By: Teo Spengler
All cold, ripe watermelons have fans on hot afternoons, but some types of melons are particularly delicious. Many put Tiger Baby watermelons in that category, with their super-sweet, bright red meat. If you are interested in growing Tiger Baby melons, read on.
About Tiger Baby Melon Vines
If you are wondering why they call this melon ‘Tiger Baby,’ just take a look at its outside. The peel is a dark gray-green and covered with rich green stripes. The pattern resembles the stripes of a young tiger. The meat of the melon is thick, bright red and deliciously sweet.
The melons that grow on Tiger Baby vines are round, growing to 1.45 feet (45 cm.) in diameter. They are a very early cultivar with great potential.
Growing Tiger Baby Melons
If you want to start growing Tiger Baby melons, you will do best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. The Tiger Baby melon vines are tender and cannot tolerate a freeze, so don’t plant them too early.
When you start growing these melons, check the acidity of your soil. The plants prefer a pH between slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.
Sow the seeds after all chance of frost is passed. Plant the seeds at a depth of about one-third of an inch (1 cm.) and about 8 feet (2.5 m.) apart to allow the melon vines enough room to develop. During germination, the soil temperature should be above 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees C.).
Tiger Baby Watermelon Care
Plant Tiger Baby melon vines in a full sun location. This will help the plant flower and fruit most efficiently. The blossoms are not only attractive, but they also attract bees, birds and butterflies.
Tiger Baby watermelon care includes regular irrigation. Try to keep to a watering schedule and don’t overwater. The melons require about 80 growing days before they are ripe.
Fortunately, Tiger Baby watermelons are resistant to both anthracnose and fusarium. These two diseases prove troublesome for many melons.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Watermelons
How to Grow Watermelons
- Brilliantly colored and dripping with sweet juice, a perfectly ripe watermelon is a refreshing sumer treat.
A perfectly ripe melon is sweet and juicy.
On a hot summer afternoon, we didn’t need much more than the shade of a mimosa tree and a watermelon to stay cool. My grandfather would split one open, spear the flesh with his fingers, and pull out a chunk. We ate it with our hands and weren’t afraid to make a mess. Watermelon and I were a love match made in heaven—literally it turns out. Little did I know then that I would grow up to marry a watermelon farmer whose family has grown the fruits for the past 90 years.
|Juicy, ripe watermelon is a summer treat.|
Though it would be easy enough to bring home watermelons from the field, we enjoy growing them in the garden beside the house. Breeding has reduced watermelons’ demand for luxury berths in the garden. As you will see, they can even be trellised. When you pick and eat a perfectly ripe watermelon from your own garden, you will understand the meaning of home-grown fun.
Finding time and space
No getting around it, the 25-lb. behemoths such as ‘Crimson Sweet’, a round, red-fleshed melon with dark green stripes, and ‘Royal Majesty’, also red-fleshed but oblong, require 6 ft. by 4 ft. garden plots for each plant.
On the other hand, icebox watermelons such as ‘Sugar Baby’, a round, red-fleshed fruit with a very dark green skin, and ‘Yellow Doll’, with its namesake flesh and light green skin, are perfectly suited for small gardens. They’ll do fine with 2 ft. by 4 ft. spaces per plant and turn out fruits of 5 lb. to 18 lb.
You can tighten the quarters a bit more with a bush type watermelon, such as ‘Garden Baby’. These compact vines require just a 2 ft. by 2 ft. spot and can even be grown in a large container on a patio.
Although a warm-climate crop, watermelons can be grown in northern areas if you have the right variety. Icebox types like ‘Sugar Baby’, ‘Yellow Doll’, ‘Tiger Baby’, and ‘Garden Baby’ mature in 75 to 85 days, which should be enough time for a bountiful harvest. The larger watermelons typically take 85 to 95 days to mature. On the Delmarva peninsula, we begin picking watermelons around July 4 and continue through early to mid-September, harvesting two or three fruits per plant. But it won’t pay to rush watermelon seed into the ground when it’s cool. The plants will just idle until warm weather arrives.
