Agrotechnics of growing watermelons near St. Petersburg
Read the previous part. ← Proven varieties and hybrids of watermelons and melons
Agricultural technology of watermelons, varieties and seedlings
Before describing our method of growing watermelons, I would like to dwell on the important points in their cultivation. When I start growing any crop, in the agricultural technology of which I still have not enough experience, I definitely remember my trip to the site of one amateur gardener.
It was a very long time ago, 18 years ago, but this event is very vividly engraved in memory. He grew raspberries and garden strawberries... It seems that everyone can do this: any gardener can handle it. But he cultivated these crops truly professionally, he studied their characteristics to the smallest detail and received such stunning results that it involuntarily aroused respect and admiration.
I have never seen such an approach to the cultivation of horticultural and horticultural crops in anyone else. But I myself have learned from his experience three essential elements: careful land preparation to planting crops, proper watering and feeding. And third: plant a small number of plants, but due to proper care for them, get a larger yield.
How to prepare a ridge for watermelons
Now about our experience. The ridge has been carefully prepared for watermelons since autumn. Due to the fact that in the north-west we do not have enough heat for these plants and the land is slowly warming up for planting, the place was chosen the most illuminated by the sun, protected from the north and north-east winds. Since watermelons are a very demanding culture for soil fertility, structure and composition of the soil, they began to prepare a corresponding pillow in a box (6x1.5 m).
We chose all the soil down to clay, covered the selected surface with chips with a layer of about 20 cm, put plant waste from the plot - 10 cm on the chips, then threw a small layer of earth, trampled it down, the next layer was hay, rammed with a layer of 5-7 cm, we put fertile on top layer of the earth.
The watermelon pillow is ready, its thickness is about 50 cm. In the spring of March, the box was covered with a film before planting. The winter turned out to be very cold. In this regard, it was necessary to make adjustments to the formation of the ridge in the spring. Once thawed manure, brought in in winter, I opened the center of the ridge and applied a strip of fresh manure to its entire length on the bayonet of a shovel about 20x20 cm, covered it with hay and covered it with thrown-back earth from above, leveled the surface. There remained a small tubercle along the entire length of the ridge, on which we planted seedlings in the future. After that, I again covered the entire ridge with foil.
The next element in the preparation of the ridge: before planting, weeding the weeds, mix them with the ground to a depth of 10 cm. You have to be very careful with fresh manure for watermelons, because they do not like its excess. But after planting watermelon seedlings, the manure gave additional heat. This technique allowed the seedlings to take root painlessly. If the winter was not so harsh, then it would be possible to do without the introduction of fresh manure.
Remember that we do not have enough heat to grow watermelons, so all actions during their cultivation are aimed at keeping warm in the ridge. Watering and feeding are subject to this requirement.
This fall, for the forthcoming planting of watermelons in 2007, we made a soil cushion for this crop even more carefully and raised it 25 cm higher, taking into account the cold winter. By the way, it has long been noticed that the ridges prepared since the fall for planting complex crops are more effective. The top layer of the earth ripens in autumn and early spring. A very useful procedure for the soil is to water it in spring with the microbiological fertilizer Baikal EM1. It heals the soil well and has a positive effect on plant growth.
Growing seedlings of watermelons
Since watermelons are a very thermophilic culture, seedlings are indispensable in our zone. Last year, when growing it, we were guided by the dates indicated on the packages with seeds. This year we began to think about sowing earlier, providing ourselves with more developed seedlings. Targeting lunar calendar, planted seeds on April 5. Although everywhere in the recommendations for this culture it is said that young 20-30-day seedlings take root better, older seedlings can guarantee an early harvest and a larger number of watermelons.
This year we have tested four varieties of watermelons: Early ripening sugar, Crimson Wonder, Suga Baby, Lezheboka and two hybrids: Kai F1 and Susi F1.
The seedling soil was prepared from a mixture of flower soil (only the best quality was taken) and coconut substrate. It is important that it is nutritious and loose, into which air can freely penetrate. You can take other mixtures, using peat and sod land (3: 1) or rotted manure with sod land (1: 2). In each pot (0.5 l), two seeds were sown at a depth of 3 cm.
All the cups were put in a box, covered with plastic wrap and kept by the battery until shoots emerged. All the sown watermelons decided to please us and together emerged in four days. As soon as the plants rose, we put the cups on the windowsill.
To avoid stretching the seedlings, the temperature was lowered to 18 ° C. The window in the room was always open, but we avoided drafts. Seedlings of watermelons were supplemented with a fluorescent lamp.
The seedlings grew very slowly, the first true leaf appeared only after a week, the next ones grew in 5-6 days. A kind of "bush" has formed, the distances between the leaves are small, the stem itself grows very slowly. Watermelon seedlings, like a small child, need to be fed. If you do not do this, then there will be a shortage of harvest.
Seedlings were fertilized three times: once with Ideal fertilizer and twice with Kemira Lux. The first feeding was when the first true leaf appeared, the next one after 2 weeks. Watered only with warm water and carefully, so as not to create excessive moisture to the plants, because seedling watermelons are very susceptible to blackleg disease. Just before the watermelons were planted in the ground, the main whip began to form on the bush, but the seedlings themselves were small in height - it can be seen that there was still not enough light on our windowsill. But she looked very strong, healthy, juicy.
Planting watermelon seedlings
Seedlings were planted on the ridge on May 21. She was 42 days old. When calculating the timing of planting seeds for seedlings, I recommend other gardeners to focus on their growing conditions, because it can outgrow on the southern window. Do not water the cups with young plants before planting, since a dry clod of earth with seedlings is easier to shake out of the container.
