Do watermelons grow in the US?
Watermelons are currently grown on all continents throughout the warm regions of the globe. Most of the watermelons harvested in the United States are sold as fresh produce. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the United States produced 126,000 acres of watermelons in 2009 with a value of $460 million.
What conditions do watermelons need to grow?
Native to Africa, melons require warm temperatures and a long growing season. Here’s how to plant and grow watermelons in your garden! Because watermelons need a long period of warm weather to grow well, they tend to be more popular in warmer climates with long growing seasons.
Do all watermelons have seeds?
Seedless (triploid) watermelons produce fruits having few if any true seeds. Immature, white seed coats and, under certain conditions, a few dark seeds may be present in the fruit. Fresh-market watermelons usually are sold loose in bulk containers or in 800-pound cardboard bins. When planning production, first consider your ability to market.
How long does it take watermelon to grow?
Another thing to consider as part of your basic watermelon plant care is that they need plenty of water. You should especially give them water when it gets dry, as it often does in the dead of summer. So how long does watermelon take to grow? Growing watermelons take about 120 days from start to finish.
Is watermelon a horticultural crop?
Watermelon: A Valuable Horticultural Crop with Nutritional Benefits.
Where are watermelons usually grown?
While watermelons are grown across the U.S., most production occurs in the top five states (Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, and Texas), producing approximately 69 percent of all grown in the U.S. The average watermelon yield per acre in the U.S in 2020 was 39,704 pounds.
Are melons cucurbits?
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus ), cucumber (Cucumis sativus ), and melon (Cucumis melo ) are major crop species in the cucurbit or vine-crop family (the Cucurbitaceae), an important family of flowering plants (the angiosperms). The family also includes squash, pumpkin, and gourds.
Is watermelon a self pollinated crop?
Watermelon is self-fertile with the female flower being pollinated equally well by pollen from a male flower on the same or a different plant. The pollen grains are sticky and insects are required to transfer pollen to receptive stigmas.
Why watermelon is not good for you?
Consuming large quantity of watermelon may increase the level of water in our body. If the excess water is not excreted, it can lead to an increase in the volume of the blood, further causing swelling in the legs, exhaustion, weak kidneys, et al. It may also lead to loss of sodium levels in the body.
Where are the most watermelons grown in the world?
ChinaBy countries, the main producer is China, meaning 60% of the total production. It is followed by Turkey, Iran, the United States and Egypt. The following table shows the 10 countries with larger watermelon cultivation.
What type of crop is melon?
melon, (Cucumis melo), trailing vine in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), grown for its often musky-scented edible fruit. The melon plant is native to central Asia, and its many cultivated varieties are widely grown in warm regions around the world.
What are cucurbits vegetables?
The Gourd Family (Cucurbitaceae) Including squash, pumpkin, cucumber, gourd, watermelon, and cantaloupe. Overview-These are a group of ornamental trailing or climbing plants. They are sometimes called the “vine vegetables”.
Is watermelon considered a gourd?
Watermelon is a Vegetable Watermelon is a member of the cucurbitaceae plant family of gourds (classified as Citrullus lantus), related to the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin (Maynard, 2001). It is planted from seeds or seedlings, harvested, and then cleared from the field like other vegetables.
Do watermelons need a pollinator?
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) Mating & Breeding System: Most watermelon varieties bear both male and female flowers, although a few have male and hermaphrodite flowers. Individual plants are self-fertile, but require a pollinator to bring about pollination, even within a hermaphrodite flower.
What is a pollinator for watermelon?
Pollination by bees is critical for a successful watermelon crop. While the Eu- ropean honey bee is often used effectively to pollinate watermelon (at 2 hives per acre), native bees are also significant pollinators.
How do you tell if a watermelon has been pollinated?
They are discernible by the large stamens located at their center when open. When the male flowers do appear, it is a sign that the female flowers are coming soon after. Watch carefully for the female flowers since they open for one day per growing season and once they are gone, you cannot pollinate the plant.
