Monday, 18 November 2013 02:10

How do Watermelons grow?

Did you know watermelons are 95% water by weight? 

  • Latin Name:

    Citrullus vulgaris

  • Growth:

    How do watermelons grow?

    USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 11. Click here to view USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

    Watermelons are an annual that grows best between 65 and 85 degrees F. They grow on vines that spread quickly and take up a lot of space. Each plant needs a 4' to 6' square area to grow properly. Days to maturity range from 70 to 95 days depending on variety. Watermelons planted in colder climates need to be started indoors to accommodate the long growing process.

    Spring: Seedlings are started indoors and transplanted within a month, once danger of all frost is past.

    Summer: Seeds are planted outdoors in soil that is a least 70 degrees F.

    Fall: Harvest summer crop, or begin new seeds that will mature before first frost sets in.

    Winter: Poor and no growth in temperatures that below 60 degrees F.

    Time Lapse of a Watermelon sprouting

  • Propagation:

    How are watermelons propagated?

    Watermelons are grown from seed. They need at least 6 hours of full sun. They like a fertile growing soil, that is loamy and well-drained.

    Watermelons produce a male and female flower within the same plant. Male flowers appear several weeks before the female flowers. The male flowers will eventually fall off as the female flowers begin to swell and develop fruit. The blossoms require pollination, so require bees or other insects to spread the pollen from flower to flower.

  • Harvest:

    How are watermelons harvested?

    Most watermelons ripen 32 days after the flowers bloom.

    Tap the watermelon and listen to the sound. If the sound has a metallic ring, the melon is immature. If it is a soft hollow sound, it is mature.

    Watermelons do not become sweeter once they are off the vine, so it is important to learn the signs of a ripe watermelon before picking.

    Watermelons that are unripe have a white bottom, while ripe watermelon bottoms turn a cream colored yellow.

    Harvesting Watermelons in Georgia

  • Storage:

    How are watermelons stored?

    Watermelons prefer being kept on the warm side, 55 degrees F is the ideal temperature for this fruit. Uncut, they can be kept at room temperature for 7 to 10 days.

    Once cut, they will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days when wrapped or placed in an air tight container.

    If stored for too long the flesh loses its sweetness and dries out.

    When freezing watermelons, remove the rinds, because once they freeze, they break down and get mushy, depleting the sweetness of the flesh.

  • History:

    What is the history of the watermelon?

    Cultivation of watermelons was first recorded in Egypt. The fruit was considered very valuable due to its ability to retain water during hot dry seasons.

    Watermelons began to be famed in China and Russia by the 10th century, then were introduced to the New World shortly after the settlers arrived.

  • Top Producers:

    Who are the top watermelon producers?

    China, Turkey, Iran, Brazil, and the United States are the top watermelon producing countries in the world.

    Florida is one of the leading watermelon producers in the U.S

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  • Varieties:

    What are the varieties of watermelon?

    Popular watermelon varieties include the Seedless Sugar Baby hybrid, Jubilee, Sangria, Stars 'n' Stripes, Orange Sunshine Hybrid, and the Yellow baby.

    Varieties range from 5 to 50 lbs, with seeds or seedless. There are a variety or colors, yellow, grey, blue-green, and green.

    Seedless varieties are basically created when a young plant is treated with colchicine, extracted from a crocus, which sends a chromosomal message to the plant to produce small, soft white seeds instead of big black ones.

  • Products:

    What are some watermelon products

    Every part of the watermelon can be used: the flesh, rind, and seeds.

    Watermelon flesh is eaten freshly cut, chilled, over lime, in fruit salads, in juices, smoothies, flavored water, and alcoholic beverages.

    The seeds are abundant in fats and proteins, mainly consumed as a snack food, sold seasoned and roasted. They are also used to complement other dishes, or compressed into an oil.

    The rind of a watermelon is also edible, and in some countries considered a vegetable. It is used in stir fries, cooked with oil, garlic, and chili. The rind can also be pickled or grilled, a popular method of watermelon consumption in Eastern Europe and Asia.

  • Top Health Benefits:

    What are the top health benefits of watermelon?

    A watermelon is 95% water by weight and an excellent source of hydration.

    The flesh is a a significant source of the antioxidant carotenoid , vitamins A, C, B6 and B1, as well as rich in the minerals potassium and magnesium.

More in this category: Watermelon time lapse video »