Prepare a chatterbox before this: add a little fermented manure, a little "Ideal" to warm water and, taking out a lump of earth with seedlings from a glass, moisten it in this chatterbox and carefully plant it, and then cover it with earth. We plant the seedlings in the ground, without deepening the hypocotal knee of the watermelon, so as not to cause decay. After planting, we water the plants with this talker, mulch with dry soil. The planting hole should be well watered. Spill the ridge on the eve of planting with warm water with potassium permanganate.
After disembarking the seedlings over the ridge, they made a film shelter "house". The ridge is located from north to south. From the western side, the film web rolled down the entire length of 6 meters. On sunny days, they lifted the film and aired the ridge, thereby protecting the seedlings from overheating. The film remained over the ridge until the end of return frosts, approximately until mid-June. We planted 8 cups of seedlings along the length of the bed, but then with further care of the plants it turned out that the planting turned out to be thickened: 6 cups were enough for this ridge.
Features of agricultural technology of watermelons
We were fed with nitrogen fertilizers (fermented manure) once, when the plants began to grow in early June. By the middle of this month, the tops of the melons gained strength and already occupied the entire surface of the ridge.
On the western and eastern sides, along the entire length of the ridge, crossbeams were made of slats at a height of 0.5 m along the edges. This technique allowed us to raise the whips of watermelons by half a meter, and the whips, having passed this height, went down. As a result, the illumination of the plants increased, and the spread of the lashes to neighboring beds was prevented.
I have used such a device before when growing cucumbers in open beds, and this year it helped me out a lot. Indeed, last year, the lashes of watermelons grew very much in the neighboring beds and paths, and because of this it was very difficult to water the melon. Nowadays, the garden bed has proved to be very compact and convenient for watering.
In addition, this crossbar, as it were, gave a signal to the watermelon plants that they need to tie in this place, the time has come. And almost all the fruits began to tie in the area of the crossbars, we only had time to substitute birch stumps, since we have a lot of them on the site, and put planks under the small watermelons.
The picture was picturesque: a beautiful melon with carved leaves, and watermelons lay on the stumps. Every day there were more and more of them. The tops were not cut because there was not enough time, the summer was hot, and I had to water a lot. But the formation of tops is a very important technique, but it is also necessary to cut it, having a lot of experience, competently, based on the lunar cycle, the growth rate of the lashes.
Formation requires attention, skill, it greatly affects the yield. But if there is not enough experience and time, then you can harm the plant and not get a positive result. In this case, it is better to plant less often, i.e. fewer plants in the same area and let them grow freely.
But, without forming the tops of watermelons, we also get a positive effect: frequent watering and the growth of a large amount of tops allows you to remove excess nitrogen from the ground through the tops, and the taste of the set watermelons will be better. This year, there would be no problems with the growth of tops on the melons if it were not for the the moles were in chargethat damaged some plants with their dug tunnels.
They did not fight the moles, because they decided that since the mole had dug a tunnel along the contour of the ridge, it would already move along it, cleaning it up, and would not make other moves in the ridge. This is what happened in reality, and in order to rid the site of the invasion of this animal, it was necessary to carry out complex measures in early spring to expel moles from the garden plot.
Watermelon bushes damaged by moles recovered over time, new tops grew. Melon bloomed early, as the weather was warm and the soil warmed up well.
High ridge, the preparatory work on filling the biofuel and heating it up was done correctly. The delay was only with the pollination of plants, we could not wait for pollinators for a long time: bees, bumblebees ... But already the first fruits began to set in the twenties of June, although the tops were formed, and flowering began much earlier.
In early July, the All-Russian Agricultural Census was held in our gardening area. On July 5, census counters came to our precinct. And when they saw (some for the first time in their lives) melons, little watermelons lying on stumps, they were all very surprised, this picture caused indescribable delight in them. After removing the film cover and installing the crossbar, the work of caring for the melons was reduced to two operations: transferring watermelon lashes over the crossbar and tying them to it, and the most important operation was watering the planting with warm water.
Watering and feeding watermelons
By irrigation, we build up the tops and root system. Last year we had two melons. Removing them in the fall after removing the fruits, we noticed that on the melon, where the root system was more powerful, and watermelons began to set earlier, and their number was greater. The root system of watermelons is powerful and is located mainly at a depth of 30 cm - apparently, in this arable layer there is more warmth and nutrition for the roots. But this network of roots can be located deeper.
The depth of root penetration depends on the structure of the soil and the depth of heating. Why do I try to water regularly? If the watermelon does not have enough food for some period, it immediately stops its growth, and will never grow to a large size.
The weight of the fetus can only reach 2-3 kg, and sometimes only up to 1 kg. Watered only with warm water in the morning, and when it was very hot days, then twice: first until 10-11 am, and then again - until 5 pm. We had to water often this year, because it was hot, on a high ridge with loose soil, water did not linger, and there was also intense evaporation of moisture through the powerful tops of melons.
Watermelons from watering grew before our eyes. Be sure to add a weak ash solution... With a cold north and northeast wind, watering was canceled: the ridge may get cold and the plants will get sick. During the season, 2-3 times it is necessary to water the watermelons with a superphosphate solution or lay it in the ridge in advance. On our site, we give a minimum of fertilizing to plants, the main emphasis on ensuring their nutrition we do when preparing ridges for planting, laying in them all the necessary supply of elements. In early August, the number of waterings was sharply reduced, and after August 13, the first watermelon of the Suga Baby variety was removed, it was ripe.
I will tell you how we make irrigation with ash. It is necessary to fill a ten-liter bucket by 1/3 with ash, top up with boiling water to its full volume, stir, after an hour filter the resulting solution through an old piece of mesh, which was used to protect the window from mosquitoes. Filter the ash solution into a 25-liter saucepan. Fill the remaining slurry with plain warm water again, stir it, let it settle and filter it again through the mesh into the same pan.
In this way, I wash the ash three times. This makes a full 25 liter pan. The strained fertilizing solution is enough for filling 2-3 barrels (with a capacity of 200 liters). This very weak ash solution can be watered on various crops throughout the summer.
