How to water watermelon?

Are you aware that this summer treat is not really a fruit? Get a few growing tips and find out the answers to other questions with this list of fun watermelon facts.

Contents

25 Watermelon Facts that Will Surprise You

A staple at all summer picnics and barbecues, the watermelon is the most popular melon consumed in the U.S. It’s time to brush up on your knowledge of this refreshing summer sweet treat with these random facts.

This post may contain affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.

Botanical Information

Let’s get to know this plant by looking at its scientific roots:

  • Botanical name: citrullus lantanus
  • Botanical family: curcurbitaceae

Is watermelon a fruit?

Or is watermelon a vegetable? This is an age old question that people have been debating forever.

Answering this question is difficult. Botanically, watermelon is a fruit of a plant that originated in Southern Africa. It is generally considered a type of melon, but is not in the family cucumis.

It is a member of the family of cucurbitaceae – gourds, which are considered vegetables. It is planted from seeds, or seedlings, grown in a field and then harvested like other vegetables.

For those that swear that a watermelon is a fruit, they argue that it is used as a fruit and is commonly balled, cubed, sliced and enjoyed fresh like other fruits.

Webster’s dictionary seems to have a definitive answer. They state that a vegetable is anything made or obtained from plants, which a watermelon definitely is. It describes a vegetable this way:

Of or pertaining to plants; having the nature of, or produced by, plants; as, a vegetable nature; vegetable growths, juices, etc.

Since a watermelon is grown like a vegetable, harvested like a vegetable and uses vegetable production systems it would appear that it is, indeed, a vegetable.

And yet the debate continues – which do you think it is?

How much sun do watermelons need?

Since watermelons are originally native to Africa, they require hot and sunny conditions to do well.

All vegetables love sunlight – 6 to 8 hours a day is what you should strive to give them. Watermelons really love sunlight and will grow best with this much sunlight and more.

I’ve tried my hand at growing watermelons many times and one thing is obvious – no matter how large my watermelon patch is, the area of the patch that gets the longest sunlight produces the most and biggest watermelons. I aim for 8-9 hours of sunlight each day!

Can watermelon grow in shade?

The answer is yes, sort of. They will grow and the plants will look lush. But there is a big difference between growing and thriving.

Areas of my watermelon patch which get less sunlight, due to shade trees or buildings that cast shade produce lush vines but much fewer and smaller melons. So bring on the sun! Watermelons love it!

Should you swallow watermelon seeds?

I’m sure we have our own tale of our mothers telling us that if we swallowed watermelon seeds, a plant would grow in our belly. Is there any truth to this or is it an old wive’s tale?

Thankfully, you won’t be sprouting a whole watermelon if you eat the seeds. In actual fact, watermelon seeds are nutritious. They have high levels of protein, zinc and magnesium.

Even though you can safely swallow the seeds, it’s still a good idea to chew them first. This makes sure you get the most nutrition from the seeds!

Can you eat the whole watermelon?

When we talk about watermelons we tend to think of the juicy, moisture filled flesh, but did you know that other parts of the watermelon are also edible? In fact, you can eat ALL parts of a watermelon!

It’s not uncommon to find stewed or stir fried watermelon rinds in Chinese cooking and, in the Southern part of the USA, some cooks like to pickle the rinds.

Watermelons seeds (as discussed above) make a great snack when dried and roasted (they are similar to roasted pumpkin seeds).

Weird Watermelon Facts

Most of my watermelon facts deal with growing, using and eating watermelon. Here are a few random fun facts.

  • Early settlers used the outer skin of watermelons as canteens to carry their things to drink.
  • China is the leading producer of watermelons
  • There is a entire National day devoted to Watermelons – August 3, and a National Watermelon month – July.
  • The Chinese bring watermelons as a hostess gift.
  • The word watermelon first appeared in the English dictionary in 1615.

Do all watermelons have seeds?

It used to be the case that the average watermelon was a huge picnic variety filled with seeds. Remember those “seed spitting contests” from your childhood?

However, today, about 85% of the varieties of watermelon sold in the US are seedless. The melons do actually have seeds, but these are white, unripe seed coats and are perfectly safe to eat.

Their texture is soft and there is no need to remove them when you slice the melon, or spit them out when eating watermelon wedges.

Is the watermelon a state vegetable anywhere?

Yes, indeed. the Oklahoma State Senate declared that the watermelon is the state vegetable in 2007. Notice they didn’t call it a fruit?

Since their state fruit is a strawberry, they needed another distinction and thereby appeared to answer the question asked above – is a watermelon a fruit or a vegetable?

However, a bill was brought forward in 2015 to repeal the earlier bill on the argument that the watermelon is a fruit. The bill died in committee but shows how strongly people argue this issue!

How many servings are in one watermelon?