How long does it take for watermelon to grow?
Days to maturity range from 70 to 90, depending on the variety.
What is the best soil for watermelon?
Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting. Watermelons do best in loamy, somewhat-sandy, well-drained soil.
How to tell when watermelon is ripe?
Dr. Bill Rhodes, professor of horticulture at Clemson University, offers the following advice on how to tell when watermelons are ripe: Thump it. If the watermelon sounds hollow, it’s ripe. Look at the color on the top. The watermelon is ripe when there is little contrast between the stripes. Look at the color on the bottom.
How long after a frost can you plant watermelon seeds?
In warmer climates with long growing seasons, sow seeds directly outdoors 1 to 2 weeks after your last frost date, as long as the soil temperature has warmed to at least 70°F (21°C). Warmer soil helps prevent poor germination. Young watermelon plants can also be bought from nurseries. Plant these after there is no longer a chance of frost occurring.
How much water do melon plants need?
While melon plants are growing, blooming, and setting fruit, they need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Keep soil moist, but not waterlogged. Water at the vine’s base in the morning, and try to avoid wetting the leaves and avoid overhead watering. Reduce watering once fruit are growing. Dry weather produces the sweetest melon.
What is the sweetest melon?
Dry weather produces the sweetest melon. If you choose to fertilize (and many do), make sure it delivers more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium, as this will encourage leaf and vine growth. However, after flowering begins, use a fertilizer with less nitrogen to instead encourage flowers and fruit.
Do you need to prune watermelon?
Pruning generally isn’t necessary for watermelon plants , but vine productivity may be improved if you do not allow lateral (side) vines to grow and stick to the main vine. When the plant is young, just cut off the end buds as they form (before the side shoots become vines).
What is the growing conditions for watermelon?
Watermelons. By: Kathee Mierzejewski. Printer Friendly Version. Image by Andy Melton. Growing conditions for watermelons include lots of sunshine during the day and warm nights. Watermelon is a warm season fruit loved by just about everyone.
How to tell if a watermelon is ripe?
Another way to know if the melon is ripe is to pick one up and turn it over. If the bottom where it sits in the soil is yellow, the watermelon is probably ripe. Printer Friendly Version.
Can you grow watermelon in the north?
When considering how to grow watermelons, know that it is not that difficult. The plant does all the work. They grow great in the south during warmer seasons, but if you live in the north, there are tips for growing watermelons that can be followed so you are successful in your endeavors.
Do you cut off watermelon shoots?
You do not want to disturb the roots, and you certainly don’t want to cut any shoots off the main plant. Another thing to consider as part of your basic watermelon plant care is that they need plenty of water. You should especially give them water when it gets dry, as it often does in the dead of summer.
Can you use watermelon rind in salad?
They are great sliced, in fruit salads, and the rind is even used hollowed out as a serving basket or bowl. On a hot summer day, nothing tastes better than a nice slice of watermelon. Understanding the best growing conditions for watermelons will help you grow this wonderful fruit.
Where did watermelon originate?
Historically, watermelon was cultivated fin ancient Egypt, though the culture extends back to prehistoric times. Its origin was verified by David Livingstone (the noted missionary explorer) in the 1850s, when he found great tracts of watermelon (called kengwe ) growing wild in the Kalahari Desert and semi-tropical regions of Africa.
What family is watermelon?
Articles. Updated: August 8, 2005. Watermelon. Watermelons are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, muskmelons, and gourds. Individual plants produce both male and female flowers, and fruit size varies from 5 to 30 pounds, depending on variety. However, seedless varieties will require pollinators.
How to tell if watermelon is mature?