When the fruits of the watermelon are just starting to set, I water it once with a more concentrated solution: all the strained liquid with the ash solution is poured into one barrel. When watering, this ash solution should be mixed only with very warm water, we heat it on the stove. I usually water it in the morning, so that after that the soul of the plant and the top layer of the earth dry out in order to avoid fungal diseases.
Watering with superphosphate. I made three waterings with this solution.
- 1st watering - after the plants have taken root and it was necessary to remove the film from the melon;
- 2nd watering - at the time of fruit setting;
- 3rd watering - at the moment of maximum fruit growth.
I noticed the benefits of this irrigation a long time ago, but only last year I learned from an agronomist who grows watermelons in a hot and very humid climate, its purpose. Phosphorus kills all fungal diseases and promotes healthy tops on melons.
Here's how I prepare a watering solution: I pour one glass of double superphosphate into an ordinary old kettle, which we no longer use in household use. Why a kettle? We tried it in old pots, but the solution splashes in them with fast rotation. So we settled on a teapot. I add 0.5 liters of warm water to a glass of superphosphate and twist the kettle with this solution in a circle pretty quickly. Superphosphate is rubbed against the walls of the kettle, then I add water to the full volume of the kettle and carefully pour the contents into a barrel with irrigation water.
I again fill the solid residue in the kettle with water and repeat everything, only for 5-6 minutes, add water in the kettle to its full volume and pour the resulting solution into another barrel. I repeat this procedure one more time and refuel the third barrel.After the third stirring, nothing remains in the teapot, i.e. one glass of superphosphate can fill three barrels of irrigation water. Watering is the most essential element in growing any crop.
Growing watermelons in a greenhouse
In the greenhouse they grew up without problems. The ridge is very narrow, 30 cm wide, located along a glass partition. In the spring, a thick layer of sawdust was laid in a narrow ridge, having previously selected all the earth from the ridge to clay. Then fresh manure was laid on the sawdust, the next layer was hay, and fertile soil was on the hay. The scourges rose to the height of the glass partition 1 m 80 cm and sank from the other side to the ground. This technique made it possible to achieve maximum illumination.
In the greenhouse, I tried to form the tops, remove excess shoots, especially after setting the fruits. He left 2-3 fruits on the plant so that the extra ovaries would not pull off nutrients. The watermelons in the greenhouse started at the same time as in the open field, the problem was the same - there was no one to pollinate the flowers of the watermelon. The only ovary that we have been waiting for for a very long time is an ovary on the Lezhebok variety. She appeared on it only after 25 pages. Of the six lashes left, three tied watermelons. The distance between plants in the greenhouse is 1 m and 1 m 20 cm.
On each plant, he left 5-6 lashes, which he threw over a glass partition. At the root collar, all the shoots up to a height of 50 cm were gradually removed as the tops grew on the plant. There must be good ventilation in the area of the root collar to avoid root rot... In the greenhouse, it is necessary to tie up the main stem and 3-5 lower lateral shoots, and for the fruits it is necessary to make shelves, because large watermelons in the nets will not hold.
On a melon in greenhouses, I carried out foliar dressing twice with "Uniflor" micronutrient fertilizers. Outdoor harvest - 34 watermelons. Weight 9-9.5 kg had 7 pieces, weight 6-8 kg - 10 pieces, the rest were weighing from 3 to 5 kg. I think the main thing is that all the watermelons in the open field have ripened and were very tasty. We got large watermelons from the Crimson Wonder and Kai varieties, the smaller ones from the Suzi and Suga Baby varieties.
Indoors, one plant of the Lezhebok variety - three large watermelons weighing 8.7 and 5 kg. I think this variety is the most suitable for greenhouse cultivation of all that we have planted this year. Two plants of the Early Ripe Sugar variety produced six small watermelons weighing from 1.5 to 2.5 kg. We didn't really like this variety, because the fruits were small, and in terms of taste they were worse than the others. Only after two years of growing watermelons, we began to gradually accumulate experience in the cultivation of this crop. And we also realized that for all 20 years of growing various plants on the site, we did not have a more labor-intensive crop than watermelon.
How to determine the maturity of a watermelon
I am guided by the time, so that from the setting of the fruit to the removal there should be at least 45 days for large fruits and 30 days for small and medium ones. If the stalk is drying out, I look: for what reason? If the lash is healthy, and the stalk dries up, then the watermelon is ripe. And if in some place the whip got sick with rot, then even with a dried stalk, the watermelon may not be fully ripe.
And there are almost no mistakes in determining the degree of ripening of watermelons. If the watermelon continues to grow rapidly in size, then it can be left on for longer, up to 56 days. This is the period of ripening of the pumpkin on the bush, it is established by long-term observations.
Boris Romanov, melon grower, Kolpino
Photo by the author and N. Egorova
Delicious striped berry: how to grow a watermelon yourself
The best watermelons are brought from the southern regions, but you can get a good harvest of this huge striped berry, and in the conditions of the Moscow region, watermelons are planted even in the Leningrad region. It turns out that this is not difficult to do, you just need to know the basics of melon growing and put a little work into it. The basic operations are familiar to every gardener, and only too cold summer can be an obstacle.
Description of the plant
How a watermelon grows
The watermelon should be in the sun, and the adult plants extract water for themselves
All known varieties of watermelon are conventionally divided into early ripening, mid-ripening and late. If we talk about our country, it makes sense to plant late varieties (for example, Spring, Ikar, Holodok) only in the southernmost regions in Central Russia, only early varieties, such as Victoria, Skorik, Ogonyok, have time to fully mature. Varieties of medium ripening (Lezheboka, Ataman, etc.) occupy an intermediate position. Among the "classic" varieties of watermelon, the following are the most popular.