The answer, of course, depends on the size of the watermelon. Mini watermelons are about the size of a cantaloupe, icebox melons will easily fit into a fridge, and a picnic watermelon will feed a crowd.

As a general rule of thumb, an average 20 pound watermelon can be cut into about 66 wedges, 3/4 inch thick. This will feed 33 people, if they each eat two wedges.

One pound of watermelon is about 3 wedges or 1 1/2 servings. This means you can feed three people for every 2 pounds of melon you have.

Health Fact – Do you need to wash watermelons before serving them?

It is suggested that all fruits and vegetables be washed before serving them to be eaten. This includes watermelon.

The reason for washing a watermelon is that it is possible that there will be bacteria on the outer skin. When you use a knife to cut the melon, the knife could literally drag through the bacteria and transfer it to the flesh that you will be eating.

Check out this post for more details on washing fruits and vegetables before consuming them.

How long do watermelons last?

If you have grown the watermelon yourself, you will find that it will last about 3-4 weeks on the shelf.

For those purchased in the grocery store, you can’t use quite the same rule of thumb, since the travel time to get the watermelon to the store can vary. Figure on 7-10 days for a whole store-bought melon on the counter and 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Once watermelons have been cut, they will last 3-5 days in the fridge and 1 day outside of it.

Do all watermelons have red fruit?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the traditional oblong shaped dark green watermelon with red flesh may be the most common type, but it is not the only color available.

Watermelons can also have light pink, yellow, and even green orange flesh.

Nutritional Watermelon Facts

Let’s talk about the breakdown of the plant itself. In this section we’ll learn what it’s made of, and some tips for figuring out if it is ripe.

What percent of watermelon is water?

There is a reason this vegetable is called a watermelon. It is made up of 92% water! This is what makes them the perfect treat to serve on a hot summer day, since they will hydrate you.

6% of the vegetable is sugar, which is quite low, making it low in calories. With the 92% ratio, this means that the average watermelon with about 14 pounds of flesh weighs in with about 196 ounces – or 12 cups of water!

Is watermelon healthy?

Even though the watermelon is mostly water with a bit of sugar, it is considered a healthy snack.

Watermelons are a good source of beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A, B6 and C. They also have high levels of lycopene which may help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Studies have also shown that eating watermelon may help so decrease inflammation in the body.

How to tell if watermelons are ripe?

A big watermelon sitting in the sun in your garden may look as though it’s ready to pick but how can you really tell if it is ripe? Once you harvest it and bring it indoors, it will not ripen any further, unlike some other vegetable, such as tomatoes which continue to ripen.

Fortunately, when deciding if it is ripe, the plant and melon itself will give some help in this regard. All of these things indicate that the melon is ripe:

  • The tendrils on the end turn from green to brown.
  • The bottom of the watermelon will be creamy white or yellow.
  • There is a big contrast in the stripes on the melon.
  • A “thump test” will give you a hollow sound.

For more information on telling when a watermelon is ready to pick, check out my post for harvesting watermelons. It gives lots of great ideas and photos to help with your decision.

What are the sweetest watermelons?

One of the true delights of summer is biting into a luscious, sweet wedge of watermelon. You know how disappointing it is to buy an unripe watermelon and realize it does not have much sweetness, right?

The sweetness of watermelons can even be measured by what is called a Brix scale. A Brix scale is a hydrometer scale used measuring the amount of sugar in a solution at a given temperature.

Most watermelons are around 9 to 10 on the Brix scale. Very sweet watermelon measure 11 to 12 on the same scale.

Some watermelon varieties with a high Brix number and known for being sweet are:

  • Yellow Crunch
  • Sweet Polly
  • Sugar Baby
  • Cut Above
  • Crimson Sweet
  • Traveler
  • Crunchy Red
  • Sangria
  • Sangria
  • Troubador
  • Bijou

What about shaped watermelons?

We tend to think of the traditional oblong or round shapes for watermelons, but there is actually a process of shaping watermelons that will result in other shapes.

For the past 40 years, in Japan, farmers have been growing cube shaped watermelons. This is done by forcing them to grow in square shaped metal boxes.

These melons sell for as much as $100 or more and are meant as novelty items and gifts, since the melons are not ripe when picked and are inedible.

In more recent years, farmers have also been growing them into the shape of hearts. If you would like to try your hand at growing the Japanese square watermelon or the heart shaped variety, molds can be purchased on Amazon:

  • heart mold
  • square mold

More watermelon Facts

We have gotten the answers to so many questions and haven’t really started on how to grow them!

How many types of watermelons are there?

There are more than 50 varieties of watermelon grown world wide and hundreds more sub-types.

Watermelons are generally grouped into just four categories:

  • Picnic
  • Seedless
  • Icebox
  • and yellow/orange types.

However, within these groups, there is some cross over. For more detailed information on the various types of watermelons, check out my article on watermelon varieties.

What is the largest watermelon grown?

