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Watermelon is a healthy and tasty melon crop, which you can grow on your own site. All that is needed is to choose the variety that is most suitable for the growing area, as well as master the basic rules for caring for plants.
Biological features of the culture
Watermelon (Citrúllus lanátus) refers to annual dioecious herbaceous plants with a powerful root system, covering about 7 cubic meters of soil, and a creeping stem, whose length reaches 5 meters. The cross section of the stems is round or pentagonal, lateral (second and third order) depart from the central shoot. Leaf blades large, devoid of stipules, five-lobed, heavily pubescent at a young age.
The watermelon fruit is a berry covered with a thick and very dense peel, filled with juicy fleshy pulp with many seeds of ellipsoid shape of brown or black color. The diameter of the fetus reaches 35 cm or more, the mass under favorable growing conditions can be 10 kg.
The right choice of varieties determines the quality of the future harvest - this statement can rightly be applied to watermelons.
Early ripe varieties
Early varieties include varieties whose fruit ripens between 50 and 65 days after the appearance of true leaves. The most popular early ripening varieties of gardeners consider the following:
|Name of variety or hybrid||Fruit Description||Shelf life, transportability|
|Ataman (varietal)||Spherical, painted in white-green color. The stripes are pronounced, the flesh is bright, very juicy and sweet.||No more than 30 days, transportability is good.|
|Great Beijing Joy (hybrid)||Rounded with thin skin of bright green color, covered with dark green pronounced stripes. The pulp is juicy, friable, with a pronounced granularity, red.||Keeping quality is high (up to 70 days). It tolerates transportation well.|
|Blade (hybrid)||Oval-rounded, covered with a dense peel of medium thickness. Striped, green, firm flesh, with pronounced "crunch", red.||Shelf life is good (up to 3 months), transportability is excellent.|
|Grail (hybrid)||Cylindrical, typical for watermelon coloring. The pulp is red.||Preserves commercial quality for up to 3 months.|
|VNIIOB 2 (hybrid)||Rounded, sometimes oval, stripes pronounced, dark green. The pulp is pink in color, very tender. Record holder for sugar content.||Shelf life is excellent (up to 4 months), high portability.|
|Bonta (hybrid)||The correct round shape, the diameter of which does not exceed 25 cm. The peel is covered with uniform green stripes of different intensity.||The shelf life of commercial qualities does not exceed 50 days. Transportability is excellent.|
For cultivation in the middle lane (open ground), northern latitudes (in the greenhouse culture) and in the southern regions, watermelons with a medium maturity have proven themselves well. Usually, The period from the appearance of seedlings above the soil surface to the start of ripening of the first pumpkin berries is about 70-75 days.
The following varieties and hybrids are considered the most popular due to the formation of a large crop:
|Name of variety or hybrid||Fruit Description||Keeping and transportability|
|Warda (hybrid)||Elongatedly rounded, striped. The pulp is dark red, very juicy.||It is stored up to 90 days, tolerates transportation well.|
|Galaxy (varietal)||Rounded or oval, dark green with bright stripes. High sugar pulp, red.||It is transported perfectly, stored up to 4 months.|
|Monastic (varietal)||The correct spherical shape, the strips are pronounced brightly. The flesh is pale, sugary.||Stored until the end of December, well transported.|
|Refined (varietal)||Rounded, in contrast to other varieties, are not striped but spotted (gray spots on a light green field). The pulp is deep red, sweet.||It is transported well, stored for about 3 months.|
|Handsome (varietal)||Solid green, uniformly rounded. The pulp is intense red, sweet and juicy.||It is stored for a short time (no more than 3 weeks). It does not tolerate post-transport.|
Late ripening varieties
Later varieties and hybrids require a lot of light and heat. Their fruits ripen after 80-90 days from the appearance of the first seedlings. As a rule, in open ground they grow exclusively in the southern latitudes, and in the middle lane they need shelter and additional heating and lighting.
The yield of late watermelons is higher than that of other varieties. They are stored for a long time, and during transportation they rarely lose their commercial qualities. Among the most popular include the following late varieties:
|Varieties and hybrids||Fruit Description||Transportability and keeping quality|
|Astrakhan||Oval rounded, smooth. The shape of the strips is spike-like, the flesh is painted in an intense red color, very sweet and juicy.||Shelf life is 60-75 days, well tolerates transportation.|
|Volzhanin||Elliptical, smooth and smooth. The pattern on the peel resembles the Astrakhan variety. The pulp is very tender, sugar and sweet.||It is stored up to 2.5 months, transportability is high.|
|Pulse||The bark is strong, with dark and light green stripes. The pulp is red, high in water and sugars.||They are stored for at least 1.5 months; they tolerate transportation well.|
|Osceola||Very large spherical fruits with a dense striped green peel. The flesh is bright pink, excellent taste.||Stored up to 90 days, a high level of transportability.|
|Gift of Kholodov||Elliptical, with narrow dark green, almost black stripes. The surface is covered with rare soft spikes. The pulp is raspberry or bright pink, high in sugar.||It is stored up to 4 months, it transfers the transport perfectly.|
|Crimson Wonder||Spherical, with alternating light green and intense green stripes. The pulp is dense, red, small seeds.||Transporting well, stored for no more than 70 days.|
Any of these varieties can satisfy the needs of gardeners in high-quality watermelons. Many varieties and hybrids are suitable for cultivation for the purpose of sale or for laying for storage or consumption immediately after harvesting.
