How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon

Learn how to grow watermelon and add this favorite summertime treat to your garden. Homegrown watermelon picked at the peak of sweetness tastes so much better than one bought at the store.  

Watermelon needs plenty of space and at least 80 days of warm temperatures to grow well. If you have both, learn how to grow watermelon with these tips.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.

7 Tips for How to Grow Watermelon

How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon

1. Select the best variety of quality seeds for your climate and location

In warm climates, most varieties do well. Some favorites include Crimson Sweet and Moon and Stars.

In hot summer climates like the low desert of Arizona, choose short-season varieties or types adapted to the heat of the summer such as Desert King and Hopi Yellow.

In cooler climates, choose short-season varieties such as Golden Midget and Sugar Baby.

Smaller growing space? Choose shorter-vining varieties such as Mini-LoveBush Sugar Baby or Cal Sweet Bush. These varieties can be grown in one 4×4 foot bed or less. 

How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon
Mini-Love Watermelon
How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon
Hopi Yellow Watermelon

2. Choose and prepare a good location for planting watermelon

  • Watermelon needs plenty of room. Some vines reach up to 20 feet or more. Give watermelon the space it needs to grow well. 
  • Amend the planting area with compost and aged manure. Add a balanced organic fertilizer before planting.
  • Choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight
How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon

3. Plant watermelon seeds directly in warm soil

Watermelon does best when directly sown once soil temperatures reach 70℉. Plant outside 2-3 weeks after your last frost date. Sow 3-4 seeds 1 inch deep, 4-5 feet apart. Water well with seaweed emulsion after planting. Thin to the strongest plant when plants have 3-4 leaves. 

If using square foot gardening, plant shorter bush varieties and plan on one plant taking an entire 4×4 foot bed. 

The best time to plant in the low desert of Arizona is during the month of March.  

In cooler climates, start seeds indoors in 4 inch or larger pots 1 month before planting outside. Watermelon is very frost tender; wait to plant if there is any danger of frost.

How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon

4. Water watermelon correctly for the best tasting watermelon

  • Water slowly and deep to allow watermelon roots to grow deep. 
  • Don’t get leaves wet. Wet leaves encourage diseases such as powdery mildew
  • As watermelon nears ripening, cut back on water to encourage sweetness.
How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon

5. Feed watermelon throughout the growing season

How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon

6. Mulch the plant and protect the fruit

Mulch plants well to prevent weeds and conserve moisture. 

Once fruit is set, use cardboard or a melon cradle to lift fruit off ground to protect from pests and diseases. Growing vertically? Use melon hammocks to support growing fruit.

How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon

7. Harvest at the right time

Knowing when a watermelon is ripe is often the most challenging part of growing them. Here are a few things to look for: 

  • The underside of the watermelon turns creamy yellow.
  • The tendril at the stem end turns brown.
  • Low-pitched thump when you hit it lightly – practice thumping unripe melons to hear the difference.
  • Sheen of watermelon changes from slick to dull looking.
How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon

Comment below if you have questions about how to grow watermelon, or share tips and varieties of watermelon you’ve tried and enjoyed.

What do you want to read next?

How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon
How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon
146 Shares

3 comments on “How to Grow Watermelon: 7 Tips for Growing Watermelon”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *