Do I have to mound watermelon?

Answered by Jason Smith

It is generally recommended to mound watermelon plants for optimal growth and productivity. Mounding is a gardening technique that involves creating raised hills or mounds of soil for planting. This method is particularly beneficial for watermelons as it helps with soil drainage, heat absorption, and root development.

When watermelons are planted in mounds, excess water can easily drain away, preventing waterlogging and root rot. This is important because watermelons prefer well-drained soil and can be susceptible to fungal diseases if their roots are constantly sitting in water. By elevating the planting area, mounding ensures that watermelons have adequate drainage, reducing the risk of root-related issues.

In addition, mounding provides better heat absorption for watermelon plants. Watermelons thrive in warm soil conditions, and by creating mounds, the soil is raised and exposed to more sunlight, allowing it to warm up faster. This increased warmth promotes faster germination of the seeds and faster growth of the plants. Watermelons are also known for their long growing season, and the warmth provided by mounding can help extend the growing season in cooler climates.

Moreover, mounding encourages root development in watermelon plants. By planting watermelons in mounds, the roots are forced to grow deeper and spread out. This allows the plants to access more nutrients and water from the soil, resulting in healthier and more vigorous growth. Well-developed roots also provide better stability and support for the watermelon vines, especially as they start to bear the weight of the growing fruits.

To mound watermelons, start by preparing the soil in your garden bed. Remove any weeds or grass and loosen the soil to a depth of about 8-12 inches. Then, create mounds by piling up soil in a circular shape, with a diameter of about 2-3 feet. The height of the mound can vary, but a height of around 6-8 inches is typically sufficient.

Once the mounds are prepared, sow the watermelon seeds about 1 inch deep in the center of each mound. It is recommended to plant six to eight seeds per mound, as this increases the chances of successful germination and ensures a good yield. Space the mounds about 4 feet apart to allow the watermelon vines to spread out as they grow.

After planting, water the mounds thoroughly to ensure good seed-to-soil contact and proper moisture for germination. As the watermelon plants start to grow, continue to water them regularly, providing about 1-2 inches of water per week. Mulching around the plants can also help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.

While it is not mandatory to mound watermelon plants, it is highly beneficial for their overall growth and productivity. Mounding promotes proper drainage, enhances heat absorption, and encourages root development. By following the recommended steps for mounding and caring for watermelon plants, you can increase your chances of a successful harvest and enjoy delicious, homegrown watermelons.