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Video: Soil Temperature And Watering Watermelons
Read the previous part. ← Growing seedlings and pollination of watermelons
Soil temperature and watering
A very important parameter is the temperature of the soil for the roots of watermelon within + 30 … 35 ° C, so the bed for this crop should be steam. How to make steam beds, given that with a high concentration of CO
2 in the air of the soil, root growth is inhibited - enough has been written about this on the pages of the magazine, look for articles on the site. The main thing is that the ground should be well warmed up before planting, watered only with warm water.
Many gardeners now grow watermelons in the garden under a black film or black agrospan and use drip irrigation, through which fertilization is carried out in solutions, which also increases the likelihood of a successful harvest. By the way, the drip irrigation method was invented in Israel by Simcha Blass and his son Yeshayahu in 1959.
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Thanks to this system, modern Israel exists, where they grow fruits and vegetables not only for their own needs, but also for wide export, you can see this by going to our supermarket. So, it's time to take advantage of Israel's experience on our sites. I will not give recommendations on the fertilizer system, it depends on the composition of the soil of each specific site. First of all, it is, of course, good, fertile soil with good drainage.
The level of its fat content and the degree of soil neutrality are important here. The root system of plants absorbs rather intensively both ammonia cations and nitrate anions. The determining factor in this process is the pH of the medium. Watermelons prefer a soil acidity (pH) between 6 and 6.8. And it is very important to maintain this indicator at such a level that it will solve many problems with plant nutrition. Some gardeners successfully use ash infusion for this purpose. In a slightly acidic environment, nitrates are better absorbed, and at pH = 7 - ammonium salts.
To use ammonium salts, a sufficient amount of carbohydrates in plants is necessary, otherwise their conversion into amides is delayed, ammonia accumulates, which acts toxic on plants. Why is the level of "fat content" of the soil important, the presence of humus, which determines the buffering capacity of the soil, ie, counteracting its acidification? In the process of assimilation denitrification, the nitrates absorbed by the plant root are reduced to ammonia using the enzyme nitrate reductase.
Moreover, if there are not enough carbohydrates necessary for the synthesis of amino acids, nitrates can accumulate in plant cells, and this is important for watermelon. Keep this in mind, especially if you are buying watermelon from merchants. After all, manufacturers do not really monitor the balance of organic matter in the soil. By the way, this is another motivation to grow watermelons in your garden.
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Growth Regulators - Use Carefully
Recently, growth regulators have been used in melon growing. These are organic natural or synthetic compounds that allow you to obtain shifts in metabolism, identical to those that arise under the influence of certain external conditions (length of the day, temperature, etc.). For example, to accelerate the formation of generative organs, enhance or slow down growth, etc., I have already talked about them on the pages of the magazine.
For example, the plant growth regulator "Athlete" - there is evidence that it is used for watermelon, it inhibits the growth in height of the aerial part of the plant, while contributing to the thickening of the stem and significant growth of roots. It is known that the photosynthetic activity of leaves depends on hormonal substances entering through the root system. At present, there is no doubt about the statement that the root system is the place of synthesis of the most important group of phytohormones - cytokinins. As a result, the seedlings do not stretch even in low light conditions.
You can take growth regulators into service, but just not regulate the development of the plant, which I already wrote about. Seedlings of watermelon should be planted in a greenhouse so that none of the parts of the peat cup protrude onto the soil surface. After all, peat begins to work like a tampon, which absorbs moisture from the soil, and can cause water stress for seedlings. After planting, the seedlings should be watered as quickly as possible to destroy the air pockets formed during planting and to moisten the soil. This will facilitate the rapid development of the root system.
Read the next part. Japanese experience in growing watermelons →
Vladimir Stepanov, Doctor of Biological Sciences
Photo by E. Valentinov