Get fruit faster with transplants
Transplants are great because the plants will bear watermelons about a week sooner than their direct-seeded counterparts. Start seeds four weeks before you plan to plant in the garden. Many types of containers work, as long as they have good drainage. Those that are 2 in. across are ideal and produce well-rooted seedlings that will take off after transplanting.
|Tips for growing watermelon |
• Watermelons grow best in well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
• Form planting mounds about 3 in. tall and 12 in. to 18 in. wide to improve drainage.
• To direct seed, plant two seeds 1 in. deep in each mound and thin to one plant after they have at least two leaves.
• Improve growth by controlling weeds with cultivation, which also helps aerate roots.
Watermelon seed germinates well at temperatures of 70˚ to 95˚F and takes four to six days to emerge. Harden off transplants by reducing the frequency of watering to slow growth, and move the plants to an area with cooler temperatures for about a week. Transplants ready for the garden will be 4 in. to 5 in. tall, with two or three true leaves. Set them out in well-drained soil. Watermelon plants don’t like “wet feet” and are great candidates for raised beds.
Seedless fruits take special effort. Seedless watermelons, which, despite the name, do contain soft, white seeds, don’t produce their own pollen. They require the company of a pollenizer, which can be any seeded variety. Every third plant in a row of seedless watermelons should be a seeded variety. Choose a pollenizer with different surface markings so it’s easier to tell at picking time which have seeds and which do not.
With seedless varieties, I especially prefer transplants. The seeds are expensive, 15 cents to 17 cents each, and they are fussy about germinating. The seed coat tends to adhere to the cotyledons and needs to be removed so growth isn’t hindered. Whatever extra work is involved, though, is worth it to me because I love the taste of these melons and I don’t have to pick out the seeds for my children.
Proper nutrition depends on watering
Otis S. Twilley Seed Company
121 Gary Road
Hodges, SC 29653
Watermelons need steady watering throughout the season, at least 1 in. per week. Blossom-end rot, caused by a calcium deficiency during fruit development, can be a problem. Maintaining the proper soil moisture makes calcium available when it’s needed.
Watermelons are heavy feeders and may need a boost for good growth if you don’t have rich soil. Laying down 3 lb. of 10-10-10 fertilizer or the organic equivalent per 100 sq. ft. just prior to planting would not be out of line. A little side dressing when the vines begin to run and a little more after the first fruit is harvested may be in order as well.
Even heavyweights face attacks. The best defense against watermelon woes, such as gummy stem blight, is planting disease-resistant varieties, rotating crops, and spacing plants to permit good air circulation.
Don’t mistake a yellow patch on the top of the melon for disease. It’s sunburn, and if you see it, just cover the fruit with a basket or cloth.
As for insects, keep an eye out for cucumber beetles. They do the most damage early in the season when plants are young and susceptible.
Pull watermelons out of thin air
If you’re wondering what you’d have to push out of your garden to make room for watermelons, don’t despair. All you need to do is train your watermelons to climb. As the vines, which should be about two feet apart, begin to run, send them up a sturdy trellis. You will need to tie the runners to the trellis, since watermelons are not natural climbers.
|Cllimbing is learned behavior. Watermelons don’t climb by habit, but once shown the way they can rise with the best.||Watermelons rest easy in hammocks. Swelling fruits will definitely need support on the trellis, and an old T-shirt makes a perfect sling.|
Once the plants set fruit, support the burgeoning melons with slings, which can be made with cheesecloth, nylon stockings, or old T-shirts. If the sling completely covers the fruit, it provides protection from insects. In addition to saving space, trellising improves air circulation and helps prevent disease.
Of course, trellising requires more work than just letting the vines run over the ground. And the flowers of trellised plants are more prone to drop in a stiff wind before the fruit sets. But if you’re up for a challenge, or stymied over how to upstage the neighbors’ tomatoes, harvesting a trellised watermelon may be just the trick.
