Poor pollination is common among the cucurbit family, which includes: Cucumbers; Squash; Cantaloupe; Watermelon; Many cucurbits have both male and female flowers. You can buy the Sugar Baby watermelon seeds from an online store, a local garden center, or order it from a seed catalog. May 26, 2014 - Growing delicious sugar baby watermelons on a trellis in a very small space. If not, you can use a drill to make some yourself. The pollen from the male flower needs to be moved, … Watermelon fruit stops growing early, here are a few possible reasons: (1) insufficient pollination or failed pollination–encourage bees and other pollinators in your garden by planting bee-attracting plants such as zinnias, lavender, nepeta; hand-pollination is an option–rubbing the male flower against the female flower; (2) insufficient heat–melons low heat; cloudy and cool weather can inhibit growth–wait … If it’s raw and you cut it from the plant, the watermelon will not ripen like some other fruits. This will help keep it fresh for a longer period of time. Make sure they are not in full sunlight or wind. Once the seedlings are hardened, you can transplant them to a pot. With most watermelons, it usually takes 5 weeks from flower to ripe fruit. Make sure to have at least 2-3 stakes on different sides of the tomato cage to give the most stable support to the watermelon plant. Pruning any diseased or slow-growing watermelon will help the plant spend more energy on the healthy, well-developing fruit. What Not to Do When Growing Watermelon. Fill the container with the potting soil till there’s a space of 2 inches left from the rim. Thank you for this article! And if there is a lack of either male or female flowers, the watermelon plant will not develop fruit. To ensure fruits ripen before frost, remove any blossoms that start to develop within 50 days of your area’s average first frost date. Underwatering will not provide sufficient moisture so … Maturity period is 70-90 days meaning about 2.5 to 3 months time to be mature fully. When we started the Sugar Baby watermelon seeds either indoors or in the pot, we planted 2-3 seeds in a single spot. The Sugar Baby watermelon plant is small but it’s a vining plant and you need to provide support to it. You can even choose the Sugar Baby bush variety that has vines that only grow about 4-5 feet in length. Sugar Baby melons typically do not exceed 10 pounds, with flavor red flesh and a light green rind with dark stripes. Drip irrigation is recommended, as Sugar Baby varieties, like all watermelons, are susceptible to a variety of fungal diseases. This plant has vines that only grow about 4-5 feet in length but produce. Pruning the plant will keep it short and suitable for growing in the pot. You cannot harvest the watermelon before it’s ripe because it does not continue growing if you do that. As I’ve previously mentioned, through the many failed attempts I’ve had trying to grow watermelon, I learned a lot of things along the way. Water the soil well so that the roots get enough moisture and adapt to the transplant. Make sure the flowers are open before you can start pollinating them. It’s also good to add an organic fertilizer to the potting soil every few weeks to give the plant the required nutrients. Overwatering will drown the roots, leading to root rot and fungal diseases. This article will help. Water at the vine’s base in the morning, and try to avoid wetting the leaves and avoid overhead watering. The watermelon seeds will germinate after 3 to 10 days when you give them suitable conditions as mentioned above. Sugar Baby watermelon like other varieties needs full sunlight if they are to grow well and develop fruit. It’s inexpensive to grow watermelons from seed and you can try out different companies. This will help get rid of any unwanted pests and diseases that may be present in the pot. Buying Cheap Seeds. I have an “accidental” Sugar Baby watermelon growing in a 9″ x 44″ concrete planter (only 8″ deep). Frost-fighting plan: Even a very light frost (31 to 33ºF) can kill watermelon vines. Disease: The two things to watch out for while growing sugar baby watermelons are cucumber beetles and aphids. And grow just one plant per pot otherwise they will end up competing for nutrients and moisture. China has been cultivating watermelon since the tenth century and Native Americans were growing watermelon be… You can choose a balanced fertilizer that has an N-P-K of 5-5-5 or 10-10-10. The hybrid varieties take 5-6 days while the variety named Sugar Baby takes only 3-4 … The watermelon vines will grow long and you need to support them with a trellis. This portion will turn pale yellow in color when the watermelon is ripe. If you want to start seeds indoors, you need to use seed starting trays. As soon as the last date of frost has passed, you can consider planting the seeds outdoors. You can start the seeds and get the fruit after about 75 days. Another way to figure out whether the watermelon is ripe is to check the tendrils closest to the watermelon. It does not lose moisture fast so the watermelon roots can get enough moisture and not dry out fast. Once you pluck the male flower, remove the petals so only the stamen is available. 