Watermelon – Sugar Baby – Citrullus lanatus
Tender Annual Heirloom. This reliable, somewhat drought-tolerant watermelon was developed in 1959. The cute, round, 5-6 pound fruits have reddish orange flesh underneath a rind that is nearly black when ripe. Sugar Baby grows to a fridge friendly size and is a perfect choice for small gardens.
Soil and Water: Watermelon prefers light, loamy, fertile, deep, well-draining soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Add plenty of organic matter. Water plants amply until setting out, then water more sparingly. Mulch to prevent weed competition.
Planting and Growing: Start seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before the last frost or sow seeds directly after frost. Set out 3-4 transplants per hill, selecting the strongest two when vines are 1′-2′ long. Watermelons are large vining plants that can take over an extensive garden space. They can be trellised, but use slings to support the developing fruit.
Harvesting and Storage: Harvest melons when the tendril closest to the stem turns dry and brown and the stem becomes brittle. Eat fresh, freeze flesh in a honey-based syrup, or pickle the rind.
Did You Know? Watermelons are native to southern Africa.
Product image via: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds