Don’t limit your garden obelisks to supporting just flowering vines. Put them to use in your vegetable garden, supporting any of a number of fruiting vines that are grown in home vegetable gardens.
Single serving size watermelons are ideal for vertical growing, whether on decorative obelisks, trellises, arbors or on more functional and utilitarian vegetable garden support structures.
A hot-weather-loving crop that is native to Africa, watermelons (Citrullus spp.) need long, hot summers to develop their sugars and characteristic sweetness. Get a jump on the season, especially in colder northern areas by starting seeds of watermelon indoors.
If you’re growing seedless watermelons, you must plant a regular seeded watermelon variety alongside them to pollinate the seedless variety, otherwise they will not produce any fruit. Plant a seeded variety that looks vastly different from your seedless variety for easier identification.
Here is planting information to guide you as you plant your watermelon seeds or transplants:
Start Seeds Indoors
Start watermelon seeds indoors about 3 weeks before frost-free weather in your area. Plant 2 to 3 seeds in 2 inch peat pots filled with a loose, friable seed starting mixture. Thin to the strongest plant for single transplants or leave the strongest two for transplant “pairs.” Grow under artificial lights at temperatures between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Begin to harden off the seedlings on the date of your average last spring frost. Put them outdoors in the shade for a day or two and bring them indoors at night. Then begin moving them into the sun for a longer period each day until they are in the sun all day long. Bring them indoors at night if temperatures threaten to dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant in garden about 7 to 10 days after your last spring frost.
Install your decorative garden structure before planting seeds or transplants of watermelons so you do not disturb the tiny seedlings.
Direct Seed in Garden
Plant watermelon seeds in the garden after the date of your average last spring frost. Sow the seeds in hills spaced about 4 feet apart in all directions. When the seedlings are about 6 inches high and well established, thin to the strongest three plants in each hill.
Plant Transplants in Garden
Watermelon transplants can be set singly about 2 to 3 feet apart in all directions, or in pairs, with the pairs set about 4 to 5 feet apart in all directions. Warm the soil by covering it with black plastic two to three weeks prior to your last spring frost. Cut “X’s” into the black plastic and plant the plants through the resulting openings. Water the watermelon transplants with an all purpose water-soluble fertilizer as you plant them in the garden.