To find the answer to this question, we took a look in the Guinness Book of World Records.

It turns out that Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee grew a Carolina Cross watermelon that weighed in at 350.5 pounds.

To put that into perspective, that’s about as heavy as a reindeer, 2/3 the size of a pig and twice as heavy as a beer keg!

Other large watermelon varieties are:

  • Jubilee Sweet
  • Florida Giant Melon
  • Jumbo Black Diamond
  • Blue Rind

What about carving watermelons?

The soft flesh of watermelons makes them an ideal vegetable to carve. In fact, watermelon carving is considered a highly desirable art form in Thailand.

The size of watermelons means that very large creations such as baskets, owls and swan shapes can be carved from them.

A note on carving watermelons: If you want to try your hand at this, carve the watermelon as close to the display or event date as possible.

Once you have cut into the rind of a watermelon, it needs refrigeration. Additionally, the watermelon will start to lose its structure after 24 hours which could turn your masterpiece into a “messterpiece.”

Be sure to check out my post showing some creative carved watermelon examples.

How long does it take to grow a watermelon ?

The vine of many watermelon plants will produce their first watermelons within 60 days. Depending on the variety, the crop is ready to harvest in about three months.

Times to harvest vary from 65 days to 90 days after planting. Some varieties need up to 130 sunny days to ripening!

Once the plant does set small melons, growing happens quickly. It only takes an additional 45 days for those tiny melons to become 10 pound and larger watermelons.

When is watermelon season?

Because sunlight requirements for watermelons mean that they grows best in the dog days of summer, that gives us a hint about their growing season. And since the growing time is long, it stands to reason that mid summer is when watermelons are ready to be harvested.

Watermelon season runs for several months, mainly in the summer – from May until September. The exact season in your area depends on where you live.

One way to tell is to visit your local Farmer’s Market. In the same way that strawberries are plentiful in May here at my Farmer’s Market, the watermelon season in your area is when the local farmers have plenty of them to sell!

You may wonder why you can find watermelon in the grocery stores all year long if it has a “season.” The US farmers produce their own watermelons from April through November. In the other parts of the year, watermelons are imported.

Watermelon Facts: growing tips

You need three things to grow watermelon plants: Sunlight, pollination from bees and water to give the growing plants moisture. Here are some growing tips:

  • Plant in rows or mounds 8-12 feet apart to give them room to roam.
  • Give watermelons lots of sunlight – 6 to 8 hours a day(or more) is ideal.
  • Aluminum foil placed under the plants will help them ripen faster by attracting more sunlight.
  • Healthy watermelon plants will form 2-4 melons per plant.
  • Watermelons require warm soil. Don’t plant them too soon in the spring.
  • Tackle weeds early since it is hard to control them once the watermelon vines start to grow.
  • Avoid overhead watering
  • Withhold water when harvest is near to concentrate the sugars in the flesh. Just water enough to keep the vines from wilting.

Watermelon recipes

Last but not least, watermelons are for eating. Americans eat over 17 lbs of watermelon every year.

They can be used in recipes for everything from popsicles to salsa. Check out these recipes to find a new favorite.

  • Chocolate watermelon popsicles
  • Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade
  • Cucumber watermelon salad
  • Watermelon Kiwi Popsicles
  • Salsa with Watermelon and Feta
  • Watermelon Pizza with Cream Cheese Icing

What experiences have you had with growing watermelons? Please leave your comments below.

Pin these watermelon facts for later.

Would you like a reminder of these fun and random watermelon facts and growing tips? Just pin this image to one of your vegetable gardening boards on Pinterest.

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in January of 2013. I have updated the post to add many more questions and answers about watermelon, lots of new photos and a video for you to enjoy.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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How To Water Watermelon Plants And When To Water Watermelons

Watermelons are a summer favorite but sometimes gardeners find that these juicy melons can be a little tricky to grow. In particular, knowing how to water watermelon plants and when to water watermelons can leave a home gardener feeling a little perplexed. The advice is so varied and myths on watering watermelons abound, but with a little knowledge, you can water your watermelons and know that they are getting exactly what they need.

When to Water Watermelons

Watermelons need water throughout the season, but a particularly important time when to water watermelons is while they are setting and growing fruit. The reason for this is that watermelon fruit is made up of 92 percent water. This means that the plant must take up an enormous amount of water while the fruit is developing. If this water is not available to the plant at this time, the fruit will not be able to grow to its full potential and may stunt the fruit or cause it to fall off the vine.

It is also important to be watering watermelons while they are establishing in the garden or during times of drought.

How to Water Watermelon Plants

How to water watermelon isn’t complicated but should be done correctly. First, make sure that you are watering watermelons at ground level, rather than from above. Using drip irrigation rather than a sprinkler system will help prevent powdery mildew from developing on the leaves and will also stop dirt from splashing about, potentially spreading harmful disease.

