Watermelon can be grown year-round in the tropics and it is a warm-season crop. By choosing suitable varieties and giving them proper care, good quality of Watermelons can be produced in the tropics. Organic production is a fast-growing sector of agriculture in the requirement of a variety of evaluations under their unique production systems.
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.
Is watermelon a fruit or a vegetable?
Watermelon is a popular dessert vegetable, with year-round availability. Watermelons vary in shape; from globular to oblong. External rind color varies from light to dark green and maybe solid, marbled, or striped. Watermelon can be grown year-round in the tropics and it is a warm-season crop.
Is watermelon a dry season crop?
Watermelon is a dry season crop. It must be planted with proper irrigation. The Watermelon beds are irrigated two days before sowing and then again 5 days after sowing the seeds. As the plant grows, irrigation is done every week. Attention must be paid to water stress at the time of irrigation since it can lead to fruit cracking.
How is Watermelon grown in the desert?
In large-scale production in desert areas (of Southern California and in the San Joaquin Valley), USA, watermelons are planted on flat beds 2 m wide and 20 to 30 cm high. In direct-seeded plantings, seed is placed 1.2 to 1.9 cm deep. After thinning and side-dressing, furrows are reformed prior to furrow irrigation.
Are watermelons harvested?
All watermelons are harvested by hand. Workers initially go through the field and cut the watermelons from the vine that are ready for harvest and then the harvesting crew returns to harvest all of the cut watermelons.
How is watermelon grown and harvested?
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. A sharp knife is used to cut watermelons from the vine, then they are flipped over “belly up” to indicate they are ready.
How are watermelons farmed?
There are 3 methods to grow watermelons: Growing from seed, growing from non-grafted seedlings and growing from grafted seedlings.
Is watermelon found in nature?
Background and Aims Watermelons, Citrullus species (Cucurbitaceae), are native to Africa and have been cultivated since ancient times. The fruit flesh of wild watermelons is watery, but typically hard-textured, pale-coloured and bland or bitter.
How are watermelons grown commercially?
Commercially produced watermelons (seeded and seedless) are generally started as transplants in the greenhouse 18-24 days prior to planting in the field. However, growing seedless watermelon transplants is more difficult than growing seeded varieties because of difficulties in germinating the seed.
Where does watermelon grow?
Nearly 80 percent of all U.S. watermelon production hails from four States—Florida, Georgia, Texas and California. Florida surpasses all other States as the main supplier of U.S. watermelons, accounting for total production of 907 million pounds, or 25 percent of domestic supplies in 2019.
Is watermelon environmentally friendly?
watermelon has a low carbon footprint. Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent.
Is watermelon a horticultural crop?
Watermelon: A Valuable Horticultural Crop with Nutritional Benefits.
Do watermelons grow on trees?
Like the melon, the watermelon, Citrullus lanatus, of the Cucurbitaceae family, is native to Central Africa, in the western Kalahari region of Namibia and Botswana, where many forms are still found in the wild. And also like the melon, the watermelon does not grow on a tree, but on the ground!
Is watermelon genetically modified?
It’s also a source of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B6. Seedless watermelon is not a genetically modified food; it is a result of cross-breeding. The male pollen of a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes, is crossed with the female watermelon flower, which has been chemically altered to contain 44 chromosomes.
Where do watermelons come from originally?
Paris says the true ancestor of the modern watermelon is indigenous to northeastern Africa: citrullus lanatus var. colocynthoides, known as gurum in Sudan and gurma in Egypt.
Where do melons grow naturally?
central AsiaThe melon plant is native to central Asia, and its many cultivated varieties are widely grown in warm regions around the world. Most commercially important melons are sweet and eaten fresh, though some varieties can be made into preserves or pickled.
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.
How do watermelon plants grow?
How Watermelons Grow. Watermelons grow extensively broad, ground-hugging vines with soft, attractive foliage. The flowers appear quite suddenly, and it is interesting to watch the tiny melons start to develop after the flower petals drop. Watermelons have separate male and female flowers and are not wind-pollinated.
How to encourage watermelon to grow?
To encourage side shoots, when seedlings have 3 leaves, pinch off the growing end. When new side shoots have 3 leaves, pinch off the central growing area again. When fruits begin to form, pinch back the vine to two leaves beyond the fruit.
How to tell if watermelon is ripe?