Photo gallery: popular varieties of watermelons
Densuke's black watermelon is very expensive, but is it rightful for gourmets to decide
Lunar outside - an ordinary watermelon, but inside it looks very unusual
Already in the middle of the last century, varieties of watermelons with a complete lack of seeds were bred. As a rule, such watermelons are sweeter, the shape of most varieties is oblong, and the mass is relatively small (about 4 kg).
A reasonable question: how to plant seedless watermelons? For this, seeds are obtained by special crossing with other varieties, but such a procedure leads to the fact that growing a seedless watermelon is somewhat more difficult than an ordinary one.
The seedless hybrids are, for example, Imbar F1, Regus F1, Boston F1. So, the Boston F1 watermelon is included in the State Register of the Russian Federation and is recommended for growing in the North Caucasus region. It belongs to early maturing hybrids, forms a long-leaved bush. The fruit is spherical, light green, with narrow, inconspicuous stripes. The usual weight is up to 4 kg, some representatives grow up to 10 kg, thin-bore. The pulp is tasty, pink-red in color. The fruits are well transported, but they are stored no more than two weeks after harvest.
Reviews of some varieties
I haven't made friends with Chill for two seasons. He waved his hand at it, although if it worked out, you can save it until the New Year. Even if there is no good cellar-basement, then on the glazed loggia it lies until light frosts. And what a cold taste - all watermelons have a watermelon.
And I like Suga Baby or sugar baby, watermelons are not very large, but very sweet and tasty.
Crimson suite is an early ripening variety, for Siberia it is just that. stably giving even though not so large watermelons (at the moment the largest is 4 kg), but in past years, it seems to me, there were up to 6-7 kg, - I did not weigh, since I purchased the scales only last fall for daily weighing his "champion". It seems that the weight of watermelons could be increased by a small normalization.
Growing watermelon seedlings
In the south and in most areas of the Lower Volga region, watermelons can be grown by direct sowing of seeds in open ground, but in regions that are not warm enough for this culture, preliminary preparation of seedlings is necessary. Sometimes seedlings have to be grown in the south, if there is a desire to get the fruits of the latest varieties.
Planting seeds for seedlings
For disinfection, the seeds are soaked for 20-30 minutes in a dark solution of potassium permanganate, and then washed with water. When growing watermelon in the central region and in the north, it is advisable to harden the seeds (hold for about 12 hours in a damp cloth in the refrigerator). This stage will also help in the prevention against most diseases. If you do nothing of this, you can simply soak the seeds before planting, but soaking will only give a two-day advantage in germination rate, you can also sow dry.
Watermelon seeds are easy to handle: they are quite large
Before sowing, the soil is slightly moistened and the seeds are buried to a depth of about 3 cm, pouring a layer of clean sand of 0.5–1 cm on top. You can put 2-3 seeds in a pot (then remove excess shoots), sow in a common box after 3-4 cm.
It is easy to care for seedlings. Immediately after germination, the "vegetable garden" should be placed in the bright sun and the temperature should be reduced to about 18 ° C, and after a few days it should be returned to 22 ° C during the day and 18 ° C at night. In the future, you need to monitor the condition of the soil and lighting: daylight hours should last at least 12 hours, so the seedlings may need to be illuminated a little. It is necessary to water at the root, but lightly: the soil should be slightly moist.
5–7 days after the seedlings have hatched, they must be thinned out: if the sowing was in pots, leave one at a time, if in a box - remove obviously superfluous ones. The next day after thinning, you can give top dressing: a weak solution of a complex mineral fertilizer (according to the instructions) or an infusion of ash.
Watermelon seedlings manage to grow into a rather big bush in a month
A week before planting in the ground, watermelon seedlings are accustomed to fresh air, periodically taking them out to the balcony. By the time of planting in the garden, it should be strong bushes with 4-5 true leaves.
Is it possible to pick watermelon seedlings
Video: tips for growing watermelon seedlings
Outdoor watermelon care
Watermelon is a warm and light-loving plant, therefore, it is planted when real heat comes and on a sunny bed. Despite the fact that an adult bush does not seem very large, a watermelon needs a lot of space, planting should not be thickened: this culture loves space.
Planting watermelons in open ground
Watermelons are planted when daytime temperatures reach 15–20 o C, and night temperatures are not lower than 8 o C. The distance between plants in a large field is kept from 1.5 to 3 meters, but in the country, of course, there is not so much space. Nevertheless, the holes cannot be closer to each other than half a meter, but it is better to use a 100 x 70 cm scheme.
Watermelon seedlings are moved to the garden bed in the usual way:
- In the selected places, the holes are made with a scoop somewhat larger than the pots with seedlings.
- Half a glass of ash is brought into the dug holes, mixed well with the soil and lightly watered.
- Carefully taking out well-watered seedlings (in no case damaging the roots), plant it, slightly deepening it.
- Each bush is watered with warm water under the root, then clean sand is poured into the garden bed with a layer of about 1 cm, placing it at least around each plant.
Watermelon tolerates drought well and does not require abundant watering. Water it only before the formation of fruits, moisture is especially needed during the period of rapid growth of the leaf apparatus. Until the end of flowering, the soil should be constantly slightly moist, but not waterlogged. It is necessary to water at the root, preferably in the evening, by this time the water is warming up in the sun. After watering, shallow loosening is necessary. It is accompanied by weeding, but as the bush grows, the watermelon itself suppresses the weeds, and you can soon forget about weeding.
During the filling and ripening of watermelon berries, the soil, on the contrary, is slightly dried: by this time, powerful roots are formed in the watermelon, penetrating to a meter depth and getting a sufficient amount of moisture from there. Intense rains in the second half of summer are more likely to harm the quality of the crop, making the fruits less sweet.