The second thing to be aware of when learning how to water watermelon plants is that you need to water deeply. Watermelon roots go deep searching for water to support the water hungry fruit. Water the plants so that the water goes down at least 6 inches into the soil. This may take at least a half hour, perhaps even more depending on the drip rate of your watering system.

Watering watermelons does not need to be a scary or complicated process. Just take your time and provide water regularly and down low and you will have lovely and juicy watermelons in no time.

Guide to Growing Watermelon

Yellow-fleshed varieties (not my favorite but good conversation starters!) include Hybrid Yellow Doll, a crisp, startlingly yellow-fleshed, round striped melon weighing five to eight pounds, and a very similar All America winner, New Queen Hybrid (Park), which boasts an “enchanting orange flesh.” Tender sweet matures in 90 days, has a yellow-orange flesh, a high sugar content and weighs as much as 30 pounds. And new this year in Jung’s seed catalog is Cream of Saskatchewan, a five to 12-pound melon with creamy white flesh that when spooned into a bowl looks like chunks of ice cream. This I’ve got to try! (There is also a yellow-skinned variety, Golden Crown, with red flesh and small seeds.)

Seedless varieties were first developed by Japanese breeders, and several types are now available, including Fields’ Hybrid Sweet Caroline and Jung’s Sweetheart Hybrid. Seed companies routinely include a few free Sugar Baby seeds with orders for seedless varieties and suggest planting one hill of seeded melons for every two or three hills of seedless melons for cross, pollination purposes. Make sure the seedless hills are marked for identification, as the plants will appear identical to other melon plants.

Growing Watermelons

Melon seeds consist of a large case with a soft center, easily damaged and crushed during shipping and Yellow Baby from Park Seed Co. handling. Even undamaged, the seeds do not sprout as easily as other plants in the vegetable kingdom. So handle with care.

Research has shown that soaking water melon seeds for 20 hours in water before planting increases the chances of successful germination, even when the test soil was a chilly 55°F to 65°E Another soaking suggestion is to leave the seeds in lukewarm tea for two hours, then spread them on an old tea soaked towel. Fold the towel and keep it in a plastic bag at 70°F for one week. The seeds will sprout easily, after which you can transfer them into the garden.

It’s foolish to try to plant your melon seeds before the soil warms up. Seeds will rot, and transplanted seedlings will sulk. Plant melons only when danger of frost is past and the soil is very warm.

On the other hand, melon plants must be started as early as possible so that the fruits aren’t forced to ripen after cool weather has set in. Plant too late and your melons will be only fair in flavor. Northern gardeners should start seeds indoors, three to four weeks before their area’s outdoor planting date.

If starting the seeds indoors, plant in individual pots. Plant two seeds la cutting the undesirable one off later. Use peat pots for easy transplanting when the time comes. If using plastic pots, transplant by dampening the soil and dumping out the entire root ball, being careful to inflict minimal trauma on the plant.

Transplant seedlings to the garden when the first true leaves unfold, and when daytime temperatures are at least 65°F. Set the plants a half-inch deeper than they were in their pots. Water gently. With pampering, the young melon plants will rarely wilt.

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You may want to prepare your melon bed with black plastic before setting out transplants (see “Mulch”). Cover the soil with it and bury the edges against the wind. This will bring the soil temperature to 85°F by planting time, ideal for melon seedlings. Punch holes in the plastic, four to six feet apart, plant the seedlings and water them with transplant solution if you choose. If temperatures turn cool after the seedlings have been set out, cover the plants with hot caps, which can be handmade from plastic milk cartons.

There is one potential downside to starting melon seeds indoors and that is the quick growth of the seedlings. The long taproot growing in a pot will soon become inhibited and will consequently develop a fibrous root system thus needing more water for the rest of the summer.

When planting seeds directly into the garden, bury five or six seeds per hill, two to three feet apart, with hills six to eight feet apart. Cover seeds with a half MOTHERS staff favorite: Seedless Sugar Baby.inch of fine soil. Later, after the seedlings are well established, thin to two or three plants per hill. Remove tall, spindly or bug-damaged seedlings.

Why is it traditional to plant melon seeds on hills? The sun warms the elevated soil, which has more surface area than does a flat expanse of soil. However, hill-planting requires closer attention to watering. Here in the Midwest, I skip billing and plant all vine crops in little troughs formed with my hoe point.

Growing melons on a fence keeps the vines from roaming, keeps fruit clean and slug-free and decreases field mouse damage. Air circulation is also increased, as is the amount of sunshine the melons receive. You may want to support fence grown melons with slings of mesh material-nylons, onion sacks, etc – so that the thin stems won’t have to bear the full weight of the fruits. If you are growing the very large varieties, this method may be neither practical nor successful.