How to tell when they’re ready
Although determining the optimum maturity of a watermelon can be difficult, the plant provides clues. First, inspect the curly tendril near where the watermelon attaches at the stem. It should be dead or brown.
Video: How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon
Second, turn the melon on its side and inspect the belly. The underside of the watermelon should be creamy-white for seeded varieties and golden yellow for seedless varieties.
Third, thump. A ripe melon should deliver a deep, low-pitched sound. This has always been a popular way to detect ripeness, but I have found it takes a lot of experience to truly tell the right sound.
And finally, if you’ll notice, watermelons have a shiny, bright green color on the outside as they grow. When the watermelon matures, this coloring will dull. This method of determining ripeness also takes practice, and it amazes me to watch my father-in-law harvest watermelons. He can stand at a distance and tell you if the watermelon is ripe or not. He teases me because, although I have had quite a bit of experience harvesting, I still check for the brown tendril and the color of the belly to be sure it’s ready.
Now that you’ve grown them, try them in soup, smoothies, relish and salad.
|Strawberry Watermelon Soup |
(recipe by Ken Haedrich)
|Watermelon Smoothie with Cardamom |
(recipe by Didi Emmons)
|Curried Watermelon-Rind Relish |
(recipe by Didi Emmons)
|Watermelon Salad with Habañero and Basil |
(recipe by Didi Emmons)
by Tracy Wootten
from issue #16
How to Grow Watermelon from Seed
|Botanical Name||Citrullus lanatus|
|Time to Plant||Until frost passed|
|Soil Condition||Fertile and well-drained|
|Soil PH||6 to 6.8|
|Sun Exposure||Direct sunlight|
|Temperature||70 degrees on seeds planting|
|Water Supply||1 to 2 inches of water/week|
|Organic Fertilizers||Add compost|
|Compound Fertilizers||If required|
|Used In||Raw eating, juice & cake|
Watermelon share the same family with cucumbers, melons and pumpkin which is known as cucubitaceae. In this guide you will learn brief and compendious facts about growing watermelon. What are the fundamental requirements for growing watermelon? When to plant watermelon? How to grow watermelon or to plant watermelon seeds? How watermelon plants care take place? Whole mechanism of when and how to harvest watermelon?
Watermelon is one of the most scrumptious and refreshing palatable fruit. Watermelon is served everywhere either in backyard parties or picnics. Do you know your most favorite warm weather fruit is packed with healthy benefits? Let’s now take a bird eye view on several advantage of this nature’s gift of mankind.
Benefits of watermelon
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics of 2016, cause of 31% of all global deaths is just because of cardiovascular diseases (a heart disease). Divine made the watermelon to the remedy of this atrocious disease. When you consume watermelon, your kidneys convert watermelon into an amino acid known as L-citrulline which take part an active role to fight against diabetes. Watermelon diminishes the severity and frequency of asthma attack. Good news for all those gents who have hair losing problem, watermelon keep your hair strong and repair the skin as well.
Now you are familiar with the advantages of planting watermelon. If you want to have your own watermelon plant into your garden then we are expressing complete details of planting watermelon for you. You will learn how to grow watermelon?
Types of watermelon
There are various varieties of watermelon that you would love to grow into your garden. All types of watermelon are thirst quenching and mouth-watering having sugary flesh covered by solid rind. Size varies among watermelon from little small pounders to a giants 80 plus pounds. Watermelon comes into market in 4 basic types.
Firstly, seedless watermelons contains minute underdeveloped seeds. Queen of heart and Trio are the example of seedless watermelon. Secondly, picnic watermelons are traditional round melons having 16 to 45 pounds weight, and sweet red flesh covered by dark green rind. Charleston gray and jubilee are the example of picnic watermelon. Thirdly, icebox watermelons are tiny melons bred for just one person or a small family. Sugar baby and tiger baby are the example of icebox watermelon. Lastly, yellow/ orange watermelons have yellow or orange flesh usually covered in round rind. Desert king and yellow baby are the example of this category. Select any type that suit you most for growing watermelon.
