Growing Watermelon

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My dad always picked the best watermelons. He grew up in the fields of the central valley in California. He used to say he worked at the fruit stand when he was a kid, I am not sure how much work he did between all the melons he ate but somewhere along the line he learned how to tell when a watermelon was just right. Sweet and juicy and perfect for a summer day of seed spitting contests. We were not allowed to eat watermelon in the house, it is an outside sport.

My dad always thumped watermelons and listened for a deep almost hollow sound. Although, he never said so, I know he was using his eyes as much as his ears as he checked for a dark green color rind with a yellower patch, showing where the melon sat on the ground getting ripe on the vine. I also think he had some sort of magic that told him which ones would be best. This of course is just one of the magic powers of a dad.

Watermelon seedlings

I have never had luck growing watermelons. It could be that I tried to grow the seeds I spit at my brother. Maybe it’s that they do not grow well under the shadow of a large redwood tree or that I forget to water them. Who knows really why it has never worked out in the past. I do know that I have never really given them a solid effort. So, this year, I decided to give it a try. I planted 12 seeds and have 10 seedlings reaching for the sun.

I have a nice sunny location. I started them inside early to try to get the most out of my growing season. They want a well-drained slightly acid soil, so I will plant them in mounds of good loamy soil in an area that will get plenty of water. sun and room to grow. Hopefully, when you get your update in the heat of the summer, I will happily report that the experiment has been a success and a new generation will be learning how far a watermelon seed can fly.

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