3. Gardeners should use at least a 5-gallon container, typically 5 to 15-gallon containers will work best. The trickiest part of growing ‘Sugar Baby’ watermelon is knowing when fruits are ready to pick. If you see that the tendril closest to the fruit has dried out and dead, that’s a sign that the watermelon is ripe enough to harvest. This will help insulate the potting soil from the heat and keep it moist for a longer time. This is done so that we increase the chances of at least one seed germinating. You need to maintain the temperature higher than 80 °F to give the watermelon seeds a good chance of germination. Use frost blankets or cold frames to protect vines and prolong the harvest season. And let the watermelon grow in the sling till it’s ready for harvest. Watering is very important—from planting until fruit begins to form. Make sure the growing watermelon fruits do not touch the ground directly. What are Sugar Baby watermelons and how do you grow them? Since improper planting technique has been ruled out, the culprit for a watermelon plant with no fruit is likely incomplete pollination. These melons may also become infested with striped cucumber beetle which can be controlled through hand picking, rotenone applications, or floating row covers installed at planting. You can spray this fertilizer every week to get the best growth of your Sugar Baby watermelon plants. Put some seed starting mix in the tray. The melon is round with striped skin when immature, changing to a dark greenish-black when ripe. But the Sugar Baby has a decent harvest time. You can make one yourself using a tomato cage and a couple of wooden stakes. Make sure to cut some portion of the stalk along with the watermelon. thanks to a relatively new container-friendly variety called sugar pot watermelon. But this is quite feasible to do compared to some of the larger watermelon varieties. They grow to their full size and ripeness and taste great. As its name implies, Sugar Baby watermelons have a brix measurement of 10.2 and rank as one of the sweetest watermelon cultivars. You may need to water more than once when the temperature is high. Invert the tomato cage and place it in the potting soil. The fertilizer will release slowly into the soil when you water the plants. If you have a long summer in your area, you can plant the Sugar Baby watermelon seeds one week after the last frost date has passed. Watermelon Plant Varieties: Common Types Of Watermelon, Hand Pollinating Melons - How To Hand Pollinate Melons, Diseases Of Pumpkins: Learn About Pumpkin Diseases And Treatments, DIY Garden Gifts: How To Make Gifts From The Garden, DIY Garden Gifts With Herbs: Homemade Gifts From The Garden, Unique Christmas Plants: Choosing Unusual Holiday Season Plants, Sunflower Seed Heads And Kids: How To Use Sunflower Heads To Feed Birds, Hibiscus Container Care: Growing Tropical Hibiscus In Containers, Repotting Christmas Cactus: How And When To Repot Christmas Cactus Plants, Beet Plant Flowering: How To Avoid Bolting In Beetroot, Handmade Ornaments – Holiday Ornaments Crafted From Nature, Garden Sanctuary: Using The Garden To Help Make A Difference, Growing Herbs Is Easy: Making And Gifting Herb Gardens, Pea Patch Volunteering: Community Gardens Keep Giving. This could be seen by looking at the underside of the watermelon that is touching the support or ground. You can also prune any vines that are weak and not bearing any flowers. Only when the flowers are open are they capable of pollination. The best support you can add is a trellis where you can tie the vines and the watermelons. Originating in Africa, watermelon cultivation has a long history across the globe and even in the Americas. This depends on your preference. You do need to provide support to the vines and the fruit. This is crucial so the excess water can drain out and avoid rotting the roots of the plant. It’s not easy to pluck the Sugar Baby watermelon from the vine. Most growers start the seeds indoors about 3 to 4 weeks before their last frost dates because sugar baby melons need a quite long growing period. Sugar Baby watermelon plants require less room than standard watermelon vines, and can be grown in a small sized raised bed: our family planted several plants in a 4’ x 4’ raised planter. They may have reached a height of 2-4 inches when you can do this. If the containers don’t have such holes, you’ll need to drill some yourself. The vermiculite and perlite make the soil permeable which helps it retain moisture while draining the excess water. Tie the top of the inverted cage so it forms the shape of a teepee. There are certain signs that will indicate when the watermelon is ripe enough for you to harvest. You need to add potting soil to the container. It will turn pale yellow in color. They usually have sweet pulped with dark green rinds while Tiger Babies come in golden, once mature in about 75 days. Now that you have picked the right sized container for your Sugar Baby watermelon plant, you need to clean it up before use. You can transplant the seedlings to the pot after you have hardened them for the outdoor conditions. You want to avoid the problem of overwatering or underwatering the plants in the containers. The container will be one of the most important choices that determine how well the Sugar Baby watermelon will grow. It is getting full sun and plenty of water, so the longest vine is just over 3 ft today! Transplanting too early can hurt watermelon plants, even if it doesn't frost, perhaps especially if the plants aren't very old. The seeds of Sugar Baby watermelons contain enough nutrients to feed the plant till the seedlings have germinated. Press the soil near the base of the plant to give it steady support. The Sugar Baby watermelon plant prefers good moisture but does not like soggy roots. If you can get some compost, it’s best to mix it with the potting soil when preparing the pot. Underwatering will not provide sufficient moisture so the watermelon will not grow well or even die. The compost has a rich, organic matter that provides the right nutrients to the watermelon plant. You may need to give nature a hand, by hand pollinating the melons to increase productivity. My suggestion is to soak the pot in a mixture of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water for at least an hour. This early watermelon cultivar was first introduced in 1956 and is an early maturing variety, maturing in 75-80 days. good potting soil instead of using your garden soil. You can do this thinning once the seeds have germinated and at least 3-4 leaves have grown on the seedlings. Watermelons ranging in size from 5 to 15 pounds are considered icebox melons because they fit well inside a refrigerator. Watermelon is in the cucurbit family along with other melons like cantaloupe and honeydew. You’ll need to patrol your watermelon patch regularly looking for cucumber beetles. One advantage is the ability to water and fertilize just the ground where the melons are growing...not the entire south forty! Hand pollinate if necessary. I'm Kevin, your friendly neighborhood gardener. We already used an inverted tomato cage and wooden stakes to create good support for the plant. It’s best that you add such support when preparing the container rather than when the plant has grown. Once the watermelons start to grow on the fruit, you need to add support to them as well. In my experience, the plants grow faster and survive more if you just plant them almost at the same level as they were before. Watermelons are a warm-season plant so the best time to grow them is when the temperature is higher than 70 °F. If the temperature is too cold, the watermelon seeds won’t germinate. If you use a slow-release fertilizer, you can mix it in the potting soil when preparing the pot. Sugar Baby melons, like all watermelons, require warm, dry temperatures to thrive. And then you can add it to the soil every month. As the vines grow, you need to tie them to the support for stability. You can place the tray near a windowsill that receives plenty of sunlight or use indoor lights. Icebox varieties include the Sugar Baby and the Tiger Baby. You can then brush the stamen in the stigma or opening of the female flower to pollinate them. The shorter growing seasons in my particular zone seem to prefer the smaller sized melons in my personal experience with them. You can then wash the container well with water and dry it out in the sunlight before use. This helps lower the chances of the plant getting infected by a fungal or bacterial disease. I like to use a plastic pot because it is durable and inexpensive. You can grow this watermelon in your container garden whether it’s outdoors or in the apartment balcony. The compost provides nutrients, microorganisms, and texture to the soil. What does “brix” measurement mean? When you buy the seedlings from a garden center or nursery, you won’t have to worry about this. These are the short, curly, stem-like vines you find on the plant. You want to avoid the problem of overwatering or underwatering the plants in the containers. If the tip of your finger is not moist, you need to water the potting soil. They have either a dark green with slight dark veins or medium green with dark veined rind. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. This is known as thinning the seedlings. After a week, your seedlings will be ready for the transplant. The Sugar Baby watermelon may contain 96% or higher water content which means you need to provide lots of water as the fruit is growing. It’s good to put some mulch like grass clippings, hay, wood chips, or dried leaves in the pot. Both are lethal to the plant and impact the sweetness of the melons. Water the potting soil slowly and thoroughly so the water can reach the lower levels of the container. You can stick your finger about 2-4 inches in the soil and check the moisture. Always use good potting soil instead of using your garden soil. 'Sugar Baby' watermelon requires 60 to 90 warm days to produce ripe 10-pound melons. These melons need rich, well-draining soil, amended with compost and composted manure. “Both varieties have been replaced by smaller watermelons. Plants grow 8 t… That’s why I decided to research growing one using the Sugar Baby variety. You can also check the tendrils closest to the fruit as they will turn brown and dry out. Lastly, these melons, like all melons, are pollinated by bees. I would suggest watering the plant every day because this is a very thirsty plant. But if more than one seeds germinate, you need to keep one and remove the unwanted seedlings. A sugar baby watermelon is a delicious summer treat, but you need to harvest it at the correct time. You can use a watering-can for watering your watermelon plants. Pruning the vines encourages the watermelon plant to focus more energy on growing flowers and fruit. The other option is to gently use your paintbrush to collect pollen from the stamen of the male flower. N D Ghule, assistant secretary, APMC explained that varieties like ‘sugar baby’ and ‘naamdhari’ have either stopped coming into the markets or are available in a limited quantity. Simply dab the male flowers