Top dressing is convenient to carry out with special compositions for melons and gourds
Formation of a bush (pinching shoots, trimming excess lashes and breaking stepchildren)
The formation procedure depends on the area in which the watermelon is grown. This work is most important in the northern regions, where the summer is short, and every warm day is important for the ripening of the crop. In addition, the course of the procedure also depends on the type of watermelon: the formation of a bush is most important for large-fruited varieties. All work on crop rationing should be carried out when the berries grow from a hen's egg. There are several approaches to creating a properly fruiting watermelon plant.
How to figure out which option to choose? It seems that it makes no sense for an ordinary summer resident to think about this, but just remember a few rules:
- do not leave more than six fruits on the bush
- on each shoot, leave only one berry in the case of large-fruited varieties and a maximum of two in the case of small-fruited
- after the watermelon grows to the size of a fist, leave a maximum of 4–5 leaves above it.
All available schemes for the formation of watermelon plants provide for pinching most of the stems and leaving only a few fruits on the bush
How to grow a square watermelon (Japanese technology)
A square (more precisely, cubic) watermelon is good only because it will take up less space when storing or transporting the crop. This "miracle" has no other advantages, and it makes little sense to specially try to grow it. But lovers of such exotic can get square striped berries from any favorite variety. To do this, it is necessary to somehow make cubic containers from transparent plastic of the appropriate size.
The future square watermelon spends almost all his life inside a transparent cube.
Then everything is very simple. Once the watermelon has grown to the size of an apple, it is placed in a mold and the usual care continues, observing how it feels. You may have to water a little more, turn the cube over, push the fruit in it while it is small. But as soon as it grows up and starts to rest against the edges, it will take the shape of a cube. Obviously, in a similar way, you can grow not only cubic watermelons, but, for example, pyramidal ones.
Treatment against diseases and pests
Harvesting and storage
When the harvest approaches the ripening stage, the question arises: when to cut the watermelons? After all, the fact is that fully ripe berries are very poorly stored, and if you want to eat a delicious watermelon right from the garden, you have to wait until it becomes as tasty as the variety allows. Those watermelons that have not yet reached the so-called first stage of maturity are also poorly stored.
Of course, until you cut a watermelon, you will not know exactly what it is inside: it happens that even the most experienced melon growers make mistakes. In the cut, everything is simple: if the color of the pulp and seeds meets the varietal characteristics, the watermelon is ready. A slightly unripe specimen (the pulp is lighter than normal) could reach full ripeness and gain sugar during storage. But you won't cut the berries in the garden!
There are several signs of ripeness:
Growing a watermelon at home (in a bucket)
If your home has a sunny windowsill or balcony, you can grow a watermelon on them. True, it requires a lot of free space, and it is almost impossible to get a berry weighing more than 1 kg. The whole process consists of the same stages as usual, only from small seedling pots, plants with a lump of earth are transferred into a large pot, with a volume of at least a bucket, or better - from 15 liters. Of course, you can immediately sow seeds in a bucket (do not forget to make drainage holes in the bottom).
You can leave no more than two fruits on one plant at home, but after they have successfully tied. And they will tie only under the condition of artificial pollination.
The owner should know how female flowers differ from male ones, and pollen from a male flower (on a thin peduncle) must be pollinated on a female one (with a thick peduncle).
Otherwise, you need to monitor the temperature, soil moisture and give the watermelon more light.
Greenhouse watermelons, the use of nets
In the cold climate zone, watermelons can only be grown in a greenhouse. There, the beds are prepared in advance, introducing humus and mineral fertilizers into them. Watermelon seedlings are planted when night temperatures in the greenhouse do not drop below 6 ° C, which happens in the center of Russia around the end of April. Although, of course, in the greenhouse you can sow watermelons and seeds, right in the garden.
Since space in the greenhouse has to be saved, watermelons are planted a little thicker, and trellises are arranged to guide the lashes. Plants are usually planted according to the 50 x 70 cm scheme, and the early varieties even plant two plants per hole, directing the shoots in different directions. If the windows and doors in the greenhouse are almost always kept closed, at the right time there may be no flying insects in it, there is no wind there, so artificial pollination has to be carried out.
If the watermelon is grown on a trellis, the fruits do not lie on the ground, but are at a certain height, so they may fall as they grow. In this regard, when berries grow to the size of an apple, they are often placed in spacious nets of any material, which are firmly tied to the trellis. At the same time, the fruits do not lie on the ground and, therefore, do not rot. In addition, when in the net, they are evenly illuminated from all sides, which leads to earlier ripening.
The nets, fixed on the trellis, allow the watermelons not to fall and to ripen better
Growing in a barrel, using a film
In a barrel, you can immediately sow seeds or plant seedlings (depending on the climate), but in any case, at first, the watermelon must be covered with a non-woven material. There is enough space in the barrel for two plants. There is no need for a trellis here, and the growing lashes will hang down, where flowers will appear at the surface of the earth, and then fruits. Watermelon care is normal, but you may need more watering.
Features of growing watermelons in different regions
Trouble-free growing of watermelons is possible only in the south, other regions have their own rules, but all of them are mainly aimed only at creating warm conditions for this berry.
Watermelons in the south of Russia
In the southern regions (starting with Volgograd), only amateurs who want to get very early harvests are engaged in seedlings. In industrial production, watermelons are sown directly in open ground, starting in mid-spring. They are watered only at first, before flowering, and then melon, in fact, grows by itself.
Already starting from the Central Black Earth region, options are possible. Here, cultivation is used both through seedlings and without it, and sowing in the garden is possible already at the beginning of May. Greenhouses are usually not needed.
For the first time, many summer residents cover crops with a film. Some sow watermelons immediately after planting potatoes, in an empty space. Since the second half of June, they are not watered at all, precipitation is usually sufficient.
