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Watermelon

Watermelon is the unofficial fruit symbol of summer. Rarely is there a backyard barbeque where watermelon is not included. The large oval watermelon with the deep red flesh (like Striped Klondike Blue Ribbon) is what you normally think of when you think of watermelons but there are compact smaller fruited versions like Sugar baby and there are even yellow fleshed watermelons like Yellow Doll. Watermelons are warm weather crops that can be started outdoors in hills after the risk of frost has past. They can be started indoors but if this is done they should be grown in peat pots to reduce transplant stress. They are heavy feeders so be sure to amend the soil with compost prior to planting either the seeds or plants. Standard watermelons are big spreaders to make sure there is a lot of space for the vines to go. The smaller fruited versions tend to be more compact so they can be grown in smaller spaces. It will likely come as no surprise that watermelon like water. When watering try not to get water on the leaves as this could encourage powdery mildew. Knowing when to harvest the fruit is sometimes tricky. The rule of thumb is to look at the tendril closest to the melon and wait till it is brown and dry and has a dull tone when thumped.