Watermelon is a joyful, quintessential sign of summer and a fun plant to grow from seed, but it begs the age-old question: is it a fruit or a vegetable?
Our featured watermelon variety: Crimson Sweet Seed
Is Watermelon a Fruit or a Vegetable?
The answer to the question depends on whom you ask. Botany experts will tell you that because a watermelon develops from the ovary of a flowering plant and contains seeds, it is the very definition of a fruit. Remember, by the way, that’s the same reason a tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable.
But others—mostly chefs and the state of Oklahoma (which declared it its official vegetable in 2007)—stand firm that watermelon is a vegetable. Their argument is that since watermelon is harvested from the field in a similar fashion to squash and pumpkin, that makes it a vegetable. Dubious? So are we. But no matter; watermelon is delicious no matter how it’s classified. Oh, and one last tidbit regarding the fruit-vegetable debate: apparently a fruit can be a vegetable but a vegetable can’t be a fruit. Go figure.
Interesting Facts About Watermelon Plants
Watermelon Gardening Tips
Easy-Moderate IF your growing season is warm and long, and you have space.
Watermelon are heavy drinkers and feeders. Regular watering is key.
Well-drained soil enriched with compost. The soil temperature must be at least 70°F. The warmer it is, the faster watermelon seeds will germinate. At 70° F, seeds will germinate in 10 days; at 90°, it may only take 3.
Watermelons like it hot!
Start watermelon seeds indoors about 4 weeks before your last anticipated spring frost; transplant seedlings outdoors once it’s consistently warm outside. Or, if your growing season is long enough, direct sow seeds in the outdoor garden two weeks after the last frost.
Sow seeds 1 inch deep. Space according to seed packet instructions.
Seeding to maturity generally takes at least 80 days.
Add rich compost or organic fertilizer at planting time and again every six weeks.
Add mulch as the seedlings develop to retain moisture and warmth and discourage weeds.
Young watermelon plants are susceptible to cucumber beetles. You can protect them with row covers as long as you remove them to allow for pollination when flowers appear.
Good companion plants are marigolds and nasturtiums as they both deter the potentially-problematic cucumber beetle.
Yes? If you have a large enough container (at least 5 gallons) and enough space to accommodate the watermelon’s spreading habit.
You can harvest watermelon when it appears to have stopped growing (after 80 days) or its underside starts to yellow and/or the stem starts to shrivel. It will last about 3-4 weeks after being cut from the vine.
- Watermelon is a joyful, quintessential sign of summer and a fun plant to grow from seed!
- It’s easy to grow if you have long, hot summers where you live.
- Watermelon is slow-growing, requiring at least 80 days to reach maturity.
- Watermelon plants spread on vines and need a lot of room to grow.
- Did you know that some consider watermelon to be a vegetable?
- Watermelon is made up of over 90% water.
- Though it’s mostly water, it packs some serious nutrients including vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids.
Our Watermelon Varieties
- 9 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (peel first, see below)
- 2 1/2 cups chopped green bell peppers
- 2 1/2 cups chopped white onion
- 4 medium jalapeños, chopped (substitute 2 of the jalapeños for 2 cayenne peppers for extra hot salsa)
- 8 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 teaspoons canning salt
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
- Remove tomato skins. Make an “X” in the bottom of the tomatoes, then place in boiling water for 60 seconds. Then, remove the tomatoes from the water and place directly into an ice bath. The skins should slip right off.
- Make the salsa. Place all of the ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until thickened and cooked.
- Prepare cans to be sealed. Transfer the cooked salsa into clean, sterile jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a funnel for this. Wipe rims of jars and, then place lids on top.
- Process with a water bath. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Your saucepan needs to be tall enough to have the water cover the jars by 2 inches.