Mulch

Most every gardener will agree that mulching garden plants is beneficial. Heat loving plants, such as melons, will do well with black plastic mulch, which absorbs the sun’s rays and warms the soil, raising temperatures by as much as 6%. Mulch eliminates weeds, too.

Straw or hay mulches are also recommended, and should be put down after the soil has been dampened, then spread to the base of the plant vines. Flat rocks may also be used as a mulch, as they heat up during the day and slowly radiate stored warmth back into the soil at night. If using this method, leave a six-inch diameter of open soil around the plant stem to allow water to reach the roots.

Fertilizer

Use slow-release fertilizers for slow maturing plants such as watermelons. Slow release fertilizers are coated with a water-permeable substance so that nutrients are released slowly over several months. Fertilize well, as melons are heavy feeders. Don’t use poultry manure on melon plants unless you fertilize in the fall, thereby allowing some of the concentrated salts to leach out before spring planting.

Melon plants double in size during the hot month of July, and this speedy growth may leave foliage pale. Spray them with a water soluble fertilizer to give the plants a quick boost.

Soil

Watermelons need rich, porous soil located in full sun. The pH should be 6 to 6.5. Taproots can grow an inch per day and eventually reach four feet in length. Lateral roots may extend even farther than do the vines. Loose soil is necessary for this rampant growth to take place. Also, heavy soils lead to fruit with inferior flavor.

Water

Lack of water may produce misshapen melons or no fruit at all. Watermelons are made up of a large percentage of H20, as are tomatoes and cucumbers, and need plenty of rain or artificial watering. But hold back on watering once the melons start to ripen to promote greater sweetness.

Flowering

Why are there so many flowers on a melon plant but comparatively few fruits? The male flowers, which usually appear first, will not fruit. Also, each particular plant “knows” just what it can do, and limits its production in accordance with the amount of water, fertilizer, etc., it is receiving. Most watermelon plants will produce three to four good melons. By thinning blooms and small fruits, you can encourage the plant to produce bigger melons if that is important to you. Some gardeners claim that small watermelons taste best and that large ones often fail to ripen completely.

Ripening

Melons do well in high humidity and extreme heat. Heat speeds ripening, so place young fruits on bricks, boards or coffee cans sunk halfway into the ground. This will add heat and speed the fruit’s progress by at least a week. Elevating the melons will also protect them from slugs and from dampness, which may cause rotting.

Seed Saving

On a trip south to see the Smokies, my mother remembers her father slowing down and pulling over at an “ALL THE WATERMELON You CAN EAT FREE!” sign along the road. Indeed, customers were encouraged to gorge themselves on as many watermelon slices as possible (and to add further encouragement, only the juiciest melon “hearts” were offered). The only requirement was that all seeds be spit into a cup, which the farmer kept for the following year’s seed.

Save seed from the biggest and best fruits. Wash, dry carefully on paper towels and save in an airtight container in the refrigerator until next spring. Keeping melon seeds cool and dry is of utmost importance.

Common Problems

Compare watermelon varieties in your seed catalog to discover which are disease and wilt resistant. Other problems your watermelons may encounter are mouse nibbling (keeping the patch as weed free as possible may help), sunburn (draping lightweight sheet material over the fruits protects the skins-many folks do the same for tomatoes in this area) and failure to ripen, due to a lack of hot, sunny weather, which. Unfortunately, you can do nothing about

Is It Ripe?

Determining die exact day that a watermelon is ripe to perfection is difficult. Rich soils delay maturity, as do cool, wet conditions, Also. there are verve few external changes in size or color to reveal the melon’s ripeness. Here are some general tips to help you decide if your melon is ready for picking (and melons actually ripened on the vine are the best!):

•The little “pig tail” curl at the point of attachment turns brown and dries up although in some varieties, it dries up a week before the melon is actually ripe.

•The “ground spot” (where the melon touches the ground) turns a light straw or yellow color (instead of white).

•The melon’s surface takes on a rough, slightly ridged feeling.

•The fruit produces a dull, muffled thudding sound when thumped, rather than a sharp or metallic one. According to Mark Twain, a green melon says “pink” or “pank” when knuckle-thumped, while a ripe one says “punk.” A dull, dead sound may also signal over ripeness.

At Last, the Harvest

Never pull a melon free from its vine. Always cut it off, leaving a short stem. Be careful not to damage leaves or stems while walking among the melons. Nutrients need to reach the fruits through these fragile plant parts, and the leaves are constantly making food for the rapidly developing melons.

Check watermelons for ripeness in the morning before they get warm. Eat the melon as soon as possible but who can keep one around for very long, anyway?

If kept in cold storage, a melon will lose its red color. Kept at room temperature, the color intensifies. Watermelons can be stored for one to two weeks if kept at 40 to 45 degrees.

