Growing watermelon in Perth

| August 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

How to grow watermelon in Perth

Growing watermelon in Perth

Watermelons are a summer classic. The perfect refreshing snack on a hot summer day.  If you’re looking to grow them in your garden, make sure you have plenty of space to allow the vines to roam. Watermelons are a thirsty crop and will need watering all season long. Limiting water right at the very end of the growing season will make the fruit sweeter, so they’re great to grow in Western Australia as summer rains are rare.

Watermelon is a part of the cucurbit family, which is made up of, pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini, squash, marrow, rockmelon and watermelon. The seed is large and flat so it’s a great starter plant for kids and novice adult gardeners.

If you have ever wondered how to grow watermelon in Perth, Western Australia then look no further. A relatively fruit to grow there are a few tricks to successfully growing watermelon in Perth, but get these right and you will be laughing.

When to plant watermelon in Perth:
The best time to plant watermelon in WA is from spring onward. September is the start of melon planting season and you can continue through until the end of December.

Types of watermelon in Western Australia:
There are a wide variety of watermelon available in in Western Australia. Check your local nursery. A few of the more common varieties in Perth are.

  • Watermelon Candy Red – Long light-coloured variety with sweet, deep pink flesh.
  • Watermelon Sugarbaby – Produces small, sweet fruit which are perfect for the home garden and will fit in the fridge as well!
  • Watermelon Allsweet – Large oblong fruits. Strong, striped green rind. Delicious sweet red flesh. Very few seeds

How to grow watermelon in Perth, WA:
Follow the following guide for growing watermelons at home in the backyard or garden. Make sure you have ample room.

  1. Choose a spot in your garden that sits in full sun. Loosen the soil with a garden fork and enrich the soil with a dynamic lifter soil improver.
  2. Sow direct by pressing 3-4 seeds into mounds of moist soil 1m apart or fill starter trays with a quality seed raising mix. Sow seeds, cover, firm down and water well. Keep the soil moist so the seeds don’t dry out. Transplant after 3-4 weeks.
  3. Once seedlings appear, thin to 2-3 strong plants and feed weekly with a Liquid Plant Food.
  4. Water well while the fruit develops, then reduce watering as the fruit begins to ripen to sweeten before picking.
  5. Watermelons are ready to harvest when underside in contact with soil turns yellow and the fruit gives a dull, hollow sound when tapped.

Growing watermelon in pots:
Yes, you can grow watermelon in pots. But there are some important guidelines you’ll want to follow to set yourself up for success.

  1. Find a location where they receive a minimum of 8 hours of full sun per day. Watermelons will not form flowers or fruits if they don’t get enough sun.
  2. Use a pot around 35 litres in capacity. An approximate dimension is 60cm across and 60cm deep.  Be sure that whatever pot you choose has multiple drainage holes in the bottom.
  3. Fill your pot with a quality potting mix.
  4. Plant 2-3 seeds in your pot. Bury each seed to a depth of about 2.5cm, cover, firm down and water well.
  5. Once seedlings appear, thin to 1 strong plants and feed weekly with a Liquid Plant Food.
  6. Water well while the fruit develops, then reduce watering as the fruit begins to ripen to sweeten before picking.
  7. Watermelons are ready to harvest when underside in contact with soil turns yellow and the fruit gives a dull, hollow sound when tapped.

You can allow the vine to sprawl out from the pot and grow on the ground beneath or alternatively it is possible by growing watermelon vertically in a pot. If you wish to grow vertically you can make a trellis next to your pot.

Best fertiliser for watermelon:
Using the right fertiliser for watermelon can directly improve your melon production. For disease and insect free watermelon plants with bigger and tasty fruits, feeding your watermelon fertiliser is a must.

Now the question; what is the best fertiliser for watermelon?

Fertilize you watermelon plant with a complete liquid fertilizer once the plant starts to flower and appear to set fruits, use a fertilizer with less nitrogen. You can consider liquid seaweed fertilizer.

My personal pick for the best is Yates Thrive Vegie and Herb Liquid Plant Food, it provides the balanced nutrition they need to produce juicy, luscious watermelon and healthy green foliage.

When to harvest watermelon:
Watermelons are ready to harvest 3 to 4 months after planting.There are three classic signs that your watermelons are ready to harvest.

  1. They sound hollow when tapped.
  2. The bottom of the watermelons start to turn yellow.
  3. The tendril closest to the fruit you’re harvesting is brown and dry instead of the usual green.

As soon as they’re showing signs that they’re ripe, you can begin to harvest them. Harvest by cutting the fruit away from the vine with a sharp knife. Watermelons won’t ripen any further once they’ve been picked, so make sure they’re ripe before you harvest them.

Watermelon companion plants:
When it comes to growing watermelon plants, there are several companion plants that gardeners can use to obtain higher yield and make sure all of their crops stay healthy.

Alliums, such as onions, chives, and garlic, all make good companion plants. Because of their strong smell, alliums often help to deter pests.

Nasturtiums, Marigolds, Lavender are good options when it comes to flowers for a couple of reasons. Strongly scented flowers, such as lavender or marigolds, often help to drive away pests. However, the most significant benefit of planting flowers is that these flowers will attract pollinators. Watermelon flowers only last about a day, so quick pollination is crucial.

Watermelon care and common problems:
When it comes to common problems with watermelon the fungal disease powdery mildew can occur in humid summers, so routinely spray plants with a mix of one part milk to nine parts water. Do this every week, and repeat sprays after it has rained.

Storing watermelon at home:
Watermelons are best eaten close to the pick date, but depending on the variety, can be stored for up to 2 weeks. Use the fridge to chill the fruits before eating, but not for storage. Uncut watermelons stored in the fridge will deteriorate more quickly than those stored at room temperature.

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

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Category: Vegetable Garden

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