Watermelon: Variety of Varieties
Planting crops in different regions of Russia
There are two ways to plant watermelons: seedlings and seedlings. However, in any case, before sowing, it is important to process the seeds for better germination. The first thing to do is to warm the seeds in warm (about 60 degrees) water for 2-3 hours. Then they must be treated with a solution of potassium permanganate, and then held in a soda solution. The procedure for preparing planting material by drying and hardening is completed (8 hours at a temperature of about 0 degrees).
Preparing and growing seedlings
For the northern latitudes and the middle strip, the seedling method of growing watermelons is considered suitable. To get healthy seedlings, you need to sow seeds no earlier than 30 days before planting in the ground. In the suburbs, the best time for this is mid-April, in Siberia and the Urals - the last decade of April or the first decade of May.
Sow the seeds in deep pots, preferably peat, as a watermelon does not tolerate trauma to the root system. The most suitable soil is a mixture of peat, turf or leafy soil and greasy humus. Planting depth should be at least 3-4 cm. Prior to seed emergence, it is important to keep the soil moist and maintain the temperature at 25 degrees during the day and 6-7 degrees lower at night.
After germination, the daily temperature is reduced by 5-7 degrees for 3 days, after which it is again raised to 25 degrees. A week later, it is recommended that young plants of watermelon be fed with mullein infusion with the addition of superphosphate (not more than 30 g per 10 liters of solution).
Important! Top dressing should not fall on the leaves of seedlings. The entire soil lump must be kept moist.
A few days before planting in the soil, seedlings are prepared by hardening. It is placed in close to natural conditions: in a well-lit and ventilated place without sudden changes in temperature. You can plant seedlings in the wells of 2-3 plants.
Watermelon seeds are sown in the soil at the moment when the soil at a depth of 10-15 cm is heated to a temperature of 6-10 degrees. In the southern regions this is the end of April, in the middle lane - mid-May, in Siberia and the Urals - the first days of June. Sowing depth - at least 3 cm.
Depending on the variety, the planting pattern may be as follows:
- for early varieties - 70 cm between holes, 140 cm - between rows;
- for varieties of medium and late term - 70-100 cm between holes, up to 2.5 m - between rows.
The soil for planting should be well seasoned with humus and sod land. The best option is to add semi-rotted manure or compost to the soil. He will warm the soil. The application rate is up to 100 kg per 10 square meters. You can also add mineral fertilizers to the soil.
How to plant watermelons
Watermelons can be grown in greenhouses or open ground, with or without garter lashes. The greenhouse culture is most suitable for areas with unstable summer temperatures, as well as when cultivating varieties of late ripening. Open ground is ideal for early varieties, as well as for growing watermelon in the southern regions.
Regarding the cultivation of culture on trellis or without trellis, several points can be made:
- When using the method of tying to a trellis, it is important to form a plant in one stalk. In this case, lateral shoots that do not have flowers and ovaries are removed, and those on which the fruits are formed are pinched above 5-6 leaves from them.
- As the shoots grow, additional garter or even the construction of additional supports may be required.
- The formed fruits located above the soil must be protected from clipping. To do this, they are placed in mesh bags or "hammocks" made of fabric (ideal - old tights) and tied to trellises.
- When growing without a garter on a watermelon, 2-3 lashes are left, which, after the formation of 2 fruits on each, pinch at a height of 5-6 sheets above them.
- Under the fruits lying on the surface of the soil, you need to put insulation (plywood boards, polystyrene and the like.
- As the fruit grows and ripens during shpaler-free cultivation, it becomes necessary to turn the watermelons so that the fruits are evenly lit and warmed by the sun.
The rest of the care for plants consists in timely watering, weeding and top dressing with organic or mineral fertilizers.
The classical care scheme includes three points:
- fertilizer application;
- rationing the number of fruits on each plant.
Watermelon, despite the high requirements for soil moisture, is watered no more than twice a week. Moreover, each plant should receive at least 10 liters of water for each irrigation. After the formation of the ovaries, this norm grows 2-3 times, and at the time of ripening it decreases. This allows you to get more sweet fruits.
Top dressing is produced with infusion of mullein or bird droppings once a month. Fertilizing plantings is also practiced with mineral mixtures, which include ammonium sulfate (35 g), superphosphate (50 g), potassium salt (18 g) per 10 liters of water. Top dressing combined with watering. On one plant you need to use no more than 2 liters of nutrient mixture.
Loosening the soil and removing weeds is carried out until the leaves are closed. It is also important to evenly distribute the shoots on the trellises or the surface of the soil so that they are illuminated by the sun. Weak whips, as well as whips without ovaries, are removed. When 4 fruits are formed on the plant (1-2 per shoot), the extra ovaries are removed, and the tops of the whip are pinched 3-5 leaves higher than the remaining pumpkin berries. The remaining female flowers are also removed.
Major diseases and pests
Almost all garden pests do not mind eating a watermelon. Gourds aphids, wireworms, spider mites and a variety of scoops willingly populate the plantations of this gourd. To combat them, you can use special drugs: dusta hexachloran, "Phenyturam", "Phosphamide", "Keltan" and "Karbofos". If the plants show signs of fusarium, anthracnose and powdery mildew, it is recommended that the plantings be treated with Bordeaux liquid, colloidal sulfur or cineb in accordance with the instructions.
How to grow watermelon
Despite the apparent difficulty, growing watermelons even in the middle lane brings excellent results. Sweet large fruits can be obtained if you follow the basic rules of agricultural technology and pay due attention to the condition of the plants, while processing and feeding.