Watermelons are hand-harvested at full maturity for best taste and texture. Indicators of watermelon fruit maturity include a yellow spot on the fruit surface in contact with soil or plastic mulch; a brown, dried tendril where the fruit stem is joined to the watermelon vine; and a dull surface on top of the fruit. Because individual fruits are pollinated at different times, multiple harvests are usually necessary. After harvest, growers should check watermelons for size, maturity, and pest damage to ensure marketing of a high-quality product. Cooling the watermelons after harvest to 45-50°F will remove field heat and improve shelf life and taste. Watermelons will retain good quality for approximately 21-28 days if stored at 85-90 percent humidity and 47-55°F.
What is the best soil for watermelon?
Watermelons grow best on soils that hold water well and have good air and water infiltration rates. Soil should have a pH of 5.8-6.6. Watermelons are sensitive to cold temperatures, and even a mild frost can severely injure the crop. The best average temperature range for watermelon production during the growing season is between 65°F and 95°F. Temperatures above 95°F or below 50°F will slow the growth and maturation of the crop. Watermelons require a constant supply of moisture during the growing season. However, excess water at any time during crop growth, especially as fruit reaches maturity, can cause the fruit to crack, which will reduce crop yields and fruit quality.
How to control watermelon weeds?
Weed control can be achieved with herbicides, plastic mulch, and a good crop-rotation system. Several preplant and postemergence herbicides are available for watermelons, depending on the specific weed problem and the growth stage. If infestation levels are mild, early cultivation (prior to vine running) can help reduce weed problems. Insects are a major problem in watermelon production. Cucumberbeetle, aphids, seed corn maggot, leafminers, and rindworms (cucumber beetle larvae) can all cause crop losses. Monitoring insect populations with traps and scouting will help you determine when to apply pesticides and how often to spray. Several watermelon diseases can cause crop losses, including bacterial fruit blotch, fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, downy mildew, and gummy stem blight. Viruses such as cucumber mosaic (CMV), squash mosaic (SqMV), and watermelon mosaic (WMV-1, 2) are also a problem. These diseases can be controlled by using disease-resistant varieties and by having a good crop-rotation system and soils with good air and water infiltration rates.
What diseases can watermelon cause?
Several watermelon diseases can cause crop losses , including bacterial fruit blotch, fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, downy mildew, and gummy stem blight.
Do watermelon seeds need pollinators?
However, seedless varieties will require pollinators. Fruit shape and appearance are quite varied, ranging from round to cylindrical and a single color to various striped patterns on the fruit surface. Historically, watermelon was cultivated fin ancient Egypt, though the culture extends back to prehistoric times.
Where did watermelon originate?
Watermelon History. The origin of watermelon has been traced back to the deserts of southern Africa some 5,000 years ago, where it still grows wild today. This ancestor of the modern watermelon is a tough, drought tolerant fruit prized for its ability to store water for tribes crossing the Kalahari Desert.
How many times are watermelon harvested?
Most fields are picked twice during the season. On average, each watermelon plant produces two to three harvestable fruit. Each time the field is harvested, any exposed watermelons are re-covered with leaves or straw to prevent sunburn.
How many pieces of fruit are in a carton of mini watermelon?
Cartons for minis weigh 45 to 50 pounds with 6 to 10 pieces of fruit per carton; the most popular size counts are 6 and 8. A foodservice industry option for packaging for seeded and seedless watermelons is a carton that weights 65 to 70 pounds with 3 to 6 pieces of fruit per carton.
How to tell when watermelon is ready to pick?
A sharp knife is used to cut watermelons from the vine, then they are flipped over “belly up” to indicate they are ready. “The belly” is the pale yellow spot on the underside of the watermelon where it rested on the ground while growing. Watermelons pulled from the vine may crack open or result in damage to the stem end. Pickers use these characteristics to check for ripeness: 1 Firm symmetrical fruit with a pale or buttery yellow spot on the bottom. 2 Heavy for its size due to the fruit’s high water content. 3 Free from bruises, cuts and dents; a few scratches are ok
Why are watermelons loaded on their sides?
Watermelons are loaded on their sides to protect the thinner rind at the top and bottom from damage.