Requirements for growing watermelon
To acquire best production, you must learn about the appropriate requirements for planting watermelon. If you grow watermelon in the season which meet the best requirements needed for growing watermelon then your yield will be perfect.
First you should decide either you want to grow watermelon by seeds or transplant it by utilizing watermelon sprout. Plant watermelon seeds where temperature should be over 70 degrees. Grow watermelon on the place where it can directly take sun light. It requires at least 6 hours of sun every day. You should allot 4 by 6 foot plot to every watermelon plant and you can reduce it if you are planting mini-watermelon plants.
Watermelons love loamy, well-drained and fertile soil. A way that is use to know about well-drained soil is puddles. If you see puddles after heavy rain fall, its mean your soil is not well-drained. Add compost into the soil to further enrich it. Watermelons grow ideally on the soil with pH 6 to 6.8.
When to plant watermelon
If the climate is warmer then planting watermelon outdoor is much better for mature growth. However, you should wait until soil temperature raised up to 70 degree at least. By doing so, it will improve germination process. Vines of watermelon are really tender. So wait to transplant until frost passed. But it’s much better to wait further two weeks for better germination. For cooler region, sow seeds indoors almost one month before transplanting them outdoor.
How to grow watermelon
Till this time, you have learnt numerous advantages of this beneficial plant and several varieties in watermelon. After having all this useful knowledge, let’s move toward one of the main point that how to grow watermelon? You can grow watermelon by seed as well so you will learn how to plant watermelon seeds as well?
- Take watermelon seeds or watermelon sprout from nurseries easily approachable for you.
- Prepare your soil such as that soil should be loamy, fertile and well-drained.
- Add compost into the soil for further improvement of the soil.
- Try to manage pH from 6 to 6.8.
- Try to choose that place where they can hold sun light up to 6 hours.
- During transplantation of watermelon sprout, grow them on the hill (raised row).
- If you are planting watermelons on the 5 foot wide hills then keep them apart at least 2 foot.
- If you are growing watermelons in rows, then keep them apart 6 by 6 from each other.
- Keep the soil moist but try to avoid waterlogged.
- Watering is very important as name of watermelon speaking loudly. Keep watering regularly from planting to harvesting watermelon.
- Water melon require 1 to 2 inches of water per week.
- Normal type of watermelon will take at least 75 days for mature growth.
Watermelon plants care
Care is very necessary part after growing watermelon. If you don’t care, you will not have healthy and mature watermelons. Take the following steps for caring:
- When fertilizing, make sure to provide more nitrogen than potassium and phosphorus till flowering start. When flowering start reduce the nitrogen.
- Be kind to bees, these will help to improve pollination.
- Try to protect them from rotting by just placing straws between watermelon and soil.
When to harvest watermelon
After picking, these will not be sweeten. So the time of harvesting watermelon is very important. After complete growth, these take over two weeks for ripening. You can also check the ripening time by just thumbing on it, if sound is hollow, its mean watermelon is ripened. Don’t let them uncut for even 10 days after ripening.
How to harvest watermelons
It’s time to harvest watermelon. Take a sharp knife and cut it close to the fruit. Never try to pull watermelon for cutting. It will break vines. You can store watermelon for few days.
A plant that shouldn't be planted next to a watermelon vine is, well, another watermelon vine. At least, they shouldn't be placed directly next to each other. Watermelon vines tend to spread out 3 to 4 feet in all directions, so they should be planted about 6 to 10 feet apart to give the vines plenty of room to grow. Overlapping vines can lead to yellow and curling leaves as some get hidden from the sun's light by leaves from another plant. Keep the plants close enough to allow for cross-pollination without having them so close that they compete for moisture, nutrients and space.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.