The fact is, these are not reliable indicators for all watermelon varieties. The most reliable indicator of ripeness is the color. Ripe watermelons will have darker stripes and the spot the rind rests on will turn from white to golden yellow.
How to grow melons indoors?
How –. If you start melons indoors, use individual cells or peat pots, not flats, as the roots are too succulent to divide. When you direct sow, plant 2-3 seeds in a hill and then thin the appropriate spacing, depending on whether you train them on a trellis or let them spread on the ground.
Is watermelon a good source of lycopene?
1796 views. Watermelons are a summertime treat enjoyed by young and old alike. There is nothing quite as refreshing as a cool slice of watermelon in the hot summer days of July and August. In addition to tasting great, watermelons are a leading source of lycopene ( commonly found in tomatoes), in addition to being a very good source …
Can you plant melons outside?
If nights are cool, use hot caps to protect the plants. Melons can be sown directly outside, but some gardeners report better germination with pre-sprouted seeds.
Can you cross germinate seedless watermelon?
Seedless watermelons will also require cross germination with a seeded watermelon variety in order to produce seedless watermelon fruit. A couple of germination seeds are often included in seedless watermelon packets. Any seeded variety can be used, the ones included are typically just for convenience.
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.
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 vines produce male flowers?
Vines produce male and female flowers separately on the same plant. They often begin producing male flowers several weeks before the females appear. Do not be concerned if the male flowers fall off. The female flowers (which have a swollen bulb at the base) will stay on the vine and bear fruit.
What is the family of watermelon?
Watermelon belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family which includes squash, cucumber, and pumpkin. Watermelon is a popular dessert vegetable, with year-round availability. Watermelons vary in shape; from globular to oblong. External rind color varies from light to dark green and maybe solid, marbled, or striped.
How hot does watermelon grow?
Watermelon seeds germinate well and plants thrive at 25°C – 30°C. Fruits mature best at 30°C. Watermelon requires plenty of sunshine and dry weather. Cloudy or continuous rain will not only stunt the plant growth but also reduce the flowering and fruit set.
Why do watermelon plants drop?
Heavy soils with a lot of clay frequently cause small, weak plants that produce fewer melons. Melons prefer soils with a neutral pH value, and if the soil is too acidic the plants will drop their blossoms. Watermelon not only tolerates hot weather but for best growth needs more heat than any other vegetables.
Why do watermelon plants need to be covered in compost?
During compost making, the organic matter needs to be covered to prevent the leaching of nutrients. Watermelon is a heavy feeder and does well in soils with high organic content (manure) Based on the results of the soil analysis, prepare adequate compost for application.
How to keep melon plants from yellowing?
Add substantial amounts of manure, compost, and leaves to your garden and work the soil well before planting. Soils with a pH value of less than 6.0 will produce plants with yellowed foliage and fewer perfect flowers. Good drainage is important for preventing disease in your melon plants.
What is organic production?
Organic production is a fast-growing sector of agriculture in the requirement of a variety of evaluations under their unique production systems. Guide to Organic Watermelon.
When do watermelon flowers appear?
For Watermelon male flowers will appear first , at leaf joints on the main stem and female flowers will appear about one week later, female flowers will develop off of secondary side-shoots. Your best defence against these pests is to cover your plants with row covers until flowering.
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.
Growing Watermelon Hydroponically
Watermelon isn’t the likeliest or most common crop for growing hydroponically. However, it is more than possible.
Best Hydroponic Systems for Growing Watermelons
The first step to a successful hydroponic crop of watermelons is selecting and setting up the best type of hydroponic system for the operation.
Growing Mediums for Hydroponic Watermelons
Hydroponic watermelon grows and thrives in inert, sterile growing mediums.
Correct Hydroponic Water Temperature and Humidity for Watermelons
Everything to do with water is crucial in hydroponics, including the temperature, but it is even more important with watermelons specifically.
Best Nutrients for Growing Hydroponic Watermelons
Watermelons thrive and grow best with liquid nutrients that consist of well-balanced macronutrients and micronutrients. Most general-purpose fertilizers for hydroponics work well.
Best Support Structure for Hydroponic Watermelons
One of the most unique aspects of growing watermelon hydroponically in comparison to other crops is that a support structure must be used.
Lighting Requirements for Hydroponic Watermelon
Watermelons require quite a bit of light in comparison to many hydroponic crops, such as lettuce and microgreens.
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 b…
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 poll…
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…