Updated: Feb 10, 2022
Growing watermelon in a container is a great idea for people who live in apartments, have limited room, or just want to try something new. I know from experience that watermelons can grow into some pretty big plants and take up a lot of room. This blog article is about how to plant watermelon seeds in containers and how to maintain them so your seedlings grow into delicious watermelons!
The Story of My First Time Growing Watermelon
I love watermelon so tried to grow some but I had never grown watermelon before, so when I decided to grow some in containers it was a bit overwhelming. Watermelons are big plants and growing them without all the space they need can be difficult. Of course, I used a container that was way too small, so that was my first mistake. The second was thinking that I could grow them with regular potting soil and not add any amendments to the soil to feed these heavy feeding watermelon plants. The plants themselves grew to about 3 feet long which for watermelon is tiny. I had only one flower that was pollinated and it turned into a tennis ball-sized watermelon.
I waited until I thought it looked ripe and picked it, I cut it open to find that it looked ripe and then I took the one bite that I had and tasted the unsweet tiny melon. Lesson learned.
You can laugh too(I know I can laugh at it also), but not too hard because if you are reading this then your turn is coming and I hope your first experience is better than mine! That's why I'm here so you can have more success than I did. Good luck to you!
I hope you'll learn from my mistakes! Let's start with how to choose your container wisely...
How to grow watermelon in a container
Now that you know my story, let's get into how to actually grow watermelon in a container. The first thing you'll need is a good seed planter. You'll want a deeper seed planter for watermelon. They start out as larger seedlings and if the planter is too small they'll outgrow the container quickly! Once you germinate watermelon seeds you'll need to be ready with the lifelong pot because they grow pretty quickly!
Next, choose a container that is big enough for your plants but not too big where you will lose control over the watering process. A 5-gallon pot should do the trick. Fill the pot with soil amended with compost or manure (I prefer compost). Once your baby watermelon seedlings have germinated and grown their first set of leaves, it's time to transplant them into a larger container. Water well and then transplant your seedling into the pot. Don't place the stem deeper in the soil than it was in the seed starting container.
I like to use a five-gallon pail for this, but any container with good drainage will work. You can usually find free 5 gallon buckets at grocery stores. Ask the pastry guy, he'll be happy to give them to you! I will also make my bucket into a self-watering container to make it easier to water the seedlings.
Make sure you allow them over 6 hours of sunlight. I would try more but at minimum, I would suggest over 6 hours.
Fertilize your watermelon plants
Watermelon plants need a lot of nitrogen as they grow, so be sure to fertilize them often. Fertilize about once a month. I will put a handful of fertilizer on the top of the soil and then rub it into the soil a little bit.
Fertilize with a good organic fertilizer.
How much water does a watermelon need?
Watermelons are thirsty! Make sure the soil stays moist, especially when the fruits start to form. A good way to tell if your plant needs water is to stick your finger in the soil about an inch deep. If it's not moist, then it's time to water!
So I will take a five-gallon pail and turn it into a self-watering container. That will eliminate a lot of guesswork in watering.
Watermelon Hammock for Containers
If you are growing on a trellis( I stick to varieties of mini watermelons) you may need to use a watermelon hammock because the melons are heavy and you don't want them falling off the vine on the trellis. I like to use pantyhose and turn them into a nice little hammock.
- How to harvest watermelon from a container
When is watermelon ready for harvesting? The best way for determining if a watermelon is ripe is to look at the color. A ripe watermelon will be mostly green with a little bit of yellow. When the nearest tendril turns from green to brown, your watermelon is getting ripe! A good way to pick a ripe one is if the tendril closest to the bottom of the fruit has turned brown or black. Cutting the stem a little above the melon is the best way to harvest the melon.
And that's it! So if you follow these several simple steps then you'll be able to grow some delicious watermelons in no time! Now you can enjoy a nicely sized and very sweet miniature watermelon!
Growing watermelon in containers is a great way to get fresh, juicy summertime produce without taking up too much space in your garden. Follow these steps and you'll be harvesting sweet fruit in no time! What are some of the ways that you've managed to grow delicious watermelons on a small scale? Share with us below!