A farmer has the choice of over 50 varieties of watermelon. Some a green, yellow, orange or gold colored. You have both seeded, seedless varieties with different flavors and taste.
We have sweet ones, fleshy, dark green and ruby colored pulp melons. The sizes range from 6 pounders to 200 pound giants. You need proper financing, huge parcel of land, casual labor. Other requirements are business name, company incorporation, insurance and tax.
Varieties of Watermelon
Horticulturists have developed different cultivars of watermelon. They are differentiated by color, taste, size, and texture. The types are categorized into seedless watermelons, Yellow/Orange melons.
Others are Icebox Watermelons, Picnic Watermelons. Popular types are the Yellow Doll, Extazy, Crimson Sweet and Little Baby Flower. Others are Sweet Favorite, Yellow Baby, Sugar Baby watermelon, and summer flavor.
More include Stars ‘n’ Stripes, Starbrite, Starlight, Sangria, and cream of Saskatchewan. We have the Golden Midget, Mickylee, Moon and Stars and Pixie,
They have different features like the Yellow Dolls rind patterns, tender Yellow Baby to light green patches on blue-green ring of the Sweet Favorite.
There are 30 pounds elongated hybrid Stars ‘n; Stripes, Starbrite bright pink medium flesh fruit while Jubilee exceeds 40 pounds.
More are the beautiful yellow mini weight Golden Midget, seedless Extazy, bright red and fleshy Crimson Sweet.
Types of Watermelons
Recommended varieties ideal for commercial farming are Golden Midget, Sweet Beauty, and Sugar Baby.
They are fleshy seeded, seedless yellow or orange fruits.
- Yellow Doll
- Yellow Baby
- Desert King
- Black Diamond
- Charleston Grey
- Crimson Sweet
- King of Hearts
- Jack of Hearts
Diseases and Pests
The watermelon plant are affected by some pests and diseases. Common diseases/pests are squash vine borer moths, aphids. Fusarium and Cucumber Beetles.
- squash vine borer moths
- Cucumber Beetles
How to Grow Watermelon
They flourish in warm weather and the farmer can plant seeds. They don’t do well in cold climate however the gardener could start the process by growing the indoors. Ideal temperature to grow watermelon is 70F.
Start the seeding process indoors and transplant as they grow. Make sure you prepare the soil ahead of planting. Use composite, seaweeds, manure to enrich the soil and ensure proper drainage.
Best soil composition is loamy with moderate application of fertilizer, soil PH 6 to 6.9. Grow them in raised hilly rows and space 2.5 feet apart, 4.5 feet wide or 6 x 6 rows. Protect the plant from pests by covering the vines with row covers and remove when flowering occurs.
- Seed indoors
- Transplant as they grow
- Prepare the soil
- Use composite, seaweeds, manure
- Soil PH 6 to 6.9
- Ideal Temperature 70F
- Grow in raised rows
- Protect from pests
- Harvest when ripe
How to Care for the Plant
The plant requires 1.5 inches of water per week until fruits form. Avoid waterlogging or wetting leaves however keep soil moist and reduce when fruiting. Use plastic mulching to encourage clean fruits, prevent weed growth and warm the soil.
Prevent lateral side vines grow to improve the primary vine productivity. Use nitrogen rich fertilizer or liquid seaweed in early stage of vine development. Pruning is unnecessary however remove some blooms to allow others develop quicker (optional).
The production of flowers of both sexes develop at different times. The male flowers first emerges and female flowers several weeks after.
Pollination is important to the development of fruits and the female flowers are the ones that will bare fruits. To avoid rotting place cardboards under the fruits.
Harvesting and Storage
The Golden Midget matures in 70 days and produces 3 pound, yellow skinned, pink flesh fruits. The sugar baby has red flesh and bares 10 pound melons while Sweet Baby matures in 80 days has red flesh, oblong shaped melons.
Ripe melons have contrasting stripes on top and sound hollow. The bottom of ripe melons are yellow or cream colored and tendrils should be half dead. Fully dead tendril means the fruits are over-ripe.
Cut the stem with a clean sharp knife close to the fruit. Storage methods include refrigeration, wrapped in plastic or uncut. Storage period is relatively short so sell within 1 to 3 days.