Growing watermelons is fun!!!
I tried growing watermelons in 2011, doing the "raised hill" thing. They all sprouted and then shortly later...died. My theory was they were planted too far away from the house. Watering them was a pain, and in 100+ degree weather, did not happen as often as needed.
For my 2012 garden I had some empty space right in the center of my garden design. So I staked off with string a small area (mostly to remind myself to not step there) and planted 12 watermelon seeds. Organic "Sugar Baby" Melons. Planted right in my pure clay soil. I did not even make the suggested hills for them!ly to remind myself to not step there) and planted 12 watermelon seeds. Organic "Sugar Baby" Melons. Planted right in my pure clay soil. I did not even make the suggested hills for them!
They sprouted and grew quickly. It wasn't long before I realized they were going to spill over into my walking areas. Out of excitement of seeing baby watermelons I didn't care. I put some much needed mulch under the plants. Protecting the baby melons from sitting in dirt and to retain moisture for the plants. Texas is scorching in the summer!
I had about 15 melons growing. WOW! I was going to be sharing with everyone! Something started happening though...the leaves were turning gray...and the plants were dying. I was able to harvest 3 melons before the plants were shriveled and it was a loss. I started pulling the plants out, except a few that I saw new leaves on. Instead I just cut those back to about 6" of stem. Would you believe they came right back stronger than ever?!!
This time I was careful with watering. I didn't get the leaves wet. The plants grew and flourished, providing me with at least 8 more yummy full sized melons. My only complaint with melons is all the seeds, but the fruit was very sweet so it was worth digging them out! I can not wait to plant some more this year. I am going to lay tiny drip lines at each plant so I don't have to worry about wet leaves.
I also learned that they can not take the smallest freeze. Overnight they were done. Left me with several edible melons and a bunch of small ones for decoration. Clean up wasn't so bad, I just cut the plants at the ground and rolled them up into a ball. Nothing went to waste as it is now part of my compost pile!