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Growing Watermelons: Basic Rules, Promising Varieties
Growing Watermelons: Basic Rules, Promising Varieties

Video: Growing Watermelons: Basic Rules, Promising Varieties

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Video: Growing Watermelons From START TO FINISH - Tips and Tricks and Some Unusual Varieties 2023, February
Anonim

Read the previous part. ← A brief history of northern melon growing

About watermelon varieties

Watermelon
Watermelon

As I said above, the most important thing is the right choice of the variety. Watermelon, by its nature, is an extremely heat-loving culture.

The varieties that can grow in harsh conditions without any shelter have not yet been invented, to our regret.

Therefore, it remains for us to choose only early maturing varieties that are relatively resistant to low temperatures.

In no case should you take the seeds of watermelons brought from the Caucasus, from the south of Ukraine and, moreover, from Central Asia.

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First, the seeds seem to "get used" to the hot climate and will require the same heat from you. Secondly, the varieties grown there, as a rule, are late - and in our conditions they simply will not ripen.

More recently, the only varieties that made sense to plant in our conditions were Ogonyok and Ultraranny. I will not criticize them strongly: the varieties are really good, but summer can not always be called summer here. With good care, they can yield, but not great: no more than one small fruit per plant. For all the time of the experiments, I have grown fruits of about 1 kg, although in the best natural conditions they can be much larger.

As for Pannonia, its fruits this year I have reached 1-1.5 kg. Moreover, they were distinguished by very rapid formation and maturation. And after picking up the first batch of fruits, one more fruit began to pour intensively on each plant, half of which also had time to ripen.

And now I will give a characteristic of the varieties:

Watermelon
Watermelon

Spark - the grainy, juicy and tender pulp of this variety has such a bright carmine-red color that, against the background of a black-green crust with barely noticeable stripes, it creates the impression of a flame glowing inside, for which the variety apparently got its name. A small, round watermelon weighing about 2.5 kg is quite sweet. The variety is early ripening, fruitful, relatively resistant to low temperatures.

Ultra early - a fast ripening, productive variety, easy to grow and relatively resistant to low temperatures. The plant is very compact, with limited development of lateral shoots. Fruits are spherical, green with darker stripes, weighing from 2.5 to 4.5 kg. The pulp is scarlet, juicy, sweet.

Pannonia is an early ripe (70-73 days pass from seed germination to full ripening) and is a very productive variety, resistant to low temperatures, capable of setting fruits in unfavorable conditions, and very weakly affected by diseases. The plant is distinguished by the intensive development of lateral shoots, therefore, in our conditions, it requires constant formation. Fruits are dark, with even darker green stripes, weighing from 3 to 5 kg. The pulp is bright red, juicy and unusually sweet.

Suga Baby - early maturing, characterized by intensive growth, resistant to adverse weather conditions and diseases. 65-75 days pass from seed germination to full ripening of fruits. Fruits are dark, weighing from 4 to 4.5 kg. The pulp is bright red, juicy and very sweet.

This year, the first watermelon hybrids went on sale (at least in Moscow): Krisby F1, Nun 7508 F1 and Nun 7510 F1, which are described as very resistant to unfavorable weather factors and characterized by a quick harvest formation. I would like to hope that we will be able to plant these new items for the next season.

I managed to find the characteristics of the hybrid Krisby F1.

Krisby F1 is an ultra -early highly productive hybrid (only 58-62 days pass from seed germination to full fruit ripening). Fruits are round in shape, weighing 5-7 kg, the skin is of medium thickness, the pulp is light red, crispy with a high sugar content. Differs in a small number of small, brown seeds. The hybrid is resistant to fusarium.

You cannot do without seedlings

Watermelon
Watermelon

It is clear that in our conditions watermelons can only be grown by seedlings.

About temperature for seed germination

At the same time, you should know that the temperature of 25-30 ° C is considered optimal for germination of watermelon seeds; under these conditions, they can germinate within 48 hours. However, a higher temperature increase is undesirable: the seeds may germinate later or even die. At an air temperature of less than 15 ° C, seedlings of watermelons practically do not develop, and at 10 ° C, the processes of photosynthesis stop, and young plants may simply die.

Therefore, at first, you should create ideal temperature conditions for plants, otherwise some of the seeds may not sprout.

Planting seeds in sawdust

Planting seeds in our conditions is best done around the second decade of April. I do not soak watermelon seeds in anything (since all preliminary treatments are now carried out by selling companies), but immediately put them in small plastic containers on a layer of wetted sawdust (about 0.5 cm thick) for further germination. Then I cover with another layer of wetted sawdust (about 0.3 cm thick). After that I put the container with seeds in a plastic bag and put the whole structure on the battery.

After the first shoots appear, sprinkle them with a small layer of vermicompost (0.5 cm), moisten a little and put the container with small plants in the lightest, warmest place protected from drafts. For three weeks, seedlings may well develop in this container.