Central regions of Russia, Ural region
In the central regions of the country, and even more so in the Urals, it is possible to get crops in the open field only by seedlings. Seedlings (preferably in peat pots) are planted in the garden at the end of spring, but greenhouse cultivation is also often used, planting seedlings immediately after the May holidays. Only early varieties are used: Ogonyok, Skorik, Sibiryak, and in the event of an unsuccessful summer in the open field, even they may not ripen and be used only for salting.
When planting in greenhouses, many alternate watermelons with cucumbers, although this can hardly be considered reasonable: watermelon is a resident of arid regions, and cucumbers need moist air. But with timely ventilation and proper temperature control, both crops can bring good yields.
Video: growing watermelons in greenhouse conditions
Northwest region, Leningrad region
Watermelons in the Far East
The heat in the Far Eastern region is quite enough for growing watermelons in the open field, there are even zoned varieties, for example, Ogonyok, Early Kuban, Skorik, although ripening is possible for any other varieties, except for very late ones. Sowing seeds directly into the garden is, of course, risky, so they practice the seedling method.
The only difference between the Far Eastern technology and the traditional one is that in the second half of summer there are often long and heavy rains here, as a result of which watermelons can rot. They cope with this simply: they are planted on high ridges, from which excess water drains. The size of the ridges is any convenient for use. In summer cottages, they are made about a meter wide, raised above the furrows to a height of 20-25 cm.
Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, so the climate is highly dependent on the region. And if in the north of the country it is similar to the one near Moscow, then in the south it is ideal for cultivating melons and gourds. In the south of Ukraine, they do not know the concept of "seedling", they sow watermelons right in the field or garden in late April - early May, and the care for them is minimal. In the north, it is also possible to sow seeds in a garden bed (at the end of spring), and preliminary cultivation of seedlings.
Growing watermelons is not always a lottery: with some experience and luck, normal fruits can be obtained in central Russia. And already at latitudes south of Kursk or Saratov, this striped berry is a traditional inhabitant of the garden enthusiasts' beds. You can enjoy delicious sweet fruits right from the garden with some effort, but they are small: the technology of growing melons and gourds is available to every summer resident.
When growing watermelons outdoors, the main factor is the temperature of the environment, the length of summer and the number of sunny days per year. If you plant a variety with a long growing season in a region with a short summer, it simply will not have time to ripen before the cold weather begins.
What to look for when choosing a variety?
Once watermelons grew only in the warmest regions of the Russian Empire, today this culture conquers not only the Moscow region, but also Siberia and the Urals. For each region and climate, its best varieties of watermelons have been bred and zoned.
When choosing a variety, take into account:
- frost resistance of the variety and the climate in the region
- requirements for soil and other growing conditions
- ripening terms.
Regionality and climate
Long-growing varieties are only suitable for southern regions. In cooler areas, only early-maturing varieties can be grown, in which the growing season is 70-90 days.
To make it easier for gardeners and large farmers to choose watermelons suitable for growing in their region, all varieties were divided into several groups. Groups of varieties according to geographic characteristics:
- western european
- Little, Central and East Asian
- far eastern
For middle latitudes, watermelons of the Russian, less often Central Asian or Transcaucasian group are suitable. These varieties are distinguished by increased environmental stability, which allows them to maintain productivity in stressful situations.
Our melon growers often plant imported hybrids - they are usually beautiful, tasty, productive, hardy, and highly marketable. The disadvantage of imported hybrids is high care requirements, so amateurs should better not get involved with growing them.
Features of cultivation in different climatic zones:
- Transbaikalia. Early ripening varieties are grown here in a seedling way. Seedlings are grown in peat cups. The planting is carried out around the end of May - they are waiting for the soil to warm up. Seedlings should have 3-4 leaves. Growing features:
- seedlings are hardened for 7 days at a temperature of + 15-17 ° C
- grow watermelons in high beds
- the beds are covered with a film stretched over arcs.
- South of Russia. Here the seeds can be sown directly into the ground - the climate allows it. Planting time is from late April to early June.
- Bashkiria. It is colder here than in the Moscow region, frosts are possible until June. Planting of seedlings in May, planting is covered with foil. Only early varieties are planted so that they have time to ripen before the cold weather. Growing features:
- Watermelons are planted with seedlings. If seeds are sown in the ground, then the soil is mulched and covered with foil.
- A thermal sleeve is laid in the film tunnel.
- Center of Russia and the Urals. Only the seedling method is practiced here. Seedlings are planted in late spring. Growing in greenhouses is also used. Only early varieties are grown.
- Northwest region. It seemed that growing watermelons here was fantastic. Today they are grown even in the Murmansk region and Karelia. Growing - greenhouse, varieties - early.
- Far East. The seedling method is practiced. The difference between local agricultural technology is planting on high beds. This is done because of the heavy rains that often occur here in the second half of summer.
The presented video tells from A to Z about growing watermelons in the open field:
Recommended varieties of watermelons for different regions:
After the variety is selected, the seeds are bought. If they turn out to be dissimilar, infected with any diseases, defective, then the harvest may not be at all.
- Buy seeds harvested 2-3 years ago. Plants with male flowers will grow from freshly harvested seeds, while fruits emerge from female flowers.
- Test the seeds for germination. Put 5 g of table salt in 100 ml of water. Dip the seeds in saline. Wait a few minutes. Throw out the floating seeds - they are unusable. Those that remain on the bottom, rinse thoroughly and dry.
To get good, high-quality seedlings, they are grown under certain conditions, feeding and hardening are carried out. The order of growing seedlings of watermelons:
- The optimum temperature for germinating seeds is around 30 ° C. Under these temperature conditions, the seeds germinate on the 6th day.
- As soon as the seeds germinate, the temperature is immediately lowered to 18 ° C.
- Two days of seedlings are given for adaptation, then weak seedlings are removed from the containers, leaving the strongest.
