Watermelon in the greenhouse
Did you know that among the variety of greenhouse crops, watermelon is not the last. Of course, it is grown in this way not for production purposes, and not in the south, but it shows excellent results and is quite satisfied with the tastes of its bold owners. However, the agricultural technology of greenhouse plantings is somewhat different from growing in open ground and before planting a watermelon in a greenhouse, you need to find out what exactly.
Choose a variety for growing watermelon in a greenhouse
Among the variety of varieties offered by modern selection, only those that have the shortest possible ripening period and small fruits by weight, up to 2-3 kg, are suitable for greenhouse cultivation. It can be familiar to many “Twinkle”, “Cinderella”, “Siberian”, “Ultra early”. From seedlings to harvest, they have about 80 days and with a small weight of the berries, high palatability is noted. It is not worth it to swear at varieties with a longer growing season, just for the reason that you can never wait for the harvest.
Planting watermelon seedlings
In mid-April, it is time to plant watermelon seeds on seedlings. To do this, prepare small, preferably peat pots, 10 cm in diameter and a nutritious soil mixture (potassium sulfate and wood ash are added to the existing soil). In each cup to a depth of 2-3 cm are placed 1-2, pre-soaked in warm water, watermelon seeds and put on the south window. Despite the fact that the seeds germinate at temperatures above 17 ° C, the air temperature in the room should be from 25 to 35 ° C during the day and from 18 to 20 ° C at night - this will allow the plants to form qualitatively.
For the entire period of growth of watermelon seedlings, it is good to carry out one, preferably two, top dressings with a complex mineral fertilizer, the first of which should pass two weeks after sowing the seeds. As the plants develop, the pots are moved apart so that the seedlings do not touch each other with leaves. As soon as 3-5 real leaves are formed on young plants, they can be planted in the greenhouse. This usually occurs after 25-35 days.
Planting watermelons in a greenhouse
If the greenhouse is heated - watermelons can be planted already in mid-May, if not - you should wait until the stable temperature in the street reaches 20-25 ° C.
Seedlings are planted in pre-prepared ridges, 20 cm high and 40-50 cm wide, at a distance of 40-50 cm from each other. At the same time, the plantlets are not buried.
An important nuance is the height of the greenhouse and the humidity it maintains. In order for watermelons to feel comfortable, humidity indicators should be maintained at 60-70%, and the ceiling height of the greenhouse should be 180-200 cm.
Greenhouse Watermelon Care
Since the watermelon has long lashes, it must be tied up. He himself will not cling to twine. Therefore, making a daily round of the beds, you need to wrap the overgrown ends of the plants around the trellis counterclockwise. In addition, in a greenhouse culture, watermelon is formed into one stem, so everything that has formed up to a height of 40 cm (side shoots, flowers) is plucked.
60 days after planting, the plants begin to bloom. Male flowers appear first on them, after 10 days - female flowers. During this period, it is very important to conduct pollination. In regions with a warmer climate, the windows of the greenhouse are periodically opened for this, providing an opportunity to do insect work, in the northern regions, pollination is done manually. To do this, tear the male flower and apply it with stamens to the female. How to distinguish male and female flowers? On the female, a small watermelon is initially visible.
If pollination has occurred, the ovary will begin to grow and bend downward; if it does not, the flower will stretch upward. Here you also need to be alert. And as the watermelons begin to reach the size of a plum, counting up 7 leaves from each of them, pick off the tops of the lashes. The best option is if one fruit ripens on one plant, if there are several berries on the whip, the crop is small.
When the watermelons reach the size of a tennis ball, they put a net on each of them and tie it to the upper trellis. If this is not done, the plant will fall from increasing weight. A month after the formation of the ovary - you can harvest.
And yet ... Leaves of watermelons do not thin out, their rugged structure does not obscure the fruit, but the constantly appearing side shoots greatly delay the ripening moment - they are plucked regularly. In addition, the watermelon does not like weeds to grow at its roots, so you need to monitor the cleanliness of the greenhouse. And, if the fruits were formed at the very base of the whip - you do not need to tie them up, however, laying them on the ground, you need to put a wooden plank under the watermelons, otherwise there is a high probability of their decay.
Watering and feeding watermelon
Despite the prevailing opinion that watermelon loves watering, in fact, the plant is drought tolerant and needs to be watered very carefully. Most of all he needs water in the first period of growth - before flowering and at the time of initial development of the ovaries. It is better to water it with warm water at the rate of 10 liters per 8-10 plants. And as soon as the fruit reaches the size indicated in the description of the variety, the watering should be stopped.
Together with weekly watering, fertilizing is also good. To do this, mix 1 tbsp. a spoon of azofoska, 1 tbsp. spoonful of superphosphate, 1 teaspoon of potassium sulfate and 2 teaspoons of any micronutrient fertilizer. In total, no more than 4 dressings are carried out, also until the berry reaches the varietal size.