The watermelon should only be grown in gardens with ample space. It requires a sunny location and a well-drained soil, with sands, sandy loam, and loamy sand preferred. Seed started indoors takes 4 weeks to produces suitable transplants. Plant outdoors in late May after the danger of frost has passed. Plant seed 1 to 2 inches deep and space the plants or hills 72 to 96 inches apart. Rows are spaced 72 to 96 inches apart. If the entire garden was not fertilized, use 1 cup of 5-10-10 per 25 feet of row prior to planting. Make an additional application when the plants flower. Mulching is helpful when the plants begin to run. Water well, especially if dry weather occurs when the plants are vining and setting fruit. Decrease watering when the fruit are full size and ripening. Growing melons near other vine crops will not produce off flavor fruit.
Harvesting watermelons at the right time is difficult. The best that can be said is, practice makes perfect. A watermelon is supposed to be nearing ripeness when any of the following clues occur. When the spot where the melon was setting on the soil turns from white to yellow. When the tendril nearest the fruit stem turns brown. There is a small leaflet at the base of the stem called the spoon. When the spoon dries up the melon is supposed to be ripe. A ripe melon gives a dull sound when thumped with a finger.
Harvest melons with some stem attached.
Watermelons are not usually stored. They may be held at 40 to 50 degrees for short periods of time. Chilling injury occurs at temperatures below 40 degrees.