Recipes

Watermelon lce

1 4- pound wedge of watermelon
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

Cut peeled, seeded melon into bite-size chunks to make six cups. Blend a third of the melon with the sugar, lemon juice and salt until smooth. Pour mixture into a 9″ x 9″ baking pan. Blend remaining melon chunks until smooth; stir into mixture in pan. Freeze until partially frozen, about two hours. Spoon melon mixture into large, chilled bowl. With mixer on medium speed, beat until fluffy but still frozen. Return mixture to pan. Cover and freeze until firm-about one and a half hours.

Watermelon Pickles 2 pounds watermelon rind
1/4 cup granulated pickling salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon broken cinnamon stick 1’l teaspoon cloves lemon, thinly sliced

Trim green and pink parts from rind and cut into one-inch cubes. Measure six cups. Soak overnight in solution of salt and one quart water, or enough to cover. Drain, rinse and cover with cold water. Cook 25 minutes or until just tender.

Combine sugar, vinegar, one cup water and spices. Simmer ten minutes. Strain. Add drained rind and lemon. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until rind is clear.

Fill hot jars with rind and syrup, leaving half-inch head space. Adjust lids, process in boiling-water bath five minutes. Makes four half-pints.

Melon Bowl

1 medium ad watermelon (about 20 lbs.
1 small cantaloupe (about 3 lbs.
2 small honeydew melon (about 4 lbs.
Ginger ale

Cut watermelon lengthwise, removing top third to use another day. Scoop out pulp from remaining melon, cutting into bite-size pieces. Cut scalloped pattern around rim of watermelon. Also, slice a thin piece of rind from bottom of shell so that shell stands level.

Cut other melons into bite-size chunks and place all melon pieces into watermelon shell. Cover and refrigerate.

To serve, spoon melon chunks into bowl and pour V4 cup ginger ale over each serving of fruit. Makes about 10 dessert servings.

Disease Chart

›Anthracnose: The worst disease afflicting melon plants, symptoms include round, gray sunken spots on the fruit. Don’t work in the patch while vines are wilted to avoid spreading the disease. Eliminate weeds and increase air circulation to reduce moisture on leaves and discourage spore germination and infection.

›Wilt: This fusarium fungus causes vines to wilt and brown streaks to form on the stems. The plants eventually turn brown. This disease lives on in the soil for . up to 16 years, so moving your patch to a different area of the garden may be they only “cure.” Destroy every bit of the infected plants, even the roots.

›Downy Mildew: This is first noticed as a powdery film on the plant’s foliage. Rainy weather may exacerbate the problem. Pull out any diseased vines and try to increase air circulation among those remaining.

›Blossom End Rot: This is caused by excessive moisture and high temperature Applying mulch or straw around the vines and fruit may help.

›Pests: Cucumber beetles, which carry bacterial wilt, first attack seedlings as they are pushing out of the ground. Late planting may help you to avoid the worst of the beetle damage. You can also cover young seedlings with glass Tars and later with screen boxes or netting of some kind. The netting can remain in place until plants begin to bloom, then must be removed to allow for pollination.

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We know staying hydrated is vital to a healthy, fully functioning body. After all, our bodies are more than 60% water, which is responsible for transporting oxygen, fat and glucose to our muscles, as well as digesting food and getting rid of waste. Yet drinking the daily recommended amount of water can be a challenge.

Luckily there are fruits and vegetables that supply an ample amount of water, in addition to vitamins and minerals that do more than just keep you hydrated.

Watermelon

Watermelons, as their name suggests, are almost all water, 92% to be exact. This refreshing treat also contains plenty of beta -carotene, lycopene and vitamin C to help maintain eyesight, keep your skin glowing, and boost that immunity.

Feel refreshed and revitalized as you sip on our Watermelon Mint Smoothie!

Strawberries

These tart berries are another fruit that are comprised of 92% water. In addition to their high water content, strawberries also offer an abundance of antioxidants and folate, both of which help maintain low-blood sugar.

Get hydrated and energized with our Strawberry Fields Smoothie.

Cantaloupe

This super fruit is super hydrating! Not only is this melon made up of 90% water, but just a one-cup serving contains as much potassium as one medium banana. Getting an adequate amount of potassium is essential in hydration, especially for athletes or those working up a sweat, as it helps to maintain fluid-balance, muscle function, and bone strength.

Become your coolest self by sipping on our Hydrating Lemon-Lime Cantaloupe Cooler!

Pineapple

This exceptionally juicy fruit made up of 87% water is beyond hydrating as it is packed with bromelain, an enzyme with potent anti-inflammatory, digestion, detoxing, and immunity-boosting benefits.

Taste our Pineapple Punch for a tart Summer treat.

Oranges

This sweet treat makes the perfect after-workout snack. It’s comprised of 87% water, contains more than 100% of your daily recommended value for vitamin C as well as plenty of potassium known to help the body restore its fluid levels.

Get your daily dose of vitamin C with our Orange Beet Mixer Smoothie.