The best varieties of watermelons with characteristics
In watermelons, melon growers appreciate the combination of all the qualities on which the profitability of their cultivation depends:
- fruit size and taste
- keeping quality
- endurance - frost resistance, drought resistance, disease immunity
- exactingness to growing conditions and other factors.
Those varieties that show themselves well in the Kuban may produce unsightly fruits in the Moscow region or not ripen at all. Therefore, the decisive factor when choosing a variety for cultivation is zoning.
Popular varieties of watermelons in Russia:
Botanical description of the plant
Ordinary watermelon, or table watermelon (Citrúllus lanátus) belongs to the genus of the same name Watermelon from the multifaceted Pumpkin family. It is a melon crop that is grown in more than 130 countries around the world. All over the world, about 3.5 million hectares are allotted for watermelon every year!
Watermelon has a shallow root system. Long creeping branched stems (lashes). Quite large, on long petioles, triangular-ovate rough leaves. Most varieties of watermelon form bisexual flowers, pollinated by bees, which bloom throughout the summer.
The fruit of a watermelon is a juicy, multi-seeded pumpkin with a smooth surface. In different varieties, it has a different shape: round, elongated, cylindrical. The color of the fruit also varies - it can be whitish, green, yellow with stripes or spots, almost black. The pulp is raspberry, orange, red, pink-orange, pink, yellow, white.
Today, seedless watermelons are gaining more and more popularity. These hybrids are not the result of genetic modification, but only plants with three sets of chromosomes from crossing tetraploid (4 sets of chromosomes) and diploid parents (2 sets of chromosomes).
Fact! Wild ancestor of watermelon - colocynthgrowing in Africa. At home, it is a perennial with numerous round fruits weighing no more than 250 g. Some of the varieties are bitter, some are tasteless, some are poisonous, but some also have a pleasant, although not as sweet as we are used to, shade.
Who is talking about what, and we are again about WATERBUTS
After the story about my first experience of growing watermelon, many questions were received about the agricultural technology of melons. And this is justified! Watermelons are very useful, but it is dangerous to eat purchased ones! I personally do not dare! I know many cases of poisoning from my friends.
Therefore, I decided not to be lazy, but to tell you in more detail, using, of course, the literature from which I studied (at the same time I will repeat what I have passed!)
A. A. Zotova from Novosibirsk has been collecting steady harvests of watermelons for many years!
Last season, for example, she harvested 80 fruits from an area of less than a hundred square meters! And not any kilogram, but 5-8 kg each.
Here is what she writes, I outline:
"The main condition is a sunny place. If the area of the site does not allow to let the watermelon lashes" float freely, "they can be lifted onto the trellis.
It is advisable to plant pre-germinated seeds in the ground as early as possible (in the period from May 5 to May 30) and already on July 31 she feasted on 7 kg of watermelon!
Plants planted directly into the ground, though under a film shelter, are more viable.
"For watermelons, I make holes 50 * 50 cm, after filling them with rotted organic matter and watering well with warm water.
I place 4 germinated seeds in them, sprinkle on top with moist, but loose earth, about 2 cm each and tamp it slightly.
I place small containers with water in the holes, cover everything with newspapers, you can also use agril, and cover it with wooden frames with a height
about 20 cm, covered with plastic. It turns out like mini-boys. The water inside, evaporating, protects the seedlings from cold, as well as from overheating.
When I come to the dacha, I raise the greenhouses, water the plants and close them again.
At the initial stage, watermelons need watering in the same way as cucumbers, but when the sweetness begins to gain, watering can be reduced. Watch carefully, they will tell you when to water them, tuck them up and lower the "ears".
When the watermelon has "real" leaves, the plants must be fed with mullein infusion, in proportion to water 1/10, two, three feeding, with an interval of 10-15 days.
This is necessary for the fastest growth of green mass (I did not have a mullein, so I fed nettles, burdock, woodlice, chamomile soaked for a week - they have a lot of micro and macro elements)
The prepared infusion should not stand for more than 10 days, otherwise it will no longer be fertilizer, but sour soup!
When flowering and fruit setting begins, the plants need potassium.- and this is an infusion of ash. (you cannot burn conifers for ash!)
For the watermelon to be sweet, this dressing must be given several times.
Particular attention should be paid to shaping. I leave three side lashes on each bush. They will be the main ones on which the fruits are formed. I pluck out all the lateral processes, and they grow during the summer. This procedure must be done in the morning!
When the fruits grow to the size of an apple, then after 6-7 leaves from the ovary I pinch the lash.
If you grow 5-8 kg of watermelon on three lashes, this will be an excellent result!
During the ripening period of watermelons, so that the fruits do not rot, they must be turned from time to time. "
Well, that's not all that difficult!
Seeds of watermelons and melons can be ordered on the Internet at the NGO "SADY RUSSIA" in Chelyabinsk www.sad-i-ogorod.
cash on delivery without prepayment!
I have already been ordering seeds and seedlings from them for two years, I am very satisfied, I want to try other varieties instead of the "Ogonyok" watermelon this time -
"Eden" (from 7 to 10 kg) - dark green, intense red pulp, 24 rubles
"Zenith" (from 5 to 15kg) - light green with fine-grained pulp, 21 rubles
"Memory of Kholodova" round white with pink-raspberry pulp, 21 rubles
"Volzhanin" melon shape is elongated, the flesh is very sweet, pink, a characteristic feature of this variety is that the taste does not deteriorate from the center to the periphery of the fruit, as is usually the case. (Weight from 5-18kg) 21 rubles
Melon was a bit harsh this year, although the pulp is sweet and very fragrant, well, I will try other varieties again:
"Autumn" sweet sugar up to 3kg, 21 rubles
The "sunny" surface is smooth, bright yellow, subtle aroma, unforgettable taste, 21 rubles
"Dune" is yellow, with a sunny orange tint under the net of cracks, the fruits do not crack, they "lie" well, the flesh is snow-white, juicy and sweet, the crust is thin (weight from 2-4 kg) 24 rubles
In packs of 6 seeds.