gently with a small paintbrush or cotton swab and transfer the pollen to the female blooms. Grow seedlings at 75°F (24°C). The recommended sowing density is three seeds in each pot. You need a container that is at least 5-10 gallons when growing this variety. They weigh in at between 8 to 10 pounds (4-5 k.) and are 7-8 inches (18-20 c.) across. The variety is Bush Sugar Baby, a very compact plant as the vines only grow 3 to 4 feet in length. The easiest sign is to check the location of the watermelon where it touches the ground or support. Gently squeeze the tray till the soil ball gets loose. What are Sugar Baby watermelons and how do you grow them? This will prevent the soil from spilling out when watering. Watermelon is one of my favorite fruits and I was curious if it’s possible to grow them in a pot. Keep soil moist, but not waterlogged. You can either pluck the male flower and pollinate the female flower. It also depends on the length of your growing season. It is good to check the soil in the pot once in the morning and once in the evening. If you see any diseased or dead leaves, vines, or fruit, you can prune them. The good thing is you have both male and female flowers growing on the plant. How to Get Watermelon to Fruit. A single Sugar Baby watermelon plant will only grow a couple of watermelons. So you don’t need to worry about fertilizing the potting soil for the 2 weeks of germination. Then use the paintbrush to apply the pollen on the stigma of the female flower. This makes it well-suited to grow in a container without worrying about the plant not growing well or not producing fruit. They do best in Mediterranean climates where the vines spread out 12 feet (4 m.) or longer, with each plant producing two or three melons. The flesh is as mentioned, sweet, red, firm, and crisp with mottled with very few small, tan-black seeds. About Sugar Pot Watermelon Sugar pot watermelon vines stay very compact, reaching just 18 to 20 inches in length, but the fruits it produces are a decidedly hearty 8 to 10 pounds each. So you won’t need to water the plant as often. WATERMELON Watermelon is a native crop of Africa that grows well in the warm dry days of Kansas summers. The small size of the fruits, and relatively short time to harvest, make Sugar Baby on of the easier varieties to cultivate. Then plant 2-3 Sugar Baby watermelon seeds 1/4th inch into the mix. The best way to prune the watermelon plant is too observe it every day. Or you can use a paintbrush to collect the pollen and spread them in the female flower. Welcome to my website where I write about growing your own organic food in a limited space. This helps prevent issues that may occur due to excess clay or sand in the garden soil. If you have a short growing season or just want to avoid the effort of starting seeds, you can buy seedlings from a local garden center or nursery. You'll find useful information here whether you're growing vegetables in an apartment, patio, or a raised bed. I understand that the seedless kind are trickier, I'll need a pollinator and I'll probably have to start them indoors, which is never a problem. This means it contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for your plants. Sugar Baby watermelon care requires consistent irrigation. You need to provide frequent watering and fertilizer so that the plant can grow well. But if there is a lack of bees in your area or you’re growing the watermelon in an apartment balcony, you need to pollinate the flowers yourself. The Sugar Baby is a variety of watermelon that has smaller vines and fruit compared to some of the other varieties. This year I am growing watermelon for the first time, specifically Seedless Sugar Baby watermelons. You can start the seeds indoors or you can directly sow the seeds in the pot outdoors. Once the seedlings are hardened, you can transplant them to a container. Commercial watermelon growers value melons high in sugar and the name for this sweetness is called “brix” and can be scientifically measured. Citrullus lanatus, or Sugar Baby watermelon, is an incredibly productive grower as well. You also need to give good support to the watermelons so they don’t break from the vine. But before you do that you need to harden the seedlings. Once the harvest dates come close, you can check the Sugar Baby watermelon for signs that it’s ready. It grows small sized fruits which are very healthy and tasty , and the seeds from existing plants can be used to regrow another sugar baby watermelon. This year I decided to grow a watermelon in a container. Winter and summer squashes, gourds, pumpkins, and of course cucumbers are also members of the cucurbit family. Thankfully, growing watermelons in containers is now possible (and super-fun!) Be careful not to dislodge the seeds from their location while watering. While melon plants are growing, blooming, and setting fruit, they need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Sugar baby watermelon price Varieties To determine when to pick your sugar baby watermelons, you need to look at all the signs. Plant them in an area with at least eight hours of sun exposure per day and account for at least 60 square feet of space per plant. If your region has a long growing season, you don’t need to worry much about the weather. You need to use a pair of pruners to cut them off the vine. This also means that the watermelon plant and the potting soil will dry out faster and you need to give the