Watermelon square foot gardening

In this post, let us discuss on watermelon square foot gardening, how to grow watermelon in square foot gardening. If you are new to square foot gardening, check How to Do Square Foot Gardening: A Complete Guide.

Watermelon square foot gardening
Watermelon Plant

Square Foot Gardening Techniques 

The square foot gardening technique, developed by Mel Bartholomew, has a raised bed divided into 1 or 2 feet sections. The sections are organized neatly on a grid for a compact and efficient garden plan.

The gardener’s square foot does not use the common garden soil, but a culture medium enriched to support the planting intensive of the project. The garden square foot costs more initially than the methods of gardening traditional but generally produces higher yields in a smaller space.

Over time, the costs and time spent on garden maintenance may be less than in a traditional garden. Almost all vegetable crops, including watermelon, can be grown in a square foot garden.

Simply put, the foot gardening plaza allows vegetables and flowers to be planted close together in raised beds that can be framed with natural, non – rotten wood, such as cedar. Beds can range from 2 feet by 4 feet to 4 feet by 12 feet, with the most common configuration being 4 feet by 4 feet.

In most cases, the gardener “designs” the ground for one draw optimal. The soil generally consists of a combination of sandy clay and generous amounts of sphagnum peat or well-matured compost.

For uniformity in texture and particle size distribution, we have found that a portable concrete mixer that can be plugged into a simple household outlet is the best way to mix sprayed soil. Basically, the sandy clay is mixed in a proportion of approximately four parts of sandy clay with one part of peat or sphagnum compound.

An alternative to mixing your own soil would be to select one of the high quality bagged soil products on the market.

Square Foot Gardening Rules

Over the years, the system gardening square feet is now a precise set of rules:      

Create deep beds: Usually 4-foot by 4-foot, with a square-foot trellis placed on top to visually separate crops. Beds are 6 to 12 inches deep, providing plants with many rich nutrients while maintaining good drainage.

Use a specific mix of soil: A third of compost, peat, and vermiculite. This starts the beds completely weed-free, in addition to being water retainers and full of nutrients.

Don’t walk on the ground: It’s now a common practice with gardening in raised beds, but in the 1970s it was revolutionary to suggest that you wouldn’t have to dig the ground if you didn’t step on it.

Planting in squares: To keep planting simple, there is no space between plants to remember. Instead, each square has 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants, depending on the size of the plant, easy to place on each square, forming a smaller grid on the ground with your fingers. As an exception to this, there are some larger plants that span two squares. Peas and beans are planted in two mini-lines of 4 per square meter.

Thin with scissors: Instead of pulling excess plants that can disrupt the root system of the plants you want to grow, cut them off with scissors.

Easy to grow: Although many vegetables can be grown in SFG gardens, it has difficulty accommodating larger plants (squash, melon, maincrop potatoes, etc.), perennials (artichokes, rhubarb), and fruit shrubs/trees. Once new gardeners experience the success of SFG gardens, they generally want to expand the range of crops they grow beyond standard SFG crops.

There is a purpose for each of these ‘rules’ and together form a powerful and almost foolproof method for one gardening successful. It is a great method for new gardeners, people with little time, the elderly or the disabled (SFG gardens can be built at high altitude to make them more accessible) and children.

Many schools have adopted the SFG method because it is easy to install and maintain without becoming an additional burden on the teacher.

Limitation of Square Foot Gardening

Resources Non-Renewable: There is no doubt that ‘Mel’s Mix’ is an excellent soil for plants. However, two of the three ingredients come from non-renewable sources. Peat takes thousands of years to develop and is a valuable natural reservoir for greenhouse gases.

Vermiculite is mined and is therefore also a non- renewable resource with a significant carbon footprint. Like many gardeners, I will not use peat and prefer not to use vermiculite.           

Expensive for large gardens: Although SFG beds are low maintenance, they are very expensive to install, if you have a large area and want to fill it up quickly.

What can be planted in Square Foot Garden?

Watermelon square foot gardening growing Tips
Watermelon

For those who want to design their garden, here are examples of what can be planted in each square foot:

  • 9 onions, beets, beans, peas, garlic, or spinach
  • 16 carrots or radishes
  • 4 lettuces, chard, marigolds or kohlrabi
  • 1 tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, broccoli, kale, or corn
  • 1 pumpkin, cucumber, or melon per 2 square feet
  • 6 vine plants, such as beans or peas, in trellises

The soil in square foot gardens should be a minimum of 6 inches deep, but 12 inches is best for accommodating root crops like carrots, potatoes, and parsnips.

