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When summer hits there's nothing better than a super-juicy watermelon to cool down. Watermelon is a sweet, refreshing snack that contains 90% water by weight, so will keep you hydrated too!
Short on space? Try the smaller Sugarbaby variety, sow seeds now and you'll be harvesting fruit in 10-13 weeks.
Choose a spot in full sun, watermelons don't like the shade. Soil must be rich, free draining and loose for the fine root system. Enrich soil with a good quality compost, Baileys Soil Improver Plus contains compost and manure that will encourage strong and healthy growth. If you have very sandy soils, use Baileys Clay & Compost.
Seeds can be started in trays or sown straight into the garden, for best gemination plant the seed with the pointed end down into the soil, cover the seed and press down gently. Sow 3-4 seeds together, let them germinate and once growing discard the weakest plants and let the strongest grow.
Maintenance & Feeding
Young plants need plenty of water while actively growing and fruit is developing. Once flowering starts feed with an organic based fertiliser like Baileys Soil Matters Garden, it contains all essential macro and micronutrients, and a biological coating which encourages strong root growth. Feed little and often every 4-6 weeks.
Depending on the variety you should be able to harvest 12-16 weeks after planting the seed. A watermelon is ready to harvest when the shine turns dull and if you give it a light thump with your knuckles it will make a hollow sound.
There are a wide variety of watermelon in WA including the Sugarbaby, this produces smaller, sweet fruit ideal for the home garden. Candy Red, Allsweet, Crimson Sweet are common for Perth and the Mountain Sweet Yellow which has bright yellow flesh and a sweet honey flavour.
Cooking with Watermelon
Watermelon is very healthy and one of the most hydrating foods you can eat. Watermelon can be used in sweet or savory dishes, whizzed into smoothies or cocktails, added to salads or just sliced up as the perfect summer snack.