Transplanting plants into soil

Then small "watermelons" should be seated in the usual way in yogurt cups. Do not compact the soil in them. As a result, in a week or two, it will settle, and there will be space for adding new portions of soil to the pots. This is a fairly useful operation, which ensures the formation of a stronger root system. Only it needs to be carried out on time, when the plants get stronger, and the first signs of future roots will appear at the bottom of the stem near the very ground (like little growths). Usually, I add soil about three weeks after planting the plants in the cups.

Watermelon
Watermelon

Soil composition Pay attention to the soil composition for the seedlings. The soil must be very fertile and breathable. Remember that loosening the soil in the cups is extremely difficult because plant roots can be easily damaged. And to the slightest soil compaction, watermelons react extremely negatively: they freeze in place and, in principle, refuse to grow. Therefore, the composition of the soil must necessarily include agrovermiculite and sawdust, which will provide looseness, and biohumus (or even better Agrovit-kor), which guarantee the presence of a sufficient dose of nutrients in the soil.

Lighting

Watermelons, like melons, are very demanding on light conditions. Therefore, put the seedlings on the most lighted place. In addition, these plants require mandatory additional lighting, because will develop well only with a 12-hour daylight hours. But keeping in mind that it is almost impossible to create ideal light conditions on our windowsills, we must not forget about weekly spraying of plants with the Epin growth stimulator (7 drops per 200 ml of water) in order to reduce their negative reaction to insufficient lighting.

About the temperature at the stage of seedling development

If during seed germination it is necessary to maintain a temperature of 25-30 ° C, then when seedlings appear, the temperature is gradually (within 6-9 days) reduced. It is desirable that during the period of plant growth, the daytime temperature was 20-25 ° C, and the nighttime temperature 16-18 ° C.

About watering and feeding at the seedling stage

Of course, the seedlings are watered only with warm water. As for dressing, at the initial stage of development (before the appearance of 3-4 true leaves), when the plants are mainly forming the root system, no special dressing is required. It is enough to water the watermelons once a week with solutions of biological products: Rhizoplan (1 tablespoon per 1 liter of water), Trichodermine (1 teaspoon per 1 liter of water), black yeast (2 tablespoons per 1 liter of water).

After the appearance of 3-4 true leaves, you should start weekly feeding the plants with the preparations of Kemir and Plant, alternating them with each other. Thus, in the first week you water, say, with Planta, and the next week with Kemira, etc.

And now about the features of "watermelon" agricultural technology in the ground

Seedlings are planted in a greenhouse on biofuel, usually at the end of May (naturally, inside the greenhouse, the plants should be additionally covered with some kind of covering material or film). It is preferable to install frames inside the greenhouse, which are covered with a film or covering material. In the case of covering with a film, it should be borne in mind that on sunny days under it in the greenhouse the temperature may be higher than normal, which means that the film panels need to be folded back for a day and closed at night. It is easier with a covering material, such an operation is usually not required.

For 1 sq. m usually place 5 watermelon plants.

Basic rules that should not be forgotten when growing watermelons

Watermelon
Watermelon

1. Watermelon plants, like all other melons, prefer very fertile structured soils. Although it is believed that watermelon is less demanding on soil fertility than melon, it forms high yields in our country only on well-cultivated warm aerated soils with a neutral reaction. Requires a deep root layer (at least 30 cm). Mulching plantings with stale sawdust or leaves is also absolutely necessary, because it not only prevents the formation of a soil crust and thereby contributes to better soil aeration, but also improves the temperature regime.

2. Watermelon is a very thermophilic plant, it grows at temperatures not lower than 20 ° C, and at temperatures below 3 ° C it may die altogether. Especially watermelon, like all melons, is picky about soil temperature. Therefore, it can be planted in greenhouses only on high ridges, well filled with biofuel. The best biofuel option is fresh manure with sawdust, lime and straw or leaves.

In addition, additional covering of the surface of the ridges between plants with a film or black covering material will be required. While frosts are possible, it is a good idea to place plastic water bottles next to the plants (last summer I had to keep them in the greenhouse throughout the season). It is better to take dark beer bottles for such purposes, which are better heated in the sun.

3. Watermelon is a drought-resistant plant. However, small watering about 1 time in 7-10 days and only warm water is usually necessary (although, of course, you need to navigate according to the situation). Watering is stopped during the period of fruit ripening. This speeds up the ripening process and makes the melons sweeter.

When watering, it is imperative to avoid water ingress on the aerial parts of the plants and in the zone of the root collar, because this can lead to the death of the plant from root rot, as well as to the spread of fungal and bacterial diseases. To protect against root rot, you should not deepen the root collar when planting seedlings, after planting the plants, watering with solutions of biological products: rhizoplan (1 tablespoon per 1 liter of water), trichodermine (1 hour spoon per 1 liter of water), black yeast (2 tablespoons for 1 liter of water). It is better to pour up to two glasses of this solution under each plant. In addition, you should periodically sprinkle the area of ​​the root collar with crushed coal.