To build a standing garden that is slightly above class, get non – rotten wood (cedar or arsenic-free treated wood) that measures 4 feet by 12 inches by 2 inches and forms a square. Then add the earth and add the divisions.

The first 16 square feet of landscaping is ready to be planted. Designs may vary depending on the size of the garden.

Crops produced in Square Foot Gardening

Here are some examples of the quality crops produced in square foot gardening:           

  • Watermelon
  • Garlic
  • Deliciously long carrots
  • Tomatoes

Advantages of Square Foot Gardening

  • The soil remains friable (easily disintegrates or pulverizes) because you never walk in squares.
  • You can harvest many more vegetables because you are planting in blocks instead of rows.
  • Squares are much easier to water because you are not wasting water between the lines. The same goes for fertilizers. 
  • You have fewer weeds to do because the garden has no rows between plants and each square meter is dedicated to vegetables.
  • Pest control is easier.
  • Rotate crops by square instead of local.
  • Squares are more aesthetic and require much less work.
  • You don’t need to plant until every spring.
  • You can build trellises at the northern ends of the squares to grow vines like peas, beans, and squash vertically, saving even more space
  • This type of garden heats up faster and drains better than traditional gardens.

Watermelon square foot gardening growing Tips

Everyone seems to love watermelon in the summer. Originally from Africa, melons need warm temperatures (up to 80 ° F during the day) and a long growing season.

Gardeners in colder climates can still succeed in growing watermelon vines, starting seeds indoors, and choosing short-season varieties. Days to maturity vary from 70 to 90, depending on the variety.

Watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) are known for their vigorous and unrestricted growth, which hardly matches the orderly and restrained appearance of a square meter garden.

However, with proper spacing, selection, and care of plants, you can grow watermelon in a small space. Depending on the variety and weather conditions, you will enjoy juicy fruits 70 to 100 days after planting.

Square Foot Gardening Watermelon Spacing
Watermelon Plant

When to Plant Watermelon in Square Foot Garden

In cold climates, with short growing seasons, start seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before your last frost date. Plan to transplant the seedlings to the garden about 2 weeks after that date.

In warmer climates with long growing seasons, sow seeds directly outdoors 1 to 2 weeks after your last frost date, provided the soil temperature has risen to at least 70 ° F (21 ° C). A warmer soil helps prevent one germination poor.

Note: Watermelon seedlings are very soft and should not be transplanted until all danger of frost has passed. Look at the local forecast and make a mistake as a precaution!

How to choose and prepare a planting site for WaterMelon?

  • Change the soil with aged fertilizer, algae, and/or compost before planting. Watermelons are heavy feeders. Learn about soil changes and preparing the soil for planting.
  • Watermelons work best in soils, clayey slightly sandy and well-drained.
  • Watermelons prefer a pH of the soil between 6, 0, and 7.0 (“slightly acid”).
  • Growing vines in high rows, known as hills, ensures good drainage and retains heat from the sun for longer. Plan to space the plants about two feet apart on a 1.5-meter wide hill.
  • If you are growing in rows, stay one meter away.

Square Foot Gardening Watermelon Spacing

  • Sow ½ to 1 inch deep outdoors or ¼ to ½ inch deep in indoor seed initiation pots.
  • To allow more root growth, use larger pots than you would for most seeds. Also consider using compostable pots that can be cut or planted directly in the garden, as this will minimize the risk of damaging seedling roots during transplanting.
  • If sowing directly outdoors, sow 4 to 6 seeds per hill, and eventually decrease to 2 to 3 seedlings.

Transplantation of watermelon seedlings in Square Foot Garden

  • Handle seedlings with extreme care when transplanting. Its roots are very fragile, so try not to disturb the soil by removing them from the pots.    
  • After transplanting, cover plants with mulches to keep pests away. Remember to remove the line caps when you see male and female flowers on the vine, as pollinators will need to access the flowers.    

How many watermelon plants per square foot

When planting watermelon in a one-foot square garden, plant a plant on a two-foot grid. Watermelons grow on long, flat vines that can stretch up to 12 feet in one season.

They can quickly occupy a one-square-meter garden if they don’t have enough space.

If they are planted too close to other crops, they will compete for sunlight, moisture, and nutrients and they will expel the plants.

Types of Soil for Watermelon Gardening

Watermelons grow in many types of soil but prefer fertile, sandy, loamy soil that drains easily. Add generous amounts of manure, compost, and leaves to your garden and work the soil well before planting. Melons like a lot of water, so keep the soil moist at all times.

The mixture of soil in your garden square feet should be ideal for the growth of watermelon. If you can, it may be a good idea to have a slightly deeper garden box for watermelons, because they have deeper roots than many plants.

