germinate at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. While sowing them outside is best, you may have to start them inside. It all depends on the date of the last frost, as well as your USDA hardiness zone. In cooler climates with shorter growing seasons, it is best to either begin your seeds inside, or you can also opt to get already-started watermelon plants from your local garden center. If you choose to start your own plants inside, sow the seeds a couple of weeks prior to the final frost date in your area, says Almanac.

If you are in a warmer climate, it is best to plant your seeds directly into the ground between one and two weeks past the final frost date. It's important that the temperature of the ground is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A tip to help the ground warm up is to lay some black plastic over the area. This will attract heat from the sun. Seeds started inside will appreciate the warmed soil. If you decide to start with small watermelon plants, you could see up to a two-week earlier harvest, according to Almanac. 

Plant them in the sun

According to Gardener's Path, watermelons tend to grow the best when they are sown directly into the ground because the melon has delicate roots. They are best grown in soil that is well-drained. The plants will do best in a spot filled with a lot of sunshine. Make sure to choose a spot where the melons will have enough room to spread out and grow without damaging any other plants you may be growing. Having a dedicated spot in your garden just for watermelons can help with this. 

Watermelons should be planted in mounds or hills that are approximately 3/4 to one inch deep. Spacing is best when the plants are two to three feet apart from each other. These hills help the watermelon plants with their drainage. Almanac suggests that the plants get around two inches of water weekly and to assure that they do not become waterlogged. There are a few ways to tell when a watermelon is ripe and ready for picking. Gardener's Path shares that if the tendril near the stem, where the watermelon is attached to the vine, is brown, then it is ready.