Raspberries

This delicious superfood also contain 87% water and are packed with fiber, keeping your digestion in check and blood-sugar levels low.

Our Raspberry Jalapeño Smoothie will pep you up and keep you hydrated!

Cucumber

Cucumbers boast an extremely high water content, with 96%! With most of its hydration being from the skin, which also contains vitamin C and caffeic acid. These two elements help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling.

Stay as cool as a cucumber with our Cucumber Dill Smoothie.

Iceberg Lettuce

This leafy green adds more than a crunch to your salad, it’s 96% water and is sure to keep you hydrated! Iceberg lettuce is also cholesterol and sodium free!

Celery

This vegetables 95% water content isn’t the only nutrient responsible for its hydrating benefits, just 3 celery stalks provide provide natural salts that help to replenish levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.

Green Peppers

This green veggie may be 92 percent water, but it’s still abundant in numerous vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta carotene, and folic acid.

Spinach

This leafy green is also made up of 92% water, making it especially beneficial in keeping you hydrated. Spinach is also rich in magnesium, potassium, and B-vitamins, all of which are known to increase energy.

Plus, this dark leafy green is easy to sneak in any smoothie! Just try it in our Creamed Spinach Smoothie!

What’s GreenBlender?

GreenBlender sends you everything you need to make hydrating smoothies at home. Learn more >>

Recent studies have found that watermelon seeds are also wonderfully nutritious, especially if they are sprouted and shelled. They are high in protein, magnesium, vitamin B and good fats, according to an analysis by the International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

Here are the nutrition facts for the watermelon, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act:

Nutrition facts

Serving size: 2 cups diced (10 oz / 280 g) Calories: 80 (Calories from Fat 0)

Amount per serving (and %DV*) *Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Total Fat: 0g (0%)

Total Carbohydrate: 21g (7%) Dietary Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugars: 20g

Cholesterol: 0mg (0%) Sodium: 0mg (0%) Potassium: 270mg (8%) Protein: 1g

Vitamin A: (30%) Vitamin C: (25%) Calcium: (2%) Iron: (4%)

Health benefits

Heart health

Watermelon’s high levels of lycopene are very effective at protecting cells from damage and may help lower the risk of heart disease, according to a study at Purdue University. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extracts helped reduce hypertension and lower blood pressure in obese adults.

Watermelon may be especially important for older women. A study published in Menopause found that postmenopausal women, a group known to have increased aortic stiffness, who took watermelon extract for six weeks saw decreased blood pressure and arterial stiffness compared to those who did not take watermelon extract. The authors of the study attributed the benefits to citrulline and arginine.

Arginine can help improve blood flow and may help reduce the accumulation of excess fat.

Anti-inflammatory properties

“The lycopene in watermelon makes it an anti-inflammatory fruit,” Jarzabkowski said. Lycopene is an inhibitor for various inflammatory processes and also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. Additionally, the watermelon contains choline, which helps keep chronic inflammation down, according to a 2006 article published in Shock medical journal.

Reducing inflammation isn’t just good for people suffering from arthritis. “When you’re sick, you have cellular damage, which can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, smoking, pollution, disease, and your body becomes inflamed,” Jarzabkowski said. “It’s called ‘systemic inflammation.'” In this way, anti-inflammatory foods can help with overall immunity and general health.

Hydration

“Watermelons help with overall hydration, and that is a great thing,” said Lemond. “They say we can get 20-30 percent of our fluid needs through our diet alone, and foods like these certainly help.” Additionally, their juice is full of good electrolytes. This can even help prevent heat stroke.

Digestion

The watermelon contains fiber, which encourages a healthy digestive tract and helps keep you regular.

Skin and hair benefits

Vitamin A is stellar for your skin, and just a cup of watermelon contains nearly one-quarter of your recommended daily intake of it. Vitamin A helps keep skin and hair moisturized, and it also encourages healthy growth of new collagen and elastin cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin C is also beneficial in this regard, as it promotes healthy collagen growth.

Muscle soreness & athletic performance

Watermelon-loving athletes are in luck: drinking watermelon juice before an intense workout helps reduce next-day muscle soreness and heart rate, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This can be attributed to watermelon’s amino acids citrulline and arginine, which help improve circulation.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that watermelon’s citrulline may also help improve athletic performance. Study participants who took citrulline supplements saw a boosted performance with more power production in high-intensity exercise like cycling and sprinting.

Cancer prevention

Like other fruits and vegetables, watermelons may be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer through their antioxidant properties. Lycopene in particular has been linked to reducing prostate cancer cell proliferation, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Health risks

If eaten in reasonable amounts, watermelons should produce no serious side effects. If you eat an abundance of the fruit daily, however, you may experience problems from having too much lycopene or potassium.