A foot of depth should sufficient.          

Suitable WaterMelon Varieties for Square Foot Gardening

The seeds of watermelon are activated by frost to germinate. You must plant them in late winter for the last frost to appear. It is possible to simulate this by placing the seeds in the freezer for half an hour.

The seeds are usually planted on small hills 10 to 12 feet apart.

In your square foot garden, a hill is not necessary. It will help watermelons if you work more fertilizer in the square meter section before planting.

Some varieties of watermelon are more suitable for square meter gardening than others. Plant those with compact or even shrubby vines for best results.

Try these best water melon varieties in square foot garden:

  • Sugar Baby“: 80 days until expiration. Produces 10 pounds of melon with bright red meat. This smaller variety of fruits can be planted just 1 meter away.
  • Sweet beauty“: 80 days until expiration. An All-America selection from 2004. Carries 6 pounds oblong melons with red meat.
  • Golden Dwarf“: 70 days until expiration. Carry small 3-pound melons with yellow meat and pink meat. Good for northern gardeners.

Watermelon Vines Training on Trellis

 It is known that watermelon rot on the vines if they grow along the ground. With your square foot garden, you will need to provide a trellis to support your vines. You will build vertical plants.

The trellis can be a simple frame as high as possible. It can make one lattice single two feet of steel pipe 3 inches 2 inches in diameter, two pieces of wood of 2 inches by 2 inches to 6 feet long and a piece of wood 2 inches by 2 inches of width from your garden box.

Hit the steel pipes at least 30 cm on the ground, in the two corners of your garden. Attach a 2-foot length of 2×2 to each tube and place the short 2×2 piece on top. The support for the plants can be provided by a plastic-coated net attached to the wooden frame you created.

Watermelon Vine Care

Watermelons are traditionally grown on the north side of a garden, but with vertical growth this is not a factor. The vine will be able to support the flower and the first fruits, which naturally occupy the ideal position for the light they need to receive. As watermelons grow, they will need additional support.

This can be provided using nets made of any lightly woven material tied to the net.                                   

Watermelons always taste better if they ripen on the vine; therefore, it is best to harvest them only when you need them. They do not rot on the vine while suspended in midair.

At the end of the season, there will be immature fruits and possibly flowers on the vines. They should be removed to encourage the vine to divert the remaining energy to the more advanced watermelons.

The watermelons are very successful in the square footage of the gardens; you just need to make sure they are well supported so they don’t fill the entire area.

Square foot gardening watermelon fertilizer

If you choose to fertilize (and many do), make sure it provides more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium, as this will stimulate the growth of vines and leaves.

However, after flowering begins, use a less nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate flowers and fruit.

Square foot gardening watermelon fertilizer
watermelon growing

Watermelon Flowering and fruiting

  • Vines produce male and female flowers separated on the same plant. They often begin to produce male flowers several weeks before females appear. Don’t worry if the male flowers fall off. The female flowers (which have a bulging bulb at the base) will remain on the vine and bear fruit.
  • Flowers need pollination to bear fruit; so be nice to the bees!
  • When the fruit is ripening, avoid rot by carefully lifting it and placing a cardboard or straw between the fruit and the soil.

Watermelon Pests and Diseases in Square Foot Garden

Now, let us check out Watermelon Pests and Diseases in Square Foot Garden.

Watermelon disease in garden

Downy mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis)

Symptoms: Yellow spots on the leaves; dark brown lesions on the leaves; inward curled sheets                 

Cause: Fungus

Comments: Spread by spores in the air and splashing water

Management: Do not overload the plants; avoid the irrigation air, aquatic plants of the base; apply the appropriate fungicide.

Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum)

Symptoms: Withered plants; wilted confined to one or more vines; foliage appears green-gray-green in appearance and turns yellow as the disease progresses; the vascular tissue has a red discoloration.

Cause: Fungus

Comments: The disease can be spread through infected seeds or through contaminated water and/or equipment.    

Management: plant in well-drained soils and avoid flooding; seeds treated with plant fungicide; rotate crops in 4 years

Angular leaf spot (Pseudomonas syringae) 

Symptoms: Small lesions soaked in water in the leaves which expand between the leaf veins and become angled; in conditions wet, the lesions exhaling a milky substance is dried to form a white crust on or to the side of the injury;

As the disease progresses, the lesions tan and may have yellow/green edges; the centers of the lesions dry up and may fall leaving a hole in the blade.

Cause: Bacteria

Comments: Spread infected seeds, rain splashes, insects, and people moving between plants; bacteria gain more debris and can survive for 2.5 years.       

