Grow watermelon by starting seeds indoors, transplanting seedlings into prepared soil, and weeding and watering the plants. Harvest the melons when they are fully ripe, as they do not continue ripening once they are off the vine.
- Start seeds indoors
Start seeds indoors in peat pots about three weeks before planting outdoors. Plant three to five seeds per pot, and when the plants develop leaves, thin them to one or two per pot. Time the seedlings carefully, because when the plants get too large, they do not transplant well.
- Transplant the seedlings
Prepare the soil by digging holes for each seedling and mixing compost, manure and sandy loam to create rich, well-draining soil. Arrange the plants 3 to 6 feet apart with a distance of 7 to 12 feet between rows, depending on the size of the variety you are planting. Spread mulch around the plants to retard weeds and retain moisture.
- Weed and water the plants
Keep the area around the plants clear by way of weeding and shallow hoeing. Water the plants weekly, but do not over-water them. Too much watering or rainfall yields poor-quality plants.
- Harvest the watermelons
Harvest the melons when they are fully ripe. The melons are ripe when the rind becomes dull, the underside becomes light yellow, the tendrils on the stem turn dry and brown, and the rind resists penetration when pressed by a thumbnail. Once harvested, ripe watermelons can be stored up to two weeks.