Good luck to you girls, and to me too.
Yes, I forgot, you can always call them, their phone is: area code 35254-7-77-77
Measures to protect watermelons from diseases and pests
Watermelons are very sensitive to violations of the basic parameters of watermelon agricultural technology - heat and humidity. In unfavorable conditions, the plants get sick, aphids are often damaged, the fruits ripen poorly, and the yield drops. How to protect watermelons from diseases and pests and restore health and strength to plants?
Melon aphid attacks watermelon plants in June-July. It settles in whole colonies on the underside of the leaf and sucks the juice out of it. Leaves affected by aphids first become wrinkled and gradually dry out. During the summer, aphids give several generations and change color from yellow to dark green. It settles first on weeds. Females with wings fly out in mid-June, settle on watermelons and continue to oppress plants until autumn. Females lay eggs on weed leaves, where they hibernate on plant debris. In addition to direct harm to plants, aphids carry viral diseases.
To protect watermelons from aphids, weeding should be carried out in a timely manner and the areas adjacent to the melons and gourds should be mowed. If, nevertheless, aphids appeared on the plants, they should be treated with infusions or decoctions of celandine, onion husks, garlic. Chemical preparations should be used in case of severe damage to watermelons by aphids (Karbofos, INTA-VIR, Iskra and others).
Anthracnose, or copperhead appear in the form of large light brown or yellow rounded spots. With air humidity above 85%, the first signs may appear even on seedlings, later spots are formed on leaves and fruits. The infection spreads quickly with frequent rains and watering. Rounded ulcers appear on the fruits, which become covered with a pinkish bloom in wet weather. The causative agent of the disease persists in seeds and plant debris.
To prevent the disease of watermelons with anthracnose, you should warm up the seeds before sowing, observe the timing of planting seedlings or sowing in the ground and watering rates. Use anthracnose-resistant varieties and hybrids for growing watermelon: Helen, Dolby F1, SRD 2, Start. When plants are infected with anthracnose, it is necessary to promptly remove diseased leaves and dust the plantings with sulfur. In case of severe infection, the entire plants are dug up and burned.
Bacteriosis, or angular spotting more leaves and stems, less fruit. The disease manifests itself as oily brownish-brown spots. In wet weather, droplets of a cloudy liquid form on the underside of the leaf. The ovaries become vitreous, covered with small oily depressed spots. The development of bacteriosis is facilitated by high temperature and dew falling at night. The causative agent of the disease persists in seeds and plant debris.
For prophylaxis and treatment, the soil should be dug deep in the fall, observe the alternation of crops, pickle the seeds before sowing in undiluted aloe juice or warm them up in hot water, immediately remove diseased plants, and grow varieties resistant to bacteriosis.
Watermelon disease - powdery mildew
Powdery mildew manifests itself in the form of white blooms and spots on leaves, petioles, stems. Later, the leaves turn brown and dry out. The disease spreads quickly in dry and hot weather, when the turgor of the leaves weakens. The causative agent of the disease hibernates on plant debris, weeds and infects plants in spring.
To prevent the disease, the seeds are soaked before sowing for 1.5-2.0 hours in Fitosporin solution, crop rotation is observed, watering is carried out in a timely manner, the greenhouses are regularly aired, and the weeding of melons is carried out in a timely manner. When the first signs of the disease appear, additional doses of potash fertilizers are introduced, diseased leaves are removed, and the plantings are treated with a solution of colloidal sulfur (30 g per 10 l of water).
Downy mildew, or oversporosis, appears as spots on the upper side of the leaves. At first they are watery yellow-green in color (or mosaic coloring), then turn brown and dry. On the underside of the leaf, a grayish-purple bloom is formed, consisting of fungal spores. Affected leaves dry up and crumble, only petioles and whips remain on the plant. The disease spreads with high humidity, dew and fog, poor ventilation of greenhouses. In dry weather, the disease subsides, but does not stop, resuming under suitable conditions. The infection is carried by the wind and persists on plant debris.
To prevent the disease of watermelons by oversporosis, the seeds should be warmed up or soaked in Fitosporin solution (instructions on the package) before sowing, in the fall, carefully harvest plant residues, and dig deep into the soil.
When signs of disease appear, it is necessary to spray the plants with a decoction or infusion of horsetail (1 tbsp. Spoon of horsetail per 1 liter of water). To prepare a decoction of field horsetail, bring to a boil, cool, filter and process watermelons. At the initial stage of plant disease, treatment with milk with iodine is effective. Milk is diluted with water 1: 8, and 8-10 drops of iodine are added to a bucket of solution. With a strong infection of watermelons with oversporosis, they are treated with Cuprosat (25-30 g per 10 l of water) or Oxychloride (35-40 g per 10 l of water).
Fusarium wilting Is a very dangerous disease. Plants can die within 2-3 days without changing the color of the leaves. There is also a protracted form, in which the leaves first curl, then chlorotic spots appear, gradually covering the entire leaf blade. Drying of leaves and shoots continues until the fruit ripens. The infection is transmitted through soil, seeds and plant debris.
To prevent fusarium wilting, seeds should be etched before sowing for 3-4 hours in 0.1% Baktofit solution, after planting seedlings, mulch the soil with calcined and cooled sand, ash, chalk or fluff lime, avoid excessive soil moisture. And also select F1 hybrids for growing that are resistant to fusarium: Helen, Trophy, Krisby, Lady, Dumara, Dolby.
Strict adherence to the recommendations on the agricultural technology of watermelons will significantly reduce the risk of plant diseases and pests.
But, when the first signs of the disease appear, the affected plants should be removed and destroyed, the remaining potassium-phosphorus fertilizers should be sprayed (5-8 g per 10 l of water).