The consumption of more than 30 mg of lycopene daily could potentially cause nausea, diarrhea, indigestion and bloating, according to the American Cancer Society.

People with serious hyperkalemia, or too much potassium in their blood, should probably not consume more than about one cup of watermelon a day, which has less than 140 mg of potassium. According to the National Institutes of Health, hyperkalemia can result in irregular heartbeats and other cardiovascular problems, as well as reduced muscle control.

Loading up on water-dense foods like watermelon can be tempting for those looking to lose weight because they help you feel full, but Lemond cautions against going to extremes. “Eating more fruits and vegetables of any kind naturally helps decrease overall calories (energy) of the diet,” she said. “We know that people that eat higher quantities of fruits and vegetables typically have healthier body weights However, I do not recommend eating only watermelon … You will lose weight, but that weight will be mostly muscle.”

Jarzabkowski also warned watermelon lovers to be mindful of their sugar intake. “Though watermelon’s sugar is naturally occurring, is still relatively high in sugar.”

“My recommendation is always to vary your selections,” said Lemond. “Watermelon is a great hydrating food, so keep it in along with other plant foods that offer other benefits. Variety is always key.”

Watermelon facts

Some fun facts about watermelons, from the National Watermelon Promotion Board and Science Kids:

The watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.

The watermelon probably originated in the Kalahari Desert in Africa.

Egyptians placed watermelons in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife. The first recorded watermelon harvest is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics from about 5,000 years ago.

Merchants spread the use of watermelons along the Mediterranean Sea. By the 10th century, watermelons had found their way to China, which is now the world’s top producer of watermelons.

The Moors in the 13th century brought watermelons to Europe.

The watermelon likely made its way to the United States with African slaves.

Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

The first cookbook published in the United States in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.

About 200 to 300 varieties are grown in the United States and Mexico, but only about 50 varieties are very popular.

By weight, watermelon is the most consumed melon in the United States, followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.

The watermelon is the official state vegetable of Oklahoma.

All parts of a watermelon can be eaten, even the rind.

Guinness World Records says the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 2005. It weighed 268.8 lbs. (121.93 kg).

The United States ranks fifth in the worldwide production of watermelons. Forty-four states grow watermelons, with Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona leading the country in production.

A seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid, which is created by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds.

Tips For Growing Watermelons In Containers

Growing watermelons in containers is an excellent way for a gardener with limited space to grow these refreshing fruits. Whether you are doing balcony gardening or are simply looking for a better way to use the limited space you have, container watermelons are possible and fun. Understanding how to grow watermelon in containers successfully just requires a little bit of knowledge.

How to Grow Watermelon in Containers

Successfully growing watermelons in pots starts before you even plant your watermelon seed. You need to choose a pot that will be large enough for your container watermelon to thrive. Watermelons grow rapidly and require plenty of water, so it is recommended that you go with a 5-gallon or larger size container. Make sure that the container you will be growing watermelons in has enough drainage holes.

Fill the watermelon container with potting soil or other soilless mix. Do not use dirt from your garden. This will compact quickly in the container and will make growing watermelons in containers difficult.

Next, you need to choose a variety of watermelon that will do well in pots. When planting watermelon in pots, you need to look for a compact variety that grows small fruit. These may include:

  • Moon and Stars watermelon
  • Sugar Baby watermelon
  • Crimson Sweet watermelon
  • Early Moonbeam watermelon
  • Jubilee watermelon
  • Golden Midget watermelon
  • Jade Star watermelon
  • Millennium watermelon
  • Orange Sweet watermelon
  • Solitaire watermelon

Once you have selected the container watermelons you will grow, place the seed into the soil. The seed should be plant 3 times deeper than it is long. Water the seed well. You can also transplant a seedling that has been started indoors into the soil. Whether you are planting seeds or a seedling, make sure that all chances of frost have passed outside.

Caring for Watermelons in a Pot

Once you are done planting your watermelon in pots, you’ll need to provide support for the plant. Most people are growing watermelons in containers because they lack space. Without some kind of support, even watermelons growing in containers can take up an enormous amount of space. Support for your watermelon can come in the form of either a trellis or a teepee. As the vine grows, train it up the support.

If you are growing watermelons in containers in an urban area or a high balcony, you may find that you don’t have enough pollinators to pollinate the watermelons. You can pollinate them by hand and directions on how pollinate melons by hand are here.

Once fruit appears on your container watermelon, you’ll need to provide additional support for the watermelon fruit as well. Use a stretchy, flexible material like a panty hose or a t-shirt to create a hammock under the fruit. Tie each end of the hammock to the watermelon’s main support. As the watermelon fruit grows, the hammock will stretch to accommodate the size of the fruit.

Your container watermelon will need to be watered daily in temperatures under 80 F. (27 C.) and twice daily in temperatures over this. Use a water based fertilizer once a week, or a granulated slow release fertilizer once a month.

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