When was watermelon first eaten?
The first evidence of people eating watermelon was recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphics as early as the 2nd millennium BC. In the 10th century, China began cultivating watermelon, and at around that same time the Moors are thought to have brought watermelon to Europe and the warmer climates of the Mediterranean.
Why do bees pollinate watermelon?
Bee colonies are placed in the field when the male flowers begin to appear; the bees pollinate the large yellow female flowers in order for the plant to bear fruit. Even the sterile seedless watermelon requires pollination in order to fruit.
Where did watermelons originate?
About a hundred years ago, David Livingston discovered the answer to the question of where watermelons originate from. The answer to this question is Central Africa were the ground is completely covered …
How do watermelon seeds grow?
Watermelons start as seeds that are planted in the ground. The seed then sprouts and the vine begins to grow. The vines grow into long vines with different sized leaves and flowers. Just like other fruits, the flower is where the actual fruit product comes from in this early stage of life.
How to tell when a watermelon is ready to harvest?
One way that farmers know that a watermelon is ripe is by looking at the vine tendrils. These are the little curly vines that are found on the larger part of the vine when the watermelon is growing. When the watermelon is ripe, the tendrils will turn brown and die. A green tendril means the watermelon is not ripe and should not be picked.
What does a green tendril mean on a watermelon?
When the watermelon is ripe, the tendrils will turn brown and die. A green tendril means the watermelon is not ripe and should not be picked. The watermelons are hand cut off of the vine and harvested. Watch the video below to learn a little bit more about watermelons grown here in Oregon!
How long does it take for a watermelon to ripen?
It takes the fruit about 45 days to become a full size and ripe melon. Next, the ripe watermelon is ready to be picked. The farmer is able to tell when the watermelon is ripe because the vines and leaves start to turn brown and die. This is when the harvesting period is over.
How much does a watermelon weigh?
This variety of watermelon often weighs between 10 and 20 pounds and have the normal sweet flavor as the seeded watermelons. Yellow. Yellow watermelons have a yellowish to orange flesh with the normal green rind. They can either have seeds or be seedless. They might come in a round shape or oblong shape to them.
Why are watermelon important to Africa?
Watermelons act as a very important source of water for Central Africans during the dry season. There are still districts in Africa where watermelon is cultivated for the purpose of being used for water. Watermelon was brought to the America’s by European colonists and could be found in Massachusetts in 1629.
How long does it take for watermelon to grow?
Watermelon requires a relatively long growing season (about 80-90 days from sowing the seeds), and it wants absolutely nothing to do with cool weather. Plant your watermelon when the soil has warmed to around 70ºF and there are no longer any cool nights in the forecast.
How much water is in a watermelon?
A watermelon is made up of 92% water—if you want big, juicy watermelons, make sure your plants stay well watered! Growfully Protip. The sprawling vines and large canopy of leaves of a watermelon vine can act like a mulch to help retain soil moisture and prevent weed competition around your watermelon plants.
How to transplant watermelon seeds?
Transplant on a warm but not hot day that is preferably overcast with calm winds. Water your watermelon seed lings thoroughly about an hour before you plan on transplanting them. If using a plantable seed starting method (like newspaper pots, peat pots, or soil blocks), plant the seedling directly into the soil.
How much water do watermelon plants need?
Just like most other plants in your veggie garden, watermelons need 1 to 2 inches of water per week to grow adequately. This is particularly important when the watermelon plants are setting and growing fruit.
How to start watermelon seeds indoors?
How to start watermelon seedlings indoors (only recommended for cooler climates or to ensure germination) Fill a large seedling pot or soil block with seed starting medium. We like to use coco coir (4 parts), vermiculite (2 parts), and perlite (1 part). Sow 2-3 seeds in each pot (this will ensure germination of at least one), …
How to hand pollinate watermelon?
These are the watermelon flowers that do not have a tiny watermelon on the stem. Take a soft paintbrush or cotton swab and run it along the middle of the flower.
