This will help avoid root damage. Plant seeds one inch deep (four or five seeds per hill). Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Love watermelon but haven’t had any luck growing them in your northern region? Article provided by ViacomCBS property Chowhound.com. When you’re weighing the merits of your melons, also check the rind; you shouldn’t feel much give since the outside of the fruit stays firm even when ripe. Care. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! If you sow directly outdoors, the approximate date to sow for zone 5 is May 10-20. All featured products are curated independently by Chowhound editors. All melons contain high amounts of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps boost your immune system. The University of Illinois Extension recommends leaving 7-10 feet between rows and at least 2-3 feet between transplants within rows. Lumps on the fruit may indicate that it did not receive normal amounts of water or sunshine.⠀⠀ Observe the watermelons with your eyes to look for any yellow-colored spots/areas (these areas indicate ripeness). As mentioned, growing watermelons in zone 5 is a challenge but, with some garden tricks, is possible. If sowing seeds indoors, sow them at the end of April or 2-4 weeks before the transplant date. Watermelon vines require a lot of space to spread out. They begin to ripen in early July, but peak season starts in just a few short weeks so get ready to enjoy! Look for watermelon varieties that ripen in less than 90 days. Consider the following facts about watermelons: The watermelon fruit is about 90 percent water. Check out fun and interesting facts on melons below: Do all these melon facts make you crave this juicy summer fruit? Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to provide the plant with a deep watering of 1-2 inches per week. Free access to digital historic newspapers back to 1831! Illinois River Valley melons begin to ripen in late June or early July, but peak season is mid-August through September. arrival of four cars from Texas and a car from Florida , all in on the same day . More than 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide. You can also subscribe without commenting. Brought to you by Illinois Farm Bureau® in conjunction with Farm Flavor Media/Journal Communications Inc. ©2019 All rights reserved. In fact, farmers in Illinois grow 1,224 acres of watermelons. ... You can either sow the seeds directly outside or inside for later transplant, which will add 2-4 weeks to the growing season. In 2009, Congress declared July National Watermelon Month. In the subtropical zones 9 through 11, plant watermelon as early as March. To grow watermelon in the colder climates of the north: Choose varieties with a smaller number of "days to harvest. Illinois Farm Bureau Partners magazine connects you, our members, with the food you eat, the Illinois farmers who grow it, and the food-related events, destinations, and lifestyles that make our state great. Prior to planting, prepare the bed by amending it with seaweed, compost or rotted manure. Watermelon Season Starts in Denver . Stagger plantings in the long growing season of the southern zones to enjoy watermelon for a longer period. Here are a few of our favorite melon recipes for honeydew, watermelon and cantaloupe. Here’s how to plant and grow watermelons in your garden! Cantaloupe or muskmelon? It also doesn’t readily announce its ripeness; the outside doesn’t turn soft like a peach and it doesn’t emit a sweet scent like a cantaloupe. The whiter this ground spot is, the less time the melon had to ripen on the vine before being picked, so a deeper, more buttery shade suggests a better, sweeter flavor. The creamy yellow patch is known as the field spot and is where the watermelon rested on the ground. Love watermelon but haven’t had any luck growing them in your northern region? No matter how big it is, the watermelon should feel heavier than it looks.⠀⠀ You can also determine its ripeness by tapping under the watermelon. Summer is watermelon season, and just as there’s nothing like biting into a perfectly juicy, sweet slice, there’s no disappointment like finding it tasteless and mushy. In other words, all cantaloupes are muskmelons, but not all muskmelons are cantaloupes. Some gardeners even plant their watermelons directly in their compost piles, a naturally warm arena chock full of nitrogen. Gardeners in colder climates can still have success in growing watermelon vines by starting seeds indoors and choosing short-season varieties. Each harvesting season, more than 7,500 acres of watermelons are grown in Indiana and Illinois. This orange fleshed variety is super fruity and sweet, and has been known to grow in zone 4 with protection! If you get your unripe watermelon home and find out it doesn’t taste like much, you can always try sprinkling it with gin to boost the flavor. Summer is watermelon season, and just as there’s nothing like biting into a perfectly juicy, sweet slice, there’s no disappointment like finding it tasteless and mushy. Look for melons that are very heavy and have a hard rind. Sign up for our newsletter. Required fields are marked *. People use these terms interchangeably, but technically muskmelons encompass more than just the cantaloupe variety of melons. Sources: Illiana Watermelon Association, National Agriculture Statistics Service, Your email address will not be published. Americans eat more watermelon than any other melon variety. That said, when looking for zone 5 watermelons, you’re not focusing on finding cold hardy watermelon plants, but on days to harvest. Juicy, ripe melons are a staple of summer. Watermelons like hot, sunny sites with fertile, well-draining soil. Over 6 percent of all watermelons grown in the U.S. each year are grown in Indiana. You can expect it to be sweeter, with almost floral notes of honey, but you can still use it in all your usual watermelon recipes when you’re tired of eating it as a snack. Denver , Colo ., May 31 . Plant the seeds ½ inch to 1 inch deep in groups of 2-3 seeds set 18-24 inches apart in the row, with rows spaced 5-6 feet apart. Whether you’re craving a pretty pink watermelon or refreshing cantaloupe, Illinois produces both types. How to Pick the Best Watermelon ⠀ ⠀ Here are some tips for success when picking watermelons:⠀⠀ Pick a watermelon with a uniform shape. Farmers in Illinois and Indiana combined grow more than 7,500 acres of watermelons. When you buy something through their retail links, Chowhound may receive a commission. Plant the seeds in peat pots or other biodegradable pots that can be plopped right into the garden soil. Cover the area with plastic tunnels or fabric covers to protect the seedlings from cool temps as well as insects. U.S. fresh market watermelon production totaled $520 million in 2012, followed by $325 million in cantaloupe production and almost $70 million for honeydew melons. You can either sow the seeds directly outside or inside for later transplant, which will add 2-4 weeks to the growing season. Some sources suggest looking for darker green watermelons that aren’t too shiny, or to check the color between the stripes, but looks can sometimes be deceiving. Warmth is the key here. ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. On this website, you'll find Illinois events, attractions and other travel ideas; farmer profiles, agritourism destinations and gardening tips; recipes, local restaurants and more. Illinois Farm Bureau Partners is a magazine for Illinois Farm Bureau members. Transplant the seedlings complete with their biodegradable pot through plastic mulch and into the garden soil. With just a little planning and some extra TLC, growing watermelons for zone 5 melon lovers isn’t just a possibility; it can be a reality. 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If you sow directly outdoors, the approximate date to sow for zone 5 is May 10-20. The truth is, there are really only two or three things you need to look for to find the best watermelon in the bunch, whether you’re at the grocery store or a farm stand.

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