Stop buying watermelons. Expert gardener shares how to grow them in a container right at home
Summer, I know- it’s almost over, but summer is the time for watermelons. So, pay attention because next summer will be here before you know it and if you are tired of excitedly chomping into a juicy watermelon only to find out it’s tasteless, it might be time to start growing your own!
All you need to grow your own delicious watermelon is a container on your patio, deck or balcony. Or, if this works for you- plant an entire garden of container watermelons!!
- a container that holds 5-gallons and is at least 2-feet deep is best- watermelon roots need lots of room.
- drainage- make sure to drill holes in the bottom of your container so that excess water can drain out.
- good soil- use potting soil or a soilless mix into your container (avoid using garden or topsoil because it compacts easily and will make it harder for your watermelon to grow).
- a trellis- your watermelon vines will need something to climb up.
- pruning is key- after you plant your seeds, make sure only one main vine grows per seed planted, this will strengthen your main vine, make it healthier, and more fruitful. Pun intended!
- hand pollinating your watermelon plants will increase your chances for fruit, check out the video below for help with pollinating!
Once your melons start to grow, you’ll want to pay special attention and make sure to remove extra fruit from the vines. All the nutrients in your soil will be divided among the fruits your plant provides so removing the extra fruit from the vine will ensure that what’s produced is the best possible quality. (For large watermelon varieties this is two or three fruits per vine and five to 10 per vine for the smaller varieties.)
Next, make sure the fruit has the support it needs- you don’t want them to snap off the vine. Consider using “old pantyhose or a T-shirt to create a hammock underneath your fruit to support it.”
Lastly, make sure to water and fertilize your melons. Water should be at least once a day when temps are 80F or below but twice a day if the temp gets higher.3 Also, watermelons will use the nutrients available to them in a container pretty quickly so make sure to use “liquid fertilizer once a week when you water your plants, or if you’re using the granular type once a month.”