How to tell when a watermelon is ready?
Then knock on the one you think might be ready. When the watermelon is ready, it’ll sound hollow compared to the unripe watermelon.
Classification of Watermelon
You’ll often hear your science teacher tell you that watermelon is made up of 93% water, This is true! These fruits are sweet and delicious and can be especially refreshing on a hot day.
Is a watermelon a cucumber?
This question has caused a lot of confusion among gardeners! Some claim watermelons to be cucumbers or rather, vegetables, while others firmly hold their ground by saying that watermelon is a fruit. Cucumbers and watermelons belong to the same family called the Cucurbitaceae family and this family houses many other similar vines too.
Fruits Bigger Than A Watermelon
A watermelon can grow to a very large size. In fact, in many countries like the USA, Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, competitions are held among farmers, gardeners, and people to encourage them to grow watermelons to the largest size possible and then compete against each other.
Plants You Can Grow Next To Watermelon
Originally, this fruit was from a vine from South Africa. Watermelons are compatible plants that accommodate almost all kinds of vegetables.
Did You Know..
Watermelons with their sweet taste are recognized as being elite fruits that come from the same family as cucumber and squash, and there is a really small type of fruit almost the size of a grape that looks exactly like a miniature watermelon.
Watermelons grow best on soils that hold water well and have good air and water infiltration rates. Soil should have a pH of 5.8-6.6. Watermelons are sensitive to cold temperatures, and even a mild frost can severely injure the crop. The best average temperature range for watermelon production during the growing season is between 65°F and 95°F. Tem…
Harvest and Storage
Watermelons are hand-harvested at full maturity for best taste and texture. Indicators of watermelon fruit maturity include a yellow spot on the fruit surface in contact with soil or plastic mulch; a brown, dried tendril where the fruit stem is joined to the watermelon vine; and a dull surface on top of the fruit. Because individual fruits are pollinated at different times, multiple har…
All agricultural operations in Pennsylvania, including small-scale and part-time farming enterprises, operate under the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law. A specific part of this law is the Nutrient Management Act. Portions of the act may or may not pertain to your operation, depending on whether you have livestock on your farm. However, all operations may be a sourc…
You may wish to consider several risk-management strategies for your operation. First, you should insure your facilities and equipment. This may be accomplished by consulting your insurance agent or broker. Second, you may want to insure your income through a crop insurance program called AGR-Lite. To use AGR-Lite you must have 5 years of Internal Revenue Service (IR…
Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices
Good agricultural practices (GAPs) and good handling practices (GHPs) are voluntary programs that you may wish to consider for your operation. The idea behind these programs is to ensure a safer food system by reducing the chances for foodborne illnesses resulting from contaminated products reaching consumers. Also, several major food distribution chains are beginning to requ…
Included in this publication is an annual fresh-market watermelon production budget. This budget utilizes custom hire for most of the field work, which could be more economical for small-acreage growers. Farmers who own equipment should substitute their equipment costs for custom-hire costs. The budget summarizes the receipts, costs, and net returns of a watermelon enterprise. T…
For More Information
Dunn, J. W., J. W. Berry, L. F. Kime, R. M. Harsh, and J. K. Harper. Developing a Roadside Farm Market.University Park: Penn State Extension, 2006. Dunn, J. W., J. K. Harper, and L. F. Kime. Fruit and Vegetable Marketing for Small-Scale and Part-Time Growers.University Park: Penn State Extension, 2009. Harper, J. K., and G. L. Greaser. A gricultural Alternatives: Enterprise Budget An…
Prepared by Michael D. Orzolek, professor emeritus of horticulture; William J. Lamont, professor of horticulture; Lynn F. Kime, senior extension associate; Steven M. Bogash, retired extension educator; and Jayson K. Harper, professor of agricultural economics. This publication was developed by the Small-scale and Part-time Farming Project at Penn State with support from th…