Planting watermelon: We show you how it’s done!

Finally plant and harvest your own watermelon

Planting watermelon: We show you how it's done!

Watermelons are super delicious and immediately put us in the summer mood. You can easily grow them yourself in your own garden and there are even dwarf forms that you can grow on your balcony or terrace. We’ll show you what to look out for when planting your own watermelon.

Planting watermelon: Pre-grown plantlets

Watermelons delight us every summer as a juicy, sweet, low-calorie and refreshing thirst quencher. So it’s all the nicer that you can even grow your own watermelons. The annual plants are related to cucumber, pumpkin and zucchini and accordingly count as vegetables.

There are two options for growing them yourself: Either, you grow watermelons from seed very early in the year. Or you can buy pre-pulled seedlings and plant them in your garden. In this article we will take a closer look at the second option.
 
Perfect for beginners

This variant is particularly suitable for all those who do not yet have much practice in growing from seed and want to familiarize themselves with the matter of “self-cultivation”. In addition, for sowing you need a greenhouse or other suitable place, which not everyone has. In addition, sowing seeds costs much more time and labor. If you don’t have either (or are just too impatient, that’s absolutely okay!), then pre-pulled plants are the optimal solution.

Why should I plant my own watermelon ?

There are several reasons why you should plant your own watermelon. On the one hand, it’s great fun to watch the plants and fruits grow. What could be better than harvesting the fruit and enjoying it fresh?
 
Plant watermelon and do something good for the environment

Another reason is that the commercial cultivation of watermelons is very energy-intensive. They usually have to be grown in huge facilities using enormous amounts of electricity and water. In addition, watermelons need a lot of nutrients. During cultivation, they often receive these in the form of mineral fertilizers, which also represent a major environmental burden. Since cultivation often takes place abroad, the fruits then have to be imported to us in Europe, cooled and dark. Hello CO2 emissions!

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Planting your own watermelons is therefore much more sustainable and a few bees and bumblebees will definitely be happy about the pollen-rich flowers.

Planting watermelon: The right location

Watermelons originate from Central Africa and, accordingly, require the sunniest and warmest possible location. Therefore, it is recommended to plant the watermelon in a greenhouse or cold frame. In mild regions of Europe, for example in wine-growing areas, you can also plant your watermelon outdoors. A house wall protected from wind and rain and facing south is an optimal place for your watermelon.

Planting watermelon: There you get your dream plant

Once you’ve found the right spot for your watermelon, all you have to do is buy the right watermelon. You can find good plants either locally or online at the nursery.

Planting watermelon: The right time

Since watermelons do not tolerate cold and frost, you can plant them only after the Ice Saints. In the open field rather end of May or beginning of June, in the greenhouse it goes also already from the middle of May. Of course, this also depends on the weather, so keep an eye on the weather forecast. If in doubt, plant your watermelon a little later.

Planting watermelon step by step

Now that you’ve found the right watermelon and the weather is right, we can get to work!

What you need:

  • Shovel or spade
  • Organic slow release fertilizer or plenty of compost
  • For container planting: good and peat-free garden soil and gravel or crushed stone for drainage
  • If necessary, a suitable planter
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Planting watermelon: Outdoor or greenhouse

Thoroughly loosen the soil and use a spade to dig a hole where the plant’s root ball will fit comfortably. Make sure it is not too deep. If you want to plant several watermelons, leave a space of about 80 cm between them. Add a handful of slow-release fertilizer or compost to the planting hole and place the plant in the center.

It is best to hold it with one hand and fill the hole about halfway with the excavated soil with the other. Press it down lightly and fill the hole completely. If there is still soil left, you can form a small “dike” around the plant. This ensures that the water does not run off so quickly when watering.

Ideally, you cover the young plants with a fleece. This protects against wind and low temperatures at night – and of course against snails. Remove it again when the watermelon starts to grow and outgrows the cover.

One option for growing the heat-loving plant is to use black mulch film. Under it, the soil warms up faster and weeds also do not get through. We recommend such a film in principle only if it is quite quickly biodegradable. So make sure you don’t put plastic in your garden.

 
Planting a mini watermelon: in a tub

If you have chosen a dwarf form, i.e. a mini watermelon, you can also plant it in a tub and follow the instructions below.

The right pot

The planter should have a diameter of at least 20 to 30 cm. With the help of practical online calculators you can display the corresponding volume in liters for each pot size, so you can plan in advance how much soil you need.

Proper prevention of waterlogging

It is very important that the pot has a drainage hole and that you first place a layer of coarse gravel, expanded clay granules or stones at the bottom of the container so that water can drain away quickly and no waterlogging occurs.

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Lots of nutrients, please!

If you want to use a slow-release fertilizer or compost, you can mix it with the planting soil right away. A later application is also possible, but then it can only be worked into the substrate superficially. Fill enough soil on the drainage layer so that the watermelon is not too deep. Place it in the center of the pot and hold it with one hand. At the same time, use the other to spread the substrate around the roots and press it down lightly to finish. Done!

Finally, water the watermelon. You can give it a good portion of water.

Better safe than sorry

You can also cover the young plants in the tub with a fleece. The danger of slugs eating them is less than in the bed, but under a protective layer the small plants do not freeze as much. Take it off again when the watermelon starts to climb and outgrows the cover.

Planting watermelon: We show you how it's done!
This is what the optimal soil looks like: Rich in humus, loose and jet black in color

Author

  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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