Thursday 9 February 2017

Growing watermelon from seeds

I think it is impossible to grow watermelon in Singapore. This is because watermelon requires a lot of space for it to grow. There are successful cases whether people grow watermelon on a trellis or wall. The fruits can be hanged using old clothes or stockings or nettings.

I remembered my mother used to tell me that growing watermelon in pot or container is futile. She grew watermelon before and there was no fruit in sight.

After researching in the internet and using YouTube, I came to the conclusion that it is possible to grow watermelon in vertical garden using trellis or some kinds of structure to let the watermelon climbed.

One day, I happened to eat a watermelon and I placed the black seeds into the soil. These were from watermelon with red flesh. Two days later, I ate a watermelon with yellow flesh and placed the seeds into the same pot. The seeds germinated but I couldn't tell which one is yellow or red flesh. Too excited and forgotten which one is red.

Anyway, I think it is not an issue. I have four watermelon seedlings in the pot. I was too afraid to remove any of them. The seedlings grew quite well in a couple of weeks and started to throw out flowers. There are two type of flowers, one is male and the other female. Most of the time, you will only see the male flowers. There is nothing much you can do except to look for the female flower. The most obvious difference between the male and female flowers is the small watermelon liked thing beneath the flower. Of course, the next tell-tale sign is the sticky stigma, well, not exactly sticky. Just that there is no pollen on the female flower.

Normally, there is only one female flower among the say one to three male flowers when they bloomed. I would pluck the male flowers and rub the pollen onto the stigma. Make sure that the stigma has been coated with pollen. This would give the watermelon a rounded shape. The flowers will bloom for half a day and close in the late afternoon. When the flowers bloom, just hope that the weather is sunny and not a rainy day. Rain will definitely affect the quality of the pollination.

Watermelon liked flower (female flower) going to bloom
Watermelon liked flower (female flower) going to bloom
After the female flower has been successfully pollinated, the flower will close and in a couple of days, the flower which was pointed up will now point downwards. The watermelon will thus be hanging or lying on the ground.

In my case, due to lack of land, I grew the watermelon in a pot and used structures to let the vines climb. The tendrils can stretch out and twine round the support structures. The leaves can be spaced out to catch the maximum amount of sunlight.

Watermelon developing
Watermelon developing
I started to measure the perimeter of the watermelon each day. In the beginning, the perimeter increased by 1cm each day. However, after two weeks, the size stopped growing. I'm wondering what happened. I understand that the watermelon will ripe in about 50 days or so. If the tendrils dried up, the watermelon has ripen.

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