To protect against fungal and bacterial diseases, it is necessary to spray it with Immunocytophyte (1 tablet per 2 liters of water) once every 2 weeks from the moment the seedlings are planted. And the last thing to remember when growing all pumpkin seeds is the dangers of condensation. In no case should your plants be covered with its destructive drops. The correct design of the greenhouse, and regular ventilation, and limited watering, and the covering of the soil around the plants with a covering material will help to avoid this.

4. The flowering of watermelons should be taken very seriously. Just like melons, male flowers bloom first, and only then female flowers. Women are much larger in size than men. Pollination has to be carried out, of course, manually, in the usual way. A more reliable option is morning pollination, however, it should be noted that watermelon flowers open much later than, for example, pumpkin and zucchini flowers.

It happens only by 10-11 am. Pollen should not be taken from male flowers in partial shade: it is usually sterile. Considering the presence of a whole range of unfavorable factors, it is safer (despite the fact that the new varieties are capable, according to the description, of pollinating in unfavorable conditions) for preventive purposes, to carry out regular (once every 2-3 weeks) spraying with the fruit-forming stimulator "Ovyaz".

5. Like melons, watermelons respond well to fractional feeding. In other words, it is better to feed once a week, but little by little. Basically, for feeding watermelons, I use Vegetable Giant (weak solution once a week), ash and potassium sulfate.

I usually alternate ash and potassium sulfate: I feed one week, another week. In good weather I feed the mullein solution three times a season (I exclude the "Giant" in these weeks). However, feeding with mullein should be stopped immediately after the beginning of ripening of the fruits to avoid the accumulation of nitrates in them. In addition, feeding with mullein at this time will negatively affect the taste of the fruit.

Once at the time of the appearance of the first fruits, I sprinkle the soil with nitrophos. Twice during the entire growing season I feed with "Magbor" fertilizer - at the beginning of flowering and at the moment of intensive fruit formation. A positive effect is provided by spraying plants once a week with the "New Ideal" preparation, which serves as an additional foliar feeding and stimulates the defenses of plants.

6. To get sweet fruits, you will have to do extra work. Many factors affect the taste of watermelons. Firstly, feeding with potassium, boron and magnesium automatically leads to an improvement in the chemical composition of the fruit, contributes to the accumulation of ascorbic acid and sugars.

To a large extent, the sugar content of the fruits can increase when spraying with the "Two Harvest" fertilizer, which in addition will increase the yield of plants by about 30% (I practice two sprays per season - for this, a measuring bucket should be diluted in a bucket of water). The quality of fruits also improves when plants are treated with growth stimulants. The most famous of this series are the preparations "Epin" (1 ampoule for 5 liters of water) and "Silk" (1 ampoule for 3 liters of water).

A thickened planting of plants (you need to pay special attention to the distribution of watermelon lashes so that there is enough light for everyone) and an excess of nitrogen fertilizers negatively affect the taste of the fruits. It impairs the taste of fruits and delays their ripening and excess moisture (at the time of ripening of fruits, watering is unacceptable). The exclusion of watering at this moment can lead to a slight decrease in the yield, but an increase in its quality, and after all, for watermelons there is nothing more important than being sweet.

Features of the formation of watermelons

Watermelon
Watermelon

The main crop of watermelons of varieties adapted to our conditions is formed on the main stem. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully pinch the side shoots. On the central stem, where the fruits are formed, it is recommended to leave 3-4 ovaries, and pinch off the rest of the stem, leaving 4-6 leaves behind.

However, it all depends on the weather. Last summer (with a catastrophic lack of heat) I had to pinch the central lash after the second developing ovary on the sixth leaf.

Pinching the central stem accelerates the ripening of the fruits, but the size of the watermelons decreases. At the same time, it has long been noticed that small watermelons ripen much faster, and varieties with large fruits require a very long growing season. Therefore, it is better for you and me not to chase the size, but to choose varieties with small "watermelons" and pinch in a timely manner. After all, there can be quite a lot of small watermelons, which is also not bad at all.

Is your watermelon ripe?

And finally, the most important question is how to determine if a watermelon is ripe?

In general, a watermelon is considered ripe when the tip of the whip dries up. But here you have to be very careful. If the tip of the watermelon, with which it joins the lash, is completely dry, then, as a rule, the watermelon is overripe or even deteriorated. But if insignificant drying areas have just appeared on the tip (perhaps a thin ring drying strip), then the watermelon can be removed.

By the way, watermelons are very vulnerable. Even a slightly scratched fruit won't last long. Therefore, you need to be very careful when removing them if you are not going to eat the whole batch at a time. And store at a temperature of about 12 ° C. At lower temperatures (for example, in the refrigerator), the watermelon rind begins to rot.

In general, if suddenly the next summer turns out to be unprecedentedly hot and you manage to grow a large harvest of watermelons, then keep in mind that ripe fruits can be stored for several months in a dry, cool room (for example, in a basement), hung in a net or laid in ash box. But most importantly, there would be something to keep!

Read the next part. About the benefits of watermelons →

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