plant plenty of water. Till to a depth … The female flowers of the Sugar Baby watermelon plant need to get pollinated so they can develop fruit. You can make your own potting soil using 1 part compost, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part perlite. This will still give you a good harvest of watermelons even with the compact size. You can use a pair of pruners to cut off the part of the plant. You may also find that the watermelon plant may continue to grow more fruit or just die after a single harvest. If your region has a short growing season, it’s best to start seeds indoors. Each vine will be about 3 ½ feet long, and are easy to grow in nearly any sized garden. The weigh between 5-15 pounds, and can barely feed a small family. Sugar Baby melons are round “picnic” or “icebox” watermelons perfect for small families and as the name suggests, small enough to fit into the icebox. The plant grows best in deep sandy soils; however, small icebox-type watermelons can be grown on upland shallow soils. The watermelon even if it’s the Sugar Baby variety is a plant that has plenty of vines and heavy fruits. If you cut it open, you can store it in a refrigerator so it lasts for a few days. For those who do not have a long growing season, I’d suggest trying shorter-season varieties such as ‘Sugar Baby’ or ‘Northern Sweet’ and/or applying black plastic as a mulch to heat up the soil and extend the season slightly. Till an area of your garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. You can use a heating mat underneath the trays to create such an environment. But if you have a short growing season, it’s best to either start the seeds indoors or buy the seedlings from a local garden center. Their basic characteristics and habit of growth include: 1. There are several reasons pruning your watermelon plants can help it. But once the seeds have germinated or you’re transplanting the seedlings to a container, it’s good to use fertilizer. So cover the bottom of the pot with a rag or newspaper. When the weather is frost-free, warm, and settled, transplant 2–3' apart in rows 6–8' apart, or thin to 1 plant/pot or cell with scissors and transplant 18" apart. This post will help you start growing them from seed till the time you can harvest the watermelons. If you find them, get rid of them using a bucket of water with a little detergent. Make a hole in the center of the potting soil in the pot and place the seedling in it. Sign up for our newsletter. The material of the pot does not matter and you can use plastic, terracotta, ceramic, or metal as per your liking. You need to wait for the right time as shown by the fruit that it’s ready. Tie the material to the support structure so it can form a sling. You could even use a drip irrigation system if you have several plants in your container garden. Watering. Once the plants have matured to about 4 weeks, you can add an organic liquid fertilizer to the soil and foliage. You need to spend your efforts on choosing the healthiest plant you can find at the garden center. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As your watermelon plant grows, you should start to see flowers bloom … The inner flesh is sweet and red with dark brown seeds. If the plants are planted outdoors, the pollinators like bees can work on getting the pollen from the male to the female flowers. The plants have both yellow male and female flowers. Icebox Watermelon: Icebox melons are than their counterparts. The only situation where you may use garden soil is if you have created a good, fertile soil with the addition of compost in your garden. You also need to provide plenty of light for the seedlings to germinate. Also, don't transplant too deeply. A lot of the perceived complication in growing watermelon comes down to their size. The plants have both yellow male and female flowers. Whatever container you pick, make sure it has plenty of drainage holes at the bottom to remove the excess water. If you have a really small space to grow the watermelons, you even have the option to pick the Sugar Baby bush variety. Make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy otherwise the seeds will rot. You can then transplant the seedlings outdoors when the weather has warmed up enough. Hi. If you harvest too soon, it won't be as sweet as you want, but wait too long and it will become rotten. Most people start this melon via seed indoors at least six to eight weeks before outdoor planting time. ‘Sugar Baby’ watermelons fall into the category of “icebox” due to their petite size. 2. While you can use terracotta, I don’t prefer it because the material is porous and tends to lose moisture fast. You can use a spray to water the potting soil and keep the seeds moist. In this case, a little specialized Sugar Baby watermelon care is in order. Growing sugar baby watermelon in containers requires a soil that is rich in nutrients, a container with good drainage, proper sunlight, and consistent water. I would recommend using a pot that is 24 inches deep and 16 inches wide to grow the Sugar Baby watermelon plant. The fruit also turns dark green in color with light green stripes. Aphids and nematodes, as well as diseases such as anthracnose, gummy stem blight and powdery mildew may all afflict the Sugar Baby watermelon crop. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. You need to harvest the watermelon at the right time. 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