Management: Use disease-free seeds; do not grow plants in the field where cucurbits were grown in the previous 2 years; Copper Protective Spray can help reduce the incidence of disease in hot, humid climates; plant resistant varieties.

Bacterial fruit stain (Acidovorax avenae)

Symptoms: Small lesions soaked in water at the top or sides of the fruit that increase the surface; the lesions fruit may become red or brown and crack.

Cause: Bacteria

Comments: Spread on infected seeds or water splashes; the appearance of the disease favors humid conditions.

Management: Use seeds and transplants without pathogens; rotate crops; avoid the use of aerial irrigation

Watermelon mosaic watermelon mosaic virus (WMV)

Symptoms: Symptoms vary widely, depending on species, cultivar, virus strain, and environmental conditions; Leaf symptoms may include green mosaic patterns, green vein bands, chlorotic rings, and disfigured leaves.

Cause: Virus

Comments: The virus is found in almost all cucurbit- producing regions of the world; the virus spreads to more than 20 species of aphids.

Management: The treatments controlling populations of vectors of aphids can also reduce the incidence of the virus; spraying plants with mineral oils or insecticidal soaps can help reduce the number of aphids.

Watermelon Garden Insects

Earthworms

Symptoms: Stems of transplants or young seedlings can be cut at the soil line; If the infection occurs later, irregular holes are eaten on the surface of the fruit; the damage-causing larvae are generally active at night and hide during the day in the soil at the base of plants or in the debris of felled plants; larvae are 2.5 to 5.0 cm long; Larvae can exhibit a variety of patterns and colors, but they generally curl into a C shape when disturbed.

Cause: Insects

Comments: Earthworms have a wide variety of hosts and attack vegetables, including asparagus, beans, cabbage, and other cruciferous, carrots, celery, corn, lettuce, peas, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes.       

Management: Remove all the residues of plants of the after harvest soil or to the least two weeks before planting, this is especially important if the previous crop was another host, such as alfalfa, beans or ground cover legume.

The plastic or aluminum collars, mounted around the stems of the plants, cover the bottom 3 inches above the soil line and extend a few centimeters towards the ground to prevent larvae from damaging the plants; choose the larvae at dusk; spread the diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants (this creates a sharp barrier that will cut insects off if they try to crawl over it); apply appropriate insecticides to infested areas of gardens or fields if they do not grow organically.                                         

Flea Beetles Epitrix spp.

Symptoms: small holes or lumps in the leaves that give the foliage a characteristic “garnet” appearance; young plants and seedlings are particularly susceptible; plant growth can be reduced; if the damage is severe, the plant may die; the pest responsible for the damage is a small, dark-colored beetle (1.5 to 3.0 mm) that jumps when disturbed; The beetles usually have a shiny appearance.                              

Cause: Insects

Comments: Younger plants are more susceptible to flea beetle damage than older plants; older plants can tolerate infestations; the flea the beetles can overwinter in species of nearby weeds, plant debris or soil; insects can go through a second or third generation in a year.

Management: In areas where beetles Fleas are a problem, it may be necessary to use floating covers before the appearance of the beetles to provide a physical barrier to protect young plants; plant seeds early to allow establishment before beetles become a problem: mature plants are less susceptible to damage; traps can provide a measure of control: cruciferous plants are best; applying a thick layer of mulch can help prevent beetles from reaching the surface.

The land application of diamotecaeus or oils such as oil neem is effective to control methods for the producers organic; Applying insecticides containing curry, spinosad, biphethrin, and permethrin can provide adequate control of beetles for up to a week but will need to be reapplied.

Thrips (Thrips of flowers Western, thrips onion, etc.) Frankliniella occidentalis Thrips tabaci

 Symptoms: If the population is high, the leaves can B and are distorted; Leaves are covered in thick dots and may appear r silver; leaves mottled with black feces; the insect is small (1, 5 mm) and thin and is best viewed with a hand lens; the thrips adults are pale yellow to light brown and nymphs are smaller and lighter in color.

Cause: Insect

Comments: Virus transmission as the virus of the wilting of the tomato; Once acquired, the insect maintains the ability to transmit the virus for the rest of its life.

Management: Avoid planting near onions, garlic, or cereals, where a large number of thrips can accumulate; use reflective covers at the beginning of the growing season to avoid thrips; apply insecticide appropriate if the thrips will become problematic.

Water Melon Harvesting in Garden

Watermelons are not sweetened after being picked; therefore, harvest time is important. They usually mature within two weeks, so keep an eye on them.

Watermelon Harvesting
Watermelon Harvesting

How to Store Watermelon

Watermelons can be stored uncut for about 10 days. If cut, they can last in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Wrap tightly in plastic.

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